Summary: This is a follow-up sermon from watching the film, Case For Christ the week before. This sermon does not go into all the evidences but rather looks at a couple of verses regarding sharing our faith with some statements and insights from the film.
THE CASE FOR CHRIST
Last week we watched the film, Case For Christ, based on the book of the same name by Lee Strobel. Lee was a Journalist for the Chicago Tribune. He was also an atheist. Then his wife started going to church. When he saw the changes taking place in her he was curious enough to investigate it. So he went to church with her.
The Pastor, Bill Hybels preached a sermon on basic Christianity that intrigued him. He embarked on a search to determine the legitimacy of Jesus and the claims made about him in the bible. The video was about the details of that journey. Eventually, Lee became a Christian and then an apologetic-someone who teaches how to defend the faith.
Many people who are skilled in apologetics were once skeptics who investigated in order to disprove and in the end come to believe and defend. Since they know from experience many of the arguments someone would have against Christianity, they can be the best ones to talk to skeptics and help them to see why their beliefs are wrong.
Why this video? We've been printing out flyers and going around handing them out. Bobby Wednesday night lesson. The idea is to help us to become more proactive about getting the message of salvation out. Although we may not end up writing books about our experience like Lee did, that doesn't mean we can't be compelling in sharing our faith journey with people. We all have the responsibility to share our faith.
1) Give the reason for your hope.
1st Pet. 3:15, "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. But do this with gentleness and respect."
We see the first thing we need to do is set apart Christ as Lord. We might know this is important to do period but in regards to sharing our faith it's important because there are many times we're not going to feel like doing it. Whether it's because of apathy or fear, we will either not want to bother or be too afraid to try.
But when we set apart Christ as Lord his will supersedes ours. When Christ is Lord we put everything in his hands and what we do with that confidence is not worry about what we will say along with not worrying about the results. I'm not responsible for how people respond to the gospel, I'm responsible to share it.
Then Peter tells us to always be prepared to give the reason for our hope. I see two ways we can share the reason for our hope. One is to share our testimony; our experience. This appeals to a person's heart. They relate to our struggles, our being lost and without hope and then they hear about how we became Christians and how we changed for the better.
The other way we share the reason for our hope is when we share the evidence for the truth. This appeals to a person's mind or intellect. When we reveal the evidence for Jesus and the bible we allow the other person to think. Perhaps they've believed certain things were true but then we share evidence for the validity of the bible and Jesus' resurrection and the wisdom of Christianity and maybe even the non-validity of other faiths or religions and in that we can be able to dismantle someone's misconceptions and help them to see that their arguments were not valid. This is what happened in the video. When Lee went to church he realized that he had misunderstood some things.
Lee's wife was convinced in her heart but Lee needed to be convinced in his mind. Both are needed. You need to experience God and you have to believe and be convinced intellectually too. Our testimony can appeal to a person's heart. We share our story and people can connect with us.
Along with that, we share facts and findings that help to dispel certain misconceptions, providing legitimate proof that will help win a person over intellectually. Thus, the heart and the mind are convinced. When we can appeal to a person's heart and their mind we have a better chance of bringing them to a place where they are ready to accept Jesus in repentance and baptism.
Peter finishes with 'but do this with gentleness and respect'. One of the things we need to be prepared for is opposition. How will we answer the critics? What will we do when someone gets angry at us? Gentleness and respect keeps our emotions intact. Respect allows for the other person's views and instead of calling those views (or them) stupid, we think of respectful ways to respond that will get them thinking about why their viewpoint isn't accurate.