HOW TO WITNESS TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Many of the Jewish people are agnostics, and the majority know very little about the Old Testament. Very few own a Bible.
Be very prayerful, and ask for the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Most of our Hebrew Christians were at first approached by Gentile believers before becoming completed Jews.
1. BREAK THE BARRIERS. MAKE FRIENDS. Show yourself interested in what interests them — Judaism, Israel, Jewish culture, their hobbies, outlook on life, etc. Do it with sincerity. If you try to be friends, and they refuse to hear about their Messiah, and it seems to be hopeless, do not discontinue that friendship. If you do, they will think that you were insincere, and you probably will have done more harm than good.
You may just want to tell a Jewish acquaintance about his or her Messiah without building up a friendship because of lack of time, of distance, or some other reason. This is good to sow the seed, or water the seed someone else has sown, so do it with dignity and humility. Be careful about pushing the Gospel on them. In our experience, some of them complain that Christians are too pushy.
If and when they accept Jesus as their Messiah, we would certainly want them to have a good understanding in the decision they are making, so it is better to go slowly and make sure they understand completely what the Gospel is all about.
2. IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO ASK QUESTIONS. Be a good listener. After your friendship has developed to the point where you can discuss vital matters, here are some helpful questions:
A. DO YOU HAVE HOPE BEYOND THIS LIFE? They will probably answer that they do not know. If this be the case, as in so many of our experiences, you might quote from the Old Testament and mention what the Jewish Bible says in Job 19:25-27, Psalms 23:6 and II Samuel 12:23.
B. DO YOU BELIEVE THE JEWISH BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD? If he answers “YES,” you can point out some of the Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Christ concerning His first coming for the purpose of redeeming us from our iniquities. Isaiah 53 is good to show them. Our pamphlet, HOW WOULD YOU RECOGNIZE THE MESSIAH?, will give you many
fulfilled prophecies concerning His first coming.
If he answers “NO,” ask how do they account for the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prophecies, Gen. 15:13 — 400 years — Ex. 12:41, Gen. 50:24, Joshua 4:1, Joshua 21:45, 1 Kings 20:42, 1 Kings 22:38, 1 Sam. 13:13/14, Jer. 25:9-11, 2 Kings 24:1-4, Jer. 25:12, Daniel 9:2, Ezra 1:1-6.
C. WHAT IT YOUR OPINION OF THE MESSIAH? Many modern Jewish people are looking for a Messianic age instead of Messiah as a person, so you might point out that the world is getting worse, both morally and spiritually.
Some may say that they are still looking for the Messiah. If this is the case, you may again point out that the prophecy regarding the first coming of the Messiah was fulfilled in Christ. Our pamphlet, HOW WOULD YOU RECOGNIZE THE MESSIAH, will give you a good scriptural background in this area. Daniel 9:26 tells us that He had to come before the temple was destroyed. This was accomplished by Titus and the Romans in 70 A.D.
D. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PROPHECY WHICH IS BEING FULFILLED IN ISRAEL TODAY? This they cannot deny. You might point out after you have discussed this that if the ancient prophets were so correct concerning Israel, then we should not overlook the prophecies concerning the Messiah.
E. DO YOU REALLY HAVE PEACE? Psalms 34:8 and Isaiah 26:3,4. When you are able to tactfully convince them that they have a need, as much as possible you should try to quote from the Scriptures. Our opinion doesn’t mean anything. It is what the Bible says that counts. It is our final authority, Prov. 30:5.
You may point out that man in his natural state walks independently of God. This is why Messiah came to die — that we might be reconciled unto God, that is, for those of us that recognize our lost condition, and receive Him as our substitute and Savior from our iniquities.
You could mention, to go along with this, how the blood of a perfect lamb kept death from entering the house of the Hebrews before they left Egypt, John 1:29. The Blood atonement – Lev. 17:11, Heb. 9:22 with Matthew 26:28 and Hebrews 13:20.
3. IF THEY WANT TO TALK, LET THEM, EVEN IF THEY DO MOST OF THE TALKING.
4. DO NOT ARGUE.
5. WITNESS PRIVATELY WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
6. MOST WILL SAY THAT THEY WILL NOT BE CONVERTED. Most Jewish people, whether they are practicing a branch of traditional Judaism or not, still consider conversion as the height of disgrace.
Tell them that conversion means turning from a life of sin or just plain walking independently of God to a life that is in fellowship with God. Ps. 51:13 and Isaiah 5:20 are good illustrations. Tell them that Gentiles must come the same way as the Jewish people to God.
