“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” (1 Peter 3:15 – NKJV)
In the context of the verse quoted above, Peter is encouraging his brothers and sisters in Christ to speak up when it may not be that easy to do. Intimidation, potential humiliation, unknown reactions and irrational questions can affect our willingness to speak the truth in love, especially when questions feel more like an interrogation that’s looking to condemn rather than learn. It’s a situation that the people of God have faced for multiple millennia, and but for the return of Christ it will continue for another millennia…but we can always have that hope.
This past weekend, during the largest gathering of people in DeKalb Co, TN throughout the year, the church at Keltonburg set up an information booth for visitors. We handed out free water and various Bible study materials. We were grateful to God for the opportunity and we continue to pray that the seed may be watered and bear some increase through God’s grace (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Some of the more interesting moments throughout the day came when people would make snide and challenging remarks or say things in passing not expecting to hear a response but getting one. More often than not the person was so surprised to get an answer they didn’t know what to say in return. Sometimes the answer made them think, sometimes the answer made them all the more frustrated and sometimes, when the time called for it, the person didn’t get much an answer on purpose (John 8:1-6).
If we lived in a perfect world there would be no need for the gospel, there would be no need for contending for the faith, there would be no need to always be ready to give an answer for all would know the answer! But for now, as God’s people on a pilgrimage (1 Peter 2:11-12), we must strive to be ready always to give an answer because some people don’t really expect a response but they may actually want one. You just never know.
“Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.” (Acts 28:21-24 – NKJV)