Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.
–1 Peter 3:15
If we are going to be successful in doing what God has called us to do, we need two resources to effectively market the gospel.
First, we need to be equipped with compelling reasoning. In 1 Peter 3:15, the apostle said, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” We need to be ready to explain the gospel to anyone who asks us. How do we get equipped to do that? Nothing is more powerful than the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” But it’s not enough to spout off Bible verses to people. Look at the example of Paul. He used the Word of God, but he also explained the Word of God. Paul used logical arguments and interesting illustrations to drive home the point about why Christ is the only way to be saved. If we are going to be effective foot soldiers for Christ, we need compelling reasoning.
Second, we need an unwavering resolve to share this message. If you are committed to sharing the exclusivity of Christ, don’t be surprised at the pressure you will encounter to compromise on this issue. More than forty years ago, I was president of my high school’s student council. One of my duties was to lead the prayer at the first football game of the season. That particular game we were playing a school that had a large Jewish population, and the officials pulled me aside and said, “In your prayer please do not say, ‘In Jesus’s name.’ That would be offensive to many people here tonight.” I had dedicated my life to being a pastor, so I thought, “If I’m going to begin my ministry by compromising and denying the only name under heaven by which we can be saved, I don’t have any reason being in the ministry. I might as well just give it up right now.” That night, I prayed with evangelistic fervor. But since that time, I’ve seen the pressure to compromise on this issue intensify on every Christian. You’ve felt that pressure, haven’t you? You experience that pressure when you’re reluctant to insist in a conversation at school or at work that those who don’t trust in Christ are destined to eternity in hell. You feel that pressure to compromise when you are hesitant to go too deep in a conversation with someone about their need to trust in Christ, thinking you don’t want to appear condemning. Christians are being bullied by those outside the faith and badgered by those inside the faith to be more inclusive about the people God allows into heaven. People say, “Let’s move the fence and be more inclusive.” The problem is, we don’t have the authority or the ability to move that fence. God has established that fence. He has established who can enter into heaven. Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, “The gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Christianity’s Most Offensive Belief” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.