WHAT TERRORISTS CAN TEACH US
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. (Luke 16:1-8)
In the above parable, our Lord is by no means endorsing or commending the character of the unjust steward. The steward in this parable was dilatory, duplicitous and disingenuous, but the lord in this parable commends him for the industry and prudence he exercised to get himself out of a terribly tight situation.
Jesus used this steward as an illustration of how unsaved people often show more forethought, determination and passion in approaching their work and striving toward their goals than the saved do in undertaking the work of the gospel. He underscored the fact that we can learn something from this when he said, “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (V.8).
On September 11, 2001, the United States became the victim of evil men and an evil movement when terrorists, acting consistently with the fundamental teaching of Islamic religion and according to a carefully coordinated plan, brought unprecedented destruction and death to American soil.
The details of this event are now engraved in everyone's minds, and it would be pointless to rehearse them here, but there are some profound lessons we as Christian people, and pastors in particular can learn from these terrorists.
Following the terrorist attack of last September, a steady stream of information about these men began to surface. Out of it all, four things in particular have emerged that should cause pastors and churches too pause for reflection.
The first thing has to do with. the provocation for what they did, the second with the plans they were following, the third with the prayers they prayed, and the fourth with the price these terrorists were willing to pay to accomplish their goals.
We have every reason as pastors to be stirred by the actions of these terrorists. We need the reminder, and we need to remind the churches we pastor, that we are in a "holy war" too, that action, attention to business and sacrificial service is needed now for the great work our Lord has given us to do.
THE PROVOCATION OF
Thousands of times, with bewilderment and perplexity, the question has been asked since September 11th., “Why? Why would men do such a horrible thing? How could they so cold-bloodedly kill so many thousands of innocent people, people of every age and diversity of race and religion, even their fellow Muslims? What could provoke men to do what the terrorist did on September 11th?
The answer to these questions is that these men were driven by a commitment which is incomprehensible to the average person; a commitment, sad to say that is incomprehensible to the average Christian.
They had an unreserved commitment to a false religion (Islam), and to Islam's false god, Allah, who was also worshipped by the ancient Babylonians, the same “moon god” that Abraham worshipped while living as a heathen in Ur of the Chaldees. Furthermore, the terrorists actions stemmed from their fanatical commitment to the demented, demonic leadership of Osama Bin Ladin - the biggest coward, and trainer of cowards that ever lived on this planet.
Compare the average commitment of pastors and churches to the commitment of those who belong to the al-Qaida terrorist network. Ours is not to a false god, but the One true God of heaven. Our minds and hearts are not enslaved to mongrelized heresy, hatched out in the 7th century A. D. by an illiterate, confused, self-seeking Arab.
It is not the Koran, created by Muhammad – a conglomeration of pla-giarism and fantasies - that we follow, but the Holy Scriptures. But the question is, how much influence does our God and the Bible have on us today as Baptists compared with the commitment mani- fested by Islamic terrorists? In com- parison, does not our commitment to Christ and the Word of God, overall, appear shamefully puny and pathetic? The answer is, "Yes."
The Terrorists had a Burning Commitment
It was no cool or lukewarm allegiance that bound the September 11th terrorists to their cause. All the world knows that there was nothing half-hearted about these men. They had a burning com- mitment to what they believed and to the mission they were given to carry out.
And this kind of burning commitment, dear friends, is precisely what we as Pastors must have to the cause of Jesus Christ if we are going to effectively preach, pray, lead the saints and win the lost.
Fire, and burning zeal has always been a mark of real New Testament Christianity. John the Baptist made it clear that it was in the context of powerful Holy Spirit fire that Christ came to fulfill His purpose in the world: “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16).
Jesus said to His disciples: “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” Hebrews 12:29 tells us that “Our God is a consuming fire;” The Holy Spirit is often spoken of in the Bible in connection with fire, as on the Day of Pentecost when He came to empower the church: “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. . .” (Acts 1:3, 4). The early churches operated under and with the fire-power of heaven!
The Word of God is spoken of in terms of fire: “Is not my word like as a fire?” The prophet Jeremiah said, “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jer. 20:9).
