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Devotionals 2013 - 2019

Addressing the Threat of Islamic Extremism
February 27, 2015By Private

The message deals with the threat that we are facing from ISIS and Islamic Extremism the author wishes to remain anonymous.

 

February 23, 2015

 

Dear Reader,

I am grateful for your interest in the grave problem facing the civilized world today. I assume you are reading this, because Islamic extremism and ISIS concerns you. I am glad that it concerns you and I wish that it concerned more citizens of our country at this juncture of history.

What you are about to read was a sermon given during the morning worship service on Sunday, February 22, 2015. Two weeks before the message was given, I began praying about ISIS and their inherent evil nature. At first, this was private. By the second week, these prayers had spilled over into a men's prayer group that meets each morning and in public prayer before our mid-week service. During this time, I was already doing research for a sermon I did not know I was going to preach. For the last several weeks, I have been preaching through 1 Thessalonians and I'm about halfway through. I had no plans to change my sermon calendar. A church member mentioned to me at the first of the week that Bill O'Reilly had challenged every pastor, priest, rabbi, and imam to address this issue with their congregations over the weekend. At that moment, I decided my plans needed to change. It was obvious to me that God had been at work in my heart during the previous two weeks for this very reason.

I was concerned that a small minority would be upset by this message. Yet, I felt that doing what God wanted must come before keeping people happy. On the contrary, there has been no negativity, complaints or criticism regarding this message. I preached for a greater duration than I had to date at my church and possibly for the greatest duration of my 22 year ministry. I am not sure how many people have asked for copies of the sermon on DVD, but it was a great many. Even people who do not attend our church have heard about it and asked for a copy. The point I'm laboring to make in this paragraph is not that it is a wonderful sermon. I imagine it was painful for all involved to listen for 45 minutes. The point is that this is a message that addresses a concern all people of goodwill have in their hearts at this moment in time. They want to hear it. I encourage you to send this message wherever you desire.

If you agree with the following words in the next few pages, please apply them. A sermon, bible study or lesson is no good without application by the hearer.

 

God's Agent of Wrath

Introduction

Video - Administration denying the real problem of ISIS and Islam1

 

There seems to be great confusion among our political leaders. Sadly, it is not only among them, but among our Christian leaders as well. Listen to the following quotes by several different Christian writers: Our use of Koranic verses to paint all Muslims with a broad stroke is like a Muslim looking at Westboro Baptist and thinking thisrepresents all Christians. Our enemy is not Islam, but a small minority within Islam that are their right-wing fundamentalist fanatics.2 If the men who have aligned themselves with ISIS are created in the image of God, then violence done against them is somehow violence done against God. We fixate on their evil and depravity, for good reason. But somehow God's image in them is something we are willing to completely discount as we seek solutions. So, what should we do?3 Reallocate the $1.75 trillion that the world spends annually on the military—nearly half of which represents US military expenditures—into nonviolent conflict transformation, into decision-making structures that include the voices of the marginalized, into more robust educational institutions that are available to all equally.4 To love, bless and give to your enemy speaks of development and opportunity. Do we take economic and educational reform seriously enough in countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan? If not, why not?5

 

I have enough ridiculous statements from these confused Christians to fill the entirety of our time this morning, so I'll just top there. Whenever you find this kind of confusion over an issue this grave, you can be certain of one thing. The Father of Lies has been very busy. The old Devil has been at his work leading people astray to further his agenda. I believe that we can cut through all the confusion by examining God's word.

 

Read Text - Romans 13:1-56

Setup
ISIS has killed tens of thousands of people in the areas they control. Many of these are Christians who are given a choice to renounce Christ and accept Islam or pay a tax they cannot afford. Occasionally, they are given an opportunity to leave a home that has been their family's for generations. Other innocent people groups have been (continued below after references)

 

