Be Ready All the Time
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: (1Peter 3:15)
(Anna, the prophetess, was always ready.)
BE READY ALL THE TIME. If we belong to the Lord as Savior and Lord, we are to be looking for opportunities to share our faith with others. We do not have to be Bible scholars to share our faith in Christ. In the early days of Christianity, the common people simply shared what they knew, and it was effective. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ (1John 1:3).
IN OUR TEXT FOR TODAY (1 Peter 3:15), they were instructed to be ready. When someone asked them about their hope in Christ, they were to explain their reason for believing in Christ. The word was getting out about the Jewish preacher who had been crucified in Jerusalem and rose from the dead. People wanted to know more about it and they were asking the ones who saw it all happen. These witnesses running away from Jerusalem simply shared what they knew with others and whatever Old Testament Scriptures they could remember. They were not street preachers. They didn’t have to beg for an audience.
BEFORE THE APOSTLE PAUL WAS CONVERTED TO CHRIST, he was a brilliant zealot on behalf of the Temple hierarchy. His name was Saul of Tarsus and he apparently headed up the gestapo that was snooping and arresting everybody they could. They were trying to stamp out a new sect of dangerous crazies that the people of Antioch called: Christians (Little Christs!)
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. (Acts 8:3-4)
THEY WERE ARRESTING ORDINARY FAMILY PEOPLE who had children and had a trade of some kind to feed their families. Saul was destroying these people by putting them in jail. But they could not find all of them. Some of these dangerous people were escaping and scattering everywhere. As they were scattered, they loaded up their donkey with tools for their trade and all the food they could take with them.
As they traveled out from Jerusalem, they talked to everyone who would listen to them and told them about the Jewish Messiah they had seen. They had watched Him die on a cross between two thieves and was buried. Everybody they talked to had seen it turn dark for three hours and felt the earth quake and heard the stories coming out of Jerusalem. These people coming out of Jerusalem told everyone that Jesus, the preacher, had been raised from the dead and they had seen Him.
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE ESCAPING SAUL'S POLICEMEN were explaining how all of this fulfilled the prophecies by Moses and Isaiah and other prophets. They were “preaching the word.” There were no New Testaments books. They would not be written for another thirty years.
They were common, everyday Jews who were just like the people they were meeting along the road. None of them were Apostles. None. They were not trained as speakers and teachers. But, they preached the word.
THIS IS HOW NOT TO BE A WITNESS FOR THE LORD. When I was in my late teens, one night I was eating a hamburger with another student in a restaurant in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. A young man came in and approached two city bus drivers who had just finished their shift and had walked over from the bus depot next door.
They were pouring some whiskey into a coke. The young man blurted out: “You’re going to hell!” He kept it up and annoyed the tired drivers. One of the drivers took out his pocket knife and opened it and said: “If you don’t go on and leave us alone, I’m going to cut off your necktie.” (The young man apparently had just come from a church meeting.)
That didn’t slow down the “witness.". Suddenly the driver grabbed the tie in one hand and with a razor-sharp knife, whacked off the tie and handed it to the young man. Stunned, he looked down at the stub of his necktie and blurted out: “You cut off my tie! You cut off my tie!”
WELL, SO MUCH FOR OVER-DOING IT in "witnessing for the Lord." The bus driver was in no mood to be preached to after a long shift of bus driving in heavy traffic. He rescued himself and sent the “witness” on his way. The young witness might have saved his neck tie if he had read the above verse. My friend and I watched the whole thing and agreed that there was a better way to do it.
“WHAT IS MEANT BY OUR SANCTIFYING THE LORD OUR GOD? It cannot mean to make him holy, for he is perfectly holy, whatever may be our estimate of him; and our views of him evidently can make no change in his character. The meaning therefore must be, that we should regard him as holy in our estimate of him, or in the feelings which we have toward him.” (Barnes)
“DO YOU HAVE A LITTLE SANCTUARY, A LITTLE CHAPEL IN YOUR OWN HEART? When you are riding along in the car or walking down the street or are in the shop or office or classroom, is there a little chapel in your heart where you can withdraw and sanctify the Lord God in your heart? If there is, folk outside will know that you belong to God, and you will not have to mouth it all the time or make yourself obnoxious by making some pious statement. Oh, if in our lives today we would sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. How we need to do that!” (McGee)
PETER WAS TELLING THOSE CHRISTIANS, (and the rest of us), to make room for the Lord to have His rightful place in our hearts. Being a witness for the Lord won’t be nearly as hard if we will take care of this first and maintain it all the time. If the Lord has to beg to get a little insignificant place in our lives, never mind about being a witness for Him.
Peter wrote a concise manual of doctrine and Christian living that was sufficient for Christians in the toughest place imaginable: The Roman Empire. We are to be ready all the time. If you want to be a witness for the Lord, talk it over with Him and ask Him to give you His power and directions for being a witness. Memorize John 3:16 and go at it. You’ll find that there are thousands of people you can witness to.
“Do you know the best-loved Bible verse in the whole world?” (Wait for an answer.) “Do you want to hear it?” Quote the verse. Ask questions. “Did you know that God loves you?” Have you thought about Jesus dying on the cross? Did you know that He paid for all your sins on the cross?”
JUST WALK THROUGH THAT VERSE, ONE POINT AT A TIME. Then, there are four questions to ask everybody you get a chance to ask them. 1. Do you need to be saved? 2. Do you want to be saved? 3. Do you know how to be saved? 4. Do you want me to pray with you? Practice saying those four questions until you can remember them. Practice on a friend or family member. Go with it and see what the Lord will do with your efforts. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 1, 2018 – THURSDAY
A.M. Numbers 23-27 P.M. Mark 8:1-38
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1John 5:14-15).
Song for Today:
How Great Thou Art (7:43) ( Kim Collingsworth & Family & Orchestra)
In my mind, this woman is the best Christian pianist there is, today. She plays as unto the Lord and mouths the words. The vocal part is in the background. It looks like a nine-foot grand piano and she is part of the piano. Sooo-moving! I hope you have the time to listen to all of it! I must hear again. (Second day to hear this outstanding song.)
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