Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apolo What?

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This summer we've had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with some wonderful Christians and also with some interesting unbelievers of different religious preferences. Lots of fun. What an excellent joy!

Throughout the history of the Church, Christians of various backgrounds have been called upon to explain why we believe what we believe. Paul the apostle described his ministry as "the defense and confirmation of the Gospel." The apostle Peter felt strongly that you need to "Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). Yes, this activity of believers has come to be known as apologetics which means "defense."

O that my life may useful be.. as I serve Jesus faithfully; and may the world see Christ in me—this is my earnest plea! ~ Hess

Have you been involved in any apologetics activity lately? It is often very enjoyable building friendships with people of other belief systems and win them.

Jesus really wants the doubt outyours first and then theirs. He "said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?'" (Lk. 24:38). Sometimes your holy life can be your best argument; your best defense!

When Jesus Christ walked down the dusty paths on this little planet some 2000 years ago, He was so glad to encounter many different kinds of people who put their trust in various places, things or people. And He was very concerned for those in need too. I like how Christ never showed preferential treatment to anyone as He reach out and touched people to heal them, to literally save them in the grandest sense of that term, and to restore them.

You remember how without any doubts Jesus was good at witnessng for the Father. Repentant Zacchaeus, a juicy sinner (like I was in the '70s), believed and wanted to make restitution, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house… For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk. 19:8-10).

God still meets needs today. He meets all mine and can yours as well. He LOVES us all the same and still deeply CARES about each one of us (I'll tell you more about God's agape love in an upcoming posting).

Are you in Jesus? Today, you too can enjoy God's love in Christ as you worship, as you fish for souls following His lead, as you help others do that kind of stuff too. You and I are to be His serving hands, His feet on the go or waiting. We're His spokes-persons who don't want to play fast and loose type of games with what's real…with the truth, with other's lives, with eternity! Hey, too much is at stake for those around us.

But what else is involved in a legitimate form of apologetics ministry that Christians can and should take part in?

Well, it involves refuting those who contradict (Tit. 1:9, 13); reproving the worldly deeds of darkness (Eph. 5:11); shunning false teachers (2 Jn. 10–11); casting down false arguments (2 Cor. 10:5); exposing the doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1, 6); calling sinful dissenters to repentance (2 Tim. 2:25; Tit. 3:10); and warning apostates of the certain and terrible judgment that awaits them if they don't repent (Matt. 23; Heb. 6:4–8; Jude 8–13).

Such fearless ministry was not only modeled by Jesus, but it was by every Old Testament prophet and every New Testament writer. That takes straightforward speech that contends earnestly for the faith (Jude 3–4), and as a result denounces every form of deception. Who can complain about that?

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