Which is More Important?

Like many people, I get my best ideas when I am doing something totally different than working, such as when I am in the shower or riding my bicycle.

The other day, as I was riding along on my bike and praying, I started to think about which would be more important for us as Believers to do: is it more important to not sin or is it more important to repent of our sin?

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The answer seems obvious- just don’t sin. If we don’t sin, then we have nothing to repent of and nothing to be concerned about because not sinning is the pathway to salvation.

I know- you are saying that we are saved by faith, not works, but the truth is if we lived a sinless life, we would be demonstrating perfect faith, wouldn’t we? In fact, if we lived a sinless life, as Yeshua did, we could be certain of salvation.

Of course, it then struck me that there is a significant fly in the ointment with regard to living a sinless life, which is this:  no one can live a sinless life.

TIME OUT

There are just too many places where the Bible tells us that we all sin, so I am not going to quote chapter and verse. If you need to verify that we all sin, do the research. It will be a good experience for you.

TIME IN

I often say “We can never be sinless, but we can always sin less“, and that is how I try to live out my life, but even that is hard to do. So what is left to us? Repentance, and trying harder.

The obvious answer is not the right answer because even though living a sinless life is what we want to do, it is not possible, so the most important thing to do is to repent. And I mean REAL repentance, not just saying”

 

 

and going on with our life as if we did nothing wrong, thinking a simple apology is enough.

It isn’t. God sees and knows the heart and minds of everyone, so if you are not really sorry for having sinned against him- and every sin is first and foremost a sin against God- he will know. He won’t accept insincerity and he can’t be fooled.

And it gets worse: many, many people have their religious leaders telling them that if they confess their sins they can be forgiven. Well, that is biblically accurate, but the truth is that we have to really feel bad about sinning, not just confess we did it and continue to sin. Unrepentant repentance may get you absolved by a Priest or given the “OK” by your Pastor, but it won’t hold water with the Big Guy upstairs. As for mainstream Jews, meaning Jews who haven’t accepted Yeshua yet, repentance is necessary but they also have to accept Yeshua as their Messiah because, without him, there is no means to be forgiven since the Jerusalem temple is gone, and that was the only place (according to the Torah) where a sin sacrifice could be accepted.

Without Yeshua’s substitutionary sacrifice, no one (Jew or Gentile) can be forgiven of their sin.

Therefore, the answer to my original question is this: it is more important to be truly repentant than it is to not sin because we cannot avoid sinning but we can always be repentant. And when we really feel bad about something, it motivates us to better discipline ourselves to not do that something, again. True- it doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s no excuse to stop trying.

That old cop-out “I am what I am” may be OK for Popeye, but not for those who want to please God.

Thank you for being here and please remember to subscribe. Also, I am going to have to wind down my campaign to send Bibles and Bible study materials to poor Ugandans who follow this ministry, so please send something to help me to help them at the link below:

Ugandan Ministry Appeal

Please help- I don’t usually send money through the Internet, but this is a legit cause, and I barely have 1/3 of what I need. I will end up paying for the copies of my books they want out of my own pocket, so please help with money for Messianic Bibles and prayer shawls, and especially just to help defray the exorbitant cost of mailing these items.

Remember that God blesses those who bless others.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

There is a Fine Line Between Scare Tactics and Sugar-Coating Salvation

Like it or not, those of us who are to make disciples and be a light in the darkness have to realize we are Salespeople- selling the most important product that anyone could ever have: salvation and eternal joy.

It’s remarkable when you think of the benefits of this product, yet the vast majority of people either don’t want it or are willing to buy a “knock-off” (i.e., a religion that rejects God’s word) and they are happy with it. As Hosea said:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

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The other day on Facebook a friend posted a beautiful message, all about God’s presence in our lives and how he protects us, loves us and wants the best for us. It talked of his ability to provide and his desire to save us. I replied that we need to also remember that he is our Judge and Jury, as well as Executioner and that these promises are not all that we have to look forward to. For those people who accept God and Messiah, there will be trouble and tribulation throughout their life. Following God has many advantages, but the very best of them we will not receive in this lifetime.

