Inter-Community Church of God
February 21, 2021 Service
      • Psalm 25:1–10GNB

  • The N Word: Not What You Think

    In our American culture, when we think of “the N word”, we usually think about the derogatory slang that is used against African-American people. And the use of that word is wrong and demeaning from whites to blacks especially. But I am going to address a completely different “N Word” today, that applies not to the color of one’s skin, but to the condition of one’s heart.

    The Rise of the Jihadist State

    First a little background, based on the wars from Syria to Afghanistan and into Indonesia and other Muslim-majority or Islam-only nations. By the way, Islam is the name of the religion founded by the Prophet Mohammed in the 7th century among Arabic-speaking countries. Islam is an Arabic word meaning surrender, and Muslim is the Arabic word for someone who has surrendered to the will of Allah, the Arabic word for God. So Islam is the religion and Muslim is a follower of that religion. When we speak of Muslims, we speak of people, when we speak of Islam, we speak of the religion they follow.
    The major divisions of Islam are Sunni, Shiite, and Sufi. The Sunni Muslims are most conservative, the Shiite Muslims are dedicated to the leadership of the Ali dynasty, today expressed by the Ayatollah in Iran. The wars between Iraq and Iran are basically Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims. The Sufi Muslims are a very spiritual and God-focused movement that supports peace and understanding. Their numbers are small, as they have been decimated by the other militaristic Muslims.
    Jihad is the Arabic term for “struggle” and means today a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty of a good Muslim from one side or the other.
    Today, even in English uses, jihad has become a common borrowed term for any “holy war” or struggle based on a particular ideology.
    A Jihadist state is the goal of groups such as ISIS: Not controlled by institutional government but by a spiritual leader, proclaiming war against all who don’t agree.
    In supposedly Christian America, the armed militias of the leftovers of the KKK, or white supremacists, follows an almost identical practice. We have seen the effects of misguided, zealously adamant people in our capitol.

    ISIS = Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

    In the years since 2002, the radical terrorist movement we know as ISIS has been running rampant through the Islamist countries of the mid east. Movements such as ISIS, which is the anagram for “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” have begun and thrived through loud and convincing arguments against a variety of religious, civil, sectarian, ethnic, demographic, and economic issues that are common among all agencies of terrorism.
    ISIS in particular gained strength after beginning as a religious reform movement among Sunni Muslims, back in the 1990s, which has transformed into a physical jihadism or “holy war” against any who disagree. They feet the governments and the people had become soft on their practice of religion, and this is where their problems of poverty and oppression began. In their understanding, it could only be cured through warfare. They have been focused on the most severe interpretations of how they should express their dedication to their sadly mis-understood interpretation of god called Allah in their language. It is fueled by a conviction that all the problems that they face are caused by the people’s departure from strict adherence to a narrow understanding of Islam. They have operated and recruited followers and finances with the idea that they must be harsh and zealous against all infidels, or the faithless, carrying out terrorist practices driven by the few parts of the Quran which speak of violent conversion of those who aren’t true believers in their version of Islam.

    Religious Terrorism Is Way Too Common

    We shake our head and pour out our indignation at the very idea of modern terrrorism, especially driven by religious ideals, and we really have no idea of our own Christian history of violence from one Christian way of thinking and another. All through the late 15th, 16th and 17th centuries since the appearance of Jesus Christ, very sectarian, zealous, and violent groups of Christians fought to the death in whole societies and countries. The followers of Martin Luther were enemies of the Roman Catholic church; the followers of John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland were also enemies of Rome, and became enemies of one another. Religious terrorism has been with us for 1500 years or more, and will likely continue because we focus on people an movements rather than on God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

    Back to the N Word: Not What You Think

    A group called “Voice of the Martyrs” has been recording the actions of violence against Christians around the world for many decades, and it is the source of the “N” word I am talking about today.
    It started to show up on the homes and business of the worst enemies of ISIS in Northern Iraq and in Syria since around 2014. Those places marked with the Arabic letter “nun” or N immediately became subject to the terrorism of the Jihadists. Families and heads of families were held for ransom or were killed outright; businesses were shunned and burned or destroyed. Whole groups of people fled their homes, cities, and even their other families because they were marked with “N”.

