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JEWISH EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP
Article 8 of 13:
MOTIVATION FOR MESSIANIC MINISTRY:
PAUL'S PASSION, PRAYER AND PRACTICE
by Sam Nadler
Brethren, my heartís desire and prayer to God for Israel
is that they may be saved. - Romans 10:1
One might wonder why we so often go to Israel and other Jewish areas for ministry and outreach. To understand our practice you would first have to understand our passionate priorities in our service for Messiah. Our motivation is reflected in Paulís own statement on this very same subject in Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heartís desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
Paul's Passion for Israel
The word translated desire is the word for ďwell-pleased,Ē and it may mean "will, pleasure, satisfaction" as in Matthew 11:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Phlippians 1:15; 2:13; Ephesians 1:5,9. This desire means his will and purpose of his heart. This same heartís desire is also the passion of God. Paulís passion for Israel came from a heart surrendered to the will of God, not from any mere fleshly loyalty. The love of Messiah controlled his heart (2 Corinthians 5:14), and so Paul had Messiahís concern for Israel upon his heart. Nor was it merely an intellectual theological regard for Israel. Rather Paulís theology was the articulation of Godís unfailing passion and purpose for the Jewish people (Romans 11:1-5). If you have a theology without a passion for the very truth it represents, that theology may be an intellectual substitute for what you genuinely and passionately believe and live for.
Paul's Prayer for Israel
Immediately after acknowledging the national rejection of Messiah by his brethren according to the flesh (Romans 9:31-33), Paul passionately prays that the Jewish people may be saved. Undoubtedly Paul knew that the spiritual situation was far from hopeless for them despite their present national unbelief. For he himself had shared their rejection of Messiah Yeshua. As Paul had been miraculously saved by looking unto Yeshua (Acts 9:3-6), so he had faith to believe Godís promises to all Israel as well (see Romans 11:25-27). For God had promised that one day Israel too will look unto Yeshua and be saved (Zechariah 12:10).
For Paul, his passions resulted from faith in the unfailing promises of God; and his prayers reflected his passion. Please note in this verse that both his desire and prayer are reflected in the verb is, and not "are." Both are seen as resulting in one unity in his soul. Your passion and prayers are not two different things, but the root and fruit of the same tree, two sides of the same spiritual coin.
The word for prayer means to want or to beg. It is used for a plea or entreaty when addressed to God as a prayer, request, petition or supplication. In my mindís eye I can almost see Paul during his morning and evening devotions beseeching God and pleading for Israelís salvation. Does your passion result from fervent faith in Godís promises? And are your prayers for Israel reflecting your passion for Godís concerns and eternal love for them?
Paul's Practice Toward Israel
With this kind of passion and prayers based on Godís promises for Israel, we can easily understand Paulís practice and ministry to the Jewish people. He wanted them saved, and the Lord glorified as the faithful (sic) to Israel (Romans 11:27). His ministry was to the Jew first (Romans 1:16) because it is first in the heart of God (Jeremiah 31:3), and then accordingly prioritized in his own soul, and agenda. He made it a point to find Jewish people with whom to share Messiah (Acts 13:46; 14:1; 16:13, etc). What is harder to understand are believers who say that the love of Messiah controls their hearts, and yet have no particular passion, prayer or ministry practice concerning Israel or the Jewish people?
But, What If God Calls Me to Africa?
Regardless of your calling, take it from the apostle of the Gentiles, Paul (Romans 11:13). This is still a Jewish message to Jews as well as Gentiles (see also Acts 17:17). So, if you are called to Nigeria, France, China, or Pakistan, you have a message that is still to the Jew first. What this means is you have a responsibility to love Jewish people, reach out to Jewish people wherever you may be, to teach and disciple believers of the Jewish emphasis of the Good News, and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
From Godís Heart to Yours
This is why we do not ask you to merely give your finances to help Word of Messiah Ministries in this work of bringing the Good News of Yeshua to the Jewish people around the world. We want you to recognize Godís promises, and embrace His word for what it is: your soulís spiritual nourishment (Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2). Then to be passionate for the truth, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, especially that Messiah, the Prince of Peace, be made known to the Jewish people. Then, as you pray, the Lord will direct your practice, whether itís to personally witness to your Jewish acquaintances or to financially help to bring the message of Messiah to places you canít get to, or both! But all that is a spiritual result of what needs to be our first priority: yielding our hearts to His heart, that His passion would be our passion, and His purpose for our lives would then be the practice of our lives. Shalom.
Links to prior studies in the Jewish Evangelism
and Discipleship series may found in our Library
Sam Nadler is director of Word of Messiah Ministries in Charlotte, N.C. This article is reprinted
from Word of Messiah's website with permission, and may be viewed in its original
form at http://www.wordofmessiah.org/feb_2003_pg_2.htm. Many other fine articles
and other features may be found at Word of Messiah. Thank you, Sam.
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