- Written by David Brickner
Recently I was seated in a posh restaurant across from a prominent Jewish businessman—I'll call him Burt. Burt owns a chain of clothing stores staffed by more than 750 employees. He and I met at the invitation of a mutual friend to discuss spiritual matters. It was obvious that this man had heard a witness before, and that he had been thinking about Jesus. He had his objections handy. How could I believe in the deity of Christ? What about the virgin birth? Did I really believe in three gods? I began to address each objection, but I sensed that my explanations were not reaching him.
Finally I asked, Burt, could I take a couple of minutes to tell you what I really believe so that you will understand?" He nodded his agreement. I told him, "Burt, this whole world is in a state conflict and despair due to a human condition the Bible calls sin. Sin separates us from a holy and loving God, and there is no one on earth who has not been infected by this dread disease. But God wants to rescue us, forgive us, heal us and bring us into a relationship with Himself. That is why He sent His Son, the Messiah, Jesus. Y'shua (that's His Hebrew name) came to bring salvation for humankind. He is the only one who ever lived a perfect and sinless life. That is why, when He willingly died on the cross, He became a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin. But He didn't stay dead. He rose from the grave, proof positive that He is God's Messiah, able to save each and every person who trusts in Him. That's what I believe," I told Burt. "And I believe if you trust Y'shua to be your Messiah and Savior, God will forgive you of all your sin. He will give you a brand new life that will begin now and last forever as you spend eternity with Him."
I paused. There was a palpable silence. It is hard to explain how a wordless moment can be so full of feeling that it's almost tangible, but if you have experienced it, you know just what I mean. In that moment I knew that the gospel message had somehow pierced the defenses of this self-made man. All his arguments and all his objections failed him. That evening, Burt began to admit his need for God. We talked past 11 p.m., until it was finally time to close the restaurant. When we parted, Burt said he would pray for God to show him if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. God loves to answer that kind of prayer, and when He does, lives are never the same.
The world is a marketplace of ideas that spring up and fade over time. But one idea, one truth, one driving force remains the most powerful force for change in the world. It transforms people, nations and world events. This one truth is the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. That is the truth that I told to Burt that night. Jesus is the only Savior from sin. His death, burial and resurrection have made it possible for us to receive God's forgiveness and the hope of eternal life.
Why is the gospel such a mighty force? How has it stood the test of time, outlasting all competing ideologies? How can it cut through emotional and spiritual barriers raised by people like Burt? The apostle Paul says it is because the gospel is the very "power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16). The Creator of the Universe has invested His omnipotence in the gospel message. When we proclaim that message, God unleashes His limitless power to save into the lives of those who hear and believe.
You might say, "David, you're preaching to the choir." And I know that most of our friends are the most dedicated Christians anyone could ever meet. But I think there might be a select group who receive this newsletter and are not certain where they stand with Christ. I hope the rest of you will be patient with me as I take a moment to address that group.
Friends, having Christian parents doesn't make you a Christian. Attending church doesn't make you a Christian. Only the power of God's Holy Spirit can make you a Christian, and that happens when you agree with Him that only through the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary can you receive personal pardon for your own sin. When you accept that pardon, you are raised to a new life, just like Jesus was raised from the dead. You become a new person, God's person, and He begins to transform your life. If you have never claimed that pardon personally, I hope you will take a moment to talk to God about that right now. He loves you and wants to be your Godïbut you need to say yes to Jesus.
If you have received that pardon and you are a Christian, but you have strayed and are not in daily fellowship with the Lord, you are missing out on the thrill of seeing the Creator of the Universe at work in your life! God's mercies are new every morning, and you can turn back to Him right now. As you open your heart to Him, confessing your sin once more and acknowledging His forgiveness, He will restore the joy of your salvationïand you will begin to recognize once again the dozens of ways He shows His love for you each and every day. And as you rejoice in what He has done for you, you will have the greatest gift in the world to share with others.
Maybe it seems unusual to take time in a Christian newsletter to reiterate the gospel and invite a response. But from time to time we receive letters from readers indicating their need for this good news, and I have wanted to invite any such people to have their lives changed once and for all.
You see, we have been entrusted with a message of extraordinary strength and power. That is why we Jews For Jesus have confidence to stand boldly on street corners and college campuses offering our broadsides (gospel tracts) to the unsaved. We need not argue with or cajole people. God is at work in the lives of thousands of people who pass by on city streets. We are armed with His power to transform the lives of those who have faith to believe the message we hand them.
Of course faith is the necessary corollary to gospel proclamation. We cannot produce faith in those who hear our messageïthat is why prayer is vital to our Jews For Jesus outreach. Prayer is the partner of proclamation. That's where you come in! We hope you'll use the prayer calendar enclosed with this newsletter to pray step by step, day by day through our summer witnessing campaigns all across this world. As God answers those prayers, a climate of faith is created for those who will hear the gospel message. Even now campaigns are underway in Russia and the Ukraine. Our campaign training here in the United States is taking place this month at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
You can join our Jews For Jesus witnessing campaigns through your prayers. Together we will see God's gospel power unleashed in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews and Gentiles this summer. Paul said this mighty salvation is "for the Jew first, and also for the Greek." He understood a mission principle that still proves true today. There is a present priority in delivering the gospel message to Jewish people. But, when you preach the gospel loud enough for Jews to hear, a whole lot of other folks listen as well.
Here is a little known fact about Jews For Jesus: We see many more Gentiles than Jews come to faith in Christ during our campaigns. Years ago, a rabbi leveled an accusation at our founder, Moishe Rosen during a radio debate in New York. He said, "Mr. Rosen, I happen to know that three times as many Gentiles convert through your group as Jews." Moishe smiled and asked, "What do you want us to do, throw them back?" We praise God for every soul saved through our summer campaign proclamation. We join with the angels in heaven to shout "Hallelujah!" each time one sinner repents.
I expect hundreds of hallelujahs will be ringing out from Jews For Jesus this summer. God will be unleashing His eternal, life changing power to transform the destinies of those who hear and believe the gospel of Jesus. Jews and Gentiles who are headed to a Christless eternity will, in a month's time, be new brothers and sisters in Christ, headed for heaven's glory. Come on and shout hallelujah with us!"