The gospel as a story

In this section we will show you how to share a quick gospel presentation and not an in depth study.  As said in the previous section, we will go through many major characters of the Old Testament and end up at Jesus.  Each character has a specific main point that should be easy to understand, so it should be thought of as simply telling a series of stories with a short lesson for each.  It really can be that easy.

For those who don’t use the kingdom circles, you can just start with the story of Adam, but for those who use the kingdom circles it’s best to show how these stories lead us into God’s kingdom.  To do so, after completing the circles and finding a person who is spiritually open, I ask “so what do you think this straight path to the kingdom is?”  Remember, a good Muslim prays for God to show him or her the straight path about 17 times a day, so this is a very relevant question.  Virtually every time I have asked that question I eventually get the answer “by following the five pillars”, but it is also quite telling that there us usually quite a pause before answering.  It seems pretty clear that most Muslims don’t know what the straight path is, or as a minimum are not convinced their answer is right.

Without trying to belittle them or become arrogant with my knowledge, I humbly say, “I’ve heard the Qur’an says ‘you can’t go to heaven without knowing the signs of God’ and I agree with this, so I believe the straight path to God must have something to do with these signs.”  The actual quote in the Qur’an is “those who reject our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be in the gates of heaven” (The Heights 7:40).  Since there are other passages that say the same thing in other ways a simple paraphrase will work.

So what is a sign?  A sign is essentially a message from God communicated through an event or a physical object.  For example, the ark Noah built, the animal skins that covered Adam and Eve, and the tale of Jonah being swallowed are all called signs in the Qur’an because each one has a specific message tied to it.  In fact, Muslims will say that every prophet brings a sign.  Therefore, the Qur’an is actually saying “you need to know the message of every prophet if you want to go to heaven.”  It is from this point that we can begin to tell each story and explain the meaning in a new way from the Old Testament to Jesus.

Sometimes I explain it this way.  “I’ve heard that the Qur’an says ‘you can’t go to heaven without knowing the signs of God’ and I like this.  In fact, we need the signs to keep us on the straight path to the kingdom of God.  Think of it like this, if we have a car and money for gas, but no GPS, what would we need to drive to another city that’s a long ways away?  We would need a map or a set of directions.  However, these do us no good unless we know where we are and where we are headed.  We need to look at the road signs to keep us on the right road.  In the same way, the signs of God keep us on the straight path as we follow them to God’s kingdom.  I think I’ve found what this straight path is.  It’s a path we can walk together.  Do you mind if I show you?”

Once I have permission I simply start telling the stories.  As I share I often find that I draw my friend in.  Muslims know these stories, but they have almost assuredly never seen them put together in a way that makes sense.  The beauty of these stories is that they speak for themselves.  All we need to do it tell the story and let the truth penetrate the heart of the listener.  Even when my friends have figured out that I’m about to tell them about Jesus they still seem to listen.

Each of these stories should be linked together.  For example, the main point of the story of Adam is “a great sacrifice is coming” and so I link it to Noah by saying “but Adam doesn’t tell us what it is, so we need to look at Noah.”  By linking these stories together the presentation becomes more fluid.  I generally retell the point of each of the previous stories when I move to the next.  This helps the listener continue to see the big picture and not get lost in an individual story.  It can sound like this, “So Adam says a great sacrifice is coming, Noah says, like the ark, all the true believers receive this sacrifice when it comes, and Abraham says this coming sacrifice that the true believers receive will come from God and will come in the form of a lamb.  Moses tells us . . . “

When I get to Jesus I usually don’t say that much about him, but rather go over the timeline again and say how each sign is about him.  I explain how he is the great sacrifice who bled and died for us and how God raised him from the dead.  Sometimes I finish with referring to Adam a second time saying, “By having Jesus as the great sacrifice over us we can have that same robe of righteousness that God gave Adam.  This robe covers our sin and shame, makes us beautiful before God, and gives us permission to enter the kingdom of God.”

Remember, sharing this is God’s work, not ours.  Unless God speaks our efforts are nothing.  The first time I shared this I was incredibly nervous and even forgot to mention Jonah.  To my utter amazement, my friend, an extremely devote Arab Muslim who loved to share his extensive knowledge of Islam, was completely blown away by my feeble effort.  In fact, he told me he wants to study each prophet with me and that he is willing to become a Christian if this is true.  Yes, I studied and tried to prepare, but it was God who did the convicting.  We don’t need to be scholars, but just faithful in sharing the Good News.  Let God do the rest and lift up his one and only son, Jesus!

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