Do you know what to tell someone who inquires of the hope that lies within you? (1 Peter 3:15) One recent lesson examined Peter and his encounter with Cornelius in Acts 10 in which we found the type of people welcome to God, and the specific details of the Gospel. It’s entirely possible this conversation took less than two minutes, yet we might be inclined to make this process more complicated and time consuming than it is! However, knowing what to say is no guarantee that we’ll share it, unless we realize what is at stake. Friends, our eternal life hangs in the balance and hinges on our obeying the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8). The same is true of our friends, our families, and our neighbors. Let’s look at what we can do to point them in the right direction?
We’ve already seen previously what Peter said; now let’s look at an apostle “untimely born” (1 Corinthians 15:8). Luke records in Acts, chapter 13, Paul’s first journey to establish congregations of the Lord’s church in “the ends of the earth”. Paul finds himself in a synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, encouraged to speak words of exhortation to the brethren. The first thing he shared was a concise, brief history of Israel as delivered from Egypt, wandering 40 years in the wilderness, delivered a land of promise, judges, before a demand for kings brought about the shepherd king, David. From this king came Israel’s Savior, Jesus. WHEW! In vs. 27-30 we find what Paul later describes as the Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, as a fulfillment of scripture (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). The amount of time for Paul’s presentation was a mere three and a half minutes. Their reaction? Paul is asked to return the following Sabbath to teach more and he did… The absence of baptism on the first missionary journey is not relevant; as we have ample guidance in his next journey of its importance. One last element to consider is Paul’s exhortation to take heed to the Gospel (vs. 40-41) lest they not believe and eventually perish as a result. Be prepared to give an answer like this!!
Copyright © 2009, Nolan P. Rutter