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Miranda Writes: Unapologetic About Apologetics, Part 4




by Omar Miranda



Hey, I’m glad you returned for our last installment of this most important series on apologetics (which is, for those of you who forgot, the effective defense of the Christian faith).

We’ve been looking at Paul’s time in Athens, when he was hanging out waiting for the rest of his ministry team. Paul, by opening up his mouth and sharing the gospel, has gotten himself into some hot water—or has he? From what we can see in the scriptures about Paul’s ministry, I would daresay that not only was Paul used to being in this position; he was cool with it, as long as he got to talk about Jesus. Talk about a Jesus freak!

We’ve already realized that God will open up an opportunity for you to share your faith and possibly defend it if need be. But if you don’t do it in the right way, then it’s all wasted! That’s why this is the most important part of the whole shebang. This brings us to our fifth point: You’ve got to have done your homework and prayerfully and diligently sought to understand where people are coming from, what their issues are, what their culture is—basically, you’ve got to understand what makes them tick. Here’s the bottom line: When we share and defend the gospel, we should always do it within a context that is familiar to our listener(s). Take some time to review Acts 17:22-31.

Did you read it? Good. Did you notice that Paul not only understood why the Greeks worshipped all the idols they did, but he also understood their literature, and more specifically, their poetry, so that he was able to seamlessly weave all of that into an effective gospel presentation? Now, all the Bible testimony shows that Paul was no dummy. Paul was a very educated man. And let’s be honest—most people aren’t going to be as smart as Paul was. But we still don’t have to worry about that for two reasons:

1. We can ask God for wisdom, and He will give it to us. James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (NIV).¹

2. God promises that when the time is right, He will tell us what to say. Matthew 10:18-20 says: “Because of me, you will be dragged before rulers and kings to tell them and the Gentiles about your faith. But when someone arrests you, don’t worry about what you will say or how you will say it. At that time you will be given the words to say. But you will not really be the one speaking. The Spirit from your Father will tell you what to say” (CEV).²

The apostle Paul brilliantly but simply and effectively explained this concept of sharing and defending the gospel in the letter he wrote to the Christians in the city of Corinth. He basically said this: When it comes to the gospel, we must be all things to all men (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Paul basically said that he didn’t want anything—not even himself—to get in the way of sharing and defending the gospel and the Christian faith. It doesn’t mean that when you explain it you have to become just like them. Not at all! What it means is that you have to strive to understand them and share and defend the gospel and the faith using words, terms, and concepts that your audience can understand.

Our last point is this: God will always reward our step of faith with people won to Him. Read Acts 17:32-34. Paul’s apologetic received mixed reactions. Some made fun of him, some kept searching for more information, but a few believed. Don’t ever hesitate to tell others about Christ because you fear that some will not believe you. God’s word is never wasted and will always pay off in the end (Isaiah 55:10, 11).

People need the good news of Jesus now more than ever. God has placed us on this earth with one purpose: to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to as many people as we possibly can. But many will never see or hear about Jesus unless we share Him. It is not only our responsibility but our privilege to be ambassadors for Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:20, 21).

Jesus is coming soon, and I want to bring with me as many of my family, friends, co-workers, and strangers as I possibly can. I think it’s incredible that God loved me enough to die for me, but it’s even more incredible to me that He loves me enough to trust me to share His story with others. He makes us all ambassadors for Him.

Second Peter 3:10-12 says: “The day of the Lord’s return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are. Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live. You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon” (CEV).

Now that you’ve read it, let’s get to it. Jesus is coming back, and we can help Him get here sooner!

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

¹Texts 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.
²Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

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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