1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
Last week we looked at how a Christian should communicate what they believe, based on Scripture; and why they believe it. Peter tells us that when we have the opportunity, we should communicate our faith with humility and respect for the beliefs of another. We covered the first six:
I. DEITY of Jesus Christ (Jesus is fully God and fully man)
II. EXCLUSIVITY of the Gospel for Salvation (Jesus is the only way to heaven)
III. FULFILLMENT by Jesus Christ of Old Testament Messianic Prophecies
IV. ETERNAL SECURITY—If Saved, Always Save
V. NATURE of God
VI. DEFINITIONS—God’s Definitions Do Not Change
And now for the final eight:
VII. TESTIMONY—The Story of How You Got Saved
11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
It is absolutely essential that you have a testimony—a recalled, remembered event and experience when Jesus Christ came into your life. Although you may not have all the details, you remember that there was a time and place when you received Jesus Christ.
VIII. HOLY SPIRIT
God the Holy Spirit is the One Who brings about the new birth in you the very moment you are saved. He takes your dead spirit—that part of you that could know God, love God, worship God—and brings it to life. He is the Author of your resurrection.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life
to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
The Holy Spirit is God.
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
The Holy Spirit is a Person. He has mind, will, and emotion.
The Holy Spirit creates, convicts, comforts, and communicates with God the Father on our behalf. He controls when we yield to Him (Spirit Filled) and shows us the course we should take. He establishes and gifts the Church (Body of Christ).
The Holy Spirit calms us, carries us, cleaves to us, helps us comprehend God’s Word, comes to us when we are in need or sorrow, contends with us when trying to get us saved, gives us courage, and convinces us of God’s way.
IX. ESCHATOLOGY—The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven,
will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am, there you may be also.
Eschatology is the study of end time events. Although Christians can disagree about how Jesus will return, every believer agrees that Jesus Christ IS coming again.
X. FAITH—In Jesus Christ Alone for Salvation
Faith is essential to salvation. Salvation is not based on goodness or anything we can do to earn, work for, or purchase. Faith is trust in, reliance on, confidence in only that which Jesus did on the cross to save you and not faith in what you can do. Even the having the faith to trust Jesus is a gift from God.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)
Faith means you are not trusting in how you feel, what you do, or what you don’t do to gain God’s acceptance. You simply take God at His Word.
XI. ALIVE—Jesus Literally Rose from the Dead
I Corinthians 15:3-8
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (ESV)
15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.
To this we are witnesses. (ESV)
Jesus bodily, literally rose from the dead. There is incontrovertible, tangible evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. He even appeared to at least 500 people during the 40-day period prior to His ascension back to heaven.
“The best news the world ever had came from a graveyard” (Anonymous).
XII. INSPIRATION of the Bible
The very words of the Bible were given by God using people who were controlled by the Holy Spirit. Because of that the Bible is the authority for what we believe and how we should live our lives. Even when the Bible doesn’t specifically address an issue, there are principles in God’s Word that should settle the issue for a believer.
17 Sanctify them[a] in the truth; your word is truth. (ESV)
II Timothy 3:16
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (ESV)
XIII. TRIUNE God—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
The word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible; however, the teaching that God is One in three and three in One is prominent throughout Scripture. He is not three Gods––our God is One God who manifests Himself in three Persons.
XIV. HEAVEN and HELL are Real
We believe in the reality and promise of an eternity destiny called heaven for those who have received Jesus Christ by faith as Savior and Lord.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” (ESV)
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (ESV)
Further we believe in the reality of eternal death a literal place called hell for those who choose to reject Jesus Christ either intentionally or through neglect or procrastination.
Matthew 25:41, 46
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (ESV)
46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (ESV)
8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (ESV)