My objective in Muslim evangelism is always to bring the Muslims to a place where they can listen to the Word of God.
Many times people ask me to visit their Muslim friends with them. They think I can convince them more than they can just because I come from a Muslim background. But that conception is wrong! As far as I am concerned, only one person can convict man of his sin, whether Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or atheist. This is the person of the Holy Spirit.
I do not possess a greater influence upon Muslims because I come from a Muslim background. I may approach them differently, but their faith cannot be based on my experience. Their faith must be grounded on the Word of God.
If you are involved in Muslim evangelism, it is vital that you understand the effect and power of the Word of God on a Muslim.. It is the Word of God which can pierce all the way to the very depths of man's heart. A divine energy is stored in the Word of God which can create faith. If the Word sinks down in the heart of a person and remains, then that Word will eventually bring forth life, regardless of that person's race, religion or background. It is like a seed planted and settled in the ground. It will undoubtedly bring forth its kind. Likewise, the Word of God which takes root in a Muslim heart will bring forth fruit.
The Word of God is like a seed. The seed has a potential for life and growth. You can reap tons of fruits from a small bag of seeds. A huge watermelon is hidden in every watermelon seed, and within that watermelon are hundreds of other seeds. Where did they all come from? From one little seed. Isn't this a miracle?
In the same manner the potential for faith, healing, restoration, forgiveness and life are in God's Word. One may not see the impact of the Word at once, but if that Word is planted on good ground, it will surely bear fruit. It must, because it has life and energy stored in it. Jesus said that His words were life and spirit (John 6:63).
When I started to read the Bible in my native language, doubts about Islam arose in my heart. Why? "The entrance of Your words gives light" (Ps. 119:130). The more I read the Bible, the more faith arose in my heart toward Jesus. I was convicted that Jesus was the truth, that I was a sinner and that I needed forgiveness and cleansing.
Years after I became a Christian, I preached in Sodermalm Church in Stockholm. After the service an Iranian Muslim man came to me. He acted very hostile and wanted to argue with me. I told him that I did not have the time to argue. But the man was very persistent.
But a few months later when I returned to that church to preach, this fellow showed up again after my preaching. He asked me very kindly if he could help me in any matter.
"Do I know you?" I asked. I did not recognize him.
"I am the one who wanted to argue with you, but you told me to read the Bible first," he explained. "I have read the Bible, and I want you to know that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and have been baptized by the pastor here in the church."
Then I remembered him. What a difference in his countenance! No wonder I did not recognize him. You see, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
People say that Muslims are hard to convert. Why? It is because a Muslim is like ground that has never been plowed, worked at and turned over. Have you ever tried to grow a vegetable in sandy or stony ground? I have, and I know it is not easy! My wife, who was raised on a farm, tried to tell me, a city boy, that it wouldn't work. I didn't listen to her, but I soon discovered that she was right.
The Muslim world has not been yielding to the gospel because the church has not been working on that kind of ground. The church hasn't plowed, tilled and sowed on the Muslim fields. The only recorded history that we have of church activity in the Muslim world is the Crusades, which certainly didn't introduce people to the love of Christ.
You have to realize that man is in the sasme state spiritually all over this planet. Human nature is the same the world over. I have traveled and preached in over 30 countries around the world. I have met people from all kinds of cultures living in many different conditions. I have learned that the human heart is the same everywhere. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9)
As a matter of fact, it is easier to witness to a Muslim than to an indifferent atheist. Many Muslims love God and have a respect for Jesus, whom they believe is one of the prophets. However, an atheist arrogantly rejects the existence of God and thus disregards faith in God.
It takes longer for a Muslim to respond to the gospel because faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and they haven't heard it. But, once they hear the Word, the Holy Spirit has something to work with in their hearts.
Whenever I conduct a crusade, I ask God to confirm His Word with signs and wonders. I don't do this so the people will be impressed with me. I do it so that their hearts will be opened to the gospel.
