Christianity is a reasonable faith. You don’t have to hysterical, you don’t have to argue -- all you need to do is to present the facts.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, dear radio friends, how in the world are you? That little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend, Bob Cook. And you and I are back together again around the Word of God. And whether you’re at the breakfast table, or just waking up sleepily rubbing your eyes while still in bed, or driving to work, as in the case of others, or whatever it may be, we’re together with the Word of God, the living eternal, inerrant, infallible, Word of God, the Bible, and we’re praying that it may speak to us. My prayer every day that I face the microphone is, “Lord, may it speak to the personal needs of these people?” I want you to feel as though there’s something special there just for you, and that of course takes a miracle as the Holy Spirit of God may guide what is said. I wanna finish up our discussion of 1 Peter 3:15 and go on perhaps if time serves us. He said, “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 fear.” A small thought here before we go on to that matter of meekness and fear.
Your answer should always include what Peter included, the possibility of your hearer receiving Christ as Savior. The answer that they gave led directly to the challenge to receive Christ as Lord and as Savior. The salesman is taught, as we say, to ask for the order. You can tell all about your product, but if you don’t ask for the order and get the name on the dotted line, you haven’t sold anything. That’s what salesmen have to learn. Well, beloved, we are a far cry from salesmen. We’re not selling anything, but we’re sharing a wonderful person and a wonderful message about him. And anytime you share your Lord with others, just remember to include a loving invitation to accept him as Lord and Savior. Would you do that? Peter did. And so indeed may you and I.
Now when he said, “Give your answer with meekness and fear.” Now, meekness; meekness is a human-to-human quality. Humility is a human being to God quality. Humility is a Godward virtue. Meekness is a manward virtue. And it’s based on the realization that the person with whom you’re dealing is also made in the image and likeness of God. That image is marred by sin, to be sure, but it’s there and human beings are immensely valuable. Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul or once having lost it, what shall he give in exchange?” So, you’re immensely valuable. And so, indeed is the other person to whom you’re speaking, and you need to look at that human being not as looking down upon him or her, not as condescending, not as even coping with a difficult person. A lot of people are difficult, they put thought into being difficult and some people, goodness knows, put effort into being impossible, don’t they?
But your attitude now, if you’re dealing with eternal things has to be of meekness. That is to say this is a God-created valuable human being just as valuable as I, and the potential for blessing is just as much in that life as it is in mine. Or maybe more. Who knows? And so as I approach this conversation I must do so realizing that I am not any better than the person to whom I’m speaking. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Said Jeremiah. You put that in the language of the streets that people understand, and it is actually saying, “You’re lucky that you’re not already lost and in hell.” “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” God has been merciful to me, and so I am not able to talk down to this person. I’m in the same boat. I’m in the same condition. “For all… ” Paul says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And it doesn’t matter whether you missed the train by 30 seconds or by 10 seconds. You both missed it.
So, you give your answer with meekness, you don’t have anything to claim for yourself. All of your claims are found in the Lord Jesus Christ. As L.E. Maxwell said one day, “Young men, we have nothing to promote but Jesus Christ. All of your claims have to do with his merits. Worthy is the lamb that was slain is what they say in heaven.” And you and I do well to echo that sentiment in our dealings with people on Earth; meekness. You, as you speak of your savior, must come fresh from a meeting with him at the mercy seat. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy. When you bow to pray, you’re asking for mercy, not for your just deserts. If you’d had your just deserts you’d already be lost, but Jesus loves you and has saved you, and so as you come to deal with other people, you do so with the profound realization that this is a privilege that God has given you by his grace. He saved you and thus he’s willing to save others.
Then he says, “Do it with respect.” That word ‘fear’ has the genuine meaning of being afraid. We have our English word ‘phobia’. He has a phobia. Homophobic and whatever else. Phobic. That is a fear, a genuine fear of something. In this case, however, I don’t think I am twisting the meaning to tell you that this kind of fear is, you may say twofold. First, the fear of God. “If ye call on the father pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” Says Peter. The fear of God, that is to say the realization that every heartbeat, every breath you owe to him. All he has to do to ruin you is turn away from you. You depend, don’t you, on the faithfulness and love and mercy of God? The fear of God. But also, it’s a wholesome respect for the other human being, realizing that this is a person created in the image of God, although that image has been marred in all of us by sin. Still, there is that basic worth of which the Lord Jesus spoke when he said, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul.” “Ye are of more value.” Said Jesus. So, there is the basic worth of the human being to which you’re paying attention. And then there’s the immense possibility that is wrapped up in this human being.
Do you suppose that the kindly gentlemen who prayed with a 17-year-old shoe clerk in Boston realized that he was praying with a man whose evangelistic efforts would shake two sides of the Atlantic and ultimately the whole world toward God; DL Moody. Do you think he realized that? I don’t think he did.
Do you think that person who prayed with Billy Graham when he was converted as a young man; a good young man but needing the savior. And came to evangelistic meetings. The evangelist preached. Do you think that the person who prayed with William Franklin Graham, knew that he was praying with someone, whose name would become a household word in evangelism and who would preach literally to millions of folk? No, I don’t think that person knew that. You never know what God has in mind for the person with whom you’re sharing Christ. This is the point I’m making. There’s an awesome responsibility to God and to the individual that needs to fill our minds as we talk of things eternal with another human being. Realize the possibilities that are there. What God may do with this life. You don’t know, but God knows. He has a plan. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” The Bible says. So God has a plan for this person to whom you’re speaking, so you give the answer for your faith, and you present the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation through faith in him. But you do it with the fear of God and a sense of respect and awe in the fact that you’re dealing with a human being of limitless possibilities under the grace of God. “Give your answer,” said he, “with meekness and fear.” Wholesome godly respect and a sense of awe because you’re into matters eternal.
The obverse of this is also true if you fail in your presentation. You are responsible for hindering the development of a life that could have great potentials. It has been my sad experience to meet with people who late in life may have decided to trust Christ as Lord and as Savior, inquiring why they did not make that decision before. Often and often, it turns up that there had been some deeply disappointing experience with another human being who was a professing Christian, and that as the young people say, turned them off. And so, the years went by without yielding to Christ, until finally, the gentle Holy Spirit won his way into that heart. Let’s not be responsible for turning somebody off from Jesus. Give your answer with meekness and fear. Meekness because the human being is of immense value and potential. Fear because you’re dealing with things eternal and you don’t want to spoil the plan that God has for that life. There never is a time when you can say, “It doesn’t matter. I don’t have to do this now.” You’re always on stage. You’re always responsible. There always is an audience. There always is a possibility of your influence being used either for or against Jesus. “Be ready, always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Stop long enough on that little word ‘reason’ to remind yourself that Christianity is a reasonable faith. Yes, we proclaim flatly that Jesus is alive. We profess clearly that we know him through faith. But there are also good reasons for our faith. We base our faith on the Bible, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The Bible is in itself a miracle book, written over hundreds of years by many authors, but agreeing in its details, in its prophetic utterances and in its truth about God. A miracle book that has been preserved for us and we base our faith and our hope on the Word of God, “Thus saith the Lord.” Was the credo of the ancient prophets and you and I today, as we face our 20th century counterparts say, The Bible says, “Thus saith the Lord.” a reason… Christianity is a reasonable faith. You don’t have to be hysterical. You don’t have to argue. All you need to do is to present the facts. You are a transformed person since Jesus the living Christ came into your life. The Bible is the Word of God, and it presents the truth of salvation and upon this you base your faith. Well, we’ll go on into 1 Peter 3 the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, may our answer to an unbelieving world be filled with the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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