Sermon Illustrations


In an article entitled, "A Movement to Jesus Within Islam" this story is told: There was a Muslim holy man, a Sufi master, named Isaac. He lived in a remote region of a Muslim country, where he had a large following. Several thousand people looked to him for spiritual guidance, for blessing their crops, for prayers for health, and most of all for intercession for their eternal salvation.

Master Isaac, however, was worried about his own salvation, and it troubled him that his thousands of followers believed that he himself could save them. So he began to pray in earnest that God would show him the true path to salvation.

One night in 2002, while Isaac was praying to be shown the way of salvation, he says that Jesus appeared to him in radiant white clothing and told him to travel to such-and-such a town and also showed the way to a certain house in that town.

There he was to consult a holy man whose father was named so-and-so and whose grandfather was so-and-so. When he heard the names Isaac realized that this man’s grandfather had been his very own Sufi master, and this excited him.

Although it was very early in the morning and there was a terrible rain storm outside, Isaac walked to the bus station, boarded an early bus, & traveled some 40 miles to the town.

It was about six in the morning when Isaac reached the place that Jesus had shown him in the vision. When he knocked on the door, he was surprised to see a man wearing ordinary clothes rather than the robes of a Sufi master. It was Jacob, who was the leader of a group of Messianic Muslims.

When Isaac asked Jacob about his father and his grandfather, he realized that Jacob was the very man that Jesus had told him to consult. So he told Jacob about the vision and asked him to reveal the way of salvation.

For the next few hours, citing passages from both the Qur’an and the Bible, Jacob told Isaac the story of God creating the world, about Adam and Eve, about Cain and Abel, the descent of the world into evil, the flood and the rescue of Noah and his family.

He told him about God calling Abraham and the promises that God made to him, about the descendants of Abraham, about David, and about the true son of David, the true heir of Abraham’s promises, Jesus, who was the true Messiah.

He said that it was the will of God that Jesus the Messiah should suffer death on the cross to save mankind, and that God raised Him back to life. God exalted Jesus to sit at His own right hand as Lord and Savior of the world.

Jacob also told him that in 1969 the Lord Jesus had appeared to him as well and had showed him the way of salvation. He read in the Gospel where Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.." Jesus, he said, was Himself the true path to salvation.

After hearing all this, Master Isaac said he believed in Jesus and was ready to serve Him and wanted to be baptized right then and there. Jacob, however, counseled him to wait.

He said, “God has made you a great leader, and He wants all of your followers to know that Jesus the Messiah, and He alone, is the way of salvation. Go home and tell your wives and children that Jesus is Lord and Savior, then tell your closest disciples.” Isaac agreed, and they set a date for Jacob to come and share the good news.

About two weeks later, at the appointed time, Jacob arrived to find a gathering of more than 200 of Isaac’s leading disciples. The Sufi master began by telling them the story of his prayer and the vision he was given by God.

He described traveling during a storm to get to Jacob’s house to ask him the secret of salvation. He then asked Jacob to tell them the rest.

So Jacob told the story again, starting with the Qur’an & then moving to the Bible. He told the story of creation, the fall, and the descendants of Adam down to Jesus the Messiah. He then called on them to put their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. All of the leaders agreed, but they said they must first share this news with their wives and children.

A few weeks later, Master Isaac sent word to Jacob to come back. Jacob arrived to find that the Sufi master and 250 of his leading disciples were ready to be baptized. So Jacob baptized Isaac and his wives and sons. Then he told Isaac’s wives to baptize their daughters.

He then instructed Isaac to baptize the 250 senior leaders of his movement, and to send them home to baptize their own wives and children, and to share the word with others and to baptize those who believed.

On that day several thousand people were baptized into the Kingdom of God. Thus began a "...movement to Christ" within a Muslim community.

A few years later Master Isaac died, but in spite of slander, threats and persecution, the movement continues on under the care of his sons. They are confident that since it was Jesus Himself who directed them to Jacob, that He will also guide and protect them and through them bless the Muslim community to which they belong.

(Adapted from the article: “A Movement to Jesus Within Islam” by Rick Brown in the July-August 2008 “Mission Frontiers” magazine. From a sermon by Melvin Newland, God is at Work Today!, 10/24/2009)

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