This is some great training from our friends at EvanTell which will help you to share the good news with Jewish friends from a historical, cultural, and scriptural perspective. Following these guidelines will help you to effectively proclaim the gospel to a Jewish person with sensitivity and tact.
Give a Positive Presentation.
The message should be spoken in love. The Jewish people have been hurt and have a wall against Christianity and the Gospel. Many don’t think God exists, or if they do believe in God they think that He has left them behind. We will present sin and the need for each individual to be saved, but an overall spirit and tone of grace must guide everything we do and say.
You cannot argue anyone into faith in Christ.
It is often too easy to fall into a combative state of mind when someone pushes back on our words. However, it is vital to understand that salvation is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit—it is a Spiritual, not intellectual process. Although we should be engaging and mindfully equipped, no one is saved by you winning an argument.
There is no ‘magic’ method to ensure success.
As much as we may want it, there is no formula, no sure-fire trick or word to ensure success. Again—that is ultimately God’s responsibility anyway.
Respect the boundaries you may sense from your friend or acquaintance.
Back to the point about arguing—just use common sense and be aware of how your friend is responding. If you feel the need to back off—then back-off. Let the Holy Spirit direct the flow of the conversation. Listen as you pray and pray as you listen!
Relationships are our responsibility, the results are up to God.
Contact is our job, conversion is God’s job. Are you seeing a consistent message here? You can relax and enjoy the conversation because the results are not yours to worry about! Let that be a burdened lifted off your shoulders and you’ll proceed with confidence! We are not converting Jewish people to Christianity.
Relating to Jewish / Israeli Culture
Present the gospel in a way that brings out its inherently Jewish roots:
We are not converting people to Christianity – we are sharing with them about Yeshua, the Messiah who came first for the Jewish people and then for the gentiles. By accepting Yeshua they are enhancing their Jewishness, not leaving it.
Belief in God and his promises is crucial to the Jewish faith, and it was to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Don’t be afraid to address this boldly in the context of where they stand.
It is culturally appropriate to answer a question with a question within reason.
Be culturally and personally sensitive —don’t be glib or cliché’.What you should take from this point is that we don’t have to accept the premise of a question. We can steer the direction of the conversation to keep with our goal of a positive presentation. For example you could ask something like: “Tell me about the Jesus you don’t believe in” or, “What have you been told about Christianity?”
Sometimes, the best we can accomplish during an initial conversation is to inspire a Jewish person to seek after God and His truth.
While our goal is to share the Good News, sometimes all we can do is to plant a seed and let God tend it. If we are hitting a huge wall, we should not be afraid to let go of the conversation. It can allow an opening for future follow-up and also give time to speak with another person who may be more open today. Don’t push so hard that you push them away, while at the same time, don’t give up so quickly that you forget the heavy-lifting is done by the Holy Spirit.
Note: Cautions when sharing in Israel
- Child Evangelism is Illegal
In Israel it is illegal for adults to witness to children or give a child any evangelistic materials. It is OK for Adults to witness to another adult with a child present as long as they address the adult and not the child. Children, however, can share with other children.
- Benevolence vs. Bribery Issues
Giving money or gifts to those you are witnessing to is seen as a form of bribery for conversion. This is also illegal in Israel. Buying someone a coffee or feeding the homeless can be done, but even then it should be approached with sensitivity and caution about perceived motives.
Honesty and transparency is vital-no need to hide the fact you’re a Christian. Avoid conflict – don’t argue; some debate is ok, but arguing can lead down a problematic slope.
Personal testimonies are a powerful tool—no one can argue about your story!
Have you practiced sharing your story of how you came to believe in Yeshua? It’s a good idea to have a short and simple explanation of how and why you believe ready to use.
Discuss The Human Condition.
It is essential to understand the bad news in order to understand why the good news is so good! Talk about the reality and consequences of our sinful nature.
Use the Hebrew Scriptures.
Even if the person is secular they will still respect it – even if they don’t admit to it.
Develop an Opportunity for the Gospel.
This might be a conversation that leads to a question such as “what, in your opinion, is mankind’s greatest problem?”
Reveal Yeshua/ Jesus as the Messiah last.
