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March 3, 2021 2:00 am
God loves all people from all walks of life, but many don't realize that means He loves terrorists, too. In the message "Jesus Loves Terrorists," Skip points out the stark reality of terror in our world, offering you the hope and comfort of Jesus.
This teaching is from the series Jesus Loves People .Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
We're not saying that Jesus wants terrorism were not requiring the Jesus loves crime or murder or prostitution. We are declaring that Jesus loves people who sin, even if that sin is the worst kind of atrocity you can imagine God still wants to reach people and save them. Terrorism is a very real threat in a world today on connect with Skip Heitzig Skip considers how you can respond to it biblically.
But first we want to share about what you can hear even more biblically solid teachings from Skip lights connect the Skip I think the Fontana line Saturdays at 4:30 PM mountain time or catch it on TV and on some eighth at 530 and understand tuning in here for more intellectual title teachings from Skip passionate about helping believers like you strengthen your walk with God to be a part of connecting others to Jesus in the same way when you give a gift to help keep these teachings he left on the air just call 800 9218 8892 1888 or visit connectwithskip.com/donate.connectwithskip.com/donate. Thank you now learn acts chapter 9 as we diving to be teaching with Skip Heitzig February a man was shot in Syria.
He was a 32-year-old member of the terrorist organization known as Islamic state license.
It happened in Syria. He was riddled with bullets shot and presumed to be dead, but Christian missionaries found his body and carried it about 15 miles to give them a decent burial.
They thought it was that he wasn't dead. This 32-year-old Isis terrorist had always believed that if he died in the cause of jihad. He would have immediate entrance into heaven.
But he said that in that state between unconsciousness and consciousness. During that time he said he was carried off by the gins gins or demons in Islamic theology and the demons carry them to the brink of the fiery pits of hell and told him that he would have to relive all of the pain and all the atrocities he committed on people while he lived on the earth, we would have to relive the decapitations the beheadings the pain inflicted through the eyes of his victim. Just then he said in that same state God spoke to him and told him that if you were to die right now, you would not enter my heaven if you choose to die, you will not go to heaven. But if you choose to live. He reports God said I will give you another chance to repent and follow my true way he will welcome from that state taken by Christian missionaries and he gave his life to Christ that happened in February of this year. I wanted to begin with that story because of the title of this message. Kind of a title is that Jesus loves terrorists whatever topic is that most people that's an abhorrent thought to them because terrorists have inflicted more damage on this planet and the inhabitants thereof than just about anything else.
So where do we come off saying Jesus loves terrorists. We need to make a distinction in this whole series, but especially today where not saying that Jesus loves terrorism were not declaring the Jesus loves crime or murder or prostitution. We are declaring that Jesus loves people who sin, even if that sin is the worst kind of atrocity you can imagine, God still wants to reach people and save them and we need to make that clear.
Listen, I struggled with this.
I was not looking forward to preaching a message on Jesus loves terrorists because when I hear these things ago on our world overseas.
My blood boils and I remember after the twin towers fell in New York City that I was on site for three weeks assisting on what they called the pile pulling body parts out of the pile and going to the Morgan New York City different mortgage to be with family members identifying a victim is a relative that that does something to you that that tweaks with your mind. So as we turned acts chapter 9 we have to make the affirmation that nothing is too hard for God to do and no one is to lost for God to save as Jesus put it, the things that are impossible with men are possible with God.
We have in acts chapter 9 the conversion of Saul of Tarsus is the conversion of a terrorist. He terrorized the early Christian church, but he became saved, he became converted. The radical became an apostle, the chief antagonist became the chief protagonist, the chief opponent became the main proponent for the gospel. The adversary became the advocate Saul of Tarsus, will become Paul the apostle. It is one of the most monumental conversion stories in all of history and probably certainly the most dramatic in all of the Bible so dramatic that even the apostle himself.
Years later, said even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.
Yet, I obtained mercy. This terrorist obtained mercy were about to read about it was we do as we come to acts chapter 9 there are three discoveries we need to make about terrorism three pieces to a very complicated puzzle, an issue that affects us today and affected the early church back then because what we have here in the story were about to read is a terrorist who terrorizes in the name of religion against the Christian church does that sound familiar with that sound contemporary because it is what happened then is being repeated today in so many places. So here's the first discovery is the first puzzle piece terrorism is a reality it's the most obvious truth, but it must be stated. Terrorism is a reality and it is becoming a growing reality in acts chapter 9 verse one we read then Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the way. That's what Christians recall then believers recalled the way whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem so we open up the story and we discovered this man named Saul of Tarsus who is absolutely obsessed with persecuting believers became the very air he breathed his breathing in and out burgers and threats is fixated on it. He is he is preoccupied with and if you follow his story or if you know what you discover that this man had a seed of hatred and anger that is fueled, it seems to grow as the story goes on we personally read about him a couple chapters back in chapter 7 of acts you can look at it. Verse 58 Stephen is being martyred is being stoned to death and the perpetrators of the crime. We are told in acts 758 later closed down at the feet of a young man named Saul. He watches it happen. He's on the scene as the first martyr is dying the death stoning and we come to chapter 8 verse one it says install was consenting to his death. So please get the picture.
