UIOF Bible Study # 17 – Share

UIOF Bible Study # 17 – Share

Share Your Testimony

Maybe you never thought about yourself as a preacher. Perhaps you’ve never wanted to stand in front of hundreds, or even thousands, of people and tell them about the Gospel. But you know that the Great Commission says that we are to go to the nations. But what, exactly, does that mean?

You have placed your hope in Jesus Christ. Why is that so? You can look back and see the incredible difference knowing the Savior has made in your life. The one thing skeptics cannot dispute is your testimony. When you say, “Jesus changed my life,” no one can argue with you. I’ve heard it said that a story about a changed life is worth a thousand sermons. I know that it is true because a single individual shared her testimony with me and led me to the Throne of Grace. What about you? How did you hear the Gospel?

My husband is Jewish, so the last thing he ever thought he’d do was claim Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) as Lord and Savior. Do you know why he finally made that all-important decision to surrender to the Lord? Because he saw my life change right before his eyes.

The Amplified Bible sheds light on Jesus’ command for us to be witnessed to all the world.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says,  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age (AMP).”

Instead sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with humility and reverence—keeping a clear conscience so that, whatever you are accused of, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Messiah may be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15-16 TLV).”

Some people have dramatic testimonies, like release from captivity to drugs, alcoholism, or abuse. They were desperate, their time seemingly running out, and then they were rescued by Jesus. When they turned their lives over to God, He actually not only changed their lives, but He changed the lives of those who saw them clean up and walk a path of glory to God.

Many Christians don’t have such dramatic testimonies. Perhaps they were saved as young children and have never really known a day without Him. That’s a wonderful testimony, too, because people with average, everyday lives can relate to their stories.

Regardless of where you have come from, the

story of God in your life, sparing you from the heartbreak and trauma of others can make a world of difference to those who don’t have a rough background.

If you (like I) come from a background that left you spiritually battered and dying, your story will be powerful in its ability to open the door to freedom to others who have almost given up on life. To know that God not only wants to receive and forgive them, but He also wants to use them in His kingdom is amazing! When you are humble enough to share your mistakes without glorifying the sin, people who feel lost find hope.

If your story isn’t so dramatic, the fact is that God saving anybody at all is a miracle in itself. You bring hope to those who feel like their lives are meaningless and that they are worthless people. When they learn that Jesus died for their sins, and would have done the same thing even if they were the only ones on earth, it gives ultimate meaning and purpose to their lives.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. (Romans 5:8 TLV).”

Many people feel that they are not good enough to share Christ. That’s a lie. Whether it is shame from a sinful past or from hidden sin that they’ve yet to confess, they think God is mad at them or disgusted with them. Neither is true. God can use you right where you are today.

On a scale of 1-10, with1 being “feeling useless” and 10 being “fountains of joy,” how do you feel prepared to share your testimony? What is your next step?

Would You Like To Know How To Become A Christian?

Hebrew WOW!   ישועה

Hebrew WOW! ישועה

Word of the Week

yeshua

Hebrew

To Christians, salvation comes through Jesus. In Hebrew, the name of Jesus is Yeshua. So is the word salvation.  It looks like this:

ישועה

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means `ADONAI saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Jews do not view salvation the way a Christian does.

To be a Jew is not necessarily to embrace Judaism so much as it is to identify with Jewish culture. Many current-day Jews don’t even believe that God exists. Those who do often do not believe in an afterlife.

In speaking of Japanese resistance to the gospel message, Peter Lundell introduces the concept of “Nihonkyo.” The concept actually speaks to one’s ultimate loyalty. That loyalty is not to a particular belief or even to a nation, “but rather to one’s identity and obligations as a Japanese person.” Similarly, there is an expectation of loyalty on the part of individual Jews despite their religious convictions. Part of that loyalty is defined as not believing in Jesus. — David Brickner | Nov 20, 1997 referring to Lundell, Peter. “Behind Japan’s Resistant Web: Understanding the Problem of Nihonkyo” Missiology: An International Review 23:4 (October 1995), p. 409. 

Salvation for a Christian rests on the knowledge of original sin, acceptance that we are born with the sin nature, and that salvation is an individual experience that converts our souls. There is no individual salvation necessary to a Jewish way of thinking because they do not believe in original sin.

