One of the elders in our Church conducted a several week seminar on “Defending Your Faith.” By the end of the sessions it was painfully obvious that most of the attendees really weren’t sure of just what they believe and had little or no idea of how to explain their faith to an inquiring mind. And thus, the dilemma in which we find the Church and the country today. No absolutes, no convictions, no certainty: a Church and a nation set adrift.
Many of us Christians, new and seasoned, find ourselves unable to give an adequate defense of our faith. As most of us are simply “cultural Christians” we simply haven’t developed the solid foundation necessary to present a reasonable case for what we believe. Then, when trying to share our faith with “outsiders” we find that many aren’t interested and some become downright hostile. When confronted by skeptics we find ourselves intimidated by academicians, humanists, evolutionists, et al.
The Apostle Peter says we should always be ready to give a reasonable answer to anyone who asks as why we believe what we do, and to do so with meekness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Paul says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NLT).
Two great principles are advanced above: Share with those who ask and the best witness we can give is our lifestyle, walking in the Way.
Paul instructs Timothy, “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NLT).
A servant of the Lord here is meant a minister of the word. Still, for us laypeople there is a lesson to be gleaned. Be gentle, be patient, be non-argumentative. Don’t become defensive and don’t get carried away in useless, endless speculations.
Paul warns, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” (Philippians 3:2). Our Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount warns, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6 KJV).
[The phrase here] is used in a metaphorical sense; and is generally understood of not delivering or communicating the holy word of God, and the truths of the Gospel, comparable to pearls, or the ordinances of it, to persons notoriously vile and sinful: to men, who being violent and furious persecutors, and impudent blasphemers, are compared to “dogs”; or to such, who are scandalously vile, impure in their lives and conversations, and are therefore compared to swine;
neither cast ye your pearls before swine. But since the subject Christ is upon is reproof, it seems rather to be the design of these expressions, that men should be cautious, and prudent, in rebuking and admonishing such persons for their sins, in whom there is no appearance or hope of success; yea, where there is danger of sustaining loss;
lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you: that is, despise the admonitions and reproofs given, and hurt the persons who give them, either by words or deeds;
Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. (Proverbs 9:6-10 NLT)
The Jews have some sayings much like these, and will serve to illustrate them; אל תשליכו הפנינים לפני החזירים, “do not cast pearls before swine,” nor deliver wisdom to him, who knows not the excellency of it; for wisdom is better than pearls, and he that does not seek after it, is worse than a swine.” John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. Dr. John Gill (1690-1771).
We can hold in our hearts with all confidence and assuredness the God inspired words of David: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalms 19:1-14)
Paul’s words should inspire us every day, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever- living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them . . . “. (Romans 1:16-24 NLT) Emphasis mine
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