He's saying amen yes this is right do this, throw another rock. Then the story goes on to verses later acts chapter 8 verse three Saul made haptic of the church, entering into every house and writing off both men and women and committing them to prison. What havoc is a very strong word is a word used to describe a wild boar trampling a vineyard rampaging through a garden. It was the same word used of an army, devastating the city, laying it, flattening at waste something has happened in the psyche of Saul of Tarsus were a seed of bitter anger grows and grows until we open up verse one of chapter 9 and Saul still breathing threats and murder. In other words, he's been doing it and he's still doing it. Not only is he still doing it.
He's obsessed with. He's so obsessed with it.
That is not content with just containing the terrorism to Jerusalem. He wants his murder show on the road. He wants to go on a mobile jihad. He asked for permission to travel hundred and 60 miles north of Jerusalem, the city of Damascus where there is a significant Jewish enclave of believers in Christ, he wants to strike while the iron is hot. He's still breathing out this noxious air of terrorism song reminds me of Mustafa from Yemen is a young man, Mustafa became radicalized and subscriber very radical form of Islam, and as soon as he became radicalized immediately went out and burned a church down to the ground.
A church in his village and the Christians who attended that church. He stole what they had. His rationale was this quote I was filled with hatred for Christians. Christians have no rights." Very similar mentality to what Saul of Tarsus was doing, though he was doing it with the duty is to commence seeing Christianity is a cult that needs to be stopped.
So was Mustafa, but in up in a different religious framework, so terrorism in the ancient world was real, and you can go further back you could go all the way to the Old Testament. There are numerous atrocities that are written about in those areas and some worse than others. One of the most notable were the Ninevites.
Remember the city of Nineveh member. The profit center.
Nineveh who is the reluctant property didn't want to go to Nineveh. Jonah God had to get his attention right you know the fish story because he didn't want to go there and he didn't want to go there for the very reason God wanted him to go there is a go to Nineveh and cry out against it. Listen to what God said for its wickedness has come up before me. There is a laudable of atrocity and wickedness. The God said, I notice, and I want you to proclaim judgment visited interesting about Nineveh, ancient Nineveh is modern day muscle in modern Iraq. It is one of the centers of the Islamic state in the last year.
They have taken over most of Nineveh and it's almost ironic it's almost perfectly fitting because ancient Nineveh was known for its atrocities. Couple of Assyrian kings like Shabana Paul or to Glock police or both of them were known for doing things like pulling off the hands of their victim pulling them, yanking them off the arms of their victims, pulling off the lips of their victims, flaying them alive that is skinning them alive and then piling up great piles of their scrolls in front of the gay ways of Nineveh, like trophies of those they had beheaded, so that was going on then, and we moved to the New Testament we find that Jesus was put to death by Rome through crucifixion, which is nothing less than state-sponsored terrorism, crucifying victims to the brink terror and fear to strike a shutter into the hearts of anybody would see such a vicious act. Not only that, did you know that there was a movement in Judaism to counteract the Roman occupation there were known as zealots. I know you read your New Testament, but I wonder if you know what zealots are.
They were first century political terrorists. They were sworn to overthrow the Roman government in their region by violent means. What's fascinating about this is Jesus picks one of them to be on his staff. Simon the zealot became an apostle of Christ. So he brings one of them is one of his apostles.
What's humorous about that is that another one of his apostle was Matthew the tax collector, and history tells us that zealots killed tax collectors because they work from home. So what of Volvo staff combination is like. Jesus had his own mini G hardware review went just in his apostles and become the Saul of Tarsus who terrorize the early church breathing out threats and murders against so we know terrorism is a reality always has been to some extent throughout history and it is today. However, we have only recently in this culture in this country come to realize it really was September 11, 2001. That was a wake-up call was first the introduction to the knowledge of terrorism.
It is become seared into the collective consciousness of America.
We woke up that day to realize there's a lot of people that don't like us and have an agenda against us and our country, the West, and even Christians in particular, it was indeed a defining moment, and that form of terrorism is not subsiding. It is on the increase in on the last year and many people were killed last year by terrorism alone almost 18,000 the stats that I read 17,958 people killed by terrorists in one year. 82% of them happened in five countries and I give them by the list of frequency of atrocities, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, 82% in the last seven years from 2006 at 2013 130,000 people were killed by terrorists now does need to be said that all not all terrorism is Islamic and not all Muslims are terrorists.
There are moderate Muslims are peaceloving Muslims. We would call the moderate we would call them. They are theological liberals in Islam.
