Defend a Lion?

As Christians, we are sometimes asked to defend why we believe what we believe.  Many point to their upbringing.  Some point to experience.  Others say “because the Bible says so.”  This doesn’t really help us explain our faith.  Should we have to?  According to Scripture, yes we should.  We should be able to give a defense for our faith.

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 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; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:14-16

Roughly 75% of America claims to be Christian.  You might be thinking with that large percentage as Christians who are we defending against in the USA?  Well, Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19.   He did not say “just make sure the majority knows who I am.”

We must be prepared to give a defense for our faith.  Sometimes this may even be to a person claiming they are Christian or to a Christian who is reborn and has questions.  This is why it is not only important we read the Bible, but that we also study it.  We must seek what God is telling us in His Word.  We can use other tools such as commentary, concordance, and study groups.  There is so much depth to God’s Word that it requires more than a glance.  It requires more than a one time read.  It is designed by God to be a living, breathing, Word that holds truth.  It is spiritual food.  As a believer we must eat it up. Even Jesus read and quoted Scripture.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

The One, who we follow as Christians, read and studied the Word of God.  As followers, we should too.  It should not be a chore.  Do not do it because you think it will get you points with God.  It won’t.  God looks at your heart.  Reading the Bible, for believers, is something that should come over you like drinking water.  When you get thirsty you drink.  You need to drink everyday to survive.

Being in the Word allows you to know how we are to live.  How we are to be salt and light.  As we read it, it reflects the standard of God and we see how we really are.  This is why it rubs people the wrong way when they read it and don’t understand.  It shows us our true reflection.  I once heard a pastor talk about how some people argue that they are good people and don’t murder or anything like that.  The pastor compared that to looking at your reflection in muddy water and saying you look ok.  But when you look in a clear pool of water you see how you really are.  That is what reading and studying the Bible does.  It shows us we are sinners in need of a Savior.  We need Jesus.

What does this have to do with defending our faith?  Some opposition will attack the Bible with different arguments.  Some will call it outdated.  Others will say it is sexist, racist, and demeaning.  They will say the God of the Bible is mean and doesn’t really value people.  People will tell you that the Bible has contradictions.  (By the way, this is all stuff I used to say before I was saved.)  Being able to answer these and other arguments, is something you may have to do.  Will you have all the answers?  Probably not.  I sure don’t but I welcome the questions.  It allows me to study deeper and find these answers.  More importantly, it allows me to keep engaging someone in the conversation, and with gentleness and reverence, share the Gospel of Jesus.

One of the best apologetics ( a field of Christian theology which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections) you can have is your life.  The Irish evangelist Gypsy Smith once said, “There are five Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, and some people will never read the first four.”  Be salt and light.  Live the Gospel in your life.  Allow the Holy Spirit to have every aspect.  Show kindness and gentleness to all people.  This does not mean conform to their ways, but be understanding of their lifestyle and share the Truth with them.

I recently got into a discussion with an atheist whose videos I found on youtube. He has been trying to show me why he doesn’t believe in God and how science has disproved Him.  I have been sharing why I believe and how science does not disprove God. It has been interesting and I noticed as we got along in our correspondence it was leading into a heated debate.  This was not the intention.  So we decided to back off and discuss life topics.  We will see where it goes.  I just pray I can be true to the Gospel and true to Jesus.

In reference to my opening quote, the Bible truly does not need our defense.  We should be able to defend our faith and our belief in Scripture, but the Bible itself, needs no defense.  When it is read and studied it will defend itself.  It will show you who you really are.  It will show you the Truth, the Way, and the Life.

“I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical  documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses.  They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific  prophecies, and they claim to be divine rather than human in origin.”  Voddie Baucham

For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:16-21

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Did I not….

strong-lion-ed

Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:1-9

joshua

Where I worship, 217church,  we are going through the book of Joshua.  I noticed, as we read through the first book, that God doesn’t just ask Joshua to be strong and courageous.  God doesn’t just ask Joshua to be strong and courageous.  God COMMANDS him.  In fact, He doesn’t just command him once.  God commands Joshua three times.  It is so important for Joshua to know to be strong and courageous that God commands him three times.

Joshua was commanded to carry out God’s will.  He desired to do so, but what God’s will was, was something that many were afraid to do. Joshua was to lead all of Israel into the promise land.  They were going into an unknown territory. But God was with them.  God was with Joshua.  God promised to be with him wherever he may go.

When God makes a promise He keeps it.  God promises to be with those who know Him.  God promises to be with those who do His will.  God wants to be with us.  He wants us to do His will.

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

God didn’t just command Joshua to be strong and courageous.  He also gave him some other things to do.  He told him to obey the laws He gave to Moses.  He told Joshua to meditate on it day and night.  He is not to let it depart from His mouth.  This is how we are to know God’s will.  We need to be in His Word.  The more we are in His Word, the more we know His will, the more we can be strong and courageous.

Bible

Sometimes it is hard to hear His commands.  Sometimes it is easy to think He is not talking to us.  Maybe He is talking to you right now. Maybe you have never listened to Him or you just ignore him.  Maybe you have been afraid to be in His Word.

Ask God right now to speak to you.  Ask Him to open your eyes, ears, mind, and heart to Him.  Ask Him to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you.  Ask Jesus to come into your life so you may know Him.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

 

I pray you will hear God speak to you and you are called according to His purpose.

217churchew