|One of the leaders of our church is from Iraq. Just recently two of his boyhood friends were crucified by IS because of their Christian faith. In another northern Iraqi village young children were lined up and asked to renounce their faith in Jesus or lose their lives. None recanted and all were beheaded.
In Revelation we read: When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been was completed (Rev 6:9-11).
The blood of the martyrs has, is and will be shed to awaken the world to the true nature of Islamic Jihad and its intention to implement Sharia Law on a global basis.
How did all this get started?
This hostility started with Abraham’s two sons Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac was the son of the covenant and Ishmael the son of frustration at Sarah’s inability to have a child. This is what the angel of the Lord said to Hagar with regard to her and Abraham’s son Ishmael:
“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:11-12).
What we are seeing today is a continuation of the blood line of Ishmael that birthed Islam. We need to understand that this prophetic hostility has a dimension beyond the physical. It’s actually a continuation of war between heaven and hell itself.
Here is the Cosmic Issue
The blood line of Isaac flows through to Jesus and his implementation of the New Covenant of GRACE. This is in direct contradiction to the old way of the LAW. Grace is about unlimited goodwill and freedom. Law is about control. When the liberty of GRACE is released in a person’s heart by the power of the Holy Spirit LAW gives way to freedom – the freedom of the Kingdom. In God we are free to choose to do what is right because under the Holy Spirit we now want to do what is right. This is the magnificence of Jesus work on the Cross on our behalf – to deliver us from slavery to freedom:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1).
This is the message of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. In this story line the ex-convict Jean Valjean is converted to Christ. From then on he is always wrong in LAW but always right in GRACE. This is contrasted to the Policeman Javert who is always right in LAW but always wrong in his lack of GRACE. I do hope you have been able to see this musical that iscurrently showing in Australia. It magnificently portrays the gospel through its theme: “To love another person is to see the face of God”.
How then do we Respond?
The West has been birthed out of the freedom won by Christ. This is the Judeo-Christian heritage of the West and we forget it at our peril. Throughout history the forces of tyranny always seek to overpower and control people who live in freedom and liberty. This is why we have fought oppressors like Nazism, Communism and Jihad. This is why our forefathers laid down their lives to protect the gift of heaven of freedom. So from a political and defence perspective our Government is correct to choose to fight for freedom.
On a personal basis the finest way we can honour the blood of the martyrs and honour the military personnel protecting liberty is to give our lives to Jesus Christ, the giver of peace and freedom. For this is the reason we were born:
God’s intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph 3:10-12).
Relationally we need to extend the hope of freedom to our Moslem brother and sisters whenever we meet them. We long that they too may come into the revelation of Jesus and be set free from the terrible bondage of Sharia Law.
When you meet a Moslem be friendly and look for an opportunity to ask them this open-ended question: “I don’t know much about Islam, tell me what you believe”.
Then if they ask you what you believe don’t answer with apologetics. Instead share your story of how you discovered Jesus and the love and freedom he gives you. Ask them if you can pray with them that they too may come to know the love of God in his son Jesus. In this way we will be faithful sons and daughters of Jesus the King.
There is a Solution
We can be assured that there is a solution to conflict. True followers of Jesus can be united as brothers and sisters in Christ whether they be from Moslem. Jewish, Christian or other backgrounds. Only in Christ is the dividing wall of hostility broken down that we may find peace… for it is written: Eph 2:14-18.
Deep calls to Deep
Finally like King David in times of distress we turn our hearts to Father God (Psalm 42:7). From the depth of our hearts we call to the depths of God’s heart. We cry out for our nation because this is the tribe where he has placed us. We cry out with a deep inner ache… we live in a nation where 55% of believers no longer think it important enough to worship God in community. Where Fatherhood has been smashed and the consequence is social disaster. Across Australia 40% of teenagers do not have their biological father in the home. This troubling figure continues to rise with 48% of marriages now ending in divorce. Nightly on TV we are told that 50% of the nation have mental health issues and the nation reels under the onslaught of alcohol, ice and drug addictions. Our children walk around with smart phones that delve into the dark side of the web and pornography depletes the nation of dignity in its most intimate r elationships.
Deep calls to deep… from the depths of our pain we cry out to the depths of God’s mercy. This great nation that has been built on the bounties of goodness and grace is now descending on a trajectory of spiritual death. While we go out to fight the cult of death that is IS we also need to arise to the beauty of Messiah. Oh my friends let us intercede for the heart-beat of the nation to turn from death to life, from darkness to light. Let us pray that our people turn aside from the torrents of evil that emanate from the gates of hell. Yes we fight for freedom in Syria and Iraq but unless we return to Jesus we cannot win the cosmic war for our souls.
Deep calls to deep… the heart of God calls to the heart of the nation: ‘come back to me my children where I would deliver you, heal you, protect you and care for you. I am here to defend you and deliver you from the spiral of death on which you now find yourselves’. The Father is calling: ‘come back to me. I have sent you my Son Jesus who gave his life for your deliverance. It’s time to choose his light and turn from the deluge of darkness. I love you says the Lord and I want you in my fatherhood arms. Come back to me says the Lord of love, the Lord of life, the Lord of hope, the Lord of peace, the Lord of joy. Come unto me…’