Introduction: I am aware that some really intelligent people hold to very different religious views than I do. Sometimes that makes me believe that if I believe my view is the right view, then I am arrogant. Doesn’t arrogance lead to violence like the Crusades, the French Inquisitions or terrorism that sweeps the world today? How did Jesus act toward people of other faiths? How did He teach His followers to respond to people of other faiths?
What is Zeal for God?
· Phinehas had zeal for God – Numbers 25
· Judas Maccabees (Judas the Hammer) had zeal for God in the Book of Maccabees
Saul (Paul) Had Zeal for God – Philippians 3:5
· Paul sincerely believed those who disagreed with Judaism should be stopped
· This included imprisonment or execution
Zeal for God is the courageous willingness to do anything to fight God’s enemies to the death. (Galatians 1:13-14)
Saul (Paul) Had an Encounter with Jesus – Acts 9:1-6
· Not commended for Paul’s zeal
· He knows he doesn’t know God
In the persecuted Jesus, Saul sees the kind of zeal God requires.
· Not the zeal to kill your enemies, but the zeal to die on their behalf
· Not the zeal to persecute your enemies, but the willingness to suffer persecution in order to help them
The zeal God is looking for is the zeal to love, forgive, and embrace.
· For those we thought were enemies of God are beloved by God
Paul (Saul) Experiences a Christ Follower
· Followers of Jesus were to treat people from all faiths, even those who persecuted them, with love calling them brother or sister
· Paul became a student of how Jesus was tolerant of people with other religious views
Zeal Based on Knowledge – Romans 10:2
· What does zeal based on knowledge look like? (Romans 12:14)
Zeal according to knowledge means we don’t just tolerate people of other faiths…
· We honor, love, and protect them
Prayer: “Lord, may all Jews come to know Jesus Christ. May all Muslims come to know Jesus Christ. May all Buddhists come to know Jesus Christ. May all Christians come to know Jesus Christ.”
QUESTION: How do you relate to people in your life who differ from you religiously?