In my past, I was a professional salesman (for about 15 years) and I can tell you that to have a good sale, meaning one that will not cancel on you, you must be truthful and not give wrong expectations. You can’t make it sound like accepting God and Messiah will solve all your problems, nor should you use negative selling or scare tactics; these styles will never produce a “good” sale. Preaching “fire and brimstone” scare tactics might convince some people to accept Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah. In the same way, preaching that God loves you just as you are, you can be saved simply by asking for it and once saved you will receive all sorts of blessings will create unrealistic expectations, and that seed will be like the seed the weeds choked them or the birds came and ate (Matthew 13.)

To follow God faithfully we must also love him- you can’t scare people into loving someone; likewise, you will set them up for disappointment if you make salvation sound like heaven on earth. To put rose-colored glasses on unsuspecting and biblically ignorant people, convincing them that once they accept Yeshua they will be saved and blessed, is to send them into battle with a gun that has no bullets.

Following God is hard work- Yeshua didn’t say follow me and have it easy, he said we must carry our execution stake on our shoulders in order to follow him (Mark 8:34.) To obey God and follow Messiah means you might have to give up much: friends, family, sometimes your job, maybe even your life!

For those to whom we are preaching salvation, we must let them know, right at the start, that this is not going to be easy. That they will, over time, have to sacrifice things that they may not want to. We keep them interested in reminding them of the afterlife rewards, as well as the many blessings they can receive while alive. We shouldn’t sugar-coat what they are deciding to do, but we shouldn’t scare them to the point where they lose bowel control, either.

That is the thin line we must walk when we talk to non-believers about God and Messiah. We should be an example of the proper way to act towards God and each other, and we must also tell them that we are still human, frail and weak, and it is expected that we won’t always act in the godliest way; for example, the words I will probably be using when it takes me three strokes to get out of the stinking sand trap! Failing to be godly now and then doesn’t mean we aren’t trying, and this is one of the best things about God: he knows our heart, he forgives our failures and he strengthens us when we ask him to help us be better.

I always try to slide some hint or suggestion in a conversation that will let me see if there is a positive reaction from someone regarding God and the Bible. I might interject a biblical reference or repeat a proverb in a conversation and say I read it in a really good book. If they ask which book, I can then say it is in the Bible, and ask them if they have ever read it? There can be any number of ways to “test the waters” when conversing with someone to see if they are open to hearing about God without tackling them to the ground, sitting on them and asking, “Do you believe in God?”

I can tell you, absolutely, that approach will not work.

My suggestion is that you think of ways you are comfortable with when approaching people about God during a conversation that is subtle and non-threatening to them. Here are some examples of what I do:

  • I work a biblical story or proverb into the conversation and start it off with, “I read this in a book”, and if they ask what book, I tell them. Then I ask if they ever read the Bible?
  • I turn the conversation towards the current social unrest, and ask if they believe there are more problems coming in the future? Carefully I work in that the Bible has stated these sorts of things will happen and ask them if they believe the Bible or if they believe in God?
  • If someone asks advice, I give them a proverb or story from the Bible to justify my advice. I’ll then ask if they knew the Bible covers many inter-personal relationship issues.

These are just some ways I turn the conversation towards God, and I never, ever push myself on people. If they are interested, I go with the flow but slowly, and carefully. It is like walking on thin ice- if I put too much pressure on, I will fall through.

When someone talks only about how good God is and all the wonderful things he does for us, I feel bad for them and the people they are talking to because they are setting themselves up for disappointment; how often have you heard people reject God because he didn’t meet their expectations? That is what preaching only the “happy-happy” side of salvation does- it gets a lot of people to join in, but it also sets them up for disappointment and eventually doesn’t help them. On the other hand, preaching fire and brimstone only scares people, and that will also fail to help them.

There are many blessings awaiting those who love the Lord and accept Yeshua as their Messiah, both now and throughout eternity, but they come at a price. We like to say “salvation is a free gift from God”, but it really isn’t.  Oh yes- you can have it for the asking, but to keep it you will have to give up much.

