WITNESS TO YOUR FRIENDS
GO TO LEARN
Most Christians would like to be able to witness to their Jewish friends, but really are not sure how to do so. You may know someone Jewish you would like to talk to, but do not know where to start. That is why I have written this book. It can be a valuable resource for sharing your faith with Jewish people and will present a way you can open a conversation without getting the door slammed in your face. While you will not find all the answers in these pages, you will find much help in presenting YeshuaHaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) to your Jewish friends.
We have titled this volume,Go to Learn because you must know what a person believes before you can tell what you believe. The most important part of the whole process is the “GO”. If you do not go, the process cannot begin.
Going to learn is not going to “Tell”. Going to learn is not presenting Christ immediately. Going to learn is not reciting the “Roman Road” verses and expecting that the person will be saved on the spot. Although I have seen Jewish people come to the Messiah the first time I spoke to them, it is not the norm. It is not impossible for them to be saved immediately, and the Lord can do all things, but experience has shown it to be unlikely.
We must be aware that most Jewish people have been trained from childhood to reject Christ. They may believe that anyone who is a Gentile is also a Christian.
This being true, it is often thought that Christians were responsible for the terrible crimes that have been committed against the Jewish people. Therefore, the message we bear may not be heard because of the mistrust that is felt. This is why we suggest a different approach as you go to your Jewish friend to give him a witness.
The First Contact
Some have asked, “How do I begin my conversation with a Jewish person? How do I bring up the subject of Messiah?” Well, I always answer, “Go to learn!” If you go to your Jewish friend with the plan that you are going to ask him what he believes and discover where he is spiritually, instead of going to tell him what you believe, then you will have a better visit.
Perhaps you have just met a Jewish person somewhere and you feel led to speak to him or her about the Lord. What could you say to him that would not close the door to your message? You would certainly not say, “You know that if you reject the Lord you will die and go to hell.” Not unless you want the door slammed in your face or a stiff punch in the nose! You might sometimes approach a Gentile that way, but never a Jewish person.
An Unknown Person
If you are going door to door, look on the inside of the doorpost on the right side. If you are in a Jewish area, you will usually see a small box called a mezuzah. It is about the size of your index finger and has been put there by the Jewish owner in obedience to the Scriptures. Inside the box is this Scripture – “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart…and thou shall write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
When the person comes to the door you might say, after introducing yourself, “I have been studying about the Jewish faith, and have always wanted to know what this means,” pointing to the mezuzah. He will be glad to tell you what he knows and you will begin to learn where he is in a spiritual sense. If he answers, “I have no idea,” you will know he is probably not religious.
Just continue to ask questions about his beliefs without any reference to what you believe. You will get the chance soon enough. Use tact, courtesy, and patience, and rely upon the Holy Spirit for wisdom. If your friend prefers not to enter into discussion about the things of God, do not be disappointed, and above all, do not give up on him. Perhaps there will be a better opportunity at a future time. If a Jewish holiday is near, ask him to tell you about what he does on the holiday.
Ask him if he believes in the coming of Messiah. Does he believe the Scriptures are the Word of God? Does he even believe in God? Ask him to tell you what he believes. You are going to learn. He may even ask you to tell him what you believe about a certain matter. Resist the urge to tell him about your faith, unless it appears that he sincerely wants to know, and if he asks you to tell him.
Work at making friends. Make a friend by showing interest in him and what he believes. You will discover that people love to talk about themselves and will usually take the time to do so. If you read widely enough, you can learn to be conversant in matters of interest to the Jewish people and their cause. Then, as the Lord opens the doors, you can speak of Messiah.
Leave the Door Open
During your initial meeting, tell your friend that you have something that you would like to give him to read. Perhaps you can offer to him a copy of the Prophecy Edition of the New Covenant available through Jewish End-Time Ministries, Inc. (Covenant is the same word as Testament, but it does not sound as “Gentile” to your Jewish friend). Perhaps you have a piece of literature you wish to leave with him. You may have the Bible and a tract with you, but try asking him if you can come back at a later date and give it to him. This will keep the door open for you to have a second friendly visit, at which time you can learn even more about what he believes.
You may be asking, “What if he dies before I come back?” Although this may be true, I believe that as long as his heart is open to the matter you probably will have another chance to talk to him. Just be sensitive to him and how the Lord is working in his life. If you sense that you are not getting anywhere with your friend, do not ruin it for the next person who may try to share with him about the Lord.
Do not think that you ought to give it all to him right now in case you can’t come back. My pastor once told me that there are two ways to kill a fly: Use an atomic bomb or use a fly swatter. As you witness to your Jewish friend, do not drop the bomb because you may kill all the chances you might have for the future.
Avoid Certain Words
It is not what we don’t say that can hurt our witness, but what we do say and how we say it. Because of the great persecution of the Jewish people over the years, many Jewish people do not want to have any association with Christians, whom they believe were responsible. Therefore, it is wise to choose words in conversation which relate to the Jewish people.
