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The Buntons, Jim and Bonita, of Winterset, Iowa were guests at Bethany Baptist Church, Sunday. Jim and Bonita are visiting churches to share their burden for the Jewish people. It is their plan to start a church in the St. Louis area where there are several congregations of Orthodox Jews but no independent fundamental Baptist church.
Jim gave some background concerning modern Jews and some instructions in how to introduce Jews to their Messiah, Jesus. There are two events that took place during the twentieth century that have had a tremendous influence on Jewish belief, the Holocaust and the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.
Jim stated that the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust caused some Jews to react by turning away from God. “How could God allow such a thing to happen?” They stopped practicing the Jewish traditions and their children have grown up with no Jewish traditions.
There are different views held by Jews regarding their heritage. Some are ready to adjust their practices to modern culture and others hold more strict observances of traditions.
The Orthodox Jews know their Bible. They have a high regard for the oral law that God gave to Moses. The instructions given to Moses in the Pentateuch are regarded as the written word of God. They hold the traditions and desire to please God, but do not realize that they need to believe in Christ in order to please God. They do not see how the scriptures point to Jesus Christ until the Holy Spirit open their eyes that have been blinded.
What is our responsibility as Christians? We should remember that Genesis 12:3 promises blessings to those who bless Israel, as well as cursing to those that curse Israel. The Jews need to be blessed with the knowledge of Jesus the Messiah. Any effort to present Jesus as Messiah starts with prayer. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that opens the heart to receive knowledge.
John 15:7 says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Promises like this are conditional to our abiding in Jesus and his words abiding in us. Many great events of deliverance have come because of prayer and fasting. When people pray and fast it is to focus on God and not to be done lightly.
Jim pointed out that witnessing to Jewish people can be done using Old Testament scriptures. Isaiah 59:2 states that sin is the cause of separation from God and his blessings. Psalm 14:3, Ecclesiastes 7:20, and Isaiah 64:6 tell us that all have sinned. Psalm 2:7 speaks of God’s Son. Proverbs 14:12 says that what you think is right is not always right. Leviticus 17:11 speaks of the necessity of a blood sacrifice to cover those sins. Joel 2:32 says “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered….”
Jim Bunton grew up in a religious environment. He attended catechism classes and knew all about the word of God. He knew about the need for salvation of the provision of salvation by Jesus Christ the Son of God, but it was not until he was fully grown that he realized that salvation was a personal matter. It was necessary for him to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.
Regardless of the religious upbringing, salvation is a personal matter. We each must see ourselves as sinners and realize that the only way to escape the penalty for sin is to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus the only begotten Son of God was born to a Jewish virgin of the house and lineage of David. He grew up observing the law of Moses perfectly and suffered as predicted in Isaiah 53. We can say, “Thank God for Israel” and pray for Jerusalem.