Love for the Lord & the Lost in Phoenix

By Sam Nadler

Why plant Messianic congregations? There can be many answers to that question: to testify of God’s faithfulness in Messiah for Israel and the nations; to honor “the Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28); to more effectively communicate the Good News to the Jew first; to have a place for the remnant of Israel to maintain their identity; etc. But of all the reasons, the greatest of these is love.

At our upcoming “Developing Healthy Messianic Congregations” Southwest Conference in Phoenix, AZ over President’s Day weekend (February 16th-17th), God’s love will dominate the sessions. The reason is clear, unless “the love of Messiah constrains our hearts” (2 Corinthians 5:14), we will not reach out with God’s “everlasting love” for Israel (Jeremiah 31:3), and proclaim His eternal love gift of the Messiah for the world (John 3:16).

There may be some who think that knowledge of Messianic prophecies is most important, or being able to utilize Messianic Jewish jargon to communicate most effectively, or being able to utilize the Shabbat and the annual festivals to prove Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah –all of these have a place, to be sure. But without God’s love in Yeshua, “I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal …I am nothing… it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

The loss of the love of God, by taking our eyes off the eternal love in the death of the Messiah, makes a movement of God in the past a mere monument to God in the present. By abiding in His death, then His love constrains us to “glory only in the cross of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah” (Galatians 6:14) and “to know nothing among you except Yeshua the Messiah, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

There can be no Messianic congregation unless we love one another by the very love that brought Yeshua to die for us. At an early congregation plant, we had a returning pre-believing Jewish visitor, who brought her pre-believing Jewish friend with her. I overheard her trying to warn her friend, “Now, be careful, they’re not all Jewish, but it’s hard to tell because they love each other!” I still praise God for such a “warning,” for it was proclaiming Yeshua’s death that had His love in our hearts and love for one another as His testimony of His grace! For this love is testimony, not of our efforts, but of the Holy Spirit’s work: “he also informed us of your love in the Spirit” (Colossians 1:8), God’s love is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), but the root of the Spirit is abiding in Yeshua.

If the power of the Holy Spirit is going to be manifested through Messianic congregations, it will be seen in God’s sacrificial love for lost people. For it is “the love of God that has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). It is depending on Yeshua’s death, whereby we die to self (Romans 6:10-11), and enjoy and employ the filling of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).

Some may wonder: what would hinder the Good News from going out, even “to the Jew first”? It’s not primarily “fear” that stops people from sharing their faith in Messiah with others. It’s not ignorance of how to share one’s faith with others that’s the primary hindrance to bringing the Good News to the greater Jewish community. The problem is a lack of love. When His love constrains our hearts, then our fears evaporate like a bad dream. And when His love constrains our hearts, then we’re motivated to learn how to be more effective in communicating the Good News with our Jewish friends and family. This is why people give to Jewish ministry, for as God so loved the world and gave His only begotten Son, when that same love constrains our hearts, His love will overflow in giving of our time, talent and treasure to communicate the Son of God to all, with ears to hear, even to the Jew first.

So please remember in prayer our congregations planting conferences and all of Word of Messiah Ministries’ evangelistic and discipleship work, as we depend upon and declare to all the once-and-for-all atonement in Yeshua the Messiah.

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