We must never push people away from God, and it is just as important that we must never leave them with the wrong expectations. The saddest thing about missionary work is that when we fail to make the right impression, it isn’t we who suffer- it is those we are trying to help. If we leave a bad taste in their mouth regarding God or Messiah, we may end up causing them to lose any chance of salvation, or (at least) we might make it that much harder for the next person.

It’s a thin line we walk when trying to help people come to God.

 

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Thank you for your interest and please don’t hesitate to leave comments or suggestions (just be nice.)

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Too Much Fluff

I like the idea that God is forgiving, as well as compassionate, fair and just. I also really like the fact that Yeshua gave His life so that I can have a chance at eternal joy in the presence of the Lord of Lords. When I was told that God and Yeshua love me for who I am, as I am, and they want me to be with them, forever, well, that was the best news I have ever received. 

All of the above is wonderful, and I thank the Lord, every day, for what He has done for me in that He sent His son to die for me. Not just for me, alone, but for everyone….but still and all, even if I was the only sinner left in the world, I believe wholeheartedly that Yeshua would have done what He did, just…for…me.

That being said, I find it difficult to deal with the people who teach and preach exclusively about how much Jesus loves you.

I was told the other day about a preacher with a very large congregation, who said that when he gets calls from other religious leaders asking how he gets so many people to come, he said, “Just preach Jesus.”  What that tells me is this: he is reaching the multitudes of people who need to know that there is hope for them, but that may be all he offers. If that is the case, then he is bringing them into the fold, but sending them nowhere. The love of Jesus is something that we all need to be made aware of, and accept, but that is just the start. Hearing the word is not living the word, and preaching about how loved you are is not going to give people what they need when they go back into the world. 

Strengthening your faith is a process. Yeshua told us, in the parable about the sower of the seed (Matthew 13), that the word will be accepted by many, but then they are distracted and drawn away by the enemy or simply by the cares and Tsouris (troubles) of the world. These people need more than just hearing the word- they need careful gardening, they need empowerment, and they need to be told the truth about what it will mean to be a follower of Yeshua, because the truth is necessary to steel oneself against what will come after accepting Messiah. 

My ministry is a teaching ministry: the quote from Hosea at the footer of the Home page is exactly what I am trying to avoid. So I give the truth as I understand it from my reading, my experience and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I also look to others who have gifts, asking them for feedback in case my “flesh” gets in the way (which I am sure happens now and then.) So, the truth is not JUST that we are loved, and it is not JUST that we are saved, but it is that we CONSTANTLY have to fight against the enemy and ourselves to maintain the proper faithful attitude of obedience and righteousness. That is the battle, that is what is coming, and to tell people only “fluff” (as I call it) about being loved and accepted, well…you are sending them into a pack of wolves with lambs blood spread all over their bodies. They need the armor of God (Ephesians 6) and they also need lessons in how to use it. When David went to fight Goliath, he didn’t use Saul’s armor because he wasn’t used to it- smart kid. He knew what he was doing, and his faith was already strong enough to guard him against anything that came better than any old suit of armor. But new Believers don’t have that faith, and they don’t have the armor, and they don’t know how to fight. 

Telling them how much they are loved is not going to get them past the problems they will face. We need to get them strengthened, we need to teach them not just what armor they have available, but how to wear it and how to use it. 

If you are hearing someone tell you about Jesus and all they talk about is how loved you are, just as you are and how you don’t need to change, recognize that this is a way to attract you (and others) to the church but it isn’t enough to save your soul. It is not much better than that commercial for business receipt management software. You know the one, right? They show a disheveled, morose man sitting at a desk overflowing with receipts and papers but then, suddenly after he buys the receipt management software, he is clean-shaven, wearing a tie, and the desk is spotless. WOW!- where do I get that?  It’s so foolish- someone who is that disorganized would never be able to use that software because they need to install the software, read how to use it, create the separate business accounts, organize the existing receipts (which is the problem they haven’t been able to overcome), feed them through the scanner, save them where they need to be saved, and once they have done all that (which, again, they have never been able to do), THEN they can easily manage the paperwork. But wait!- not being disciplined enough to manage the paperwork was the problem in the first place, wasn’t it?  The software isn’t the cure- the resolution is to teach this person how to be an organized and self-disciplined manager.  Telling them how helpful the software is is a waste. 