1 Obama Compares ISIS To The Crusades, by Newsy.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADYIKcWMzdo.
2 kirbyhopper.com: Stuff you won't hear in church, "A Christian's Plan to Deal with the ISIS Crisis," Kirkby Hopper, December 8, 2014.http://kirbyhopper.com/a-christians-plan-to-deal-with-the-i…, accessed: February 19, 2015.
3 Huffingtonpost.com, "What Can Christians Do About Iraq?," Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor, The Huffington Post, October 08, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/what-can-christians-do-abou…
b_5662233.html, accessed: February 18, 2015. In fairness to Raushenbush, he is actually quoting Jeremy Courtney the author of these lines in his article.
4 Clarion Journal: Journal of Spirituality and Justice, "What Should Christians Do About the Violence in Northern Iraq?," Andrew P. Klager, August 11, 2014. http://www.clarion-journal.com/…/what-should-christians-doa…, accessed: February 18, 2015.
5 carlmedearis.com: Making Jesus Accessible, "A Thoughtful Christ-Centered Response to ISIS," by Carl Medearis, September 10, 2014.http://carlmedearis.com/…/a-thoughtful-christian-response-…/, accessed: February 17, 2015. This article has been widely quoted and reposted by the Christian and political left.
6 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (NIV)

 

(con't from above) murdered as well, including Muslims who do not agree with them. Women are raped when they gain control and if they are lucky, then sold into slavery. Their children are usually killed and their husbands are killed after being tortured. They have executed people with bullets, hanging, beheading, crucifixion and recently by burning them alive. Just about any horrible, evil, inhumane act you can imagine has been done by them in the areas they control.

In contrast to them, we have the Christian teaching of turn the other cheek, love your enemies and bless those who persecute you. 7 How does a Christian respond to stark, glaring evil in light of these teachings? What is a Christian to do? The problem and confusion in the hearts of so many Christians is that these commands are for individual Christians, they are not for nation states or governments. The Christian confusion is possibly understandable for those Christians I mentioned earlier that are unaware of what our passage from Romans actually means. Unfortunately, this does not absolve our country's leader. At best, he is terminally naive. At worst, something far worse and sinister is at work. Let's cut through the confusion this morning.

 

TS - God's agent of wrath. . .

1. Does Not Bear the Sword in Vain (vs. 1-4)

 

Exegesis
Paul is explaining the role of civil government in the life of the believer. In v. 1 we are told that God has established civil authorities. Look at v. 2 (read 2-3), he says that we have a duty to obey our government. This is natural and logical. We have laws for a reason and they are good reasons. Imagine a world where anyone could kick down your door, shoot up your home and take whatever they like. Civil authority is one of God's many gifts to mankind, without it we would live in total anarchy. So, Paul advises followers of Christ to obey the law. This is good advice, unless you want to spend your life in jail. Look at v. 4, Paul reminds his readers that the government, civil authority is armed for a reason. One of those reasons is to punish lawbreakers and in the Roman Empire, the army was also the police. Notice that it calls the government and in particular its armed military "God's servant" two times in this one verse. If that was not enough, Paul says that the government is God's agent as well. The point of all of this is that civil authority may use force to impose its will. It may use force against people that break the law and in the second part of the verse "wrongdoers." Jesus never told a nation's military that they should love their enemies, turn the other cheek or bless those who persecute you. He did say that to individuals and it is a big difference and if I had the time, I would explain how they do not deny our right to self defense. The father of lies has blinded so many to this simple truth. Our nation does not bear the sword for no reason. It does not bear the sword in vain. It is God's servant and has been God's agent of wrath many times in the past. I hope that we will come to our senses and be so again as it concerns ISIS.

 

Application


Civil authority is God's servant to do you good. Sometimes this is done by being an agent of God's wrath. Let's see if this might have anything to do with ISIS. There is much general confusion among the populace about ISIS and it has been increased by the message from our government that is saying they are just radical Muslims, that they are simply terrorists. They say religion is not the problem. Our president has called them un-Islamic.8 In fact, he compared the horrible acts that ISIS has done to the Christian Crusades that took place over 8 centuries ago.9 Let me explain to you why ISIS is so horrible. Let me tell you why they kill Christians, why they behead children, and sell thousands of people into slavery. ISIS truly follows the teaching of the Koran. Our government is not doing good to us by telling us that this is not about religion. On the contrary, ISIS is full of real Muslims who read their (con't after references below)

 

7 Matthew 5:38-39 - You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:43-45 - You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Romans 12:14 - Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (NIV)
8 "President Obama: 'ISIL is not Islamic,'" by CNN, September 20, 2014.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwp8qKvE-0g, accessed: February 18, 2015.
9 "Obama Compares ISIS To The Crusades," by Newsy, February 5, 2015.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADYIKcWMzdo, accessed: February 18, 2015.

