The title of this piece derives from a commandment given to all Christians by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, “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”Let us address the first half of the verse as the prerequisite for obeying the last half:
- ESV “But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy;”
- NAS “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts;”
- NIV “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord;”
- RSV “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.”
It seems to me that the NIV best represents the intended meaning. Sanctify means “set apart,” and Christ (God) should be submitted to as Lord.
Okay, so we start with born-again Christians whose hearts are submitted to the Lordship of their Savior.
Then we are to always be ready to give a reason (the main thrust of the verse which is considered at length below).
Which we are to deliver with meekness and fear, or better per other versions, with gentleness and respect or reverence, i.e. with a loving, caring attitude.
The Main Thrust
The main thrust of 1 Peter 3:15 starts with the words always be ready, clearly indicating the importance of the words following. The Christian does not know when or where or to whom he/she might have to make a defense, so must always be ready. Note the similarity to the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared.
So what is it that we need to defend? “The reason for the hope that is in us.” So what is the “hope that is in us?” Peter describes it immediately after his salutation in this very same letter, 1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again (we have been born-again) to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” The hope Peter is talking about is defined by combining the underlined portions of the above passage thus, “A living hope, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, reserved in heaven for you,” i.e. our hope of eternal life in heaven after we die.
With this introduction, we return to the title of this study, “Always Be Ready.” What does this consist of, and where do we find it? It consists of information found in the Christian Bible (such as the lead verse, 1 Peter 3:15, quoted in the first paragraph of this study). If being ready involves the information contained in the Christian Bible, part of our defense will be to defend the Bible itself.
The Christian Bible
The first book ever printed with moveable type on a printing press was the Christian Bible. It was the Latin Vulgate Version of the Roman Catholic Church and was produced about 1450 AD. It was called the Gutenberg Bible after the name of the inventor of the printing press. The Protestant Reformation, less than a century later, released the Bible to the laity, and it quickly became the best-selling book in the world, and still is, by far. No one knows how many copies have been printed, but it is clearly in the billions, and it is obviously the most influential book ever written.
If we are to defend the Bible, we better know a good deal about it:
- The Bible consists of the sacred writings (Scripture) of the Christian religion;
- The Bible says of itself, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), and “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Thus:
- The Bible claims that its contents were authored by God the Holy Spirit but written down by various holy men of God. Therefore;
- The Bible is God’s word to mankind! Every true Christian should firmly believe this to be true and defend it tenaciously.
The Bible contains two major parts, or testaments, which in turn are divided into a number of smaller parts, called books;
- The Old Testament, consisting of 39 books, the first of which is Genesis (written about 1440 BC), and the last of which is Malachi (written about 450 BC);
- The New Testament, consisting of 27 books, the first of which is Matthew (written 50-75 AD), and the last of which is Revelation (written about 95 AD);
- Notice the dating. It is either BC or AD. These acronyms stand for Before Christ and Anno Domini (Latin for “In the year of the Lord”), respectively. Some, for the sake of simplicity, interpret AD as “After (Christ’s) Death;”
- Get the implication, Jesus Christ, the central theme of the Bible, is so important that time is divided as being either before or after Jesus’ birth! In an attempt to defeat this testimony as to the importance of Jesus, the secular world has invented BCE and CE, standing for Before Common Era and Common (current) Era, respectively. Isn’t that pathetic?
The 39 books of the Old Testament were written by its various authors in the Hebrew language (except for a few passages in Aramaic) over a period of about 990 years. With the writing of Malachi (about 450 BC) the Old Testament was complete, and was recognized as Sacred Scripture.
But only Israel used the Hebrew language, and Greek was becoming the lingua franca of the whole world. So, during the third and second centuries BC, seventy two scholars, six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, translated the Hebrew Bible into koine (common, vs classical) Greek. This version of the OT is known as the Septuagint or LXX (seventy–a rounded off seventy two) in honor of the scholars who translated it. It was reputed to be the first book ever translated into another language. By the time of the Septuagint, Hebrew was a dead language, with the Israelites using Aramaic and Greek as their language. The Greek Septuagint OT was the only Scripture Jesus used and quoted from.
The books of the New Testament were written by its various authors in Greek over a period of up to 45 years, ending about 95 AD. It was at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD that the NT as we have it was certified as Sacred Scripture.