You must keep in mind that what you preach to a Muslim contradicts the Qur'an. You tell them that the Bible is the Word of God, and they tell you that the Qur'an is the Word of God. You tell them that the Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, and they tell you that the Qur'an says that Jesus was only a prophet. You tell them that Jesus is risen from the dead and they tell you that Jesus was never crucified. On and on you may argue against one another. However, if you can prove to them what you say is the truth, then you will get their attention.
I conducted a crusade in the city of Bishkek, the captital of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soveit republic, in March 1993. during my morning prayer the Lord told me, "Tonight, don't be cute with these people. This is a Muslim republic, but I will be with you."
That night I knew what I had to do. I stood up and told the people, "Tonight I am going to prove to you that Muhammad is dead and Jesus is alive. If the blind eyes don't open and the lame don't walk, I am a liar and this book is no good."
After that I preached and prayed for the sick. Two people who came to the meeting were totally blind, one man for 12 years and a woman for four years. Their sight was instantly resotred. Several people who were crippled started walking.
Then I asked, "How many of you want to accept the Lord?" Every person I could see raised his or her hand and prayed with me. The power of God opened their hearts to the gospel.
Later that afternoon my interpreter called to say a woman had begged him to send me to visit her sick husband in the local hospital. "They have eight children, and they are desperate for our prayer," my interpreter said. I told him I would go visit the man with our crusade team before the night meeting.
When we entered the hospital room, we found this man lying in bed, unable to walk without the help of his walker. We laid hands on him and commanded him to walk in Jesus' name. He got out of bed and walked out of the room without his walker, instantly healed by the power of God. A friend who was in the room with him was only able to walk with the help of a cane. When he saw his friend walking, he wanted us to pray for him also. As we did, God also healed this man.
There was a great joy in that hospital, but we couldn't stay and celebrate. We had to leave for the meeting. The man who was healed decided to follow us to the meeting, and testify about the miracle he had just received.The basketball arena was jammed with people About 9,000 people were packed like sardines into this place which was built to seat 4,000 people. And atmosphere of expectancy and faith was there. People had come to hear the gospel because of the miracles that had been taking place on previous nights.
Before I spoke, the man who was healed at the hospital told people what God had done for him. His testimony got people's attention. Then I preached on the resurrection of Jesus. People were listening intently, and I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of faith covered me with confidence that God would explode the stronghold of Satan with the power of His Holy Spirit. I felt great boldness in proclaiming this powerful truth of God's Word: "Jesus is alive. He is risen from the dead. Muhammad is dead, but Jesus is alive." I shouted the same words many times with vibrations of faith echoing throughout my entire being.
When you know that God is going to show up, you grow bold and fear does not have the slightest chance. Miracles flow like a river in this kind of atmosphere. When the altar call was given, every person in the arena wanted to get saved. Many Turkish Muslims in that crowd rsponsed to the call of salvation.
After I led the audience in the sinner's prayer, I stood on the platform praying in the language of the Spirit. I waited upon the Holy Spirit to take over the meeting and manifest what I had just preached. I waited in faith that God would fulfill His promise to me earlier in my hotel room: "Tonight I will manifest the power of My resurrection."
Suddenly, as I prayed and rebuked the spirits of sickness and infirmity, there was a cry from the crowd. It was the rejoicing voice of a mother whose young deaf and mute boy had started to hear and talk. Then another deaf and mute person was instantly healed, and the power of God began to explode.
The crowd rejoiced and praised God as one miracle after another took place in that arena. There were healings of all sorts of diseases and sicknesses. Many whowere deaf, mute, blind, crippled and lame were being healed everywhere. It was like popcorn popping in the pan as the heat increases. The line of testimonies grew longer and longer. To God be the glory!
Many Muslims who were seeing these miracles taking place broke through the line of ushers we had 20 feet from the platform. They massed around the platform for us to lay our hands on them and pray from them. It was a chaos of no ordinary style. They had witnessed the resurrection power of God at work in the arena that night, and they craved a touch of that power in their own lives. God manifested His miraculous power in an awesome way that night.