That’s what it is like when we talk only about the love of Christ- it is good, it is right and it is what saves us….but it is not enough. We need to teach what will happen going forward, we need to train how to exercise our faith and we need to learn how to use the armor of God. In my opinion, that is the most important thing any religious leader can do. 

 

Get out of the way

We are usually all about ourselves. There are many more people in the world, at least in my experience, that would prefer to talk about their life and their ideas than listen to what others have to say.

I include myself in the talkers group.

When God speaks to Moses, and instructs him what to tell the people, it is all about Himself, too, but not the same as with us. We want people to acknowledge us, we want to feel liked, respected and wanted. We like the “ego rush” we get when we are authorized to tell someone what to do. But with God it’s not the same. He doesn’t need our approval, He is no respecter of persons, He doesn’t need to feel important, and He tells us that He is God, over and over, not to please Himself but to remind us of who He is.

We are created a little bit above the angels- we are the sons and daughters of the Almighty, but we are not Him! We are about ourselves for selfish reasons, and God is about Himself for selfless reasons- He reminds us of who He is so we will listen; He reminds us of who He is so we will pay attention; He reminds us of who He is so we can live!

When we talk about what we want, it is to please ourselves; when God tells us what He wants, it is to save our souls!

I don’t have enough room to quote everywhere God tells us that He is the Lord, and you don’t have enough time to read it all. The phrase “I am the Lord” and similar words are used throughout the Tanakh, mostly in the Torah (especially throughout Leviticus) and throughout the writings of the Prophets (Nevi’im).  In Leviticus it seems to follow almost every commandment and regulation, which makes sense- the Lord is telling us what to do and reinforcing just who it is telling us.

It is easier to make friends by listening than by talking. When I was in sales, the hardest thing for me to do was to listen, but a really good salesperson knows that when you listen to the customer they will tell you how to close them. You can’t really talk them into a sale, at least, not one that will “stick”. You need to listen in order to know what to say that will close them. The same thing is true when talking to people about God and trying to minister to them- we need to listen to people and tell all about God, not about ourselves.

Of course, you can talk about how in your life obeying God and accepting His Messiah has helped you, but when talking about how God can help them, you need to get out of the way. You need to be about God, how the peace you feel comes from His Ruach, about how the hope you have is from His promises, which historically have never failed to come about. And you need to ask the person about their needs.

Ask what is important to them, ask if they feel there is more to life, ask if they care about others, ask if they are certain of their beliefs. Ask, ask, ask…that is the only way you will learn about them.

And if you ask, they will tell. When they tell, you will know, and when you know (what is important to them) you will be able to show them how God can make what they really want to happen in their life come about.

If you want to bring people to God, get out of the way. When we talk all about what God has done for us the people we are talking to don’t care a rats’ butt about what God has done for us- but they do care about what God can do for them.  Tell them briefly how God has done something wonderful in your life (and I mean, briefly), then ask them if this is something they would like to have.

Ministry is sales, and what we “sell”  is salvation. God is the manufacturer, Yeshua is the delivery system, and we are the field reps. To get people to buy they have to want what the product can give them.

I was a very successful salesman when I was in that business because I wore a rubber band around my wrist. It was suggested to me by an excellent teacher- he said every time I feel like saying something I think is important I should pull on the rubber band and let it go. Ouch! The pain was to condition me to listen and not talk. Nowadays I don’t sell for a living, and I have upgraded the rubber band to a gold bracelet, but it is still on my wrist- I never take it off because it is a reminder to shut up and listen.

It is all about God and them, not about God and you. When you talk about God, keep focused on what they want and how God can make it happen.