1. Avoid the use of New Testament titles of Christ. Some Jews think of the name of “Jesus Christ” as a swear word. Often they do not realize that Jesus was a Jew and that He had a great love for His people, wanting them to be reconciled to God. Instead, use some of His other titles, such as Messiah, Redeemer, King of Israel, Son of David, or Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus). Why? So that you can impress your Jewish friend that the Saviour was a Jew.
2. Avoid using “Testament” and, instead, use the word “Covenant.” You may call the Old Testament the “Jewish Scriptures,” the “Bible,” or the “Tenach.”
3. Avoid the words, “missionary” or “missions.” Many Jewish people have a misconception of what a missionary is, and their opinion is biased. If you are asked, “Are you a missionary?” it would be best to respond with, “Tell me what you think a missionary is, and I will tell you whether I am one or not.”
WITNESSING TO YOUR JEWISH FRIENDS
To Be Effective, A Christian Should Attempt To Think As A Jew Thinks
The task of winning the Jew to his Messiah has been a problem that has confused believers for almost twenty centuries. Unlike other people, the Jews have resisted most efforts to evangelize them, and since the days of the early church only a small number of Jewish people have been reached, as compared to the great number of Gentiles who have professed Christ. However, as we reach the end time, a greater number of Jewish people are coming to the Lord.
In my travels in several foreign countries and a large number of the churches here in America, I have discovered that it is not uncommon for people to say that they do not know how to share the Christian faith with their Jewish friends!
My object in this book is not to make you into a Hebrew scholar, but to familiarize you with the proper way, if there is one, to witness to your Jewish neighbors and co-workers. Methods can be helpful, but they do not work on every person, so you must use much prayer and wisdom in your approach to Jewish evangelism.
Occasionally you will see Hebrew words with which we want you to be familiar with. Our desire is to have you to begin thinking as a Jewish person does. Start now, and imagine that you are a child of Abraham. You have an important message to give to your people. See them as Jesus saw them, as lost sheep. Our Lord worked to win them to Himself. He wept over them.
But remember that Jesus has returned to the Father and you are His “ambassador.” You are His witness. You must redeem the time, for the season of service is almost over, and the time will come when no man can work.
“Hello, I’m (give your name), and we are visiting the Jewish people in this area. We are not taking donations or soliciting for anything; we would just like a few minutes of your time. We love and appreciate the Jewish people and feel that we owe a great debt to them for the wonderful gifts of the Bible and the Messiah. We know that you are still waiting for Him to come the first time and I really am interested in knowing what you think about this.”
In this scenario, you have just entered a store and spoken to a man whom you know to be Jewish. How will he react? What will he say? Will he allow you to continue? Will he try to throw you out of his store? It all depends upon what you say and just how open to the Lord he is. But you must continue and try to reach him with the gospel. There is a key to each Jewish heart, and hopefully the Lord will help us to find what that key is.
Thinking As He Does
Remember that the Jewish person does not think as you do. As a Jew, you probably would be thinking, (1) You have not been trained to believe in Jesus! (2) You think that all Gentiles are Christians! (3) You cling to the traditions of the rabbis! (4) You would have to pay a big price for departing from your faith! (5) You have a deep-seated prejudice against the teachings of Christianity and the Messiahship of Jesus.
Now, if all of these seem like objections that cannot be overcome, this is not true. Our God has a lasting love for these people, and we must remember that He alone does the saving. Recall that nothing is impossible with God. He is a God of miracles, a God of wonders. He can do what we cannot do.
Why Keep Working?
The Jew has given us the Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our gratitude for these unspeakable gifts should compel us to seek to reach them. The Bible tells us that after her salvation, Israel is to be a great blessing. But they cannot call upon Him of Whom they have not heard, nor can they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard. (Romans10:14)
There are lessons why we should attempt to win the Jew to the Messiah. One of these is because we are commanded to take the good news of Messiah to all people. (Matthew 28:18-20) We are told, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. God ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Another passage which gives us our command to go is found in Ezekiel 33:7-9. It says, “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
To The Jew First
We must also witness to the Jewish people because according to Romans 1:16, the gospel is “to the Jew first.”
God’s love for His people Israel is demonstrated throughout the Bible. As His children, we should want to be like Him. We should love whom He loves.
All believers owe a great debt to the Jewish people, a debt of love. We see this in Romans Chapter 11. Our faith came to us through the people of Israel, and the Scriptures were written by Jewish authors under the inspiration of God (See 2 Timothy 3:16)
The Lord promises a blessing to those who bless Israel. Genesis 12:3 says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” There is no better way to be a blessing than to share with the Jewish people eternal life through Jesus the Messiah.
There are many admonitions from the Word of God that deal with our responsibility to reach the Jewish people. The Apostle Paul, himself a Jew, said that he was a debtor to the Jew. If this great preacher and writer of most of the New Testament felt that he must reach the Jew, then we too must share in this Biblical approach to these special people. It is a vital part of God’s plan for evangelism.
Paul went so far as to say in Romans chapter 11, that if it were possible, he would even be willing to give up his own salvation and be accursed from Christ in order to the Jew saved. Are we willing to tell them of the great love of God?