 

(con't from above) perverted scriptures and actually follow them. Other Muslims are only playing at it.10 A startling article appeared on the very liberal publication known as The Atlantic a few days ago. It was an exposé on ISIS and what they believed. I thought the art of investigate journalism was dead and buried, but this article says otherwise. It is the clearest explanation and possibly the most precise voice I have heard in the media or the government explaining why ISIS is the horrible cancer on civilization that it is. Listen to a few lines from the article:

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. We are misled. . .by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combated, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. Following (it's) doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam. The tax on Christians finds clear endorsement in the Koran’s ninth chapter, which instructs Muslims to fight Christians and Jews “until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Prophet, whom all Muslims consider exemplary, imposed these rules and owned slaves. The (ISIS) caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the spokesman, promised in one of his periodic valentines to the West. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”11

Before the caliphate, “maybe 85 percent of the Sharia was absent from our lives,” (Anjem) Choudary told me. (He is the former leader of a banned Islamic group in England.) “These laws are in abeyance until we have khilafa”—a caliphate—“and now we have one.” Create a caliphate, and . . . a huge body of other jurisprudence, suddenly awakens. In theory, all Muslims are obliged to immigrate to the territory where the caliph is applying these laws. In London, Choudary and his students provided detailed descriptions of how the Islamic State must conduct its foreign policy, now that it is a caliphate. It has already taken up what Islamic law refers to as “offensive jihad,” the forcible expansion into countries that are ruled by non-Muslims. “Hitherto, we were just defending ourselves,” Choudary said; without a caliphate, offensive jihad is an inapplicable concept. But the waging of war to expand the caliphate is an essential duty of the caliph.12

I wish I could read every word of the article to you and I encourage you to do so on your own. These animals are killing, raping, torturing, and spreading misery because they believe, sincerely believe they are following the will of their false god, Allah. It is about religion. It has everything to do with religion. Understand this, even though our government is telling us something totally different. Our president attended a Muslim school for several years as a child where he would have read and memorized the Koran on a daily basis.13 It is beyond belief to suggest for one moment that he does not understand the religious commands driving these animals. There is no economic solution to this. There is no conflict management resolution that will solve it. There is no negotiating that will stop them. No (con't below after references)

 

10 theatlantic.com, "What ISIS Really Wants: The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here's what that means for its strategy-and for how to stop it," by Graeme Wood, March 2015.http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/whatisis-
really-wants/384980/, accessed: February 17, 2015.
11 Ibid.
12 Ibid.
13 A multitude of liberal media outlets did their best to label this assertion a smear and malicious rumor during the campaign. No one seems to be able to definitively prove either way. Of course, the left gives many articles saying they have proven it. The other side believes they have as well. For example, http://www.libertarianrepublican.net/…/breitbart-embarrasse…-
obama.html. I believe his command of Arabic pronunciation, if not fluency of language, various statements supporting Islam, and treatment of Israel clarify this matter.

 

(con't from above) diplomacy will end it. Addressing the needs of disaffected Muslim teenagers will not stop this. It is time for our government to be God's servant and do us and the rest of the world good by being his agent of wrath.

There have been more and more, so called random attacks by Muslims in the United States. This is directly tied to the Koran and Isis. To take one example: In September, al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide. But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away. If followers cannot reside in the caliphate, they are spiritually obligated to wage terror where they live. Our government must eradicate this evil or we are only going to have more "so-called" random acts of violence.14

 

Illustration


As long as ISIS exists, this will continue. They are simply following their sorry excuse for a Bible. Our country saved the world from a horrible evil in WWII. I believe the Nazis, much like ISIS now, were driven by great spiritual evil at work in the world. If you read history, the United States almost delayed too long in entering the war. At the time, no one knew for certain that it could be won. The Nazis had better technology. They were dug in and had defenses in place in most of Europe. If we had not acted, England would have fallen and eventually they would have been here. Thankfully our government was God's agent of wrath and did not bear the sword for nothing. They were defeated and cast down upon the dust heap of history, but they did manage to torture and kill millions of people, mostly Jews. They were wrongdoers. They were stopped. Our country was God's servant, along with the rest of the Allies in defeating them. I have to think, what if? What if we had entered the war earlier? What if we had acted when they started gobbling up their neighboring countries? If we had acted a few years before we did, would they have had such a defensible position? Would the 60 million have died?

