Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How I Might Do Evangelism with a Jewish Man

This post is a comment in response to someone on another blog. I do not wish to edit it so to be in a new post format, so I am just cutting and pasting. There is great information in this post and I believe it will bless you to read. It really gives practical information on how to have evangelistic conversations with people who you associate with.

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With a Jewish man I might start things off something like this, "Jesus Christ was the promised Jewish Messiah who made the radical claim that anyone who believes in Him will immediately receive irrevocable eternal life".

If this strikes the Jewish man as an interesting and curious statement, a conversation will ensue, in which I will attempt to provide the man with sufficient information to answer his questions and replies with a view to seeing him become persuaded that he has eternal life through faith in Jesus.

The evangelism that GES proposes frees men and women up to discuss relevent things with people. If this Jewish man lives in the United States, he is most certainly aware that evangelical Christians believe that Jesus is God, died on a cross and rose again from the dead.

If I were talking to a Jew, he may very well ask me about the deity and humanity of Jesus. I would certainly entertain his questions and answer them to the best of my ability. But if such a one continued to express doubts or objections to this, I would say politely, "Let us for the time being put this issue on the back-burner. Can I show you from the Jewish Scriptures that the advent of Jesus Christ fulfills many prophecies?"

If a Christian has already given much evidence for the deity of Christ and one is being objectionable to it, many times that Christian will shut down. I will be happy to present the case for Jesus' deity to someone who has questions about it. And having done so, I give things for the Holy Spirit to use in working on the heart of the hearer. But I will not shut down.

As long as the listener is interested in continuing a conversation with me, I will point them to faith in Christ through His promise which guarantees eternal life to the believer. Being persuaded that Jesus is God is not the only psychological route that one can go by to become persuaded that Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny.

As I said, I would love to talk to the Jew about the Old Testament Scriptures. I would love to talk to the Jew about Jesus' compassion to the people, His teachings of love, His miracles, and the prophecies concerning His advent.

In evangelism, we have a targeted goal. We are seeking to bring someone to believe that they have eternal life simply by believing in Jesus for it. Jesus gives promises in the Gospel of John, which is the only book in the canon that has an evangelistic purpose, expressly and explicitely stated.

Jesus' promises in the gospel of John are not to be qualified by the assent to a myriad of doctrinal truths. If anyone, no matter who they are, or how they come to find the Biblical Jesus trustworthy, puts their faith in Him for their eternal well-being, they will not be let down by Jesus. Jesus' promises in the gospel of John are far too universal and sweeping to invalidate simple trust in Him alone for eternal life, even if misconceptions about Him are present.

Objections and denials of things pertaining to Jesus can surely preclude one from faith in Him for eternal life. If this Jew can put aside for the moment the discussion of Christ's deity, and Christ's voluntary consent to die, and look in a considerate way at the prophecies concerning Christ's advent in the Old Testament, His miracles, His teachings, His compassionate acts, His righteous and holy acts, and through consideration of these things, become persuaded that Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny through faith, why would anyone consider him unsaved?

As I have said. Objections to certain Christian doctrine can preclude one from faith in Christ, and the denial of Christ's deity and denial of Christ's voluntary death will probably be certain precluders of coming to faith in Christ for eternal life. But again, there could be a process involved. And answering well questions about other aspects of Jesus may soften the objections on other points enough to persuade one that Jesus, who was prophesied about in the Old Testament, worked miracles, wrought compassion, and displayed righteosness and holiness, guarantees one's eternal destiny through faith.

I know that when I came to faith, I had many questions and doubts concerning various aspects of Jesus and Christianity. But what was told to me in an evangelistic conversation I had with someone, was enough to persuade me that Christ indeed guaranteed my eternal well-being.

If someone does not agree with your checklist of doctrines, all is not lost! There are other routes that may be taken. And at the very least, other areas that show Jesus to be authorized, able, willing, and qualified to give eternal life can be plumbed to those who are the other party in our evangelistic conversations.

I don't need to wait for someone to assent to the big 5 before I can move on. Jesus Christ can be presented in a number of ways. The disciples were able to believe upon Him for eternal life without understanding that He was divine and without realizing that He came to die on the cross for their sins and to rise again from the dead. They heard His testimony and saw His miracles and believed in Him for eternal life. This was enough.

Once someone gets saved, and has eternal life, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who in time, through the spoken and written word, and the teaching of godly men and women, can clear up any misconceptions that the newly born again person may have.