 

 

Just because we don’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there

Ever see the wind? Do you see sound waves when listening to the ocean? When you get a sunburn, did you see the UV rays all around you?

There are many things we don’t see, yet they exist. And how do we know they exist? By their effect on our world.

We don’t see the wind, but we see flags moving in the breeze, we see trees bend over, we see waves in the pond and we see smoke traveling sideways. And we feel it.

We see the red skin and feel the pain when we are in the sun too long, we get a ringing in our ears when we go to a concert or have the radio too loud, or when a fire truck goes by blaring its siren.

There are so many things we don’t see that are there. We easily accept their existence because we see their effect on our physical world. Sometimes it is immediate, sometimes it takes a while to appear, but because we see the effect it has on our physical world we trust that it is real.

If it is so easy for us to accept the existence of UV light, of wind, of sounds we are incapable of hearing, of mesons, and so many other things that we have never seen, why is it so impossible for us to accept that God exists and that He is always there?

I am sure most people reading this already accept that God exists, but do you really, really believe that He is always there? Always watching and aware?  I do. Just because I don’t see His work in my life, at that time of my life, it doesn’t mean He isn’t present in my life.

God’s time is not like our time: we live in a lineal timeline, flat, one-way only, from this moment to the next one. We can’t go backwards, and we can’t go any farther into our future than right this second. God, on the other hand, is unrestricted by our timeline. He is in the ancient past at the same moment He exists in the distant future, all the time being right here with us, now. That’s why He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow: it is all the same time to Him.

When Joseph was in the dungeon for 12 years did he think God had abandoned him? When Daniel was praying for answers, did he think God was ignoring him? When David cried out his heart to the Lord through his psalms, while being chased for years by Saul, did he think that God was missing in his life? Did Yeshua think God was ignoring Him when He prayed to “let this cup pass by me?” When Shaul (Paul) was in jail and chained, did he think that he was singing to the wall?

When you are going through tsouris, are you praying to God and expecting relief right away? There’s nothing wrong with expecting God to answer prayers- He’s good that way. But we need to be doing much more than just faithfully expecting the answer: we need to be looking for it, too! The answer to prayer we receive is (I believe) more often not what we expect but it is always exactly what we need. God knows much better than we do what we need because He can see what will occur from what is happening to us right now. We can only hope and try to make things happen the way we want them to, but God can make things happen the way He wants them to. Every time.

That is why we can’t really know what He will do when we ask something of Him. Yeshua told us in the Gospels, when we ask in His name we will receive, and we need to be expecting to receive. But what we receive may not be what we asked for, yet it will be the answer to what our prayers were about.

That sounds a little convoluted, but it is true. At least, it has been for me. When I have thought that maybe God was too busy to deal with me, looking back I see that I was too busy dealing with myself to see what God was doing. And sometimes, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, it just wasn’t time for the answer to my prayer to be realized. God’s timing is perfect because, well, He controls time. Duh! When you make the rules you always win.

Just because we don’t see God at work doesn’t mean He isn’t doing anything. You know, sometimes just waiting is the best thing to do. Doing nothing is, in many ways, doing something.

In my high school was a guy named Mike Santoro (Mike, if you ever read this, how ‘ya doing?) Mike was the best wrestler we had, state-level champion. He taught me that my body could be maneuvered into positions that you couldn’t imagine. When Mike wrestled, he often just sat on the opponent- doing nothing. The other guy was face down on the mat, and Mike is sitting on that guys’ butt, just waiting. The ref would whistle and tell him to stop stalling, but Mike wasn’t stalling- he was prowling. He was stalking the prey, and the moment the other guy moved- POW!! Like a snake striking, Mike was intertwined in this poor guys limbs, and the next thing you knew the ref was on his belly smacking the mat three times.

That’s how God works. He waits for the right moment, and when He moves it is immediate and devastating. Just because we don’t see God doing anything doesn’t mean He isn’t doing something. And  when we don’t see God at all, it doesn’t mean He isn’t there, or that He doesn’t exist, and never means that He doesn’t care.