They don't really hold to the teachings the traditional interpretations we would see them on the liberal side of their theology and and they would shun terrorism. However, having said that, if you go to the literature of Islam itself, the Koran, the hadith soon you discovered that it clearly states that heretics are to be killed, and I goes back 1400 years to its beginning with Mohammed the prophet when Christians and Jews were seen as heretics, and the way it was earth. Islam spread largely accompanying the killing of both Jews and Muslims practice interesting. I was in Iraq a couple months ago and I'm speaking with all sorts of people on this issue and couple of them who are scholarly said this is what we have noticed most of the people in our culture in Iraq. Most of the Muslims are just cultural Muslims are Muslim because they were raised.
Muslims are like people are unchristian because I was raised Christian, are really not in their heart levers. But he said these people in this country. They've never read the Koran very literate. They don't read so all these atrocities started having with with ice as they wanted to find out what do we believe in so they would have people who could read read the Koran to them and he said now what they're realizing is that Mohammed was Islam 1.0 and Isis is Islam 2.0. It's the same thing that 1.0 was just in a modern setting their coming to grips with a belief system that having now understood it. A lot of them don't want to be a part of it. But Isis, in particular the Islamic state has a stated goal to annihilate Christians, we are standing in the way and the lesser standing in the way to their objective of global conquest. Terrorism is a reality which brings us to the second component. The second puzzle piece. Second, discovery about terrorism.
It demands a response. Terrorism demands a response. What is the response to terrorism.
It's a complicated question. What should our response be if the question right now. Being dialogue on news channels across this country every single day.
What is your response to I wonder how you personally feel about. I believe we need to differentiate between two different responses here me closely on this please. That is, we have to make the distinction between our individual response as a believer and our national response is a culture to different issues are individual response is a believer. Our national response is a culture. It is the job of the state to protect its citizens is the mandate of the Christian to love all people, and forgive even our enemies, but both of them are reality. This is important because whenever this discussion is raised, someone will invariably take the pacifistic position.
The total pacifistic position in the court. The sermon on the Mount and the sermon on the Mount quote is in Matthew chapter 5 verse 38 Jesus said, you have heard that it was said, and I for an eye and a tooth for tooth, but I tell you not to resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. Jesus said that and I believe that and you believe that Blitzen that is not a foreign policy statement that is a that is a personal strategy statement that's not an national policy that's a personal policy. He speaking to kingdom dwellers and telling them how they are to respond to their world.
Why is this important because a century and 1/2 ago, a very famous book was written that still influences people at a cold war and peace by Leo Tolstoy the Russian novelist and he read the sermon on the mountain. Those two verses that I just quoted became the seminal idea for the book warranties and Tolstoy called for the elimination of military, the elimination of the police force. The elimination of courts.
The elimination of judges. Why, because those are the people that resist evil in society again. However, Jesus wasn't giving a foreign policy statement but a personal strategy statement if we were to take that position.
The Tolstoy advocates.
We are essentially giving a permission slip to every frog who walks the earth to do whatever they want. Go ahead. Walk all over me. I'm a doormat.
Whoever you want to or culture. That's what we need to make the distinction between the individual response is a believer in the national response as a culture that Skip the message from the series Jesus was.
Now we want to share about an exciting resource that helps you understand why Jesus resurrection is so vital for your faith in the aftermath of 2020 has left so many of us wrestling with questions about the future and wondering here Skip I think that's a question by the way that people ask anytime there is a contest recreating kind of catastrophic event causes people to ask the question, what's next. There's a car accident that happens while what's next I'm going to be able to walk after this disease strikes someone. What's next my going to be sure, if somebody we love dies, we ask what's next.
My going to be able to go on.
We want to help you live with confidence no matter what the future holds by sending you a powerful collection of Easter weekend messages from the hope of the resurrection.
Anything's possible. If the one who said he's going to die and rise again, died and rose again. That means all of the promises Jesus ever made possible and can come true. That's why it's called a living hope the morning that changed everything with skip. I think it's a DVD collection of six life-changing Easter message is. Thanks for your gift of $35 or more today to help connect more people to the living hope of Jesus Christ to give online securely visit connectwithskip.com/offer or call 800-922-1888 using the generosity of friends like you to reach people around the world with his life and truth. Listen to this letter. One person signing most mornings to skip.
I think I love his messages always inspire me and are very clear and easy to understand why Kenneth stories like this happen because of you. Your generosity connect more people with God's word every day creates a ripple effect of life change today to reach even more people just visit connectwithskip.com/donate.connectwithskip.com/donate or call 800 922 892. Tune in tomorrow Skip Heitzig examines the conversion of the terrorist demonstrating the great love God has for all of us is not the church's job to stop oppression is not the church's job to stop persecution is not the church's job to stop terrorism church's job to preach the gospel, and accept the consequences. So Skip presentation of connection communication is changing true