"And thus, I make it my ambition to preach the Gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, 'Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.'"Romans 15:20-21
In October 2005, I was on a flight to Cairo, Egypt when one question changed my life. I was listening to Brother Andrew's audio book, Light Force. A book on the church caught in the crossfire of the Middle East. The question Brother Andrew asked was, "have you ever prayed for an Arab Christian? Have you ever prayed for a Palestinian Church?" If felt as though he was sitting with me face to face asking such hard questions.
I thought for a while, and I had to be honest and say, "No, I haven't ever prayed for an Arab Christian." Well, that changed quickly. Once I got to Cairo, my heart was immediately connected with the believers there. I have since made many more visits to Cairo and have had the opportunity to preach throughout all of the Middle East sharing the Word of God with our Arab brothers and sisters.
While on this trip, I saw Romans 15:21 happen before my very eyes. I had been invited to speak for an Evangelism Conference in Cairo, Egypt in September 2007. This event was to be broadcast live over all of Europe, North Africa and the entire Middle East through SAT-7. Millions of Muslims would hear the Gospel!
Minutes before I was going to preach, a young man in his 20's came up behind me and asked if I would lead him to Christ. He explained to me that he was a Muslim and his entire family was Muslim, but he wished to know more about Christ. Because it was only minutes before I was to speak, I asked him if he would stay and listen to the sermon and I would be glad to speak with him after the service. I will never forget his face as the Gospel call went out from that pulpit! Tears flowed with every Scripture! Oh how quick and powerful is God's Word!
That night, my sermon was from Luke 15 where Christ gives the parable of the lost sheep and how the Shepherd will search until the sheep is found. In my opening statement (as I knew many Muslims were there), I said, "Religion is man seeking for God, but Christianity is God seeking man! I carefully began to explain one Scripture after another of how Christ came to "seek and to save the lost" Luke 19:10, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 and 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." I then compared the Scriptures to John 10, especially verse 16, "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."
I gave the Gospel call to the best of my ability, but I knew the Holy Spirit was giving his effectual call! While all ears were hearing me, those who had "ears to hear" were hearing the Shepherd's call, maybe for the first time, because they were away from the foldbut the Shepherd was searching that night in Cairo, Egypt and guess whatHe found that Muslim boy! He found him and brought salvation to him! That night, according to Colossians 1:13, Christ "delivered" that Muslim boy from the "domain of darkness" and "transferred" him to the His "marvelous light!"
Many others were born again in that service, but one other stands out in my mind very clearly. After the invitation had concluded, I was in the courtyard of the church saying goodbye to the saints as I was leaving Egypt around midnight. An elderly man approached me. He grasped my hands and with hot tears streaming down his face, with very broken English he said, "All my life I have searched for Christ. Tonight, Christ found me!"
There are no sweeter words for a missionary than, "I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also" Luke 15:16. There are no sweeter words for the church planter than the promise of Christ, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. And certainly, there are no sweeter words for the Muslim than Romans 15:21, "Those who have never been told him will see, and those who have never heard will understand." Oh the joy of seeing Christ among Muslims!
"Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalms 126:5-6
Chad Roberts is the founder and senior pastor of Preaching Christ Church in Kingsport, TN. He has traveled to nearly 40 nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is a regular contributor to Common Ground Christian News. www.preachingchristchurch.com