In the Bible, all of the great works of God and the work done for God is spoken of in the context of holy fire! The commitment that burned within the vicious hearts of the terrorists was set on fire of hell, engendered by an evil spirit. We need a fiery passion too, not driven by a hellish spirit, but by Holy Spirit of God.
The Terrorists had a Blind Commitment
Furthermore, these terrorists high jacked the planes and slaughtered the thousands of innocent people they did because of their blind commitment to their cause. Pastors and churches need to be blindly committed to the commandments we've been given to follow.
When the disciples were on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, the disciples came to a place during that experience where we are told, “when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw, no man, saved Jesus only” (Matt. 17:8).
We need to cultivate such a preoccupation with the Lord Jesus and His will for our lives that we become blind, in comparison, to everything else. This is the kind of blind commitment the song writer had in mind when he penned the chorus of the lovely hymn, Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus. He wrote:
Turn you eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Job said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes” (31:1). There are more than a few areas where we need to make a covenant with our eyes if we are going to avoid being fixated on the comforts and allurements of this world which will keep us from serving Christ effectively. It has come to light that many of the September 11th terrorists had lived in American society for many years, waiting for their opportunity to strike.
But during this time, they managed to stay undistracted from their purpose by the materialism and temptations of western society. They simply refused to be distracted by opportunities for their own self advancement, enrichment or entertainment.
They lived simple lives, were satisfied with simple comforts, kept their focus on the big picture of their assignment, and stayed blind to everything counterproductive to its successful accomplishment. Oh, how we need this kind of focus if we as Baptist preachers and people are to be faithful to the purpose God has for us in this world.
AN INCOMPREHENSIBLE CONTEMPT
Another question that has been asked thousands of times in one form or another is, “Why do these Islamic fundamentalists hate us so much?” The answer is found inn the almost incomprehensible contempt that the terrorist have for the culture of the Western world and for Christianity. Their hatred was essential to their being able to do what they did.
The fact is, Christians need to be good haters too if we are going to reach people for Christ and win victories over sin and self and Satan. Real, authentic Christianity, the kind that “turns the world upside down,” (Acts 17:6) calls for a deep and real contempt for the world, the flesh and the devil. Psalm 97:10 says: “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.”
It's difficult for the western mind to accept, but our leaders are finding that any mediation with the Islamic fundamentalists is simply out of the question. Their contempt for us and their commitment to our destruction disinclines them entirely to any moderation of their policies and practices.
The Taliban regime has demonstrated this implacable spirit for over a decade as they have ravaged and savaged the nation and people of Afghanistan in the name of Allah, and with the Koran as their guidebook. They are not wishy-washy about what they believe.
It is important to understand that contrary to current political propaganda in America, the thinking and behavior of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists is not contradictory to Islamic teaching. It is consistent with it.
Their behavior is the outcome of their belief system which calls for all non-Muslims to convert to Islam or die! The terrorists are called "fundamentalists" because their belief and behavior is not out of line, but perfectly in line with the fundamental teaching of the Koran which calls for the annihilation of whatever may stand in the way of the world wide spread of Islam. Therefore the terrorists will never be satisfied with anything less that the destruction of every vestige of Christianity and the culture of the western world.
We as Christians should also have a deeply rooted, intelligent, contempt and disdain for our mortal enemies; these being, sin and the present world system which promotes sin and is entirely anti-Christ in all its ambitions and aspirations.
This is taught in 1 John 2:15-17 which says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” James 4:4 says: “know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
But Christians in general, including most Baptists and many Baptists preachers, do not hate evil. Instead, most who name the name of Christ today are more than willing to mediate with sin, and take a moderate appeasement-type of approach to the world the flesh and the devil.
To all appearances, many preachers and churches are, apparently, in love with, and in league with, the world. It is probably safe to say that most professed believers today are unashamedly locked into the worlds philosophies and eager to adopt its fads and fashions.
Modern-day Christians and churches seem to be more than ready to compromise with the world regardless of what the Bible says or however spiritually counterproductive this may be to themselves, the cause of Christ or to the testimony of their church. One evidence of this is seen in those many churches which have not only taken a moderate position toward the world, but are actually modeling their worship services and other programs after the world.
