Our Reason To Others
You’re not required to be smart or to be different -- all you have to do is be real with God and be faithful in sharing your Savior with others.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? Well, this is your early riser, Bob Cook. In these busy days, I find that the best time for me to share some portions of the Word of God with you turns out to be in the early morning hours. And it’s still dark outside, but I’ve got the light burning in my heart. [chuckle] Hallelujah. There is sunshine in my soul today. Ah yes, and I’m glad to be back with you, my precious friend.
We’re looking at the early chapters of the Book of Acts as a commentary on 1 Peter 3:15. Do you recall that, those of you who were with us the last time? Peter said, “But sanctify the Lord God in your heart, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, and do it with meekness and respect,” for the other person, that is. And we dwelt for a while on that idea of giving God a special place in your heart as God. The verb “to sanctify” is used in different ways, to make holy, or to set aside for holy use, to set aside for God’s special use, God’s special person, to be separated from anything that would defile. The priests and the Levites were told, “Sanctify yourselves before the great day of the feast,” and all of that. So the thrust of this verse is, give God a special place in your hearts as God. It must be admitted that many a sincere Christian believer thinks of God in a separate third-party sense. It’s what the philosopher calls the I-Thou relationship. God is up there, I’m down here, and there’s a distance.
But Paul tells us very clearly that the secret of the Christian life is Christ in you, the hope of glory. And “know ye not that ye are the temple of God. The Spirit of God dwelleth in you.” Romans 8, “He that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of his.” So, either if you look at it from the positive or the negative side, the New Testament teaches us that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the heart of the believer the moment of being born again. So, it’s not God up in heaven and I down here. Yes, he is in heaven but he’s everywhere else as well, including, he’s personally dwelling within you by His blessed Holy Spirit. You follow that so far?
Now then, if that be so, and since it is so, you need then to approach this whole matter of your relationship with God, with the realization that the Holy Spirit of God is within you. It’s not you here and God up there. It’s you here and God in you, God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within you. So, all that Peter is saying is, give God a chance to act like God in your life. Give him a special place in your life as God. That means worship Him, that means ask for his guidance, that means obey Him promptly when the Spirit of God nudges you in a given direction. That means quickly, quickly confess when you’re out of line. Don’t wait and wait until the world falls in on you, and then pray desperately for God’s help. Sanctify, set aside a special place in your heart for God because he’s God and he’s there with you now.
That’s why Paul can say in 1 Corinthians 1, “Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” The indwelling savior, by His Holy Spirit, can become to you everything you need to live successfully. Wisdom, that’s what to do with what you know. Righteousness, that’s the quality of being spontaneously good. Sanctification, that’s the quality that we’ve just been talked about, being set aside especially for God to use without being pious and sanctimonious. Redemption, that’s the quality of wrapping up all of life in the miracle of saving grace, and making every moment a divine adventure in the purpose of God. Christ does it all in your life, as you give him a special place on the throne of your life.
Dr Bill Bright, who leads this great Campus Crusade for Christ organization has originated a little document that has been distributed by the multiplied millions across the world in many languages, called The Four Spiritual Laws. And in the process of describing those four great principles, he points out that either you are on the throne of your life, or God is. And the experience of becoming a believer involves stepping down from the seat of control in your life, and by faith, placing Christ on the throne of your life. Sanctify the Lord as God in your hearts. “Now,” he said, “Be ready always.” And we stop for a moment to remind you that you’re always on stage. There never is a time when you can say, “It doesn’t matter now.”
Every moment of your life, someone is watching you and evaluating your Jesus by what they see in your conduct, and in your attitude. Always ready. “Now,” He says, “Give an answer for the hope that is in you, and do it with meekness and with respect for the other person.” The last time we got together, we had just begun to talk about this matter of how do you answer? And we referred then to the opening chapters of the Book of Acts. Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, his remarks later when they were, Peter and John were brought out of the overnight prison in the Jerusalem Hilton prison. [chuckle] And some of the other post-Pentecost sermons that were preached, all of them began with the flat out assertion “Jesus is alive.”
Your answer to the skeptical world is the proclamation that the Savior is alive. He’s risen. Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept. The proof of what God is doing and will do in human lives that trust Him is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Someone has said it’s the best authenticated fact in history. We take blithely the statements about historical facts because the books say so. When you dig back, you find that some things that were so, just weren’t so. But if you study the facts concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, you find that it was indeed witnessed and attested to by so many witnesses and under so many different conditions that, as I say, someone has said it’s the best authenticated fact of history.
We know that he’s alive because we talked to him today, right? That’s what Stuart Hamblen, who is now with his Lord, said one day when he was riding on an airplane seated next to an agnostic or atheist, whatever the person was, who was mocking at him and saying, “Ha-ha. You actually believe that there’s a God?” And Stuart, in his straightforward Texan way, said, “Why certainly, I just talked to him this morning.” [chuckle] There is no denying that the reality of the risen Christ is a fact. And so, your answer to a skeptical world may very well be again with the Proclamation that Jesus Christ is alive. He’s alive. He lives. Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, salvation to impart. You ask me how I know he lives? Why, he lives within my heart?
That’s one great starting place, and the answer that people in the early days, post-Pentecost days, gave to those who were questioning. This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel, a reference to the scripture, a reference to the scripture. These men are not drunken, as ye suppose, but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel and shall come to pass in the last days. “Saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” Jesus is alive and the Holy Spirit has been given and he’s living in my heart. Transformed lives, verses 17 and 18 of Acts Chapter 2. Transformed human beings because of the presence of the Spirit of God, because Jesus rose from the dead. Salvation freely offered to those who believe. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The dreadful fact of personal sin, verse 23. “Him being delivered by the determinate council and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands, have crucified and slain.” The fact again of the resurrection, whom God raised up having loosed the pains of death, it was not possible that He should be held by it. And then in verse 32, we are all witnesses. We’ve been there. We’ve been there. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. Then the offer, free offer of salvation. The same thought was presented in Chapter 4 of the Book of Acts. Jesus is alive and salvation is only through Him. Now, that’s the answer that you have to give to the world. Small thought here, you’re not required to be clever or novel. All you have to be is faithful and true. Because the facts will speak for themselves.
I’ve been in a few hearings of one sort and another, in connection with government matters, and organizational matters, and have been called upon to give depositions, under oath, that sort of a thing. And the one thing that sticks in your mind, having listened to testimony and having given testimony yourself, the one thing that sticks in your mind is that the attorney or the judge very frequently will remind the witness, “We don’t care about your opinion, we just want the facts. What do you know about this that really happened?” You’re not required to be smart, or to be different, or to give your opinion. None of these things is a requirement, so as far as your witness to the world is concerned. All you have to do is be real with God and be faithful in sharing your savior with others, and just tell the truth and live the truth, because as I said at the outset of this broadcast, people are constantly watching to evaluate our Christ on the basis of what they see in us.
Well, be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. He used the word hope and you go back to the beginning of 1 Peter, and he said, “We’ve been born again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a living hope.” What really then is the basis for the hope we have of immortality, and heaven with Christ? It’s the fact that we have a living Savior. The person is the basis for the hope. It’s not a set of truths and not a set of doctrines, important as doctrine is, but our hope is based on the fact that he said, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” And we get back to the rest of this verse the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, oh, make us people who are faithful and true in just giving the reason why we trust in Jesus. In His name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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