Thus, now in 2016, the Church has had the whole Bible, Christianity’s Sacred Scripture, for 1619 years. Satan and his dupes in this world have viciously attacked it for the entire time. Yet it is still the Word of God, still the world’s best selling book! *Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven!” (From here on verses marked with an asterisk need to be memorized as part of Always Being Ready)
We have devoted ourselves to the defense of the Bible itself. Now, from within the Bible, we need to address a number of truths and find the scripture verses to defend them.
The first verse in the Bible (Old Testament) is *Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” A related verse in the New Testament is *John 1:1, “In the beginning was The Word (Jesus’ name before the incarnation), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The second verse in the Bible (Old Testament) is Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Thus we see the Trinity (God, the Word and the Holy Spirit) involved in the beginning of creation. The methodology of creation is described in *Psalm 33:6, 9a, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth, for He spoke, and it was done.”
Jesus is said to have been the special divine agent in creation in several places:
- *John 1:3, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made;”
- *Colossians 1:16-17 (NIV), “For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Cf *Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” There was no pre-existing material;
- *Hebrews 1:1-2, “God…… has in these last days spoken to us by His Son……through whom also He made the worlds;”
Evolution is dead (proven wrong). So who killed it? Who proved it wrong? Scientists and science, the very forces that invented it in the first place, and have been feverishly trying, in vain, to prove it for 155 years. Here is the story:
- On November 24, 1859, Charles Darwin published the “Origin of the Species,” the foundation of the theory of evolution. Secular scientists seized on it with great fervor, and have been endeavoring to prove the theory of evolution ever since. For the last 80 years of my life, the time when I was aware of such things, they have been trying to find “missing links” between the species, to no avail. Secular education became their partner. They have never been able to come even close to proving evolution, but have proclaimed it as a proven fact in spite of the complete lack of evidence;
- In recent decades science has become the enemy of the scientists. The “simple cell,” which supposedly evolved out of some primordial goo as the first form of life, was not simple! In fact the simplest cells found to date are incredibly complicated! As the micro-biologists turned their electron microscopes on them, these simple cells were obviously the result of intelligent design. Some honest scientists and teachers gave up on evolution, some even becoming Christians, realizing that the source of the intelligent design was God;
- Most were unwilling to go in that direction, and clamped a frantic censorship on the very phrase, “Intelligent Design;”
- Some scientists even suggested that aliens from outer space brought the life here.
The secular world is scared to death of the Bible, Christianity, and the idea of a Creator-God to whom they might be accountable. Their house of cards (evolution) has collapsed, and they are frantically trying to suppress the news of that fact, and to find another license to sin (perceived freedom to sin without penalty-if there is no Creator-God, there is no one to answer to because there is no absolute right and wrong).
True Christians, on the other hand, can be fortified in their faith. For too long they have been on the defensive against evolutionists’ attacks on them. Now it is the evolutionists who are on the defensive! “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Caution! While evolution is dead (proven false), it is still not buried and forgotten:
- It is still filed in the minds of millions of teachers, professors, scientists and the rest of secular humanity;
- It is still archived in countless textbooks, scientific journals, literature, movies, and TV programs;
- It has in the past 155 years been a factor in preventing millions (or probably billions) of people from accepting Christ as savior;
- In the future its discredited remains will no doubt cause millions more to perish.
Is there anything that can deter this proven lie from further damaging mankind? Yes, we as Christians can:
- Pray that evolution will be further discredited;
- Pray that God will open the minds of those who still believe in it;
- In witnessing to the unsaved show them that evolution is false, and they need to realize they will have to give account to their Creator-God for what they have done in this life.
The Sin Problem
Genesis 1:26a, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” The plural pronouns indicate a conversation among the persons of the Godhead:
- God (in the New Testament, God the Father), a spirit being having no body);
- The Word (the pre-incarnate Jesus), a spirit being having no body;
- The Spirit of God (in the New Testament the Holy Spirit), a spirit being having no body.
*Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” So what does “in the image of God” mean?
- It has nothing to do with our bodies, since all three members of the Godhead (at that time) were pure spirit beings);
- Instead, it had to do with the personhood of each member of the Godhead;
- That would be having Will, Intellect and Emotion, described thus;
- Will—the power of choice;
- Intellect—the power to think or reason;
- Emotion—able to experience feelings.
After God finished creating man and woman, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth (creative) day (Genesis 1:31). NOTE! The first man and woman (Adam and Eve) created by God, with Will, Intellect and Emotion, were VERY GOOD!
Genesis 2:8-9, “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man (and Eve, after she was created) whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” A wonderful place to live! There were a few simple rules they were to follow as underlined in the following passage. Genesis 2:15-17, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
How long Adam and Eve lived in bliss in the garden of Eden, enjoying fellowship with God we are not told. It was probably a considerable length of time as God’s joining them in the garden seemed to be an established practice.