As strange as it may seem, we can also learn something from the mercilessness of the terrorists. Americans can hardly fathom the cold-heartedness and callousness of anyone who would slash stewardesses throats and brutalize innocent airline passengers on their way to crash airliners into buildings where thousands of innocent men, women and children would be killed.
Americans have never learned, it doesn't compute with us, that the rest of the world does not think as we do about human life, because historically, no other people in the world has ever placed the same value on human life that we do.
Osama Ben Ladin has officially and publicly declared every American, military or civilian, a legitimate target for death. This is the policy of the terrorists and accounts for why they can viciously kill helpless men, women and children shedding no tears and showing no mercy. Their position, and it is the position we as Christians need to have toward our enemies - the world, the flesh and the devil.
Paul made it clear what his policy was, and what ours should be to this world system when he wrote: "the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14). Our business is to mortify the flesh not show mercy or leniency to it, but, it is probably safe to say that we are far too lenient and merciful concerning the world, the flesh and the devil.
If brutally honest about it, how many pastors would have to admit that they are soft on their own sins; inclined to indulge and pamper their flesh and more than ready to peacefully co-exist with the world? Yet, the Bible clearly teaches us to be merciless in our opposition to all enemies of the Spirit:
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:12-14)
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 13:14)
“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 23).
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today, and. many westerners, many Americans are being swept into it because the behavior of Muslim people is more often consistent with Islamic belief than the behavior of professed Christians is with the Bible.
Of course Islam has its hypocrites among the "faithful." Islam as a whole, is a religious system based on heresy, hedonism and hypocrisy and it's easy to prove it. However on the surface, and among the rank and file of Muslims, they walk their talk far better than the average Christian does.
As a rule, Muslims more strictly adhere to the lifestyle Islam prescribes for them than Christians conform their lives to the teachings of the Bible. Devotees to Islam will not compromise with other religions, and are disinterested in any serious dialogue with other faiths.
But much of today’s Christianity (and this is true in many so-called “Baptist” circles too) has an almost apologetic attitude about Christian doctrine and an all-embracing poclicy toward other religions - tolerating or embracing almost any doctrine no matter how contradictory it is with the teaching of the Bible.
Pastor friend, do you have an uncompromising contempt for the world, the flesh and the devil?. Are you cultivating this in your church? Do you personally have a real hatred for sin, seeing it for what it is and loathing it in all its manifestations? Do you have a mournful spirit about it?
Jesus said "Blessed are they that mourn," meaning, blessed are those who mourn over the sin they see in themselves and in the world around them. (Matt. 5:4). Do you mourn like this over sin?
The hatred of Islamic terrorists is motivated by a false belief and aimed at the wrong thing, but no one would deny that their hatred is real, uncompromising and passionate.
We who are saved would do well to take the same position toward the enemy against which we contend which is "not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph. 6:12).
Another thing we can learn from the terrorists of September 11th concerns the importance of having plans and following them. A young preacher once asked the Duke of Wellington for advice in carrying out his work as a minister. The Duke quoted Matthew chapter 28, verses 19 and 20 to him and said, "You have your orders. Follow them."
.We know now that the terrorists high jacked the airliners, destroyed New York’s Twin Towers and crashed into the Pentagon according to plans that had been carefully formulated for them. They were operating strictly under orders according to carefully prepared plans that had been entrusted to them.
The highjackers' plans called for them to infiltrate this nation. Accordingly, many of them lived here for years, worked in our work places and enrolled in our schools.. In this way they infiltrated our society.
This is exactly what our Lord has told us to as Churches and individual Christians to do, is it not?. Jesus prayed in His intercessory prayer for us: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so Have I also sent them into the world (John 17:18. “And He said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
But are we infiltrating our world, carrying a testimony for Christ into society at every level we can.
This is our duty. Jesus said: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:14)
The terrorists moved in and out among us with the secret intention of killing us, but our goal is to permeate our society as salt and light, seeking to win men and women to Christ and everlasting life.
Plans to Impact this Nation
The terrorists infiltrated America because they wanted to impact this nation in a mighty way. The word “impact” is defined as “a forceful contact; collision; the force or impression of one thing on another; an impelling or compelling effect.” The terrorists accomplished this. Again and again following the attacks, people have said, “we have lost the security we once had," “We have a fear now that we never had before.”
