Tuesday, April 19, 2011

1 Peter 3:15

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;"

How far do you stray from a state of readiness to present the Gospel at any given moment? When we are oriented to the Word of God, we are eagerly waiting for the next opportunity to speak about the truth.  When we are not properly oriented, we find ourselves holding on to any reason not to speak up for the Gospel.  Excuses like: "it just isn't the right time or place" or "I was in a hurry and couldn't talk" or "you just can't go there with him".  These excuses are exactly what Satan encourages; the last thing Satan wants is the free and open communication of the Gospel.  The Greek word that Peter uses for defense is ἀπολογία which means to make a carefully reasoned defense in attempt to change the mind of the other person.  We do this all day long about all sorts of things.  Think about how we respond when we or someone we care about is accused of something.  How do we respond when someone disagrees with our opinion about a job-related matter?  We have little hesitancy to persuade except in the most important of all matters: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Reflect for a moment on Jesus' call of His first two disciples (Matthew 4:19). Peter and Andrew were fishermen and they were casting a net into the sea when Jesus came upon them.  Jesus said to them: "follow me and I will make you fishers of men".  The analogy of fishing is quite revealing in that He was about to teach them how to capture others by making a persuasive argument that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus Christ.  This marked the beginning of the earthly ministry of Jesus.  The close of His earthly ministry dealt with the same issue for his final words to the apostles in the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:19 were: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."  We are responsible to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This requires us to be prepared to speak the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at anytime and in anyplace.

Be in constant prayer for opportunities to speak the truth of the Gospel to unbelievers.  When you interact with others, take the time to ask them questions and then pay close attention to their answers.  Get to know them in hopes that you may have the opportunity to talk to them about eternal life.  Remember, the motivation is always love.  Love is the wanting of and acting upon the highest and best for someone else and there is nothing higher or better than eternal life.  Don't be afraid to tell them that you love them, and remember to pray for anyone to whom you present the Gospel.  Lastly, don't ever be discouraged if the person rejects the Gospel.  As Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 3:6, some plant and others water but God causes the growth. 

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