But at some point “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9)” tempted Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:6 tells what happened, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Both of them abused their free will and chose to follow Satan’s temptation instead of obeying God’s commandment, the first sins of mankind! (Sin is disobeying God’s commandments) The theological term for this terrible event is THE FALL. Mankind (Adam and Eve and their descendants) had fallen from their exalted position of living in sweet fellowship with God in a paradise. Some of the consequences of this terrible event are:
- Adam and Eve died spiritually as they ate (their fellowship with God was broken). This would remain in effect for their descendants as they were born;
- They began to die physically;
- They were evicted from the Garden of Eden and prevented from returning;
- Their natures were fallen (inclined to sin and violence) and inherited by every human born thereafter, alas! This fallen nature is called by various other names in the New Testament: Old man; Flesh; Sin nature;
- The earth was cursed, Genesis 3:17-19, “Then to Adam He (God) said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat, cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.’”
- All of which constitute The Sin Problem!
The Sin Problem—Ancient Background
Long before man was created on earth, God had created an order of beings in heaven called angels (angel-messenger, envoy, one who is sent). A huge number of them were created to serve God’s heavenly purposes. Some things we know about angels, gleaned from the whole bible:
- They are like God, pure spirit beings, having no material bodies;
- They are like God, invisible to the human eye (unless specially enabled by God);
- They are like God and humans, persons having will, intellect and emotion;
- They are unlike humans because having no bodies, they are unable to reproduce themselves;
- They are immortal (they will never cease to exist);
- They were created totally good (else they could not stay with God in heaven).
Angels are organized in a military fashion with ranks according to their duties, power and authority. The highest rank is Archangel, of which three are mentioned in the Bible by name:
- Gabriel (Hero of God)-He personally delivered revelations from God to Daniel, to the parents of John the Baptist and to the virgin Mary. He apparently heads up a division of angels devoted to Communications;
- Michael (Who is like God)-Seems to be the head of a warrior division of angels devoted to adjusting and defending Israel. He is mentioned by name in Daniel, Jeremiah, Jude and Revelation;
- Lucifer (Light Bearer, Morning Star, Son of the Morning)-as his name suggests , he headed up the division of angels which led the whole angelic population in worshipping God. It is about Lucifer that we need to seek further information.
What we know about Lucifer comes to us indirectly through two related passages of scripture, one in which God is addressing the king of Babylon, the other in which God is addressing the king of Tyre.
The only occurrence of Lucifer’s name is in the first passage , Isaiah 14:12-14, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” This passage obviously deviates from the King of Babylon to the spirit-being behind him, Lucifer. No king of Babylon had that name, and certainly none of them could have been in heaven as “son of the morning!” Note the prideful, arrogant and blasphemous thoughts in Lucifer’s heart underlined in the text above.
The second related passage is Ezekiel 28:12-16, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes (musical instruments of a worship leader) was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub (a spirit-being in the immediate presence of God) who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.” This message to the king of Tyre is obviously directed to the spirit-being behind the king, and that spirit-being is Lucifer, just as in the Isaiah passage.
By combining truths expressed in these two passages of Scripture we can conclude:
- That Lucifer was created a beautiful, powerful and exalted servant of God;
- That he became proud of his beauty, wisdom and power;
- That he was no longer content to lead the worship of God, but determined to be like the most high God and be worshipped himself;
- That Lucifer’s pride and subsequent actions comprised the first sin in the universe;
- That the very first sin was by a spirit-being in heaven. Thus, the sin of Adam and Eve was not the very first sin, but was the first human sin.
Lucifer’s sin, like an infectious disease, spread to one third of the angels! Revelation 12:3-4a, “And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon (one of the names of Lucifer after he sinned) having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven (angels) and threw them to the earth.” Another passage of scripture lists other names by which the name Lucifer was replaced, Revelation 20:2, “And he (an unnamed angel) laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” So, after his fall, the name Lucifer disappears, to be replaced by a number of different names:
- Old Serpent-the animal by which he made his appearance to Adam and Eve;
- And others, such as: deceiver, father of lies; the evil one and prince of the power of the air.
Does it seem like we are spending too much time and space on the devil? Then let us consider the following:
- As a beautiful, powerful archangel named Lucifer, Son of the Morning, he fell into pride and decided he would be like the most high, and thus brought the first sin into God’s universe;
- One third of the angels followed him in rebellion against God;
- The devil and his angels, now evil and fallen, were cast down from heaven to earth;
- There, in the guise of a serpent and in his role as a deceiver, he tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God;
- In disobeying God they committed the first human sins and became estranged from God;
- This is only the beginning. Later we will discuss the further “wiles of the devil.”