News commentators have remarked again and again that, ‘The American people have been changed forever and will never be the same again.” This is exactly what the terrorists wanted, and is not this, in a very real sense, the goal and purpose of the church!
Let's be reminded that having the best plan in the world is useless if nothing is done with it. The terrorists had detailed plans in hand, and they followed them!. New Testament churches are in possession of divinely detailed plans for evangelizing the world; the problem is that too often, these plans are not pursued!
The Terrorists were not Dilatory About
Following the Plans that had been Given to Them
The terrorists were not dilatory in carrying out their assignments. They were busy about their master Ben Ladin’s business. They didn't work according to plan only when they were in the mood to do so. No, they were not dilatory - they were diligent! And we need to be busy about our Fathers business, remembering that “the King’s business requireth haste” (1 Sam. 21:8).
The way God wants us to respond to His commandments is to be up and doing!: “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deut. 30:11-14).
The tendency of too many pastors and churches is to be lazy and lackadaisical. Even the early churches had to be exhorted, “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11). "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, "Redeeming the ime, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:15-17).
Thomas Burton said: “Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains.” Our Lord was not lazy, He said to His disciples when He was on earth, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. . My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." (John 4:9,34). He said, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35)
The old maxim is true that, “Its the start that stops most people.” But, we must not procrastinate! If Baptist people would begin being half as serious about carrying out the Great Commission as the terrorists were and are serious about carrying out their devilish plans, what a difference it would make to the furtherance of the gospel!
Someone has written, “Many are called, but few get up!” There are a lot of “gonna-doers in pulpits and pews who never get anything done for God because they never get started. Their watchword comes from south of our border where the constant refrain is, mañana or “tomorrow.” But we are warned: “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Prov. 27:1).
This is no time for pastors and the rank and file of Baptist people to be lazy and procrastinating. Oh no! We need to do what is right, do it the right way and do it right now! And we need to do this in His power. Just as the work of God must be done His way, it must also be done with His power. We need to have the assurance in our hearts that we are coming to God's work “in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 15:29).
As pastors, we need to have a holy confidence as to our being personally filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to be able to say in regard to coming to our congregations to preach, coming to people to counsel them, coming to the lost to witness to them - "And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 15:29).
We need to personally provide our congregations with an example of unhesitating, unremitting obedience to God when it comes to separated living, witnessing and soulwinning, etc. We need to remember that we are not bosses, we are leaders!. A boss says “Go!” - but a leader says “Let’s go!” The command of great, winning, leaders are not "Forward!" The command of those who do a great job of leading is always, "Follow me!"
The Apostle Paul was exercising this "follow me" method of leadership when he said, "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. . . . Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1). We need to be "follow me" type leaders for our congregations, while at the same time we exhort and encourage them - “Brethren, be not weary in well doing.!” Saying to them, "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (2 Thess. 3:13; Gal. 6:9).
There is very little good that can be said of the terrorists who attacked us in September, but it cannot be said of them that they were not men of action when it came to following their orders. New Testament churches need to act on the plans God has given us.
The terrorists were not dilatory in carrying out their plans , and neither did they deviate from them. They were not "flying by the seat of their pants," or “making it up as they went along.” They did nothing more and nothing less than what they had been told to do. Churches however, often seem to have no compunctions whatsoever about re-working, re-structuring, editing the plans God has given to His Church. Pastors need to be careful about following trends and adopting methods for evangelism and worship which are not substantiated in the Bible.
We do not have the liberty to act as though we have no clear-cut orders or plan to follow. We do! They've been Concisely presented to us in the Great Commission where Jesus said to His church: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:18-20).
The plan is for us to evangelize sinners and to see that the saved are educated edified and enlisted in the work of the church beginning with their baptism. Let’s not be dilatory about our work or deviate from the plan God has given us to follow.
THE PRAYERS OF
The third thing we know about the 19 terrorists involved in the events of September 11th. is that they prayed. In keeping with their faith, they prayed five times daily to Allah, prostrate, facing toward Mecca, and they prayed at other times as well. At the last. terrorists were overheard chanting and praying on one of the high jacked planes as it went down.
THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE TERRORISTS’ PRAYERS
These terrorists prayed as they trained, they prayed as they plotted, they prayed as they carried out their criminal deeds. As set out to assassinate and destroy innocent, unarmed civilians, they adhered rigidly to their schedules for prayer. They prayed to a false god, their petitions were wicked and warped in content, but they believed in, and evidently felt a sense of desperate dependence on prayer.
As Christians, we have the privilege and the command to pray. We are totally dependent on prayer for any success in our Christian walk and warfare. But how many Christians pray to the great God of heaven who is anxious hear and answer their prayers; Who says, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer. 33:3). How many pastors pray, with anything like the diligence, sense of dependency and desperation with which these terrorists prayed?
God has not only given us our heavenly marching orders, but He has made it clear that He expects us to pray. In the model prayer, Jesus didn’t preface his instruction on prayer by saying “If ye pray. To the contrary, He said, “When ye pray, say. . . “ Jesus said, “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” One of the main ways we build ourselves up in the faith is by praying: “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 23). Prayer is God’s chosen way to get His will done on the earth, and we cannot accomplish anything without it.
The secret behind the early church’s success in turning the world upside down was their prayers. They knew better than to presume that without prayer they could have any power with God or man. After commissioning His church and before ascending back into heaven, Jesus told His disciples: “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
They were not to preach, teach, hand out tracts, go into all the world or anything else before they had had tarried and received the promised heavenly power. They didn’t know how long they would have to tarry; whether it would for two days, ten days or ten months. All they knew is that they were to tarry until they received power.
So, they tarried! They returned to Jerusalem and tarried!. They tarried, 120 of them, in an upper room: “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:13, 14).
This tarrying time was no doubt a time of reflection and contemplation for them; a time of confession of sin; a time for getting right with God - and when they were right with God and right with one another, when they were ready, when the Holy Spirit was no longer grieved by any unconfessed sin in them, the Holy Spirit came on them with great power, And "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost . . .” (Acts 2:4).
After ten days of tarrying time in prayer, the first church saw 3,000 souls converted in a day. Then, a short time later, 5,000 were saved. The number of conversions grew until they are referred to as “the multitude of them that believed,” then the Bible says in Acts 5:14, “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.”
The early church understood where their power came from, so they kept praying! “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
The early church shook things up and turned the world upside down in the power of the Holy Spirit which they received by asking for it in prayer. Can churches today have this same Holy Ghost power? They can if they will tarry for it, confessing sins, getting right with God, believing God concerning His promise. Jesus said, “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).
The apostles understood that all success in ministering the Word was contingent on their first having success in prayer, and they wouldn't let anything take priority over the quality of their prayer lives.
They said to the church at Jerusalem in Acts 6:4, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word.” Again, God’s work must be done only according to His plan, it can be done only through His power - and this power only comes through prayer!
The terrorists carried out their mission within the context of fervent fanatical, futile prayers to a false deity. Are we as faithful in praying prayers to the God of heaven as the terrorists were in praying to the moon god of the ancient Babylonians, a.k.a., Allah?
Jesus said in John 14:13, 14, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” What a promise! What prospects and potential, what power there is in prayer! Do we have the power of the Spirit in our preaching and teaching, are we seeing success in our soulwinning efforts?
If not, why not? Perhaps James gives us the answer: "Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). How much do we not have that we could have.? Remember that “God . . . is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!” (Eph. 3:19,20).
THE FASTING WITH WHICH THESE TERRORISTS
SUPPLEMENTED THEIR PRAYERS
Prayer is one of what is known as "The Four Duties of Islam." The other three are: almsgiving, a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a Moslem's lifetime and fasting. During the month of Ramadan Muslims fast for twenty nine days (not during the evening), and at other times as well.
In addition to the prayers that the terrorists prayed for the success of their murderous mission, they also observed days of fasting in preparation for their attacks. Evidently they felt that the work they had to do was so crucial that they needed to supplement their prayers with fasting.
