07/13/14 A Defense for CHRIST!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Friday, July 18, 2014 Under: Sermon

Text: 1 Peter 3:15-16a (HCSB)

“Honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect.”

Intro: Our VBS theme this year is Agency D3; during the next few days special agents will be on the case to investigate tracing back to the facts-who Jesus really is. First I must admit I hope this investigation is more than a week long, and that we continue to understand who Jesus really is. The lesson truth in the last case study revolves around; Jesus death, burial, and resurrection and this truth demands a response. My hope for the children and parents alike is that we would take serious our understanding of who Jesus is, that He died for our sins, rose and is now alive and we take this evidence and share it!

Application: Making an effective Case for Christ.

To make an effective case for Christ every agent (person) must discover who Christ is, decide whether the evidence is true or false and if the evidence is substantial be willing to defend it.

1. Discover:

“When Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, He found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?” he asked. 37 Jesus answered, “You have seen Him; in fact, He is the One speaking with you.” 38 “I believe, Lord!” he said, and he worshiped Him. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.” John 9:35-39 (HCSB)

Jesus was the One who did the seeking. He sought the man who had been cast out. Anyone can cast a person out—a business, a church, a family, neighbors, and friends. But Jesus seeks the person who is cast out and rejected. He always does, no matter who the person is or what the person has done. The climactic stage of spiritual sight is clearly demonstrated by the man's experience. It is seeing Jesus as the Son of God. This blind man discovered Jesus.

What is the evidence that needs to be discovered?

    Case 1: Is Jesus Really God’s Son?
    Lesson truth: Jesus is the one and only Son of God

    Case 2: Was Jesus More Than Just a Good Man?
    Lesson truth: Jesus was born fully human and fully divine.

2. Decide:

“Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. 19 Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified, and He will be resurrected on the third day.” Matthew 20:18-19 (HCSB)

    Case 3: Did Jesus Really Die?
    Lesson truth: Jesus died an agonizing and sacrificial death.

    Case 4: Is Jesus Alive?
    Lesson truth: Christ was resurrected from the dead according to the scriptures, never to die again.

I guess it comes down to deciding whether we believe in the scriptures and that there was enough evidence to accept who Jesus is and why He came. Every person must decide if Jesus really died and is He now alive?

3. Defend:

“Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.” 20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body.” John 2:19-21 (HCSB)

    Case 5: What Do I Do with the Evidence About Jesus?
    Lesson truth: Jesus death, burial, and resurrection demands a response.

What is it that we really need to defend? To understand this question there is a word that must first be defined. This word is Apologetics; the word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which means to give an apology, apology in this sense doesn’t mean saying you are sorry or making amends; it means to give a proper defense. By definition, Christian apologetics means to make a defense for our faith. When it comes to faith in Christ, what is our best defense?

Much of modern-day apologetics involves deep knowledge aimed at providing proof of the Bible’s claims-making a legitimate case. Understanding historic, scientific, and archaeological advancement that support Christianity in an academic setting is certainly part of apologetics. But it is only part.

Conclusion:

Here are three elements that must also be present when it comes to making an effective case for Christ.

1. HONOR. Without being true to Jesus and living a life that honors Him, our knowledge is empty and ineffective. The world is actively looking to expose believers as hypocrites. All the scientific truth you provide is empty if the life you live doesn’t back up your personal faith in Christ.


2. HOPE. People who do not believe in absolute truth are less likely to find intellectual arguments appealing, no matter how convincing. What they want is hope. And they are not convinced that the Bible provides it. When we provide educated answers, the goal is not to win an argument, but to support the fact that our only hope is Jesus. Our emphasis should be on the word hope.

3. GENTLENESS AND RESPECT. Much like Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well, we must know our audience. In John 4:29, the woman says, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!” Jesus knew her. For us to know our audience in a similar manner calls for a key component to communication: Listening. A gentle answer begins with a gentle ear. Being respected starts with being respectful.

In the world of sharing Christ effectively, apologetics is a necessary skill. It is, however, not one that can be used effectively apart from other skills – namely, people skills. Honoring God, focusing on hope, and being kind are all key components to the defense you make for and in Christ.

In : Sermon 


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