I see ISIS through this same lens of history. Do we continue to delay? If we give these faithful followers of Islam 3-5 more years, how strong will they be? How many innocent people. . .how many Christians will be killed by them? They killed 21 just last week who can be heard calling on Christ as they died. They burned another 44 people alive and they have 30 something more Christians being held as hostages. This doesn't include the everyday raping, torturing and killing that goes on in Allah's wonderful paradise known as the Islamic State. Daily, they gain in numbers. Daily, they gain territory. Daily, cash and resources enter their reserves. When will the United States truly act and put down this evil like the rabid dogs they are? We do not bear the sword in vain. Rest assured, eventually we will, I hope and pray the delay is not too great.

 

TS - God's agent of wrath does not bear the sword in vain and. . .
2. Brings Punishment on the Evildoer (v. 4)

 

Exegesis


Look back at v. 4, God's wrath is executed through civil authority upon wrongdoers. Some Christians say that vengeance is the lord's and he will take care of it. He will and he usually acts through civil authority. These evil men are wrongdoers in every sense of the word. The NIV has a watered down translation with wrongdoer. This is a compound word in the New International Version, but actually two separate words in the Greek New Testament.15 The first word means to do or practice repeatedly.16 The second word means evil or wickedness.17 You could (con't below after references)

 

14 "What ISIS Really Wants."
15 I have to admit the KJV does a better job of translating this verse.
16 πράσσω, prassō, Strong's ‪#‎G4238‬, A primary verb; to “practise”, that is, perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from G4160, which properly refers to a single act). (Strong's Greek Dictionary)

 

(con't from above) translate it as those who do evil continually. It seems to be indicating something far greater than breaking the law. Paul says that God uses the armed military of civil authority to punish those who do evil. When this happens, they are executing his wrath upon them. According to Paul, this is a good thing for the citizen and it is. No one wants to live in a world with the likes of Hitler and the Nazi Party. No one wants to live in a world with the likes of ISIS and their Caliph. It is disgusting to me that all of western civilization has done very little to remove them from the face of the earth. We have not dealt with these doers of evil seriously. This needs to change if our government is going to fulfill its God-given function in our passage.

 

Application


I have read many pieces from Christians crying over and over again that violence begets violence. There is truth in what they say. Yet, lasting peace throughout history has almost always been won at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun. We live in an imperfect and fallen world. This world will remain at conflict until that time after Christ has returned as prophesied by Micah 4:3, They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Until then, civil authority is used by God to carry out his wrath upon evil doers. Usually, the result of this is greater peace. All of us can agree the world would be a better place without ISIS in it. I hope and pray that our government becomes God's servant, his agent of wrath and brings punishment upon these evil doers. Western civilization has done this many times in the past. If we had not, all of us would be speaking Arabic today.

 

Illustration
(Show video about the crusades)18

 

Conclusion

 

What about the nice Muslims? What about the ones that don't follow ISIS? It is the religion of peace you know? Here is what I think about that: There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today. Of course, they are not all radical extremists. The majority are peaceful. Intelligence services around the world are in agreement that around 15-25% of Muslims are radical extremists. This is 180 to 250 million people who are dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. Why should we worry about this small percentage? It is because it is the radicals who kill. It is the radicals who massacre. When you look at the lessons of history, you should be concerned. Most Germans were peaceful, but the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result 60 million people died. 14 million of these in concentration camps. The peaceful majority was irrelevant.19

When you look at Russia, most Russians were peaceful as well. Yet, the Russians killed 20 million people, the peaceful majority was irrelevant. When you look at China, most Chinese were peaceful. Still, they killed 70 million people. The peaceful majority was irrelevant. Most of the Japanese people prior to WWII were peaceful, yet Japan was able to butcher its way across southeast Asia killing 12 million people usually with shovels and bayonets. 20 (con't below after references)