7. IT IS SOMETIMES BEST UNTIL THE JEWISH PERSON HAS SOME KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CHRIST TO STAY AWAY FROM CERTAIN BIBLE WORDS. A few to stay away from are:
A. CONVERT or CONVERSION. If you need to explain this, tell them that a Jewish person becomes completed.
B. MISSIONARY, CHRISTIANITY, substitute to “believer” in its place.
C. SAVED, use “completed” for Jews.
D. JESUS CHRIST, use “Messiah”.
8. MANY JEWISH PEOPLE ARE VERY CHARITABLE AND BELIEVE IN WORKS. Prov. 14:12, Eccl. 7:20, Jer. 17:9, and Ps. 51:5 point out that we do respect them for their giving to charity and their goodness, but they need a spiritual birth like everyone else. John 3:1-8.
9. THEY WILL SAY, WE BELIEVE IN ONE GOD.” To the majority of them, He is unknown. Tell them that we believe in the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
10. MANY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE BLAME CHRISTIANS FOR THE ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST THEM DURING THEIR LONG CENTURIES OF EXILE. Point out that wearing a cross does not make a person a Christian. Explain the difference between their concept of a Christian and the Biblical concept of a Christian.
Here are some New Testament Scriptures for reference on this subject: Rom. 8:9, Heb. 12:14, I Cor. 13, and I John 1:5-6. Also 1 John 4:7-8.
11. EXCEPT IN VERY RARE CASES, DO NOT TRY INSTANT EVANGELISM ON JEWISH PEOPLE. They usually require small doses at a time.
12. MANY JEWISH PEOPLE ARE UNAWARE THAT ALL OUR FIRST BELIEVERS WERE JEWS, AND THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN BY JEWS, EXCEPT FOR LUKE AND ACTS. Many theologians believe Luke, who wrote both Luke and Acts, was a Gentile who converted to Judaism.
13. SOME JEWISH PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU THAT IN ISAIAH 7:14, THE HEBREW WORD “ALMAH” DOES NOT MEAN VIRGIN, BUT A WOMAN. This word, “Almah” is used seven times in the Old Testament and always means virgin.
14. IT IS ADVISABLE TO LOAN THEM A BOOK, RATHER THAN GIVE IT TO THEM. There is a better chance for them to read it if they know that it has to be returned. It will also give you an opportunity to continue the discussion later, and perhaps loan them another book. One exception to this rule is the Bible.
15. WE WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOU BECOME FULLY ACQUAINTED WITH OUR LITERATURE so that you will know what questions to ask or matters to discuss. When they are ready, give them only one or two pamphlets at a time. Ask them to please read and evaluate them for you. Unless specifically lead, it is better to use literature as a follow-up to a conversation, rather than the other way round. You could say, “Would you mind reading this and giving me a critique?”
16. ALWAYS CLOSE A DISCUSSION ON A FRIENDLY NOTE.
17. WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO AND ONLY WHEN THEY ARE READY, CHALLENGE THEM TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT. You might ask them, “How can a person be considered well educated without reading the best selling book of all time?”
18. THEY MAY SAY THAT JESUS WAS A GOOD MAN, BUT NOT THE SON OF GOD. You might ask if their knowledge about Him came from someone else or their own investigation. This is a good time to challenge them to read the New Testament and examine His claims for themselves.
19. THEY MAY ASK, “WHY DIDN’T JESUS BRING PEACE IF HE WAS THE MESSIAH?” Answer from the Scriptures. John 14:27, 16:33, Acts 10:36 and Romans 5:1.
20. A VERY TOUCHY SUBJECT WITH A JEWISH PERSON IS HELL. Some may ask if you think that they are going to Hell. If you answer a straight, “yes” or “That is what the Bible says,” you may have ended the conversation right there. Try to turn the question around. Ask them if they think they are going to Heaven. If they answer, “yes,” ask how or why they think that they will get there. That will be your chance to explain sin and salvation.
May the Lord bless you in your witness to His ancient people. Gen. 12:3, Psalm 122:6
THE JERUSALEM ROAD OF JEWISH EVANGELISM
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful.
Isaiah 64:6 Our righteousness are as filthy rags.
Isaiah 59:1-2 Your iniquities have caused separation between you and God.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Leviticus 17:11 The blood maketh an atonement for the soul.
Isaiah 53:1-2 The Messiah’s unusual character:
Isaiah 53:13-15 Two comings of the Messiah
Isaiah 53:3-12 The suffering Messiah
Daniel 9:26 The Messiah would be “cut-off.”
Psalms 16:10 The Messiah would be resurrected.
Psalm 2:12 Blessed are all who put their trust in Him.
Daniel 12:2 Mankind’s two possible eternal destinations.
Genesis 15:6 One’s belief in the Lord results in his/her righteousness.
(The above material was published by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., Bellmawr, N.J.)
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