Burning Books

A small church in Gainesville, Florida has caused no small disturbance with their plan to host a Quran burning this Saturday to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Terry Jones, the leader of this church, has been urged by Muslims, religious leaders, and government officials to cancel the event for fear of violence that could erupt. The latest news, at the time of this writing, is that the event has been cancelled, but that Jones could still change his mind. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens.

But what about this? Is this something a church ought to be doing? Jones and his church are well within their legal and Constitutional rights to burn copies of the Quran (assuming they are their own personal copies and not stolen). But that’s not what we’re going to discuss here. Instead, we want to consider whether or not a Christian should burn copies of the Quran as this church had planned to do.
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The Hand of God was Upon Ezra

Ezra Reads the Law

Following the Babylonian captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland and, with the blessing of the king of Persia, rebuild the temple. Ezra, a priest and scribe, was sent back to the land after the temple was completed. During this time God was with him. The Scriptures also explain why He was with Ezra.

For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:9-10).

This passage contains four reasons why Ezra found favor with God. We would do well to learn from Ezra’s example here. These are the same things we must do today to find favor with God.
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Restoring the Fallen

Drowning

James concluded his epistle by emphasizing the importance of turning a fallen brother away from sin and back to Christ.

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

There are a few reminders for us in these verses.
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Keywords in the Prophecy of the Coming Kingdom

Matterhorn mountain

Isaiah prophesied of a kingdom that was to come “in the last days” – the age that was ushered in following the coming of Christ into the world (cf. Hebrews 1:2). There are several keywords in this prophecy that we must understand if we are to appreciate what the passage teaches.

Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all nations will stream to it.

And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

Let us briefly consider each of these key terms:
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Spirit of Faith

Sunrise

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Paul wrote this verse as he told the Corinthians of the ministry he had been given, the hardships he faced for it, and the hope he had for eternal life. He quoted from Psalm 116 – a psalm of deliverance – in which the psalmist expressed his faith and trust in God even in the face of severe trials.

We are to have the same spirit of faith that Paul had. Having this spirit of faith, we will do certain things.
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Explaining and Giving Evidence

Paul preaching in Thessalonica

And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ’” (Acts 17:2-3).

These verses describe Paul’s teaching in the synagogue in Thessalonica. He came with the message that Jesus was the Messiah who had been prophesied of in the Old Testament.

Notice how Paul taught this message. He did not simply state his premise that Jesus was the Christ and, therefore, had to suffer and rise again. He explained and gave evidence. His explanations and evidence were from the Scriptures.
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Another Jesus

Two Jesus

There are certain times of the year when the religious world pays special attention to Jesus. One is the Christmas season in which they celebrate the birth of Christ. The other is Easter when they focus on His death and resurrection.

Why is there such a focus on these things about Jesus? Remembering a baby Jesus reminds people of the grace of God in sending Him to earth – not to mention the fact that nearly everyone loves babies. In the death and resurrection of Christ, we see a Savior who died for our sins and gives us the hope of heaven. It is no wonder why people celebrate these events. These things make people feel good. Anymore in religion, if something makes people feel good, that is what they choose to believe and practice.

But the Bible has much more to say about Jesus than just these things. Sure, we must remember the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But by only focusing on these things and ignoring so much of what the Bible teaches about the Christ, many in the religious world have accepted another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4). They have molded Him to suit their desires. For this study, let us consider some of the other things the word of God has to say about Jesus that many have forgotten, ignored, or have never known.
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