Correct doctrine is essential to living the Christian life. If one never becomes apprised of it and appropriate its teachings in the execution of his Christian life, he will live a life of failure and face consequences in both time and eternity.

We can't put the cart before the horse. Eternal life comes first and then with the help of the Holy Spirit, leading into all truth.

Antonio

9 Comments:

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

That is a really excellent post.

September 14, 2007 11:03 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Thanks for your comments, Matt.

Antonio

September 14, 2007 5:46 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Myers said...

Antonio,

As always, another soteriological homerun. (I'm trying to sound smart by using big words).

Here is what I LOVE about this approach - you can meet the people where you are and allow the natural flow of the conversation, and the person's questions, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, to take you to pertinent passages which will help persuade the person you are talking to.

You really made a great point when you said, I would love to talk to the Jew about the Old Testament Scriptures. I would love to talk to the Jew about Jesus' compassion to the people, His teachings of love, His miracles, and the prophecies concerning His advent.


These would all be great things to talk the Jew about, and things he would want to know about, and you are taking him to the authority he recognizes - the OT!

With some of the other approaches that are out there, it would be very difficult to evangelize someone with the OT Scriptures.

September 14, 2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I appreciate this post. I do see where you are coming from with this. I remember our conversation about the man that you spoke to in the parking lot of Costco. I am glad there are people like you in the world who have a fervor for talking with others about the Lord and His wonderful gift. If you are persuaded that this is the way to go about it, then , at least you are out there doing this! I am glad for that. I will consider what you have said in the conversations that I get into with people about the Lord.

(I did have one thought about this Jewish man - how would a Jew think that anyone other than God could guarantee their eternity? Oh well, I just decided not to bring that up... ;~} )

September 16, 2007 6:31 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rose,

Steve Sensenig on your blog once said this, and I tought it was great:

A better way to ask it: Can you articulate from Scripture a defense of the notion that "only the 'divine son of God' can make a free offer of eternal life"?

I would argue that God chooses the means of salvation, and so an offer of eternal life can only come through the means that God appoints (and anoints).


Rose, God often mediates His deliverances through men whom He has appointed and annointed. See Moses, Joseph, Joshua, David, etc.

I have not talked to any Jews who believe that the Christ was to be divine, in the sense of equal with the Father. They believe that he is to be a man, annointed and empowered by God to mediate His salvation.

In the discourse of the gospel of John chps 7-8 we see the multitudes of Jews wondering about Jesus. They discussed where He was born and other things about Him. Read the discourse yourself. They discussed Him being the Christ and at the same time understanded Him only to be a man.

Here is a telling verse:

And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?"

These Jews believed on Jesus as the Christ and were therefore born again (1 John 5:1). Yet they only knew Him as a man. They were persuaded from His signs that He is the Christ, and as the Christ could guarantee their eternal destiny.

Christ means "annointed". Jesus has been annointed by God, given the authority to dispense eternal life to all who believe in Him.

John 5:26-27
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
NKJV

John 5:21-22
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
NKJV

This power of Christ's was granted to Him by the Father.

If a Jew believes that Christ is authorized by God to guarantee eternal life and resurrection to all who believe in Him for it, and therefore entrusts his eternal destiny to Christ, would you consider this Jew lost?

Antonio

September 16, 2007 7:24 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Excellent points Antonio!!!
:)alvin
The only Jew I ever remember witnessing to was a little old lady in the care center. I think she was close to being 100 yrs old. I remember singing to her! I don't think she liked my singing very much, because she would keep asking me if I was through yet. But I'd tell her I only had three more verses to go,,,LOL

September 16, 2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

No, I would not, Antonio, if I ever met such a person. Absolutely not.

September 17, 2007 4:38 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

"Once someone gets saved, and has eternal life, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who in time, through the spoken and written word, and the teaching of godly men and women, can clear up any misconceptions that the newly born again person may have."

I like this statement, bro. Antonio. God Bless, my brother.

September 17, 2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger Free Grace Guy said...

Antonio,

Hmmmm...you have challenged me to rethink my position on the neccesity of understanding Christ's divinity to be saved. I posted an article I wrote in college on my blog about Jesus being the God of resurrection and life. When you get a few minutes would you mind giving it a quick read and let me know where you think it may have weak points...Thanks.

Tom <><

September 19, 2007 5:23 PM  

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