 

17 κακός, kakos, Strong's ‪#‎G2556‬, Apparently a primary word; worthless (intrinsically such; whereas G4190 properly refers to effects), that is, (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious: - bad, evil, harm, ill, noisome, wicked. (Strong's Greek Dictionary)
18 "Bill Warner, PhD: Jihad vs. Crusades," by Political Islam, August 20, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_To-cV94Bo, accessed: February 18, 2015. The website, www.politicalislam.com, has several resources and videos of Dr. Warner that teach clearly everything you could want to know about Islam. You must watch this video to really understand the relentless nature of Islam and its 1400 year assault against Western Civilization.
19 "Brigitte Gabriel gives FANTASTIC answer to Muslim woman claiming all Muslims are portrayed badly," by GLOOG1, Jun 18,2014.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry3NzkAOo3s, accessed: February 18, 2015. Brigitte Gabriel has a fantastic
response to a question from the audience. I have never heard, "the peaceful majority is irrelevant," stated in a better fashion. She is the director of the ACT organization: www.actforamerica.org. This video and her website are worth checking out.
20 Ibid.

 

(con't from above) On September 11 we had 2.3 million Arab Muslims living in the United States. It took 19 radicals to bring America to its knees and kill 3000 Americans. The peaceful majority was irrelevant. It is time that we take political
correctness and hurl it in the garbage where it belongs.21

So, what can we do? I have a stack of cards with suggestions available for you on your way out. Just look for them in the foyer before you leave. As Christians, we must respond as individuals. The church's battle against evil is spiritual. We should pray for God's justice. We should pray for Christians in danger. We should pray for the protection of the innocent. We should pray that God might call one of these monsters to be saved, like a modern day Saul of Tarsus. We should pray that our government does not delay in performing its God-given function of being God's agent of wrath against the practitioners of evil. We should pray that the confusion sown by the Father of lies is dispelled so that people can see this problem clearly. If led, we should be willing to send material support to those that are most afflicted. We should contact our elected officials and urge them to be God's agent and servant in this matter. We must, above all, pray for peace. As it always has in conflicts of this nature, peace will come by the sword because the nations of the world do not bear it in vain.22

I read an incredible response in the comment section on one piece written by a pacifist Christian. He did a better job of saying what needed to be said than I have this morning. Let me share it with you:

This was a lovely piece. Although I would see it as your Christian belief about all wars, not just Iraq and ISIS. It is very close to the beliefs held by many American Quakers and many Amish groups. I would think your 4 tenants to be the highest a Christian can aspire to. In many ways I wish I could accept them as my own.

But I, after years of prayer and struggle, cannot. At least not fully. If every Christian would have followed this pacifist creed; I would be speaking German and you would be speaking Japanese. And so I have spent most of my life as a soldier. I tried to practice peace by being in a military so strong that the USSR dared not attack its neighbors (something that is not true today, but it worked in the 70's 80's and 90's). We engaged in peace whenever the fighting stopped in Germany, Japan, Iraq, or Afghanistan. We built schools, gave candy and played football with the kids, and built up local economies. And (you might not believe this) most of us NEVER hated our enemies. We may have killed them to defend ourselves or to win a peace, but most of us were sorry we had to pull the trigger. We prayed for our enemies in chapel.

I was hoping to be a soldier for God's justice and mercy and not just for a nation. With all my heart, I wish your way worked. But I know people. I know sin. I know evil. I pray that I am fighting the forces of the evil one. And perhaps more than any minister, priest or pastor; I as a soldier - pray for peace.23

21 Ibid.
22 I encourage you to apply what you have read. After this message, I have included the action cards that were distributed after the sermon was given.
23 Missio Alliance, "A Christian Response to Iraq and ISIS (Islamic State)," by Karina Kreminski, August 15, 2014.http://www.missioalliance.org/a-christian-response-to-iraq…/, accessed: February 19, 2015. This is the
article replied to by the soldier, whose name used for the comment was "LTCSPG."


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