Summary: The first of five messages on the reliability of Christianity.

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A Ready Defense – People Who Have Never Heard February 20, 2005

1 Peter 3:15

Intro: Several years ago a Peanuts comic strip had Linus and Charlie Brown in engaged in a serious conversation about God. Linus says, “I have a theological question. When you die and go to heaven, are you graded on a percentage or on a curve?” Charlie Brown nervously answers, “On a curve.” Linus says, “How can you be so sure?” Charlie Brown replies, “I’m always sure about things that are a matter of opinion.

Trans: This AM we’re starting a series entitled “A Ready Defense.” The intent of this study is to give us truthful answers to those who ask us our opinion about God. In this series we’re going to investigate 7 prominent questions people ask about God. To be sure, if you were to hit the street and survey 100 people in our current culture, you would likely get 100 different responses. Thing is, God leaves no room for debate, as heaven and God are not a matter of opinion but a matter of fact and faith.

Trans: Essay from Danny Dutton

Trans: What would you say to someone who asks you why you believe in God? Truth is, all of us need to have an answer for the hope w/in us.

I Why Bother?

Verse: You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Note: (1) B/c the souls of men lie in the balance of eternity – what if no one told you?

(2) B/c God tells us to bother.

Note: Our ability to soundly answer the questions of others seeking to discover God can make a difference in where one spends eternity.

Trans: This verse offers three important commands to God’s children.

A Make it PERSONAL You must worship Christ as Lord of your life

Key: You cannot impart that which you do not possess for yourself. To worship infers that you’ve already reviewed the evidence, heard the call of the Spirit and received God into your life as Lord.

Word: Sanctify (worship) – means to set apart or make a priority by giving value and worth

Note: One aspect of worship is to be ready to explain why we believe what we believe.

Note: Worship is giving your mind’s attention, heart’s affection, and life’s ambitions fully to the Lord. It’s knowing God and making Him know through words and actions.

B Make it PRACTICAL always be ready to explain it

Word: Apologia – a well thought through defense. We should be able to explain our beliefs

Note: I’m often amazed at how little we know about our faith and how well those who belong to cults understand and can defend their false doctrine – it’s shameful. Christians are lazy and churches have dumb-down truth to attract people to church. If you don’t care to understand what you believe and why, then you have a good reason to doubt your salvation – we‘re called understand what we believe and why!

Note: If someone asked you how to become a Christian – could you tell them?

If someone asked you what God is like – could you describe Him?

Story: Like the little boy who was drawing a picture. His kindergarten teacher asked him what he was drawing. He said he was drawing a picture of God. She said, “But no one knows what God looks like.” He answered, “They will when I’m done.”

C Make it PALATABLE do this in a gentle and respectful way

Note: Yes, we’re to know what we believe, but we also must learn how to communicate it.

Note: Attitude is everything – how you say what you say is as vital as what you say.

Word: Gentle (prauteốs) – patience w/ purpose.” Word used in Gal. 5 w/ fruit of the spirit.

Respectful (phobos) alarmed or fearful – meaning extremely terrified.

Trans: You might be thinking – what did Peter mean? When you consider what’s at stake – it ought to make you shudder. You may be a person’s only shot at salvation – that’s scary! You may be the only Jesus this person will ever see. The stakes are high!

II What about All the People Who’ve Never Heard About Jesus?

Trans: If I have a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this question when talking about God. The last time I flew to Dallas the person next to me asked this very question.

A God will be FAIR

Verse: Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right? Gen. 18:25

He is the Rock; his work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is! Dt. 32:4

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