People who are agnostic, atheistic or just sheep believing what they are told to believe have doubts about God, and refuse to see His effect on their world. The bible tells us of all that God has done, and I am constantly disappointed in how people believe a priori what Huffington Post or Wikipedia says,  but doubt the bible. The people who wrote the bible didn’t do so to make themselves rich, or to appease some special interest group, or to make themselves look to be heroic. They were often ridiculed, stoned and killed for their writings. As a point in fact, we are currently celebrating Hanukkah, and the Maccabees are the heros, but when you read their story you find out that just about every single one of them was assassinated later. Not a very happy ending.

We need to stop looking for the Son of Man to come down with power and glory from the skies. It’ll happen when it happens. In the meantime, just look for the effect that God has on the physical world- that is what we can use to prove His existence when we are ministering to the world.

As for all of us, when we go through tsouris and feel that God is ignoring or forgetting about us, and we don’t see His presence in our lives, please remember that just because we don’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Is It Me or Him?

I was going to write about Baptism for babies because I find it ridiculous that anyone thinks God will send an infant to hell because they didn’t have a baptism, and because the idea that someone else can make statements of faith for another person, baby or not, is also not something I believe will fly with the Lord.

To get my facts straight I looked up baptism and saw a site that is about clarifying Christian thought. I figured I’d find a lot of good fodder there, but when I read it the statements were all in keeping with what I think.

Needless to say, I was surprised and disappointed, all at the same time. Here I was, ready to stand and defend God’s word and His love, show how baptism was a Jewish thing from the start (it’s called a Tevilah or a Mikvah) and rail against the anti-Semitic Church!

Now, here I am, stuck with nothing but my own preconceived (or, more correctly, ill-conceived) ideas that I can’t use because they are wrong.

That’s when it hit me- who am I really defending?  Am I doing what is right in God’s eyes or just spouting my own personal thoughts, in the name of the Lord?

OUCH! That’s a tough thing to figure: am I talking on behalf of God or on behalf of Steve? Am I feeling a righteous anger at the misuse of God’s word or am I really just exercising my influence to expound on my personal “peeves” and, as such, misusing God’s word myself?

I pray each day when I ‘blog’ that I am saying only what is right in His eyes, making points that lead people to salvation and understanding as God wants, and doing His work. Yet today I am finding myself wondering if that is what I was doing when I decided to bash baptism of babies.

BTW…for the record, baptism is important and it is a Jewish thing. The Tevilah is an outward expression of an inner change. It is a symbol of cleansing oneself, and is an important activity/ritual to go through when accepting Yeshua as your Messiah. It should be done when one has reached the age of understanding and can make one’s own decisions; as such, it cannot be done by proxy.

Back to my confession of pridefulness, which is exactly the right word to use if I am saying things I believe in order to teach people about God that may or may not be what God wants taught. Yeshua tells us that those who teach are held doubly responsible for what they do, and how influential we are and how important it is to do what is right. I don’t want to be one of the blind leading the blind, or one of those who sin and teach others to sin. Yeshua says that person will be least in the Kingdom of God. Teaching is an important responsibility. The Prophets were teachers, in a way, reminding the people of what God said they should do. And how often did God warn the prophets that if they did not tell the people what they need to do then the blood of the people would be on the Prophets own head?

I believe, and it has been confirmed often to me, that God has given me a gift of teaching, but that doesn’t mean I can’t screw things up by my pridefulness and ego. And, trust me on this, I have plenty of both. The only way I control it is by understanding that I have it and owning up to it, so I don’t forget to always be looking for it to rear it’s ugly head. It is sin crouching at my door.

So what lesson is there today from all this soul-searching? The lesson is to remember that old Greek aphorism: “Know Thyself.” When we do things in God’s name, make sure it is for His glory and in accordance with His word and what He stands for. When positive it is from God, preach it; when in doubt, don’t.  You may be doubting something that is from God, but better to not take the chance you are misusing His word or His gift. If God has a word He wants you to preach, He will make sure you get it out. Maybe the word is good but the expression is not, so just wait: if it is from God, I guarantee it will gnaw at you until you finally figure out how it should be taught.