Fasting is pertinent and appropriate for Christians, but it a subject rarely mentioned, much less taught on in most churches today. Many Baptists know little about it and most have never fasted a day in their lives for spiritual reasons. It would be interesting, and probably embarrassing, to know how many pastors have ever fasted.
Yet, the Bible is full of teaching about fasting.. God's people fasted in Old Testament times, and it constitutes New Testament teaching as well. Jesus taught His disciples to fast, just as he taught them to pray. In fact the same thing that has already been noted about Jesus' instruction regarding prayer is true of his instruction regarding fasting.
He said, "Moreover, when ye fast . . ." He didn't say if ye fast, He said when ye fast (Mat. 6:16). It seems to have been common in the early church for believers to fast while they were turning their world upside down (Acts 13:2,3; 14:23; Cor. 7:5), but it is not too common today. Perhaps this is why, in our day, the world is turning the churches upside down.
While Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples whom He had left at the foot of the mountain were approached by a man with his son, who was possessed of evil spirits. He wanted the disciples to cast the sprits out, and the disciples no doubt thought that this wouldn't be a problem for them since they had been successful in casting out evil spirits before (Luke 10:17).
But this time they failed miserably. Later, when they asked Jesus the reason for their failure, He told them it was because they had neglected to fast: "And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting" (Matt. 9:28, 29). They had cast out other spirits on other days, but this was a different spirit, more fierce and powerful, than any they'd ever encountered before, and this was a different day.
The terrorists thought of their mission as being so difficult and dangerous that they felt compelled to not only pray, but fast in connection with it. dangerous. enough to merit their fasting, should we as New Testament churches see the value in our fasting from time to time?
Our mission is difficult and spiritually dangerous! We are living in exceptionally wicked days when hostility to God and resistance to the gospel has never been more on display. Satan has made greater inroads into churches and is creating greater havoc than ever.
The enemy is stronger and the work harder than it ever has been, and - prayer and fasting perhaps needs to become more the order of the day than ever before. How tragically ironic that at a time when fasting has never been more needed, it has never been more neglected.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE PRICE TERRORISTS WERE WILLING TO PAY
The fourth thing we can learn from the terrorists has to do with the price they were willing, and are willing to pay. There has always been, and there still is, a price to be paid by those who serve the Lord.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt. 16:24, 25)
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (1 Tim. 3:12)
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Pet. 4: 12, 13)
THEY GAVE OF THEIR
It is common knowledge now that Osama Bin Ladin is a very wealthy man descended from a wealthy family. He has enjoyed education in some of the world’s finest schools and universities, is a trained engineer and has been successful in different legitimate business enterprises.
But rather than live a life of privilege and comfort, he and others in his circle of international thugs have opted to follow what they think is, and probably is, the will of their "Allah" - namely to launch cowardly, sneak attacks against unarmed civilians, women and children. Ben Ladin has consecrated his personal wealth, to underwrite the foul doctrine of Islam and his ferocious agenda of terrorism around the world.
The early churches had no problem with giving their temporal things to support all aspects of the work of Christ: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:32-35).
This is the way it should be. It is not only common sense that the work must be supported by those who believe in it - The lost are not going to support it any more than the United States Congress is going to set aside funds to support the Islamic terrorists - but furthermore, it is consistent with God’s plan for how His work is to be supported.
Paul reminded the early churches of their need to give to the Lord's work: To the church at Rome he wrote: “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things” (Rom. `15:26, 27)
And to the church at Corinth: “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (1 Cor. 9:11). What a reproach so many covetous Christians are under today who don’t mind serving the Lord - as long as its convenient or investing their finances in the Great Commission - as long as they can do it “on the cheap.”
Today’s terrorists can teach many Baptists a thing or two when it comes to paying the price for what one professes to believe in’ But then, again, the Bible already teaches us this; the terrorists have only served to remind us.
When Jesus said, “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light,” He was not commending the actions of bad men, but He was calling attention to the fact that bad men, driven by bad motives often exercise more prudence in, and passion for, their work than the saints of God do in the glorious work of the Gospel. It is a shame that those who serve the devil and error would ever be more enthusiastic for their cause than those who serve the Lord are for His.
It is a shame that there would be anything that we as Christians could learn from terrorists. But there is. U
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