The Sin Problem-What Will God Do?
Four related scriptures are quoted below. All of them occur in the Garden of Eden. The first three give information needed to understand what God did as described in the fourth passage:
- Genesis 1:27-28a, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth;’”
- Genesis 2:24-25, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
- Genesis 3:6-11, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’”
- Genesis 3:21, “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” (A tunic was a long gown-like outer garment),
What God did towards solving the sin problem was to make skin tunics for Adam and Eve. How could that help? Let us list pertinent facts from the first three quotations:
- Mankind started when God created one male (Adam) and one female (Eve) in His own image;
- Adam and Eve were both naked, and were not ashamed in the presence of each other or of God;
- In all future generations, the man was to leave his parents and be joined (married) to his wife, the marital relationship of which would make them “one flesh;”
- God blessed them, and ordered them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. All this before they had sinned;
- When Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, they realized that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness, and hid from God. Their sin was disobedience, not sexual. God had ordered them to have sex in order to populate the earth. Their angst was because they knew they were unholy people in a holy place and expecting a holy God to show up. The fig leaves did not work to mitigate their fear.
Between the third and fourth quotes above God pronounced judgment on Adam, Eve, the Serpent and the earth as a result of their sin. Then, in preparation for their being put out of the Garden of Eden (part of the judgment), God made tunics of skin to clothe Adam and Eve. At first glance this seems odd, but it is of great significance. Since the tunics were made of skin, there had to have been the sacrifice of animals (probably lambs) with the shedding of their blood.
We can learn more about sacrifice in Genesis 4:1-5, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat (the lamb had been sacrificed and its blood shed). And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” Hebrews 11:4 comments on this, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”
So, at the very beginning, for man to reestablish a relationship with God, a blood sacrifice looking forward to Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself was needed. This principle was dynamically illustrated by the institution of the Passover sacrifice in Egypt as recorded in Exodus chapter twelve (Please read if you are not familiar with it). This principle was formalized for the nation Israel beginning at Exodus 24:14 where their three major annual feasts are mandated. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which culminates in the Passover, is the first feast in the list. In addition to the sacrifice of the Passover, there was a whole system of daily sacrifices conducted first in the Tabernacle, later in the Temple.
We need to expand a little on this matter of sacrifice, and its centrality to the relationship between God and mankind:
- As created, God evaluated mankind (as represented by Adam and Eve) as VERY GOOD;
- He put them in a paradise called the Garden of Eden. There was plenty of food supplied by a wonderful orchard. The garden required a minimum of tending and keeping. They would be in blessed fellowship with their Creator-God, Who had commanded them to start raising a family. There was one solemn rule, they were NOT to eat of the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if they did they would surely die (spiritually-i.e. be separated from God);
- Even before they started their family, Satan deceived them and they both ate of the forbidden fruit. Their sweet fellowship with God was broken, and their human spirit became a fallen nature, inclined to sin;
- There was no way that sinful, fallen mankind, each person with a nature inclined to sin, could reverse the damage. The human family would eventually grow to billions. What could possibly provide a remedy for the sins of billions of people? Only God’s love;
- *John 3:16, “For God so loved the world (mankind) that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ) that whoever believes in Him should not perish (go to hell) but have everlasting life (go to heaven).” Note, God gave His Son;
- John 10:17, 18, “Therefore My Father loves Me (Jesus), because I lay down My life that I may take it again (rise from the dead-be resurrected). No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” Note-Jesus gave his life;
- How could this be? [God had no Son. The Godhead (Trinity) consisted of three Persons: God, the WORD, and the Holy Spirit.] The Virgin Mary asked the same question of the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:30, 31, 34, 35, “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’” Nine months latter the baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem;
- This incredible event has the theological name, “Incarnation” (in flesh). It is beautifully described in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;”
- The significance of this is shown in 1 Peter 3:18 (just 3 verses after our “always be ready” verse), “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” The Word, second person of the eternal Creator-God, could not die. But, incarnate in the flesh (human body), the human body part of Jesus could die;
- The Word lived in a human body for about 33 years. Listen to what Hebrews 4:15 says about Him, “For we do not have a High Priest (Jesus) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin;”
- Aha! Now we have an offering that, when sacrificed, is sufficient to solve the sin problem;
- As incarnate in a human body, He has no sins of His own to disqualify Him;
- As to His human body, He can die;
- As to the Word, Creator-God, inhabiting a human body, he is of infinite worth.