I ask anyone reading these ministry blogs of mine, or my book, to reply and let me know if you think I am off topic, ever. I appreciate your input and ask for guidance. I always pray to God for guidance, and often He answers through the interaction of another person. So, nu… don’t be shy.

Thank you, Abba, for your gifts and your Word which You have provided, and please lead me with your Ruach to do and say only that which pleases You and gives You all the glory. Halleluyah.

How to Witness to Jewish People

When witnessing to Jewish people we must remember to be sensitive to the 2,000 years of anti-Semitic prejudice that has infiltrated the “church” teachings.

As a Jewish man, I can tell you that I have seen anti-Semitism, shrouded in the “Christian” Bible and also clearly demonstrated by those that have been told how the Christians are not subject to the “Law”, saved by the Blood and, in extreme cases, now the new Israel and God’s chosen people because since the Jews rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jews (this is called Replacement Theology).

I don’t have the time to go into how absurd and anti-biblical that idealism is, and will discuss it some time in the future. It is a very serious sin, against God (essentially it calls Him a liar) and against His chosen people.

You might ask, if it is so hard to witness to Jews, why should we? Well, how about because Yeshua said you should. Remember the last words in the Gospels, i.e., the “Great Commission”?  Yeshua didn’t say go make disciples out of people who already believe, or out of only the Goyim (literally, the Nations), but go to the Jews.  Yeshua Himself told the Syrian woman that it wasn’t right to give the children’s food to their dogs (no offence, Syria), and Shaul (Paul) said that the Good News was to the Jew first, then the Gentile. It wasn’t until later that salvation was made available to the Gentiles, too.

That’s why you need to remember that you will not impress any Jewish person by quoting the New Covenant writings. Why? It’s simple- Jews are taught that the New Covenant is a different religion and they don’t believe anything in it. It caused thousands of years of death and persecution. If I tried to ask you to become a Nazi and quoted Mein Kampf, would it hold sway over you?  That may seem outrageous to compare Hitler and Jesus, but to a Jewish person, the Jesus Christ of the Western World isn’t far from that. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Martin Luther’s teachings, Nazi uniforms had the words “Gott mit uns” (God is with us) on their belt buckles.  Yeah, I think that it’s not too hard to see why Jews don’t trust anything in the New Covenant writings.

When I was a salesman, selling high priced items in the home on a one-call close (buy now or never), I learned you can’t tell people that their ideas or beliefs are wrong. You also can’t change their minds because people believe (maybe) 50% of what you say, but they believe 100% of what they say.

So, the way to get people to change their minds is to make them change it, themselves. How? By asking questions. Make them see that they do not have the information they need to make a proper decision.

For instance, if a Jewish person says they don’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, I will ask them, “Why?”  Usually the answer is, “Because” (I did a drash on this recently- you should be able to find it under the Jews and Jesus category.)  Most Jews reject Yeshua simply because they have been told to. And by people they trust and respect: their parents, their Rabbi, their friends. It’s tough to overcome that.

After you make them realize they don’t really have a reason, the next step is to qualify why you believe, and use ONLY the Tanakh references as your justification.

DO NOT TRY TO SELL A JEW ON JESUS USING THE NEW COVENANT. It ain’t gonna work. And, if you can’t identify at least a couple of Messianic references in the Tanakh, you better brush up on your knowledge. You might want to ask yourself why you believe! If you believe only because of what you have been told, and if you can’t cite messianic prophecy from the Tanakh and show how it came true, you aren’t ready to minister to the outside world.  Study up, get to know your reasons for accepting Yeshua as your Messiah. That is what you need to tell Jewish people; in fact, that is the best witness to anyone.

No, wait- the best witness is to live as Yeshua wants us to live. To love God and to love each other.

Another lesson I learned in sales that you need in ministry is that if  you don’t have an absolutely firm belief in your “product”, if you don’t “own” the product, and not just physically but emotionally, then you won’t be successful.

