Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on May 10, 2016, is provided by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church (Raleigh). David, a graduate of Drexel University and Columbia International University (M.Div.) is married to Helen (“Pie”) and they have three beautiful daughters (Cara, Phoebe, and Ruth).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Defending Our Faith”
And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied: “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11 You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, 12 and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
One of the challenges of being a Christian today is learning how to defend your faith (often referred to as apologetics). Being part of a pluralistic society, we often hear people in our schools and work places discredit the truths of Christianity. The question I want to challenge us with today is: “Would you know how to defend your faith if someone tried to discredit or disprove Christianity?”
In his book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, William Lane Craig pointedly says: “If Christians could be trained to provide solid evidence for what they believe and good answers to unbelievers’ questions and objections, then the perception of Christians would slowly change. Christians would be seen as thoughtful people to be taken seriously rather than as emotional fanatics or buffoons. The gospel would be a real alternative for people to embrace.”
As Paul faces Felix, he is allowed to defend the gospel that put him in prison. He defends the accusations against him that he is a troublemaker and a leader of the Way – a Nazarene sect. He actually ends up agreeing with the substance of the accusations and briefly shares that he does worship the one true God. Paul defends his faith with much wisdom and boldness.
In order to grow in the area of apologetics, I want to suggest a few ideas: (1) Study the Word diligently: know what the Word says about major themes and doctrines of faith; (2) Read books on apologetics: There are many books written that will explain how to defend your faith. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, and Tim Keller have all written excellent books on apologetics.
Prayer: Lord, help us to be people who know how to defend our faith in this unbelieving and hostile world. We need Your guidance and wisdom to speak the truth when opportunities arise. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Colossians 4:5-6: Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Questions to Consider
- What do you think it means to walk in wisdom towards outsiders?
- How can our speech be gracious and seasoned with salt?
- How do these verses apply to you personally?
- The basic gospel message is easy to learn, but it takes wisdom to present it in a way that will not unnecessarily create obstacles to its truth in the hearts and minds of unbelievers. To warn people of the judgment, due to their sin, with honesty, love, and humility can be difficult. We can fall into the trap either of being so concerned about sounding judgmental that we never talk about sin, or of being so self-righteous that we forget the grace shown to us—and treat people as if they are so unclean that Jesus could never forgive nor welcome them into His kingdom.
- The Greek words that are behind “speech,” “gracious,” and “salt” are used together in first-century literature to refer to speech that is gracious and attractive — winsome, even witty words that are also spoken in a humble manner. In other words, the apostle wants the presentation of the gospel to the outside world done in a manner that captures the gospel’s excitement, and that is able to answer the unbeliever’s legitimate questions.
- Reflect and apply.
Spend time in personal prayer. Ask the Lord to speak to you on the things you have read and meditated on today.