When it comes to learning about sharing the faith with others, one of the most important factors, at least biblically speaking, is the manner in which we do it. At this time, I am not referring to our ability to recall scriptures or our understanding of various teachings found in the bible, both of which would be helpful. What we are considering today is how we present to others the hope we have in Christ to others.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear . . . 1st Peter 3:15
At the very center of the sharing of the gospel is this thing called hope, something we will look into in my next lesson. One thing for sure is this, to be able to present hope to others, you must first have hope. As His followers, we are called to “sanctify the Lord God in our hearts.” What exactly does that mean? Sanctify simply means to set apart or separate. Vine’s goes on to say that it is “the acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ.” When Christ is the center of our lives, the natural byproduct will be hope, even when faced by threats from unbelievers. (1st Peter 3:14)
With our hope securely in place and evidenced in our lives, we can prepare ourselves to “give a defense” concerning it. The word defense (NIV says reason) means account or explanation in reference to judgment. And when faced with such an opportunity, how we present that hope becomes critical: Two very important words are used by the Holy Spirit through Peter to help us understand how we are to give that defense, that answer. First, we are to do it with meekness (NIV says gentleness) which means mildness and speaks to the “attitude toward” the one questioning them. Fear (NIV says respect) on the other hand, is the attitude the believer has toward God.
When these attitudes are properly balanced in the believer’s heart, he or she is ready and more than likely, willing to present to others the hope that they have, to anyone who may ask them. May we sanctify God in our hearts so His kingdom can grow.