Answering the Tough Questions
1 Peter 3:15
Peter is now going to show us how to set apart Christ as Lord.1 Peter 3:15b, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
Remember he has just written to the persecuted church to encourage them to stand strong and be completely devoted to Christ. Then he follows with how to do that; be prepared to answer everyone.I find these words fascinating.Put yourself in their place; your life is on the line at all times, you’re scared to death and Peter says boldly tell others about Jesus.Is he serious? Is this really how you want me to set apart Christ as Lord as I deal with death and torture daily?Am I to tell my enemies about Jesus?
What Peter communicated was no matter what your circumstances are; no matter how bad your situation is, you are to share Jesus; you are to give answers.WOW…where is the comfort, where is the stay tough speech.I am about to be killed and you want me to share Jesus?Peter would unabashedly say yes!I think we need to look at this passage a little closer.
I will begin with the last sentence because it sets the stage.When we give answers to others we are to, “…do this with gentleness and respect…”I start here because this deals with our attitude towards non-Christians.It could be these words were to encourage the persecuted Christians to share with gentleness to the very people who were pursuing them.We can learn a lot from this lesson.First we can learn to set apart Christ as Lord by…
1.Talking to people in a winsome and attractive manner
I believe this passage supports evangelism through relationship.For many people when they think of evangelism what comes to mind is an in your face type approach.However, this is not what I believe 1 Peter 3:15 advocates.Peter writes that we are to share answers with…
Gentleness – Simply means we are to have a humble and loving approach as we talk with all who need Jesus.We need to love people, especially those who strongly disagree with us.Over the next few sessions I will show you how to do this.I’ve heard it said, “The Gospel is offensive enough, don’t add to it.”I will try to model over the next few weeks how not to add to the offense of the cross.Secondly,we are to share answers with…
Respect or reverence– Many commentators believe this is a reverence for God as we share our faith.Our relationship with God is to be the guiding factor in our sharing.If we love God, we will humbly treat everyone with gentleness and respect.Realizing we don’t save anyone; we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts and minds of non-Christians.God will use our answers or arguments for his glory.
Whenever we share with people we leave the results up to God.Success is sharing and not people coming to Christ.Just remember, “We share, God saves.”Whenever you get into a conversation share courteously; anger, sarcasm, belittling a person has no place in evangelism.We need to be about forming long term relationships with people who need Jesus.Sharing with gentleness and respect means to love God and to humbly show that love to others.Part 4 will continue this discussion.