A Real Witness Makes a Difference in Answers - 1 Peter 3:15
July 6, 2023, 8:43 AM

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

The word answer is “apologia,” literally meaning a defense of our faith. We “apologize” when seeking forgiveness. That is an added meaning of the word. Peter said give reasons for your hope. Hope comes by trusting in Christ. Christians under going persecution look forward to Christ’s return and fulfillment of His promises.

Peter told his readers to plan, be prepared, be aware that you will be asked about your faith. If you let the light of Christ shine there will be times God will open up doors of conversation. Pray for opportunities to arise that may occur. Our faith is not just a belief in practices and customs of ancient religion thousands of years ago. It is a vital, living reality and a relationship with Jesus Christ who is alive today. Do you know what you believe and why?

Phillip Yancey experienced seekers in Russia asking significant question about forgiveness; how to know there is a God; and why believe there is a heaven.

Yancey recounted only one visit when professors at a university verbally attacked the Christian visitors. They saw the decadence of the west and didn’t want that influence

One of the Christian visitors had a Ph.D in Russian studies. He responded, “Freedom of religion includes the freedom for those who do not believe in God." The professors nodded in approval. He told them the issues raised are important. He offered to return to the academy with some Christian friends and set up a means to answer these important matters. Then he shared his personal story.

The believer told of the times of doubts in his life. He began reading Dostoevsky’s great novel, The Brothers Karamazov. He was attracted to the character, Ivan the agnostic who had many good arguments against God. They were powerful, especially concerning the problem of evil. He added, “But to my surprise I was eventually won over by the love shown by Ivan's brother, Alyosha. Ivan had fine argument but he had no love. He could reason his way to a morality, but he could not create the love necessary to fulfill it. I came to believe in Christ because I found in Him a source for that love."

He wisely began with a respect for their beliefs and was courteous and compassionate. He then tried to let them see Jesus in Him. Their attitudes changed.

A witness just shares what he knows or has experienced. We grow in our understanding by being consistent learners of the Scriptures. We grow in our relationship to other believers and develop conversations with those who do not know Christ. Most people are not antagonistic to faith issues. They are ignorant of them. If presented in a personal and loving way, God uses our stories more than we can imagine.

The Lordship of Jesus is seen in answers that are guided by His Spirit, spoken in love.

Application:   Be ready. Think about how you can give hope for your faith.

Prayer:   Lord, teach me to be courteous and compassionate with those who question Christianity.