Jesus’ name will end the conversation if used prematurely. If you begin with Messianic Prophecy a likely result will be defensiveness. Many Jewish people do not believe in a personal Messiah.
Questioning their “Jewishness”
Most Jewish people value their Jewish Heritage. They will shut down if they even suspect you’re asking them to surrender it. The question is “what type of Jew are you?-Are you one who is enjoying a personal relationship with the God of your fathers?” (Gen. 28:13, Ex. 3:6a)
Presentation of the Gospel Message
As an instructor teaching others to present the gospel using the following method, become very familiar with it yourself and you will consistently and confidently be able to teach it to others. Practice on your closest friends first and develop techniques to make it your own. Then, encourage your students to do the same.
1. There is One True God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
- Jeremiah 31:3
- God loves us unconditionally
- God is Holy-Perfect and Righteous in every way
2. No person is holy, perfect or righteous in any way
- Sin is Universal: Every person is sinful. Living a sinless life is impossible.
1 Kings 8:46a, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 51:5
- Sin alienates us all from God.
- Isaiah 59:1-2, Ezekiel 18:20, Isaiah 64:6-7
- How do we deal with our sinful nature and propensity to sin?
3. The need for Substitutionary Atonement.
- The entire sacrificial system of Hebrew Scripture teaches the need for blood atonement.
- Leviticus 4:16-5:19, Leviticus 17:11
4. Three Problems:
- The sacrificial system was provisional and temporary.
Animals are not of equal value as people; created in the image of God. Sacrifices had to be repeated throughout the year; from year to year.
- The Temple was destroyed.
No longer able to offer blood sacrifice.
God never revoked His requirement that we atone for sin.
How can God require something that we are no longer able to offer?
- Man is incapable of atoning for his own sin.
The Rabbis’ call for repentance, prayer, and good deeds was never a sufficient substitute.
The Hebrew Sacrificial System looked forward to its’ ultimate fulfillment in Messiah. Isaiah 53:4-7.
If our relationship to God is dependent upon the Messiah, how will we know who He is?
5. The Only Solution – The Atonement of Messiah
What is He to accomplish?
- Isaiah 53:4-11
Make atonement for iniquity (sin)
Bring everlasting righteousness
Make an end of sin
- Psalm 16:10
Rise from the dead – proving He is Messiah and His sacrifice is accepted!
Who is Messiah?
- First and foremost He has to be Jewish!
- Micah 5:2
Born in Bethlehem
From the line of David
- God with us
- Daniel 9:26
Crucified prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (70CE)
How should we respond?
- Genesis 15:6
1. Can a Jew believe in Yeshua and still be Jewish?
If Yeshua is the Promised One, the Redeemer of Israel, and the Messiah, how could faith in Him make one less Jewish?!
2. Final atonement for sin is not achieved, it is received
3. God’s provision in Messiah, Yeshua accomplished: Spiritual healing, restoration with God, eternal life
Once your Jewish friend trusts in Jesus as their Messiah, you could have them say this prayer or one like it:
“God of our fathers, I confess that I have sinned. Forgive me as I place my trust in Yeshua alone for the atonement of my sins.
Thank you for giving me new life and eternal life through Him.
Help me with the power of your Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to you.
In the name of Yeshua, the Messiah, amen.”
Betrayed; Stan Telchin
Only Jesus of Nazareth Can be Israel’s King Messiah; John P. McTernan
To The Jew First; Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, Ed.
Who Moved the Stone; Lee Strobel
©2014 EvanTell, Inc. www.evantell.org
Using the right words
We at One For Israel would also like to add to these great pointers, that the words we use really matters more than you might think. Church history is full of attacks upon the Jewish people, and so we avoid saying the word “church” and instead use the word “congregation”. It might seem insignificant to you, but believe us, it makes a big difference!
Here are a few other exchanges we would strongly recommend:
Instead of “Jesus”, say his Hebrew name, “Yeshua”
Instead of “Christ”, a Greek word, use the Hebrew word, “Messiah”
Instead of “Christian”, say “follower of Yeshua” or “believer”
Instead of “Old Testament”, say “The Hebrew Scriptures”
And as we mentioned, use “congregation” instead of “church”
It can be hard to remember all this sometimes, but if you do remember, it will help your friend realise that this good news IS for them, and not just for gentiles 🙂
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