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Miranda Writes: Unapologetic About Apologetics, Part 3




by Omar Miranda



We’ve been talking about apologetics these past two weeks, and today is our second-to-last installment. We’ve been looking into a very interesting story that illustrates the important principles of using apologetics—knowing how to effectively defend the Christian faith. In our story Paul is stuck in Athens, Greece, waiting to meet up with his ministry team, and as he’s hanging out in the marketplace, he starts to look around and gets really concerned about the fact that the people in this city and culture don’t know anything about Jesus. So he decides to tell them about Him. We’ve covered the first two points, and for the sake of review they are:

1. We need to care enough about people to be concerned that they will die without a love relationship with Jesus.

2. We should be ready with an effective defense of our faith anywhere and at any time.

The third thing we can learn from this story is that when you share the gospel, understand that there will always be people who disagree with you—and sometimes they’ll be very angry and even verbally abusive! “Some of them [philosophers] were Epicureans and some were Stoics, and they started arguing with him. People were asking, ‘What is this know-it-all trying to say?’ Some even said, ‘Paul must be preaching about foreign gods! That’s what he means when he talks about Jesus and about people rising from death.’ They brought Paul before a council called the Areopagus” (Acts 17:18, 19, CEV).¹

Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t shoot the messenger”? Remember this when you attempt to defend your faith. People sometimes get crazy mad at you and will even threaten you with physical violence. I find it interesting that in today’s culture of tolerance, people want the freedom to express themselves in any way, shape, or form, but you just can’t talk about Jesus!

If you call yourself a Christian and seek to spread the gospel in your everyday life, get ready, because the ugly is coming at you! You might be surprised to know that the world doesn’t hate you, but what they hate is the Jesus in you! Don’t believe me? Jesus told His followers right before He was about to leave them to be crucified that they shouldn’t be surprised that the world will treat them like garbage because that’s how the world treated Him too (John 15:18-22). It’s no fun, but the ugly truth is that you will receive resistance when you share the truth. But be faithful to what God has called you to do. Don’t give up hope.

The next thing you can learn from this story will bring you hope, and it is this: the Holy Spirit will open up incredible opportunities for you to share your faith in an even greater and larger way, whether it be through those people you’ve spoken to who then share with people they know, or, as in Paul’s case, you have the opportunity to share with the same people a second time and explain things further. Look with me at verses 19-21 in Acts 17: “And [they] said, ‘Tell us what your new teaching is all about. We have heard you say some strange things, and we want to know what you mean.’ More than anything else the people of Athens and the foreigners living there loved to hear and to talk about anything new” (CEV).

Now, Athens, with its magnificent buildings and many gods, was a center for Greek culture, philosophy, and education. Philosophers and educated men were always ready to hear something new, so they invited Paul to speak to them at the meeting of the Areopagus, a kind of council or court. The Areopagus was the place where all the smart people in the city came together. They met on a low hill in Athens near the Acropolis. This was the local Starbucks, if you will. The greatest minds of that day and the most influential thought leaders in that society invited Paul to come and talk to them.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:18, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles” (NIV).² You never know what will happen when you are obedient to what God tells you to do. But one thing I know for sure: We don’t ever know how the message we share with somebody will affect them, but we’ve got to share with them, because if we don’t, then who will?

Well, we’ve seen Paul care and share, and next time we’ll see how Paul seamlessly weaves his knowledge of Athenian culture, poetry, music, and literature into the process of not only sharing but effectively defending his faith in Jesus. I hope you’ll come back for the exciting and interesting conclusion to this story.

Until next time, remember God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Make God first above all in your life and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

¹Scripture quotations credited to CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
²Scripture quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

 





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