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Wk 9: Defending the Faith

1 Peter 3:13-17

Focused Text: 1 Peter 3:15

Most of us who have been around the church for any length of time have heard this verse quoted on numerous occasions, often without explanation or context.  We treat it as a catchall for any and every situation in which we find ourselves sharing the faith with others.

However, the immediate context of the passage makes something certain—Peter is giving believers instructions for responding to those who vehemently oppose the faith.  Read through the entire paragraph and observe the characteristics of those mentioned (13-17).  They are people who seek to “harm” believers, but believers should not fear them (14).  They “slander” and “revile” God’s people, bringing pressure upon them for their commitment to live out the faith (17).  They are the type of people who are repulsed by the thought of someone else not instantly conforming to their own worldview.

So, how do we respond?  Rather than hitting back in the same vain, beating them over the head with Bible verse and the invocation of God’s wrath, we put our opponents to shame by living out the faith in working for the good of those around us.  When we are not shaken by our opponents, those who are observant will begin to question why, and we are to be prepared to respond.  This is the context in which Peter calls us to respond gently, making a defense for the faith.

 

Take some time to think or talk through the following questions with a view to applying the passage in your own life.

 

  1. How have I historically responded to opposition to my faith? Do I become flustered and combative? Or do I respond with a view to God’s sovereignty and mercy?

 

  1. What are some ways that I can prepare myself to consistently respond to opposition in a Christ-honoring manner? (i.e. confidently & gently articulating my testimony?)

 


At our Crossing Campus in Pleasanton, our church family is going through a Sunday sermon series 1 Peter: The Sojourner’s Hope. (Audio sermons available online.)

We sincerely believe that the more we interact with and apply God’s Word, the greater impact it will have on our hearts and in our lives.  Therefore, we encourage you to make use of these devotionals in your personal or family devotion times as well as small groups.

You can download the full devotional (16 weeks) on our church homepage or pick one up at our Information Desk on Sundays.

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Wk 5: Living with Opposition

1 Peter 2:11-17

Focused Text: 1 Peter 2:11-15

As followers of Jesus, we face opposition to our faith.  Sometimes it’s subtle and slightly uncomfortable while other times it’s blatant and seems overwhelming.  We may be tempted to respond in a confrontational matter, or simply conform to the pressure.  Rather than responding to our opponents in either of these ways, Peter gives us some enduring guidelines to follow which will indirectly silence our opponents.  By maintaining an honorable lifestyle (1:11-12) and living in submission to the authorities while seeking the welfare of others (2:13-15), we remove any reasonable basis for our opponents to attack us.

Continue reading “Wk 5: Living with Opposition”

BLIND FAITH: THE SAME, TIRED, OLD SONG

Have you heard this one before? “Faith is believing in something without evidence.” It’s a terrible little tune but it has somehow become an international anthem; it has given rise to some spin-off songs like the one I heard today on public radio:  “Faith vs. Reason, Superstition vs. Science.”  As Christians, we use words that have specific meaning in the context of God’s self-sharing (revelation) preserved in Scripture. Unfortunately, words like “faith” have a completely different meaning for many who have not yet put their trust in Jesus Christ. And that’s when things get out of tune.

Continue reading “BLIND FAITH: THE SAME, TIRED, OLD SONG”

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