I’m sure that everyone is eager to hear about the fourth chapter of “To the Jew First”, so, here it is!
We covered the personal testimony in Chapter 3, so Chapter 4 seeks to illuminate the message. There is always a message in testimony, and that message is most effective when it is based on scripture. We should not, however, be too dry and there should be a hook at the beginning to draw in our listeners. It’s funny to listen to Tevye, in the musical “The Fiddler on the Roof”, start every wise quip with the phrase “The Good Book says…”, but for our purposes, we should be more interesting than that. We should always consider how truly amazing our salvation is, and therefore, we should be awe-inspiring ourselves. For instance Campus Crusade for Christ published a booklet called “The four Spiritual Laws”. In this booklet the first law is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” This simple little passage has all kinds of intrigue behind it. What plan, and why does God love me? Starting with something that simple is a sure fire way to keep your listeners interested enough to listen to some scripture that can be life-changing.
In my opinion, the scripture is the most important part. The real living word of God is pretty tough to beat, so, it should take center stage. The most important part of picking a scripture is to make it personal. Don’t can your Bible and use the same one for every situation. God’s word is so diverse and has so many relevant passages (all of them to be exact) that it won’t be too hard to think of one that works with the situation at hand. Make sure that you have had a good experience with the scripture and that you find it inspiring. For instance, a woman at my church came to Christ while reading a King James version of the Bible and she came to the book of John. John 1:30 changed her life when she felt the excitement of the man who wandered the desert as he proclaimed “This is He of whom I said”. She was drawn in by the wondrous annunciation. For me personally, I was enamored by David and the story of his redemption. I knew that if an adulterous, murderer motivated by greed and lust could be “a man after God’s own heart” that I could be too! Remember to keep your options open. I would recommend study of The Word constantly in order to “stay in shape”.
Chapter 4 continues to give us a reason to evangelize. Triestman uses an example of a time when out at the ocean with his three sons aged 6, 4 and 3. They were all using a Styrofoam raft and, while not paying attention, Triestman recalls going too far out into the ocean where he could not stand. He was frightened and told his sons that he was in over his head and that they needed to aim the raft to shore and kick for all their worth to get back safely. His oldest understood the gravity of the situation and his middle child became more serious when his older brother did, but the youngest did not grasp the urgency and continued to play around. The youngest is like an unsaved Jew. They do not grasp how terrible the prospect of death without salvation is. Many Jews quip jokingly in response to the phrase “Jesus Saves” by replying “Moses invests”. They do not realize the horror of hell.
It is important then, that they know the bad news, not just the good. Genesis 6:5 says “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This is a major bummer because many people see themselves as good at heart. Not so, in the Garden of Eden something terrible happened to that nature of man, and thus, we are fallen creations. We try to do good, but to no avail. Isaiah 64:6 says “But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Another major bummer. As I discussed in the posts on the new perspective on Paul, Judaism was not strictly works based, but, they did put a lot of pride and spent a lot of time being “good people”. Jews will not take to this news easily, so don’t bear down on them too hard.
The condition of man is separate from God. We are no longer in his presence to walk with Him in the cool of the day. Our job then is to continually grow closer to Him until such a time as he calls us home. So, even though we must all be saved by our belief in Jesus as Messiah, and we must all have faith, we should continually try to be Godly. Godly, not goodly. So while we are apart, we have every responsibility to help lead others to him, and on his path. Christianity does not emphasize works to gain entry to Heaven, it inspires us to help lead others there with us.
So, why should one be prepared to meet every situation with relevant and appropriate scripture? Also, are there any scriptures that you find truly inspiring and life changing? Share them with us, you never know, you may help to be a light in the darkness!