" 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9, ESV)
"For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people" (1 Peter 2:15, ESV)
Apologetics: A Case for Christ
1 Peter 3:13-16
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:13-16, ESV)
"...always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (v.15)
BE FANATICAL FOR GOODNESS!
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous... for what is good? (v.13)
BE PREPARED FOR SUFFERING!
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed." (v.14)
"For the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high. But the primary cause, Islamic extremism, now has a rival: ethnic nationalism." ~ Christianity Today
...Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, (v.14b)
" 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20, ESV)
" 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16, ESV)
BE PASSIONATE FOR JESUS!
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy..." (v.15)
Week 6 - Apologetics: A Case for Christ
Apologetics can be defined as “reasoning or arguments in justification of something”. It is a way to provide a defense of something that is coming under attack. Decay is defined as “a gradual falling into an inferior condition; progressive decline, to become decomposed or to deteriorate”. As a group think spiritually, what relationship do these two terms have with each other?
When most people think of something decaying, they think of it as being dead or dying! Something that is wasting away, becoming less that what it was; it is diminishing. Sadly this is a process that can be observed across the Church both in the lives of its members and in the preaching/teaching of its Pastors. This involves the credibility of the Church. Churches, pastors, and members are becoming more willing to sacrifice biblical proclamation for the sake of comforts, convenience, and drawing large crowds. Members would rather be comfortable in their sin, than convicted by truth. Pastors would rather have large crowds who are happy and tithe, than to possibly offend someone with the truth of scripture. These are all dangerous variables that make up an equation, that if we are not careful, will lead to an ineffective church that looks just like the world. It is commonplace to hear a cry to “loosen up”. Loosen up means, quit being so adamant about biblical truths, “loosen up”…embrace a little sin in your life. The world calls this “loosening up”, the bible calls this “spiraling down”! The erosion of apologetics and the credibility of the church very dangerous--primarily because it does not happen overnight and it is usually disguised with good intentions. It is made up of little, tiny, subtle shifts away from biblical obedience, spiritual truths, and doctrinal purity--rather than a defense of them! It is almost completely unrecognizable while it is occurring, but each one of these little, subtle shifts; each concession, each compromise, and each degree of separation we make from biblical purity quickly adds up and we find ourselves on an unrecognizable course, mired in ashamedness of the Gospel, unwilling to speak of the truth of scripture, and headed toward spiritual death!
I pray that this study will make you aware of the dangers that exist in our culture and in our propensity to please people instead of God. Satan is at his best when he disguises serious threats to our spiritual health! By convincing us that something so critical to our spiritual lives does not need to be addressed, he is doing just that! Join me in this study as we construct fences around our doctrine, build defenses (apologetics) in our faith, and fight for the credibility of the church that we love!
As a group, read Romans 12:2. What do you think that Paul is saying here to the Roman church? How does this relate to “Spiritual Decay”?
As a group, read Matt. 5:13. What relationship does Salt have with Decay?
So then, what is Christ telling his disciples?
1 Tim. 4:1-2,16 - (1)Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teaching (doctrine) of demons, (2)through the insincerity of liars whose conscience are seared…(16)Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and you hearers
How do you think that this (v1-2) happens, or comes to be?
Why does Paul tell Timothy in v16 to “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.”?
How will you avoid spiritual decay and embrace your call to defend the Gospel? How will you stay true to God’s commands? How will you grow spiritually? These are questions are should not be rhetorical--but specifically answered in our lives. It is so easy to ignore the call think about, study, and defend our faith. It is also easy to dismiss the call to speak up and share our faith. James 1:14-15 tells us that there is guaranteed to be spiritual progress in our lives--the question is will be positive growth or negative decay?