Apologetics – Introduction – I Peter 3:15

 
This morning we begin a series of lessons on Apologetics.

Who can define the word “Apologetics”? According to the dictionary, Apologetics is “the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.” The second more general definition: “A formal argumentation in defense of something.” The word “apologetics” has nothing to do with making apologies for mistakes or errors in thinking. It is the science of “defending,” in the sense of “explaining,” what we believe to be true. Is Christianity only something that we BELIEVE to be true? Why then do you suppose that I worded my definition in that way? It’s because the world says, “Well that is only what you believe.”

We are going to look at things that we believe to be true, because they are found in the Bible. If they are found in the Bible, they are true, whether anyone believes them or not. But, if they are found in the Bible we are all responsible to believe them to be true and to believe them.

How many times is the Biblical word “apologia” is found in the New Testament? (Eight.)

Wednesday we noticed Acts 22:1 – “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.”

Acts 25:14-17 – “And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.”

I Corinthians 9:1-3 – “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this. . . ”

II Corinthians 7:9-11 – “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

Philippians 1:3-7 – “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.”

Philippians 1:14-17 – “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.”

II Timothy 4:7-17 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Skip down to verse 16 – “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

I Peter 3:12-15 – “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

What sort of question do you suppose requires the kind of “apologia” to which Peter refers? (Why are you a Christian?) How many of God’s people are supposed to be able to answer this question? What does Peter say is necessary to properly answer this question? (Sanctification, readiness, meekness and fear. What does the word “fear” mean? (“Phobos” – dread.) To what sort of fear does this refer?

Christianity is a FACTUAL FAITH.
What do I mean by that? Are the facts upon which our faith is built, mysterious, religious, or esoteric facts? What does the word “esoteric” mean? (Limited to a special group of people.) What does I Corinthians 2:14 say? (“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”) Despite the fact that the facts of God are only fully understood and believed through the operation of the Holy Spirit, are creation, human sinfulness, Christ’s resurrection, etc. not real, tangible or historical facts? Keep in mind that sinners are not convinced of the truth or saved by facts and arguments. It is absolutely necessary that the apologeticist strive to be filled with the Spirit. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” When Paul was comparing his ministry with that of Apollos, Whom did he say gave the increase? What does Hebrew 4:12 say? (“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”) What is the source of our faith? (Romans 10:17 – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”) The root and explanation of the facts of our faith have to come from the Bible.

Luke, the Biblical historian, was of what secular occupation? (Physician, a man of science and fact.) Would you expect Luke to possess a logical mind? With what words does Luke’s Gospel begin? “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”

With what words does the Book of Acts begin? “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

When a football analysts talk about which team is going to win the Super Bowl, most will say that it will not necessarily be the team with the best quarterback or the best offense. They will say that unless a team has a good defense to augment its good offence, it can’t win the championship. Then later that same analyst, in talking about the defense will often be heard to say:“The best defense is a good _________________________.” What is meant by that football cliche? (The best defense will be an aggressive defense.) William Tyndale said, “A ploughboy with the Bible would know more of God than the most learned ecclesiastic who ignored it. What did Tyndale mean? What did Tyndale try to do as a result?

Three misconceptions about Bible Christianity.
Misconception #1: We are accused of possessing a “blind faith.” When that is used against us, what does our opponent usually mean? (No intellect involved.) Is that accusation true? (Unfortunately in many cases it is. That is the purpose for this series.) In Matthew 22:37 when the Lord commanded us to love God, how did He phrase it? (“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’) This command illustrates the fact that the Lord wants our mind as well as our heart and soul engaged in our spiritual activities. Someone has said, “My heart cannot rejoice in something that my mind rejects.” What did Paul say about his faith in II Timothy 1:12? (“I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”) Does this necessarily mean that we can scientifically prove everything that we profess to believe? Why aren’t we surprised at our inability to prove everything about the Lord and His work?

Misconception #2: “Sincerity is a good substitute for objective faith.” What do I mean when I speak about OBJECTIVE faith? In grammar what is the object of a sentence? (Whatever object receives the action of the verb.) We have an objective faith in the sense that it has an object. What is more important than the ACT of faith? (The object of our faith.) What is the ultimate object of our faith? (Christ Jesus.) What did Paul say in I Timothy 1:12? (“For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”) What is the intermediate object of our faith? (The Word of God.) Why should we believe what the Bible says? (That is what we are attempting to study.) How much of Christendom can be characterized by the phrase “don’t confuse me with the facts”? What is wrong with this attitude?

Misconception #3: “The Bible is full of myths.” What do unbelievers think about the miracles recorded in the Bible? Is it scientifically possible to prove the miracle of the Bible? For example, is it scientifically possible is the Biblical virgin birth? It is said that Athena sprang fully-grown from the head of the god Zeus. How does that differ from the virgin birth of Christ?

Is the Bible full of myths? Is sincerity good enough for eternity? Does our faith lack intelligence?