“O my God, the soul Thou gavest me is pure; Thou didst create it, Thou didst form it, Thou didst breathe it into me. Thou preservest it within me, and Thou wilt take it from me, but wilt restore unto me hereafter.” — Jewish Siddur (prayer book)

In cartoons when you see the devil sitting on one shoulder and an angel on the other, you may think that it is a Christian doctrine, but you would be wrong. However, it’s a pretty good representation of how Jewish people think of sin. Believing that each person is born neutral with an inclination toward good and an inclination toward bad, Jews believe that there is nothing to stop us from choosing good.  Their rabbis teach that we have both a yetzer ha tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ha ra (bad inclination). Most will admit to making mistakes and poor choices, but they do not see themselves as sinners.

Therefore, why would they need a Savior?

Salvation, they believe, is not an individual thing but a corporate one. Salvation nearly equals survival in the eyes of the Jew. They see themselves as tikkun olam (correcting the world), in partnership with God to bring about a better earth.

Since the destruction of the second Temple, Judaism has changed out of necessity. With no place to offer sacrifices for sin, the modern Jew uses good deeds and repentance as a substitute. They do not believe they are separated from God and don’t need a Savior to reconcile them to Him.

A common misunderstanding among Jews today is that they think Christians believe that a man became God and not vice versa.

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” John 4:22

Sharing the Gospel with our Jewish friends may help them see that salvation comes from a very Jewish God Who desires closeness and fellowship with His children: hayeshua bemashiah Yeshua. Salvation in the Messiah, Yeshua.

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Hebrew WOW!  זכור!

Hebrew WOW! זכור!

Word of the Week

Zachor!

Hebrew

This verb occurs 252 times in the Bible.

זָכַר

1 Corinthians 11:24-25: “and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” (NV)

So if we’re learning a Hebrew word, why are we starting in the New Testament?

Zachar is the Hebrew verb “remember.” It is used as a command (zachor!)ˆ 148 times in the Old Testament, but it was something so important that Jesus used it as one of the last things He would tell His disciples before He died.

“Do this in remembrance of Me” has a couple of alternative renderings that may help us understand more clearly. It can be rendered more literally, “Do this for the remembering of Me,” or “Do this in case you forget.” — John W. Ritenbaugh

Genesis 9:15 gives us an account of God using the verb “remember” for the first time in the Bible.

“and I will [compassionately] remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again will the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. (Genesis 9:15 AMP).”

In Genesis, God tells us that He will remember. In 1 Corinthians, Yeshua is telling us to remember.

Why is this verb so important? Because it is a promise from God that He will remember the covenant He made, and because He wants us to always keep in mind the sacrifice Yeshua made on our behalf, paying with His life for we who were so utterly defiled.

We generally have no problem remembering Yeshua’s personality. We know all the Bible stories. But there is so much more than just the charismatic, itinerant rabbi who did miracles and died on a cross. Yesua was indestructibly connected to the Old Testament through Passover. We are admonished to remember His life that exemplified the way, the horrendous death on the cross for the remission of sins, and that it was He  Who said in Genesis: I will remember.

Remembering the sacrifice of the One Who made covenant with Abraham and went on to die for His children is the foundation for every loving relationship with our Creator and His family. Because He did all of this for us, our lives are not spent in vain. We have this hope, that He Who promised is able to bring to completion all the terms of His covenant in His blood, not to mention all the Old Testament covenants that remain in effect today.

Zachor! Remembering motivates us to recognize that the first sin was one of not remembering Who God is. The “Lord’s Supper” in the New Testament reminds us of one thing: His unfathomable love.

Would You Like To Know How To Become A Christian?

UIOF Week 16: Listen Up!

UIOF Week 16: Listen Up!

How to win friends & influence people

There’s an old proverb that goes: A wise old owl sat in an oak; the more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. Lord, make me like that wise old bird!”

Dale Carnegie knew that he could walk into any room and convince anyone that he was a good friend just by listening. And isn’t that one of the qualities you look for in a good friend?

Some Christians think that the goal of evangelism is to  “convince and convert.” What they’re missing, though, is that the actual goal is to share God’s love. Since God loves to listen to us, shouldn’t we exemplify His character by listening to others?

God’s love is transforming. He doesn’t depend on your words.

James 1:19  reads: “Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; (AMP).”

Romans 2:4 asks, “Do you not know that it is His lovingkindness that brings us to repentance?”

God is less interested in your words than He is your heart.  If you listen with your heart, you’ll demonstrate His love. Listening to people even if they’re not ready to embrace Christ shows genuine interest in them. When they feel loved, they naturally want to know that love deeper. This approach requires time, effort and emotional energy.

When you set your own agenda aside, no matter how noble you see it, and simply listen to the hurts, questions, and arguments of the unbeliever, you earn the right to share the content of the Gospel..

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