The gospel is good news to the whole world (Romans 10:15, Luke 4:18). Scripture teaches us that God has a heart for missions. He desires the gospel to go out to every people group and language so that they may worship him (Psalm 67:1-7, Philippians 2:9-11, Acts 13:47, 1 Chronicles 16:23-24). It is encouraging to think that God brings people to salvation (John 6:44, John 4:23, John 12:32). With this in mind, God can bring Muslims to salvation whenever we proclaim the gospel to them (Romans 10:13-15). But what is an effective way to share the gospel with them?
Share Old Testament Stories
The gospel is spread all through the Bible. Consider that the resurrected Jesus taught the men on the road to Emmaus everything about him through stories in the Old Testament (Luke 24:24-27). In other words, a great testimony about Jesus is found in the Old Testament, which Muslims believe to be a holy book. Take advantage of that belief and share Old Testament stories that point to Jesus. One story from the Old Testament that is very important to share with Muslims is the story of Adam and Eve. In this story, we see so many elements of the gospel. In Genesis 3:6-7 we see the first sin happen. Sin separated God and man as they were chased from the garden, where they had perfect fellowship with him (Genesis 3:23-24). Then God told the serpent, Satan, “Cursed are you” (Genesis 3:14) for tempting and leading man to sin. Imagine that Adam probably was nervous when God looked at him next. He was probably thinking, “I am also going to be cursed like the serpent because I sinned.” Instead, God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you” (Genesis 3:17). We see that God sends the curse of sin elsewhere, other than directly on Adam. Also, God looks at Eve and describes her consequence for sinning as pain through bearing children (Genesis 3:16). Still, through this pain, there will be an offspring that will crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). We also see that God makes the first sacrifice in the Bible, by killing an animal (Genesis 3:21) and covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness in garments made from its skin.
We know through the New Testament that Jesus took the curse of sin for us so that we might be blessed with the blessings of Abraham and receive the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:13-14). It was through the seed of Eve that Jesus would eventually be born, and through his sacrifice on the cross, the power, penalty, pleasure, presence, and tempter of sin will be defeated, enabling us to have a restored relationship with God. Adam and Eve’s story lays a foundation that the consequence of sin can be sent somewhere else. Sin’s consequence was sent to an animal sacrifice in Genesis 3. We know that our consequence for practicing sin was taken off of us as Christians and sent to Jesus when he died on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus taking on our sin is an amazing truth found in the New Testament, but the foundation for that is built from Adam and Eve’s story. When meeting with a Muslim, I would advise you to share this story; however, don’t immediately share all of the New Testament revelations. Be okay with planting seeds to build on later. Share the story of Adam and Eve in the garden and say that God desired a relationship with Adam and Eve. That’s why he made provision by covering them in animal skin and allowing Eve to give birth, from which we eventually get someone to crush the head of the serpent.
So many other stories in the Old Testament will also lay the foundations to explain and introduce Jesus as the Savior. One essential story is the story of the Passover found in Exodus 11-12. It is one of the most explicit pictures of the gospel in the Old Testament because, through the lamb’s blood on the doorpost, the Lord would not bring the plague of death but pass over them. We learn that through the death of one animal, the lives of others can be spared. Like the story of Adam and Eve, this story lays a foundation for the New Testament gospel to be heard and understood by Muslims. Get familiar with Old Testament stories such as Cain and Abel, Noah and the Ark, and many others, which lay the foundations for understanding Jesus and the gospel. Once again, Muslims believe that the Old Testament is a holy book and respect it. Use the Old Testament as Jesus did to point to himself so that Muslims might know him and believe the gospel (Luke 24:24-27).
Another vital thing to do when proclaiming the gospel to Muslims is to be clear with terms. There are a lot of terms that we Christians use every day that mean something else to Muslims. For example, the word “grace” is a word that we Christians connect to God being merciful to forgive us for our sins (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:15-17). However, Muslims use “grace” to explain being merciful to someone poor or struggling. Another word is “forgiveness”, which we Christians again connect to God pardoning us for our sins through faith in Jesus (Romans 4:7-8, 1 John 1:9). We receive forgiveness not because of any work that we do but because of the kindness and mercy of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, when they hear the word “forgiveness”, Muslims think of it as something you can receive from God only if your good deeds outweigh your evil deeds. So make sure you use these terms to explain them well, like “grace to forgive sins” or “forgiveness not based on anything you’ve done, but according to God’s mercy.” Be clear by explaining your terms well.
It can be a long, hard road to proclaim the gospel to Muslims as you share stories and try to explain the terms of the gospel. Often, you will see minimal conversions. However, it is not about conversions but about being faithful to proclaim the gospel. Jesus is the Lord of the harvest. He is the one reaping a harvest. We just proclaim the truth and call people to repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:14-15). Some years back, I met a missionary doing church planting among Muslims, and he only led six Muslims to Christ in six years. This man is a hero because he was faithful to God on tough ground. Continue pressing forward to share the gospel with Muslims because it brings God glory and one day, I believe he will reap a harvest through your faithful proclamation of the gospel.