At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, as Yeshua was lifted up to heaven, he told his disciples to go and make disciples of everyone.
This is known to many as “The Great Commission”, and Yeshua was, essentially, telling his talmudim (students, or in this case, disciples) that they should begin missionary work in order to grow the ministry that Yeshua started.
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It is a shame that the ministry of Yeshua eventually became perverted and has mutated into modern Christianity, which has nothing at all to do with what Yeshua taught, but that’s a different message.
The issue I want to talk with you about today is when we are trying to spread the Good News of the Messiah to people (especially to Jews) and unquestionably run into those who refuse to accept what we say as true, when do we stop trying to convince them?
When people refuse to listen to you, that’s OK- if everyone became a Believer, who would Yeshua have to fight against in the End Days, right?
Many times people who are trying to spread the gospel will find it hard to convince some who argue, often vehemently, against Yeshua being the Messiah or that there even is a God.
So what do we do when we run into a brick wall? How do we convince someone they are wrong and we are right? How do we get the truth out to those who refuse to listen?
The answer is: we don’t, we can’t, and we need to know when to stop.
While he was still alive Yeshua sent his disciples out into the world to preach and told them to be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16).
But even before that bit of advice, he told them when they need to stop. He said (in Matthew 10:14) when any town they are in refuses to accept what they say, to leave that place and shake the dust off their sandals as a warning to those people.
We learn from Yeshua that we cannot force people to accept Yeshua; as for me, when someone doesn’t want to hear what I have to say about Yeshua, God or the Bible, I am more than happy to leave them alone.
God gave us all Free Will to make our own decisions about how we will live, which includes what we do, what we say, and what we believe. Faith is not something we come to because of proving, scientifically, that God exists and that Yeshua is the Messiah. Truth be told, proof is the antithesis of faith because faith MUST be a choice based on belief and not on irrefutable evidence!
People who chose not to have faith in either God or Yeshua as the Messiah have the right to make that choice, and we are not to force or coerce them into changing their minds.
You may ask if we cannot provide irrefutable evidence, which for Believers is the Bible, then how do we fulfill the challenge of making disciples?
We do it by being examples of what God wants us to be, and as we obey God’s commandments we will be blessed (Deuteronomy 28), which will be evident to others.
We read how the people that lived around Abraham recognized God was with him by the number of blessings he received. We also see this with Isaac, when Abimelech made a treaty with him (Genesis 26:28). And when we read of Joseph, we are told that he prospered, even though he was a slave and (later) a prisoner because people recognized that God was with him.
When we are obedient we are “with” God, God will be with us, and that will be evident to people. That is, for me, the greatest missionary work we can perform- to be an example.
Now, back to what to do when we run into a brick wall.
When someone argues against you, the first thing to do is to ask them questions that they cannot answer, which are specifically designed to use what they say to show them their statements make no sense. Doing this takes more than just a good knowledge of the Bible: you need to know the objections people generally give you (most objections are the same) and already have questions prepared that show them the “holes” in their logic.
You need to ask questions and not give answers because in a discussion the one who is asking questions is the one controlling the discussion.
The questions must be in a logical order to make them realize, on their own, that what they are saying doesn’t make sense, and the way to do that is to have them hear themselves not know the answers- which they should know- if what they are saying is correct.
I know what I just said sounds like a bunch of double-talk, and I could give you many examples of what I mean, but I won’t because whatever ministry you have, it has to be your ministry. I am sorry, but the way I minister to people cannot be the way you do, and vice-versa.
Remember that Yeshua told his talmudim, which goes for us, too, that when they need to say something to trust the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) to give them what they need to say. I recommend that as the best way to go, but there’s nothing wrong with having prepared questions and answers, either.
We should trust in God, but that doesn’t mean leaving it entirely up to him.
Here is how you know when to stop: if you find yourself getting frustrated, that is pride trying to take over, and your signal that it is time for you to stop.
Or, when the person you are talking to begins to get frustrated and starts to attack you, verbally (hopefully, that’s as far as the attack goes), that is another signal it is time for you to stop.
We should do whatever we can to help people know the truth, but we need to know when it is time to shake the dust off our sandals, and that time is when either side of the discussion goes from passionate to frustrated.
Leaving someone in a state of frustrated anger because you tried to ram the truth down their throat not only damages your attempt to teach them but makes it exponentially harder for the next person God sends to them.
Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know. If you haven’t already subscribed, please do so on both my website and YouTube channel (they are different lists), and while on my website check out my books.
And remember that I always welcome your comments.
That’s it for today so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!