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Jews for Jesus exec underscores priority of Jewish evangelism

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Greeting the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary community with the Jewish word for hello -– “shalom” –- Jews for Jesus’ executive director reminded the chapel audience of the priority of Jewish evangelism, noting that the Gospel was sent to the Jews first.

David Brickner, who has led the largest outreach ministry to Jewish people in the world since 1996, said God’s will for the Jewish people and the world has not changed.

“I want you to be encouraged. God is bringing life from the dead among Jewish people today,” Brickner said in his message April 5 at Midwestern’s Kansas City, Mo., campus.

“I believe smack dab in the center in God’s eternal plan for this world is His ongoing purposes for the Jewish people,” he said. “That’s what Paul was talking about in Romans 9, 10 and 11. And if you have never sat down to read those three chapters in one sitting, I encourage you to do that.”

The Apostle Paul was “very convinced of God’s continuing plan” with the Jewish people, Brickner said. Referencing Romans 1:16, he said Paul’s life was proof he was not ashamed of the Gospel that he helped take to the Jews.

“He knew it was the ‘power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,’” Brickner said. “Most people stop right there like it’s the end of the verse. But it’s not. As you well know, Paul completes this statement by saying, ‘to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.’”

Most people think this phrase refers to the chronology of how the Gospel went to the Jewish people first, but in context it also refers to the priority of the Gospel message going to the Jews, Brickner said.

“There is a priority in regard to the Jewish people and the purposes of God -– a past priority, a present priority and a future priority,” he said. “When the church rediscovers this truth, it will revolutionize missions in the world today.”

Paul “discovered and understood a missions principle that the church needs to rediscover today, and that is when you preach the Gospel loud enough for Jews to hear, a whole lot of other folk listen in to hear.”

As Jews for Jesus proclaims the Gospel to the Jew, many “Gentiles” also come to faith as a result, Brickner said.

“God uses the opposition of the Gospel, especially among my Jewish people, to amplify the message and to extend its reach beyond the Jewish community and to the world.”

Brickner, who said Jews for Jesus, founded in 1973, seeks to be “visible, available and vulnerable,” praised Southern Baptists for their work in taking the Gospel to the Jews.

“I don’t think there is a denomination in evangelical Christianity today that is more firmly and favorably disposed towards the issue of Jewish evangelism, nor a denomination that’s taken the heat more faithfully and forcefully and proudly for the sake of the Gospel among the Jewish people,” Brickner said.

“One of the key people in that over the years has been your president, Dr. [R. Philip] Roberts,” said Brickner, citing Roberts’ work as the former director of interfaith witness for the North American Mission Board.

Brickner noted that Jewish evangelism is a future priority, because Jews will play a key role in the second coming of Jesus Christ.

“People are interested in the future. They want to know what’s going on in Israel. And I’m sure you do too. For what’s going on in Israel, I believe, is part of that plan that God has given us –- not all the information we’d like to receive but enough to cultivate in our hearts a love for His appearing,” Brickner said.

“Do you love His appearing? If you do, tell Jewish people about Jesus, because they’re going to need to know Him.”

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  • Cory Miller