PERSONAL WORK AMONG THE JEWS
Biblical Research Monthly, March 1943
Dr. David L. Cooper
AS THE YEARS pass I can note a decided increase in interest on the part of Christians in Israel and her receiving the gospel. This is a most encouraging situation, because a few years ago, Christian laymen thought very little of giving attention to the Jew. Although interested in both home missions and in foreign fields, for some inexplicable reason, the average Christian never thought of the Jew as being a subject of the gospel message. But we praise God that the times have changed and with them there is evidence of the growing concern on the part of many Christians regarding the Jew. Doubtless this awakened interest is due to the fact that an increasing number of Gentiles are praying for Israel and for her salvation. In addition to this, many ministers are calling attention to her place in God's plan, and writers are discussing the Jewish problem. Thus it seems that God is using various means to bring before the Christian consciousness the necessity for the evangelization of Israel.
Only recently a good brother, who is very much interested in soul saving and is especially interested in giving the gospel to Israel, brought a Jewish man to church and introduced him to me, requesting that I do what I could to help him in an intellectual and spiritual manner. Of course, I was very glad to have this opportunity of giving the testimony for my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In fact, every born-again person who really knows the grace and saving power of Jesus Christ is very eager to testify to our Lord's brethren according to the flesh.
Very frequently Christians who have a yearning to give the gospel to Israel do not understand the proper approach to these people. They therefore present the message as they do to Gentiles. Of course, this is a mistake. Whenever it is done in this manner, usually more harm is done than good--if we judge from outward circumstances and results. The Almighty is, however, able to overrule our mistakes and make them contribute to the advancement of His cause. The Lord expects every born again person to bring someone else to the Saviour. As soon as Andrew learned that Jesus was the Messiah, he brought his brother Peter to the Lord. Philip brought Nathanael. This is the normal way and feeling of every born-again person. We wish others to enjoy the spiritual blessings which are ours. We are therefore eager to give our testimony and to lead souls into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus wished souls to be saved and wanted to use His disciples to accomplish the task. He therefore trained his immediate disciples for three and one half years before He sent them out as soul winners to carry on the work which He had began. Moreover, He required that they remain at Jerusalem after they had finished their training, for the coming of the Holy Spirit who would guide them infallibly into the truth and enable them to approach people properly. The result of this special preparation and of their being filled with and guided by the Spirit, in the case of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, was that there were about three thousand souls brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Later the number, as we learn in Acts 4, became five thousand.
If the Lord did not send out the apostles until after He had trained them for full-time service, certainly He does not wish people to enter into full time service unless they have sufficient and adequate training. In this connection let us remember that the advancement of the pupil depends largely upon the ability of the instructor to impart his knowledge to the student. The Lord Jesus was the greatest teacher whom the world has ever seen. Let us remember that it took three and one half years--these were full years of twelve months each without vacations--for the training of the Twelve. This is a stupendous fact that we cannot afford to overlook. It is the firm conviction of my soul that everyone who wishes to do full time service should receive proper and adequate training in some institution concerning the soundness of which there can be no question whatsoever. Born again men and women thus trained in this type of an institution, being filled with the Spirit of God and yielded to do the will of God, can be used in a mighty and marvelous way in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I have said in regard to the training of full time workers is indeed in a special manner applicable to those who wish to give the gospel to Israel. In fact, if any distinction is to be made between a worker among the Gentiles and one among the Jews, I would say that the latter field requires more thorough and efficient training on the part of the worker. The reason for this statement is that the Jews are standing in the foremost ranks of the educational and professional world. In order to be successful in approaching the Jew, one must understand the one to whom he is ministering and must have a thorough knowledge of his message and how to present it. Otherwise his words seem as idle tales to the one to whom he is speaking. The one who is not willing to take the time and expend the energy thus to train himself efficiently should not attempt to go into the Jewish mission field. The fact that he is not willing to make the necessary, thorough preparation is proof, at least to my mind, that God is not definitely calling such a one into the Jewish field.
While I was talking to the Jewish man referred to above, he stated very positively that he was a Jew and that he would remain such until his dying day. He did say however that he was open to conviction on almost all points but that on one or two subjects he had a closed mind. Otherwise he would welcome the truth, regardless of who had it. Naturally I commended him for being open to receive truth and insisted that a person must not close his mind against any one truth but must be willing to receive anything and everything which God has said.
Having learned that I had been in contact with numbers of outstanding influential Jews of the world, this man asked me why it was that these Jewish leaders--intellectual and highly educated people--did not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and as the Jewish Messiah. He felt that there was a very definite reason for their not believing in Christ. Moreover, he stated that unless the leaders of Jewry, after examining the testimony concerning Jesus, believe on Him as Christians do, the great mass of the Jewish people will never accept Him as Messiah and Saviour. His statements were a tacit admission that the Jews are looking to their leaders for guidance.
My twenty years of experience and association with Jewish people have led me to the conclusion that Israel as a nation will never accept Christ as her Messiah unless her leadership is convinced of His deity and head a movement to accept Him as such. Of this I am thoroughly convinced. Such is the scriptural teaching on this subject. It is the firm and settled conviction of my heart that we must do all in our power to present the gospel in an impartial manner to the great leaders of Israel. Since they are scientifically inclined, brief treaties concerning the fundamentals of the Christian faith will not satisfy them. Only thorough, complete, and scholarly presentations of the various subjects involved will ever cause the great leaders of Israel to see the truth relative to our Lord and cause them to accept Him as Saviour and Messiah. It is with this conviction dominating my effort that I am preparing the Messianic Series a set of seven books when completed which will present the fundamental principles of the truth relative to the Lord Jesus Christ.
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