THE DEATH, BURIAL AND
RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Central Event Of Human History
The Solution Of The Sin Problem
Jesus Christ, the sufficient offering, at the human age of 33, was sacrificed (by crucifixion). The Apostle Paul describes this in 1 Corinthians 15:1a, 3b, 4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel (Good News): that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that He was buried; and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
The event that the Old Testament saints, mostly believing Israelites, had been looking forward to in faith for millennia had come to pass! The promised Messiah had come and offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice, just as Isaiah had prophesied. Isaiah 53:1-7, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, every one, to his own way and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
This, the same event to which the Old Testament saints looked forward to in faith, the New Testament saints (the Church, believing Jews and Gentiles) look back to in faith.
The Nitty-gritty of Always Being Ready
The Initial obstacle-unbelievers who ask for a reason for one’s hope are spiritually blind, per *2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age (Satan) has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” This obstacle will have to be dealt with through prayer and spiritual warfare (covered below in Modus Operandi, bullets one and two), and is the main reason we have spent considerable time examining the fallen angels.
The Venue (scene or locale of an action or event)-Any place or situation where:
- Believers and unbelievers are exposed to each other, and where;
- Their interaction is of sufficient duration that they are able to evaluate each other.
The Believing player:
- At least one born-again Christian;
- Whose heart is submitted to the Lordship of his/her Savior;
- Whose life displays a noticeable hope (of eternal life and all its ramifications);
- Who is always ready to give a reason for the hope he/she has and presents it with a loving, caring attitude.
The unbelieving player:
- At least one unbeliever;
- Who has noticed the hope in the believing player, and;
- Is at least curious enough to ask for a reason for his/her hope.
- That the believer present the reason for his/her hope under the anointing of the Holy Spirit;
- That the unbeliever desires the hope for himself/herself and receives Christ as Savior and Lord;
- And that it not be a play at all, but a real, historical event that counts for eternity!
So, when someone asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you, buy a little time to pray and do spiritual warfare. Perhaps by saying, “Thank you for your interest. Let me think for a few seconds as how best to start.” Then:
- Call for help-Shoot up a prayer, “Help, Father, in Jesus’ name please remove the blindness of this person’s mind and guide me in what to say,” and;
- Under your breath say, “Satan (this includes him and all his demons), depart and leave us alone!” Then;
- Answer the questioner aloud according to the guidance for which you prayed;
- This will consist of a mixture of your testimony and pertinent scripture verses which you have memorized.
Your testimony is a very powerful asset for your presentation. For instance, suppose an unbelieving acquaintance says to you, “I notice from time to time you say something that indicates that you are not afraid of death. Why aren’t you afraid of dying?” Your reply might be something like this, “I used to be afraid of dying and didn’t like to think about it, but when I asked Jesus to be my Savior that dread disappeared. The Bible, in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, told me what would happen, “So we (believers in Jesus) are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
Suggested Memory Verses
Memorize them from the Bible you carry around and normally read from. That way they will all be from the same version, and you can let the inquirer read them from your Bible while you quote them. That will give added credence to your words (assuming you know the books of the Bible and don’t have to fumble around looking for the passage you are going to quote). You don’t know the books of the Bible? Now is the time to learn them!
This is just a starting list. You will naturally add others as you read and study the Bible:
The fallen nature-Jeremiah 17:9; Galatians 5:17;
The prevalence of sin-Romans 3:9-10, Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:10;
The result of sin-Romans 6:23; James 1:15;
Salvation through faith-Ephesians 2:8; Acts 16:31;
Whence faith-Romans 10:17;
Salvation not of works-Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5;
Saved unto good works-Ephesians 2:10;
Salvation changes destination-John 3:16;
Being saved, what to love-Mark 12:30-31;
Being saved, what not to love-1 John 2:15-17;
Kingdom blessings-Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13; John 14:27; Philippians 4:7
Jesus’ power and promised presence-Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 13:5-6;
If we sin as Christians-1 John 1:8-9;
Attending a local church-Hebrews 10:24-25;
The blessed hope-Titus 2:11-14; John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-18.
If someone asks you about the hope and you don’t have the right verses memorized yet, you can salvage it. Say something like this, “I know what I want to say, but I would like to search out a few more Bible verses to give a better answer. If you give me your Email address I will get back to you promptly.”
Let’s all pray for one another that we will be able to memorize the needed Scriptures and keep in mind the other data presented.