    So What Is This “N” Word?

    The N stands for “Nazarine.” In other words, within the homes and businesses marked with N in northern Iraq and other ISIS-held regions, were followers of the Nazarine. Followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians.
    In ISIS-controlled areas, being known as a Christian means you will lose everything. You business, your home, your family, your life. Like the persecutions of ancient Rome against Christians, ISIS also thinks it is better to be dead than to be an infidel. Standing for Christ is not just a choice of one of dozens of spiritual paths, as it is in America now; instead, standing up for the Person and teachings of Jesus is choosing life over death in a way that might mean you are choosing death over life in this age.

    Are You an N Christian?

    And N Christian stands for one who is willing to follow Jesus Christ no matter what it costs. An N Christian is not a radical against society, but a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
    Charles Stanley poses this question for anyone who would count themselves as a Disciple of Jesus Christ:
    Ask yourself: Are you merely a believer or actually a follower of Jesus? Trusting in Jesus Christ is fundamental, but it’s only the first step. Your primary purpose is to take a lifelong journey following in the Lord’s footsteps—honoring Him with your actions and speech and increasing in biblical wisdom.

    Are you merely a believer or actually a follower of Jesus?

    Are you simply saved or are you all-in for Jesus?

    Jesus Shares His Coming Struggle

    Jesus had been praying, and his disciples were with him. He asked what the crowds were saying about him. Well, that answer was really unclear. Finally Peter said, “You are the Christ of God.” Jesus told them to keep quiet about it, and the reason, he was...
    Luke 9:22 ESV
    22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
    There is a cost to be Christ in a world that rejects you. Jesus knew what was ahead. He told his followers clearly that he would pay the price for being who he was. He will suffer; he will be rejected by every level of the religious leaders of his day. He would be killed. But...he would be raised on the third day. No matter the difficulties that lie ahead, the hope he held beyond the grave would see him through. And he wanted his followers to know that is what lie ahead.
    >>>The Challenge is,

    What Will You Give Up to Gain Christ?

    Luke 9:23 ESV
    23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    Three Steps to True Discipleship

    The answers to the “If anyone would come after me...”

    Deny Oneself

    Take Up One’s Cross Every Day

    Follow Jesus

    Our Life is Found in Jesus

    Luke 9:24–25 ESV
    24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

    Seeing Our Life as A Surrendered Life

    An Ashamed Christian is a Shamed Follower

    Luke 9:26 ESV
    26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
    Charles Stanley again on the nature of True Discipleship:
    Jesus defined true Christians as those who prove their love for Him by obeying His teaching. When it comes to obeying God, our only response is I will or I won’t. It’s tempting to say, “I will, but …” as some of Jesus’ would-be disciples did, but that’s a roundabout way of saying no. Followers remain faithful to the Lord’s plan whether doing so is easy or hard. Not only that, but they proclaim Him in both blessing and calamity, and they follow Him even when they are uncertain where He is leading.

    The Cost of Being An “N”

    Paul gives us the clear example of what it cost him to become a follower of Jesus Christ, and he tells us the reasons why it is worth it.
    In Philippians 3:7-11 Paul tells us:
    Philippians 3:7–11 ESV
    7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
    >>>Here is the great Disciple and Apostle telling us how he navigated the trials of choosing Christ.

    Get Your Priorities In Line:

    Philippians 3:7–8 ESV
    7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

    Get Your Pride in Line

    Philippians 3:9 ESV
    9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

    Get Your Future in Mind

    Philippians 3:10 ESV
    10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

    Keep your Goal in Mind

    Philippians 3:11 ESV
    11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

    Are You Willing to be an N Christian?

      • Luke 9:22ESV

      • Luke 9:23ESV

      • Luke 9:24–25ESV

      • Luke 9:26ESV

      • Philippians 3:7–11ESV

      • Philippians 3:7–8ESV

      • Philippians 3:9ESV

      • Philippians 3:10ESV

      • Philippians 3:11ESV

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
Age:
How did you hear about us?