Friday, October 02, 2015

The Vision (10.2.15): He came from above

The past few weeks I have enjoyed reading two works by Charles R. Marsh, a longtime Brethren missionary to the people of Algeria.

The first book I read on plane trips between Kuala Lampur and Hong Kong is titled The Challenge of Islam (Scripture Union, 1980).  It is a compelling and sometimes heart rending account of Marsh’s ministry to the Muslims of Algeria, including the hardships and opposition that he and those who became believers through his ministry suffered.  This week I’ve been reading a second book by Marsh titled Share Your Faith With a Muslim (Moody Press, 1975).

One concern that Marsh offers in both books is that Christians who witness to Muslims should avoid what he calls “the comparative religions” approach to evangelism.  He observes:

In many lands Muslims still have a very superficial knowledge of their religion.  They repeat the witness to Muhammed, follow Muslim prayers, and observe the fast of Ramadan.  Remember that while we should know what Muslims believe, our aim is not to compare religions but to lead them to a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ (Share Your Faith With a Muslim, p. 6).

Marsh warns that Christians should not unwittingly instruct Muslims in the finer points of their religion (and, thereby, entrench them their beliefs) but speak to them instead of Christ!

In one chapter in Share Your Faith With a Muslim Marsh provides a helpful outline of a gospel presentation he made many times to Muslim hearers on Jesus as the Son of God.   In his discussion of the incarnation of Christ, Marsh provides this illustration to describe how Jesus “came from above” to take a human body and become a man:

Two men once fell into a deep pit.  One said to the other, “Save me from this wretched place.  Please get me out of the dirt and mud.”  The other replied:  “You idiot, how can I?  I am in the same plight as you.”  They were both in the pit, and neither could help the other.  Then they heard a voice from above calling them to grasp a rope.  The man who had not fallen into the pit was the only one who could save them.  He brought help from above.  The very best man among the prophets could not save us from the pit of sin, but Jesus did not inherit a sinful nature.  He came from above.  God sent angels to announce his birth (read Mt 1:20 and Luke 2:9).  How wonderful all this is.  Never man was born as this man. He is unique in His birth.  He is incomparable (p. 47).

The only tweak I might add to the illustration would be to note that Christ not only drops the rope into the pit but he climbs in himself and lifts us out!

May we learn to speak and live clearly and plainly for Christ, who came from above to rescue us from the pit of sin.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

NOTE:  As stated on Sunday:  Thanks to all the members and friends of CRBC who worked last weekend to make the 2015 Keach Conference a success.  Everyone pitched in to spruce up the church building, make bulletins, record sermons, cook meals, greet guests, and extend hospitality overall.  It was a great team effort!

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