To the Jew First in the 21st Century

Dear friend of the Jewish people,

Shalom from New York City. I recently visited South Florida where I enjoyed some warm weather and spoke at our To the Jew First Conference.  This was a Bible conference on Jewish evangelism held at the First Baptist Church of Boca Raton. Boca Raton is the epicenter of the Jewish population of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. It was an exciting conference and hopefully the first of many regional conferences on Jewish evangelism hosted by Jewish-friendly local churches.

Hosting a conference like this is a great way to introduce your church to the importance of Jewish evangelism. You can also invite a Chosen People Ministries speaker to your church for a Sunday or special service.

The name of the conference reflects the statement of the Apostle Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

These conferences can be scheduled for a Friday evening through Sunday, or a Saturday morning. Whoever speaks can then be invited to give the sermon on Sunday, as well. You could even invite other churches in the area to join in the joy of learning more about God’s plan and purposes for Israel and the Jewish people. The Chosen People Ministries speaker will help you learn how to pray and share the gospel with Jewish friends and family.

If you would like to help make one of these events happen in your area, simply fill out this form, which will let us know you want us to approach your church to schedule a To the Jew First Conference in 2020. We will provide the program and help promote the conference.

The Importance of Romans 1:16

I hope you enjoy this month’s special article, penned by Dr. Albert Mohler, the current president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Mohler is a great friend of the Jewish people and for many years he has encouraged the church to reach Jewish people with the message of Jesus. Some years ago, Dr. Mohler gave one of the best messages on Romans 1:16 I ever heard at the First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. We adapted this sermon into an inspiring booklet, a portion of which you can read here.

Prayer with a Promise

I believe that bringing the gospel to a Jewish person is the best way to bless God’s chosen people! The gospel is the Lord’s greatest gift to us and the best gift we could ever give to our Jewish friends. In Psalm 122:6, we are told to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” There is a promise attached to this prayer as the Psalmist adds, “they will prosper who love you.” The Hebrew term used for “prosper” refers to the internal peace, quiet, and calm that we receive from the Lord when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

This prayer with a promise was also mentioned in Genesis 12:1–3 when God made His foundational covenant with Abraham, our forefather. At that time, He outlined the role the Jewish people would play in His plan and purposes for mankind. God tells Abram that He will bless the world through the Jewish people: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). In other words, the Jewish people were created and called for the benefit of the Gentile nations! The Jewish people formed God’s bridge of redemption to a dark and broken world.

The prayer with a promise in this instance is profound since two different Hebrew terms are used, which are both usually translated into English as “curse.” Let us look at the text carefully for a moment.

God promises that those who are not physical descendants of Abram will experience His blessing for blessing Abram and his descendants. Additionally, those who curse Abraham’s seed will be cursed. The Hebrew word used for curse in the first instance literally means to make light.1 The second word translated curse2 refers to the usual term for judgment, often used in both Deuteronomy chapter 28 and Leviticus chapter 26. The play on words should not be missed: Those who devalue or make light of Israel and her role in God’s plan or who in some way disparage the Jewish people will experience the very same curses God warned would fall upon the Jewish people for disobedience to His law.

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus speaks of the judgment awaiting those who mistreat His followers by allowing them to go thirsty, hungry, sick, and uncared for (Matthew 25:41–44). He takes this mistreatment personally as the Lord says, “…‘ Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:45–46).

Many scholars believe the mistreated ones referred to by Jesus are the Jewish people. Whether you believe the Savior is speaking of the Jewish people or His disciples among the Jewish people and the Gentiles, it is clear that the Lord does bring a unique judgment upon those who mistreat His people.

Simply stated, the Lord wants us to understand and appreciate the role of the Jewish people in His plan and to act upon what we know! This also means that those guilty of antisemitism, which is on the rise today, will experience His judgment!

I do not equate a lack of sharing the gospel with the Jewish people as cause for judgment, but withholding the good news from the Jewish people is certainly not taking advantage of a promised blessing. After all, what greater way to bless the Jewish people is there than to bring the message of Jesus to our Jewish friends and family?

The gospel is the greatest gift we can give to a Jewish person.

A Survey of Evangelicals

In the recent survey by LifeWay Research and sponsored by Chosen People Ministries and Joel C. Rosenberg, we discovered that one of the areas where the church needs to be strengthened is in its efforts to bring the gospel to the Jewish people.

The survey of more than 2,000 evangelical participants revealed that 32 percent of evangelicals shared the gospel with their Jewish friends in the last year.

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Additionally, only 35 percent prayed in the past week for the salvation of their Jewish friends.

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The survey results show how important it is to understand the biblical argument for why Jewish evangelism is important. I am sure you will appreciate Dr. Mohler’s article.

Join Us on the Journey!

We are now in our 126th year of ministry! In addition to our regular everyday work of Jewish evangelism, we hope to especially focus on three critical areas of ministry: reaching Israel; proclaiming the gospel through digital media; and our Joshua Initiative, by which we hope to train a new generation of workers among the Jewish people! This three-fold emphasis is what we call our To the Jew First Campaign.

This is going to be a great adventure, and I hope you will prayerfully partner with us on the journey!

Blessings in our beloved Messiah,

Mitch

קָלַל1 (kalal)
אָרר 2 (arar)

 

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