Be ready to provide a defense of your hope in Jesus

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (1 Pe 3:15–16)

Our world is increasingly growing hostile to Christianity. I’m not talking about cultural or progressive Christianity, rather, I’m referring to gospel-centered evangelicals who stand firm on God’s Word. The world in which we live is growing more hostile each and every day towards our message and values. Instead of assimilating or disassociating from the culture around us, we should engage. 

Peter tells us that we should be ready to provide a defense to the hope we have in Christ. It is that hope that keeps us going and it is that hope we should be ready to share with others. But we must not share the hope of the gospel in combative harsh ways. Instead, we must be gentle in the way in which we share. As well as we must share with a good conscience. We are not out to attack or one-up someone. We are not out to be harsh and disrespectful to other human beings. Instead, we must be gentle and loving in the way in which we share. That doesn’t mean we shy away from sharing the truth. We must continue to share the truth because it is the truth that sets us free. It is the good news from ages past that is still good news today, so we must not and cannot alter the gospel message. Instead, we must share it with others so that they might experience the same hope we experience. 

One book that has been helpful for me lately is Sam Chan’s book Evangelism in a Skeptical World: How to Make the Unbelievable News about Jesus More Believable. He does an excellent job of walking you through how to share the gospel with others in today’s culture. If you are looking for a way to reach the world in which we live, give Chan’s book a read. 

Christian, seek to shine as a light for Christ by loving others

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (Phil 2:14-15)

Christians, we are lights shining hope into a dark world. Hope the world desperately needs, especially during this time of division in our country. What we need to be about right now is the gospel of Jesus, not political arguments or armed battle. We should live as blameless and innocent children of God without blemish.

We can shine as lights in the world by “holding fast to the word of life” (Phil 2:16). It is God’s Word that should provide our marching orders, not a politician or political party. It is God’s Word to which we should look for guidance and how to live in this difficult time in the life of our country. God’s Word tells us that we should love one another and seek unity, not division.

It is our love for one another, even those who are on the other side of the political aisle, that allows us to shine as lights. Loving your enemy is not easy. It is an upside down way to approach the world. But approaching the world in that upside down way is exactly what allows us to push back the darkness.

Christian seek to shine as a light for Christ by loving others.

Looks are Deceiving

While reading for an upcoming sermon over Matthew 23, I came across the following application to the two woes pronounced on the scribes and Pharisees in verses 25-28 that challenge our current model of and participation in church.

Looks are Deceiving

Avoid looking pious while living lives of greedy self-indulgence. The fifth and sixth woes describe a life of hypocrisy and typify much of Western Christianity, building huge luxurious churches whose members on Sunday look worshipful while they live lives of extravagance.

The members live above their means, yet give little to God in terms of both time and money. It has been estimated that only 25 to 30 percent of the average [members in an] evangelical church are actually involved in that church’s ministry. The rest attend regularly but live self-centered lives.

There are only two possible destinies for them: to squeak into heaven “as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor 3:12–15) or to have Christ say, “I never knew you” (Matt 7:21–23). It is a terrible thing to play games with one’s eternal destiny!

Question for Reflection

  1. What in your mind is worship? Is worship attending service? Serving God? Or a mixture of both?


Grant R. Osborne, Matthew, vol. 1, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 859.

What the Statistics Reveal About Evangelicals

White Church

I recently read a Pew Research study reporting on the beliefs and practices of the religious. The results were shocking.

Pew Research Study

Narrowing the results to Evangelical Christians – Not liberals or Catholics or anyone else. Here is what they report:

  • 90% of Evangelicals say they believe God exists.
  • 79% of Evangelicals say religion in one’s life is very important.
  • 78% of Evangelicals say they pray daily.
  • 58% of Evangelicals say they attend services once a week.
  • But only 36% of Evangelicals believe their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life.

What Does This Mean?

It means we believe there is a God. We believe religion, prayer, and church matters, but we don’t know why Jesus matters. That’s a problem! If we don’t know why Jesus matters, we don’t really have True Faith. We aren’t really Christians.

What Does Salvation Require?

Salvation requires we recognize Jesus as the only Savior. Faith defined as complete trust and confidence in Jesus as our Savior based on certain fundamental truths found in God’s Word, means we can’t believe there are other ways to God. We either have complete confidence and trust Jesus is the Savior of the world, or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you believe there are multiple ways to God?
  2. Do you believe Jesus is the only Savior of the world?



