I remember years ago in my first year of Bible College I was introduced to Apologetics. The lecturer (Dr Bob Robinson) made the joke that apologetics is the study of being sorry for being a Christian. You could hear the groans in the room. He then went on to explain what Apologetics was and its history. That first class made me look again at 1 Peter 3:15 ‘But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.’
Apologetics is being able to ‘defend’ our faith, or to put it simply, give an answer to those who ask you about your faith. So what does the above scripture tell us? It mentions 5 things 1- Honour Christ, 2- Be prepared, 3- What are the reasons 4- Hope 5- Gentleness and respect. I will go over these points and give a basic and brief outline of how we talk about our faith. It is important that we know what we believe and why. If we don’t know what or why, then how can we tell others of Christ and His salvation? We are called to be ambassadors of His Kingdom, not pew warmers of His church.
1- Honour Christ. The very first words of this verse are to ‘honour Christ the Lord as Holy.’ We need to realise that Christ is Holy; we serve a holy God, holy means to be set apart. We are also holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), we have been set apart, Set apart to be His ambassadors; we have been given a commission to tell others about Him. Take away point for you; You are set apart and commissioned as an ambassador.
2- Be prepared. We get prepared to go to the shops; we grab the bags, we get the list, grab the car keys and off we go. We don’t get to the shops and then think about what we need, we figured that out beforehand. It’s the same here. Prepare yourself so that you know what you believe and why. So does that mean you need to go to seminary for 3-5 years and get a degree in theology? No; it means every day you spend time with Him, reading His word, in prayer and in praise. This is how we get prepared. God wants to spend time with us and talk with us and empower us. We cannot do this on our own. I’ve tried and I failed. If we spend time with Him, He will prepare us, we become accustomed to His voice, we get to know His word. It requires time and effort but it is well worth it. We get to sit down with Jesus, just like Martha. Take away point for you; Spend time with God every day, this is how we get prepared.
3- What are the reasons? We are given joy, but what are the reasons for this joy? Do we even look joyful? We can get so used to the joy of our salvation that it becomes so commonplace in our lives that the smile fades and the ‘meh’ face goes back on. We need to let the joy of the Lord shine through. So what are the reasons for this joy? This is where the ‘prep’ you did beforehand comes in. Through the ‘prep’, you discovered in the word the reason for your joy, and knowing His voice He will give you the words to speak. The greatest reason for our joy is the fact that we have eternal life, that Jesus who was dead is now alive. We have been ‘saved’. Your testimony here is part of the reason, talk about who you were and what you were like and tell then what Christ did in your life to make you a new creation. Take away point for you; let His joy shine and your testimony be a tool.
4- Hope. In this world right now hope is in short supply. Even before the pandemic, hope was not common. But we have hope, hope that Christ is coming again, His parousia is near (parousia is Greek for the second coming) That is our Hope, what we can cling to in times of trouble. We have an assurance of our salvation, John 5:24 ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.’ We have assurance that He is coming again, Acts 1:9-11 ‘And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” This is our hope, there are many other promises from God that give us hope. Search the word to find them and hold on to them as precious gems from Him to you. Take away point for you; His promises are what we place our hope in.
5- Gentleness and respect. In telling others about our faith it can sometimes get heated and start to turn into an argument. We are not to argue with others. We can debate, but that is not the same as having an argument with someone. We are told to be gentle and respectful to those who ask. We are not to ‘bible bash’ them, but with love, care, respect, and listening to His voice, tell them about Jesus. If they ask something we don’t know the answer to let them know that you will look it up and find out for them. This shows two things: 1. You are not a ‘know it all’ and 2. You are willing to actually engage in conversation. This can lead to you having a second conversation about Jesus. We are here to plant, water and reap. Sometimes we plant, sometimes we water and sometimes we reap. All we need to do is tell them about Jesus and God by His Holy Spirit does the rest. Take away point for you; be gentle and respectful, and listen to Him as you speak.
I know that this is brief, but I hope this helps you all as you ask the Lord to give you people to speak to about your faith. Be the apologist and ambassador that Christ has commissioned you to be.
In Christ our Redeemer, Ps Jeff