17:22–31 the apostle Paul built on areas of "common ground" as he
prepared his listeners for the good news of the gospel. Even
though he was addressing Gentiles whose beliefs were erroneous, he
didn’t rebuke them for having a doctrine of devils— "The things
which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to
God" (1 Corinthians 10:20). Neither did he present the great truth
that Jesus of Nazareth was Almighty God manifest in human form.
This may have initially offended his hearers and closed the door
to the particular knowledge he wanted to convey. Instead, he built
on what they already knew. He first established that there is a
Creator who made all things. He then exposed their sin of
transgression of the First and Second of the Ten Commandments.
Then he preached future punishment for sin.
three main areas of common ground upon which Christians may stand
with Muslims. First, that there is one God—the Creator of all
things. The second area is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was a
prophet of God. The Bible makes this clear: "And He shall send
Jesus Christ,…For Moses truly said to the fathers, A prophet shall
the Lord your God raise up to you of your brethren, like to me;
him shall you hear in all things whatsoever he shall say to you"
(Acts 3:20–22). The Qur’an (Koran)
says: "Behold! The angel said ‘O Mary! Allah
giveth you Glad Tidings of a word from Him. His name will
be (Christ Jesus) the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and
the hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah’" (Surah
3:45). In Surah 19:19, the angel said
to Mary, "I am only a messenger of thy Lord to announce to you a
gift of a holy son." Surah 3:55 says,
"Allah said: ‘O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to
Myself." It is because of these and
other references to Jesus in the Qur’an
that a Muslim will not object when you establish that Jesus was a
prophet from God.
This brings us
to the third area of common ground. Muslims also respect Moses as
a prophet of God. Therefore, there should be little contention
when Christians speak of God (as Creator), Jesus the prophet, and
the Law of the prophet Moses. Most Muslims do have some knowledge
of their sinfulness, but few see sin in its true light. It is
therefore essential to take them through the spiritual nature of
the Ten Commandments. While it is true that the Law of Moses
begins with, "I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods
before Me," it may be unwise to tell a
Muslim, at that point, that Allah is a false god. Such talk may
close the door before you are able to speak to his conscience. It
is wise rather to present the Law in a similar order in which
Jesus gave it in Luke 18:20. He addressed the man’s sins of the
flesh. He spoke directly to sins that have to do with his fellow
your hearer if he has ever told a lie. When (if) he admits that he
has, ask him what that makes him. Don’t call him a liar. Instead,
gently press him to tell you what someone is called who has lied.
Try to get him to say that he is a "liar." Then ask him if he has
ever stolen something, even if it’s small. If he has, ask what
that makes him (a thief). Then quote from the Prophet Jesus:
"Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed
adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:27). Ask if he
has ever looked at a woman with lust. If he is reasonable, he will
admit that he has sinned in that area. Then gently tell him that,
by his own admission, he is a "lying, thieving
adulterer-at-heart." Say, "If God judges you by the Law of Moses
on Judgment Day, will you be innocent or guilty?"
At this point,
he will more than likely say that he will be innocent, because he
confesses his sins to God. However, the
Qur’an says: "Every soul that has sinned, if it possessed
all that is on earth, would fain give it in ransom" (Surah
10:54). In other words, if he possessed the whole world and
offered it to God as a sacrifice for his sins, it wouldn’t be
enough to provide atonement for his sins. Imagine that a criminal
is facing a 50,000 fine. He is penniless, so he sincerely tells
the judge that he is sorry for a crime and vows never to do it
again. The judge won’t let him go on the basis of his sorrow, or
his vow never to commit the crime again. Of course, he should be
sorry for what he has done, and of course, he shouldn’t break the
law again. The judge will, however, let him go if someone else
pays the fine for him.
Now tell him
that Moses gave instructions to Israel to shed the blood of a
spotless lamb to provide a temporary atonement for their sin; and
that Jesus was the Lamb that God provided to make atonement for
the sins of the world. Through faith in Jesus, he can have
atonement with God. All his sin can be washed away—once and for
all. God can grant him the gift of everlasting life through faith
in Jesus Christ on the basis of His death and resurrection.
of Jesus of Nazareth was that He claimed He had power on earth to
forgive sins (Matthew 9:2–6). No other prophet of any of the great
religions made this claim. Only Jesus can provide peace with God.
This is why He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no
man comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
sinners to repent and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, or they
will perish. To try to justify himself, your listener may say
something like, "The Bible has changed. It has been altered. There
are many different versions, but the Koran has never changed."
Explain to him that there are many different versions, printed in
different languages and in modern English, to help people
understand the Bible, but the content of the Scriptures remains
the same. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that God has preserved the
Tell him that
the 100% accurate prophecies of Matthew 24, Luke 21, and 2 Timothy
3 prove that this is the Book of the Creator. Your task is to
present the truth of the gospel. It is God who makes it come alive
(1 Corinthians 3:6,7). It is God who
brings conviction of sin (John 16:7,8).
It is God who reveals who Jesus is (Matthew 16:16,17).
All God requires is your faithful presentation of the truth
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