Summary: A brief unpacking of 1 Peter, looking at Peter's encouragement to always be prepared to give an answer for our hope.

The Value and Power of Your Testimony - 1 Peter 3:15-16 - June 22, 2014

We’ve just heard the testimony of a follower of Jesus Christ. Joanne has shared her heart - what God has done and is doing in her life. And I hope you’ve been encouraged by her words. I hope you have perhaps been inspired even to consider your own testimony.

That can be an intimidating thing, to think of standing in front of others, or even of sharing with one or two people the difference that Jesus Christ has made in your life. But if you are a Christian, your life IS a testimony of what God can do in a person who turns to God and choses to live their life in Christ.

I think of the testimonies I’ve heard in the past while here. Kirk Grimes blew us away at a Men’s Breakfast a few months back by sharing what God has done in his life. I think that’s the key to not being self-conscious about our witness.

I recall from Kirk’s testimony that he was giving glory to Jesus, talking about how Jesus had healed him, how God’s goodness was so evident in his life.

Kirk was free to share in front of a number of us because he was talking about Jesus. And don’t we love to talk about the One who has rescued us, the One who has given us a whole new life, the One who is still to this day transforming us to be more and more like Him?

I’ve heard people share in the Tuesday Feast Bible Study - Paul Bush shared a few weeks back of the way that God really got ahold of Him, weeks or months AFTER he started attending church.

Others have shared in private conversation about the experience of knowing God in Jesus Christ.

Family of God, it’s a beautiful thing when we can share what God has done and is doing in our lives.

In Your Hearts Revere Christ as Lord

The Scripture today puts in all in order for us. It starts with us “in our hearts revering Christ as Lord”. Having a relationship with Jesus means coming to Him as our Lord and Saviour.

It means that we trust that He gave His life for our sins. It means that we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.

In other words, it means that we accept another testimony - that of the Bible, the gospels in particular that speak of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.

Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, things start to change. For some of us it’s a gradual change. For others of us it’s a pretty fast transformation.

The only thing for sure is that our lives DO NOT stay the same when we become a Christ-follower. They inevitably get better.

We have more joy, more purpose, more reason to get up in the morning, more perspective on life. We become more concerned with others, more invested in peoples’ lives, more concerned for God’s justice, more concerned for His creation.

And we’re IN a beautiful thing, a relationship with the living God. He walks with us and talks with us and comforts and challenges and enriches our lives like nothing else.

So that first part, revering Christ in our hearts as Lord...that’s a biggy. But what flows is worth talking about. And the rest of the Scripture for today really challenges us to be ready to talk about it.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Why would the Apostle Peter say this? Why would we need to be reminded to be prepared, to be ready to give an answer?

Well, I think it’s related to the first part, revering Christ in our hearts as Lord. The first century Christians had as much or more on their minds as we do.

They had the additional burden of being part of a movement of God - the early church - that was not looked upon favourably by the culture around them. [In some cases that’s true now as well].

They experienced times of calm and times of trial. The ‘calm’ parts were calm because they were allowed to go about their business. the ‘trial’ parts were trials because they were often fleeing persecution and the threat of imprisonment or death, either from religious authorities [think the Apostle Paul before his conversion to Christ] or from the state.

Suffice it to say that they were distracted at times. That’s like us. We’re sometimes so busy just living our lives and living out our faith that we may not have the time or inclination to reflect much on it.

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