“Whoa, Steven- what’s all this talk about ‘selling Jesus’? This isn’t a sale, it’s salvation!”

Get real- it’s a sale!

If you want to minister to people you need to sell Jesus. And, if you don’t like that idea, then you should consider another way of serving God. Ministering to the masses is tough work. I have a ton of respect for people that go into the darkness (in other words, the World) to save souls. It is the ultimate sale, and a “commission” that doesn’t have a commission. Although it is rewarding to save a soul, your reward will not be here on Earth but in Heaven. And it will be great.

Look at it another way- refusing to witness to Jews is like saying, “Let the Jews die unsaved.” You think God appreciates that? Is that what Yeshua would want?

You can expect a lot of rejection from Jews. After all, to a Jewish person believing in Jesus is like turning your back on God, your people and 5,000 years of  history. Some of the objections you will hear will be:

* Jesus could not have been the Messiah because there wasn’t peace after his death and we don’t have heaven on Earth

* I like being Jewish and don’t want to convert to Christianity (most Jews never heard of Messianic Judaism)

* Jesus was just a good teacher or prophet

* Christians have always killed and persecuted Jews- why should I believe you want to help me?

* Constantine’s effect on Christianity (Council of Nicene) solidified a gentile Christianity and replaced Jewish holidays and traditions with rebranded pagan ceremonies

* Anti-Semitic teachings of the Gentile leaders of the early church

– Crusaders murdered many Jews on their way to Jerusalem (by now renamed by Rome as Palestine)

– Stories like: Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzo at Passover

* Forced to wear distinctive clothing, pushed into ghettos, kept out of many occupations

* Blamed for the Black Death plague

* During the 15th century the Pogroms (Poland/Russia) were responsible for the death of thousands (or more) Jews

And there’s more- much more. Today I think it is much harder for a Jewish person to accept their own Messiah than it is for a Believer to try to witness to that person.

Finally, you must be very sensitive to the words and names you use. Do not deny the anti-Semitic past, but say it is time to move forward, to atone for what was done by telling the truth and getting back to the “Jewishness” of the Gospels.

Don’t be cocky. Remember Shaul warned Gentile  Believers that if God was willing to cut off the natural branch, how much more will He be willing to cut off a transplanted branch? Believers aren’t any better than non-Believers, and Christians aren’t any better than Jews. Yeshua said to be first you must be a slave to others. Keep that in mind when you minister to anyone.

Always relate to people as people with courtesy, dignity and friendliness. Be natural and spontaneous, not derisive or argumentative, and always depend on the Ruach HaKodesh for your witnessing. As Yeshua told His disciples, do not worry about what you will say because the Ruach will give you what you will need. If you let the Ruach guide you, then it is really God witnessing to the people, not you. And His word never returns void.

If we are to make people jealous for the Messiah (Romans 11:11), the best witness is not what we say but how we live our lives and act towards others, even in a brief encounter. Avoid offensive terminology; instead of the word ‘conversion” use ‘turning from sin’, or T’Shuvah. Instead of ‘you Jews”, say ‘the Jewish people’, instead of ‘Old Testament”, say ‘Hebrew scriptures’, ‘Tanakh’, or ‘Torah”. And never, NEVER refer to a saved Jew as a “Completed Jew”. That is insulting and derisive. I like to call myself a “Born-anew Jew.”

And above all, instead of ‘Jesus Christ’, say ‘Yeshua’, ‘Mashiach’, or ‘Messiah’.

If you practice this, keep up on your Messianic prophecies, learn how to answer objections with leading questions, and act with compassion for what it is like to be Jewish, you will be more successful than you can imagine. It will take time: Jewish resistance to the B’rit Chadasha has been built up over millennia. It is based in prejudice, hate, fear, ignorance, and suffering.  It is a very thick wall to penetrate. But it can be penetrated- I am living proof of that.

If you want to see my witness, go here: http://www.jacobshope.com/pages/video3.php

Now! Get out there, save souls, and may God be with you.

Baruch ha Shem!!