Post adapted from my sermon What is True Faith?

Pew Research Study

Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Selfishness | Part 4

In my last post in this series, I discussed how we are often selfish with our money. If you would like to read that post, you can do so by clicking here. Today I will deal with our selfishness regarding our consideration of others.

Our Consideration of Others

Those who are inconsiderate are really being selfish because the only consideration they have is for themselves. We see this in Philippians 1:15-17:

“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.”

What are some areas in which we can be inconsiderate?

Being inconsiderate manifests itself in a number of ways, here are just a few:

  • Always being late When we make others wait, we are being inconsiderate of their time.
  • Talking too loudly on our cell phones – When we talk too loud on our phones in public, so that it disturbs those around us, we are being inconsiderate.
  • Being rude or indifferent to our waitress When we are rude or indifferent to others, we show that we do not care about their feelings. We only care about our own feelings. It takes almost no effort at all to say, “Thank you.” [1]

The Greatest Example of Unselfishness 

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the greatest example of unselfishness. In Philippians 2:5-11, we are told that He did not hold onto His position as God for His own selfish gain. Rather, He gave up certain privileges when He came to earth as a man. He then gave up His life, dying on the cross for the sin’s of mankind, so that we might have eternal life.

How do we Mortify Selfishness?

In order to kill selfishness, we need to reflect on the gospel. We must realize that we would not have a restored relationship with God or eternal life, if Jesus had not thought others more important than Himself and humbled Himself on the cross. Thinking on Jesus’ actions should spur us on to be selfless. So then, we should pray that the Holy Spirit would show us how we are selfish and give us the power to rid that sin from our lives. We should also preach the gospel to ourselves, reminding ourselves of Christ’s selflessness.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Does your daily interactions tell you that you are inconsiderate of others?
  2. What does Christ’s sacrifice tell us about how we should act?
  3. What form does selfishness take in your life?


[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 105-106.


Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Selfishness | Part 3

In my last post in this series, I discussed how we are often selfish with our time. If you would like to read that post, you can do so by clicking here. Today I will deal with our selfishness regarding our money.

Our Money

America is one of the, if not the, riches countries in the world, but less than 2 percent of our money is given to charities or religious causes [1]. When we do give, it is often a minimal amount, and it is usually directed toward popular charities that have popped up as a result of a world disaster. The reason people typically give once to major popular causes rather than often to lesser known causes is because it makes them feel good, which is a form of selfishness.

Why is selfishness with our money a sin?

The reason selfishness with our money is a sin is because it is a form of greed (see Matt. 23:25). Here is what Paul has to say,

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Co 5:11)

Going even further, the underlying sin or motive of someone who is selfish with their money is at least three-fold.

First, there is a lack of trust in God. They do not trust Him to provide for their needs.

Second, there is a lack of joy in God. They seek happiness in the things money can buy, rather than in their relationship with the Lord.

Lastly, there is a lack of finding their status in Christ. Instead, they seek the status money affords them, showing they find their significance in what other people think about them.

What can we do to rid this sin from our lives?

I believe there are three things we can do:

First, we need to trust in the Lord. Realizing that He is the One who provides us with everything that we own, and He is the One who will take care of our needs.

Second, we need not find our happiness or joy in our money because it is fleeting. We only gain true joy from accomplishing our God given purpose in life, which is to serve and glorify God. Then and only then can we experiencetrue joy that is not fleeting or circumstantial. 

Lastly, we need to realize that what others think of us is not what should provide us with significance. Everyone is significant because they have been created in the image of God. As well as those who are believers are God’s children. A status and significance greater than anything the world could ever give us. So we are to find our significance in God and not in other people. 

Looking Forward

In my next post in this series, I will look at how we are selfish with our consideration of others. Until then, use the questions below to help you reflect on this post.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How does selfishness with your money manifest itself in your life?
  2. What underlying sin do you think causes you to be selfish with your money? Is it a lack of trust in God, a lack of joy in God, or a lack of recognizing your status is found in Christ alone?
  3. What other verses would you recommend for those dealing with this form of selfishness?


[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 104.