June 22, 2011

The Simplest Apologetics Angle Ever

The great debate echoes through time over the existence of God and the identity of God. Is there a God? Who is the true God? Some people wipe their minds of the need to form an opinion and choose not to choose anything. Others commit to a distinct choice motivated by an intentional pursuit of understanding or cultural influence. These radicals range the spectrum on philosophies and doctrines.

I have made my choice and with that choice comes the responsibility to advocate it. I choose Jesus Christ.

Advocating the gospel is a pretty easy assignment. All I have to do is speak God’s Word already provided to me in the Bible and live according to what I preach so that my speech merits an audience. All I have to do is finish the sentence, “Christ IS . . .” and tell people who Jesus is to me.

Like this . . .

“Christ is ALIVE. Because of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, I am not left to my own devices to navigate this life alone in my sinful nature, but by a strength and wisdom uncommon to natural men.”

“Christ is MERCIFUL. He has always welcomed me back into His presence no matter how disobedient I have been or rotten or undeserving of His forgiveness.”

“Christ is THE GREAT PROVIDER. I have everything I need and more. I can tell you stories of how He provided in ways I could never foresee. He is always a better judge than I am of what will make me ultimately happy.”

See how easy it is? Your segway question into the spiritual conversation could be, “What do you think about Jesus? Do you have an opinion about Him?” Then follow your friend’s reply with the sentence starting, “Christ IS . . .” Allow your disclosure to be personal, honest and heart-felt. Don’t overcomplicate it. Just describe your living Lord.

I have been reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs lately and it is unquestionable that Jesus Christ is God in flesh. Take a moment to reflect on the opposition the Christian faith has overcome throughout history as chronicled by Foxe:

“In the East [eastern province of the Roman Empire], however, the cruel persecutions continued under the rule of Galerius, for it had been he who had incited Diocletian to the great persecution that was going to wipe the Christian Church from the face of the earth. It failed to do so, however, as have all persecutions, for Christ will have His Church upon the earth until He returns.”

“By this public display [being burned alive], the Roman clergy hoped that fear of the Inquisition would be burned into the minds and hearts of those watching the flames consume heretics who opposed the papal church. But those who had true faith in Christ were actually strengthened in their faith as they saw the courage of the martyrs and the grace of God that sustained them through their tortures and in the flames.”

“They could not, however, [bishops of the Catholic Church], by torment, fire, or water, erase his memory or his teachings out of the minds of his supporters. Through them, his memory and teachings would continue to be honored and spread far and wide. In death, Huss was more of a threat to the papacy then in life.”

It is completely illogical that an empty philosophy would prosper in the face of heinous torture and death during every generation since the martyrdom of John the Baptist. How has the gospel message of Jesus Christ survived, please tell me, unless the power which it preaches - everlasting life - cannot be killed?

And how has the Bible become the most abundant book in publication in the history of literature? How can this ancient document be in my house and readily available in so many languages all over of the world?

God’s Word is more than ink on paper, it is inhabited by everlasting life and transforming power.

God said in Isaiah 55:11, " so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

What a proclamation! What a proven fact! God’s Word ACCOMPLISHES His purpose. It LIVES and ACTS. It PENETRATES and transforms.

Give it a try. If you have never taken your spiritual life seriously, if you admit that there’s a lot you don’t know about the Christian God, take a copy of the Bible and get to know its teachings in private. Start with the gospel of John, the fourth book in the New Testament, and read towards the end of the Bible. Then go back and start with Genesis, the first book in the Old Testament. The New Testament introduces Jesus. You will want to learn about Him first before the Old Testament will feel relevant. The gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John repeat each other a good bit, so starting with John will keep you from feeling like you are rereading the same thing multiple times when you begin.

And if you know already know Jesus as your Lord, then give evangelism a try. Finish the sentence . . .

“Christ IS . . .”

Its not that scary. You may be a natural swimmer once you dive into the pool.

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