No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Paul

Wives….SUBMIT to your husbands!


So if you have been keeping track of the comments under my “That’s it…I QUIT!” post, you would have noticed that a commenter has some questions regarding the submission of the woman to the man in the Bible.  The contention of the commenter (among many others) is that the Bible teaches subjugation of the woman to the man, and requires her to be submissive, in an unequal setting.  Rather than trying to re-create the wheel I am going to lean on a sermon given by John Piper specifically addressing Ephesians 5.  This is a very good sermon that gets right to the heart of gender equality or the balance of relationships (as I like to call it).   Below are some snippets of the sermon.

“So marriage is like a metaphor or an image or a picture or parable that stands for something more than a man and a woman becoming one flesh. It stands for the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s the deepest meaning of marriage. It’s meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each other.”

 

“Notice how verses 28–30 describe the parallel between Christ and the church being one body and the husband and wife being one flesh. “Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it.” In other words, the one-flesh union between man and wife means that in a sense they are now one body so that the care a husband has for his wife he has for himself. They are one. What he does to her he does to himself. Then he compares this to Christ’s care for the church. Picking up near the end of verse 29, he says the husband nourishes and cherishes his own flesh, ” . . . as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” In other words, just as the husband is one flesh with his wife, so the church is one body with Christ. When the husband cherishes and nourishes his wife, he cherishes and nourishes himself; and when Christ cherishes and nourishes the church, he cherishes and nourishes himself.”

“Think about this for a moment in relation to what we have seen so far in this series. I tried to show from Genesis 1–3 that the when sin entered the world, it ruined the harmony of marriage NOT because it brought headship and submission into existence, but because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.”

“Therefore, headship is not a right to command and control. It’s a responsibility to love like Christ: to lay down your life for your wife in servant leadership. And submission is not slavish or coerced or cowering. That’s not the way Christ wants the church to respond to his leadership: he wants it to be free and willing and glad and refining and strengthening.”

“In other words what this passage of Scripture does is two things: it guards against the abuses of headship by telling husbands to love like Jesus; and it guards against the debasing of submission by telling wives to respond the way the church does to Christ.”

“Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home.

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.”

“Submission does not mean putting the husband in the place of Christ. Verse 21 says you submit out of reverence for Christ. Submission does not mean that the husband’s word is absolute. Only Christ’s word is absolute. No wife should follow a husband into sin. You can’t do that in reverence to Christ. Submission does not mean surrendering thought. It does not mean no input on decisions or no influence on her husband. It does not come from ignorance or incompetence. It comes from what is fitting and appropriate (Colossians 3:18) in God’s created order.”

“The call in verse 25 for husbands to “love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” revolutionizes the way he leads. This is where we ended last week in Luke 22:26 where Jesus says, “Let the leader become as one who serves.” In other words, husbands, don’t stop leading, but turn all your leading into serving. The responsibility of leadership is given not to puff yourself up, but to build your family up.”

This really is an awesome sermon, and has proven to be helpful to me as I continue to grow in Christ, and learn to be a true servant leader for my wife.

24 Series Finale


So Kevin was encouraging me to write about the 24 series finale.  I’m not sure exactly what I can say.  24 burst onto the scene in 2000.  The second season followed the September 11 attacks with controversy.  The show pushed the limits, and brought something new to the screen…real time.  I picked up 24 during the 4th season.  Promptly went back and watched the first three, and was blown away.  There are a number of things you can take away from 24.  All of them are emotions that fans would have experienced while watching the show.

Jack Bauer

Disbelief – I, like many of you, was in utter disbelief as the good guys and the bad guys got wrapped up in some lie.  More specifically I really got frustrated when it was the good guys.  Some are willing to sacrifice things they believed in for a lie.  Or willing to lie for the “greater good”.  While the situations in our own daily lives are not to the extreme as the show…we are all faced with these kinds of decisions.  Everyday.  How do you know you are making the right decision?  Prayer, faith.  I tie this in with a conversation I had with my wife.  As Christians we can’t afford to get caught up in a dogmatic sense of prayer.  What I mean by that is that we need to be in prayer constantly.  As we walk, at work, a quiet moment at home, before a meeting… it doesn’t matter where.  Don’t get caught up in being so traditional in praying on your knee’s only at night before bed that you forget to pray at all.  Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:17… pray continually.  Do you think that President Taylor makes the decisions she made this season if she were in prayer constantly?  I don’t know?  But I do know that if the word of God was on her heart and mind… it would have been more difficult.

Virtue – Jack Bauer was a lot of things… did a lot of things.  No matter all of the bad things Jack did (primarily the murder, death, kills) he was honest, had integrity, cared for his family, and for his country.  Jack protected the things he cared about at all costs.  These values (many would say) are passed down by your parents.  I would agree partially.  God’s word has been planted in every human being’s heart.  It is up to us to follow through. 

Shock – What can you say about the character Jack Bauer?  The name has entered the lexicon status.  Jack Bauer and Chuck Norris are now in the same league.  While we all would cheer for Jack to stop the bad guys no matter the cost, there was a certain level of shock that came to me every time.  How can a man of such virtue have the appearance of so little morals?  What I mean by that is… here is a guy who hardly lied, stood for good, willing to defend it all costs… including the use of vengeance.  The last 6 or 7 episodes of the series focused on retribution.  Here was a man who, having lost someone he loved sought vengeance.  Every person who has a family would think about the very same thing.  If it were my family… I would want vengeance as well.  In Romans 12:19 Paul tells us to never avenge ourselves, and that vengeance is the Lord’s.  While all of us may have the natural instinct to seek retribution… know that God will have his judgment upon them.  

Here I have to be honest… to what extreme can one go to protect the larger good from evil?  This is the question that 24 ultimately left you with in every episode.  As we watched Jack torture people to get answers (and you know he is going to get them) you have to wonder… should that happen?  Not in the political sense that these things always end up in, but in the Biblical sense.  How far is too far according to God?  We know about the turn the other cheek verse and love your enemy verse (often quoted, or thrown in the face of Christians who support self defense).  This very long and complicated answer deserves its own blog.  But it is important to research and think about it on your own.

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A Thankful Prayer for Mothers (or Anyone Else!)


Mother’s day is a notoriously hard to preach on… I get both the blessing and the challenge of preaching today. As I tried to decide what to speak about I got more and more nervous… You have to decide whether to preach to moms or to children… Then there’s the complications:

  • Not everyone is a Mom, who wants to be
  • Not everyone has/had a great relationship with their mom.
  • Not every mom and child can be together on this day

What God led me to was to speak on Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:3-14).

What I found in this passage was a cycle of thankfulness and prayer that would benefit us all! But first, we’ve got to back up and point out a foundational premise… God wants us to be joyful, prayerful and, most of all, thankful – Regardless of our circumstances! (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Paul showed us that our thankfulness will lead us to think of, and more importantly, pray for other people (cf. Romans 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2-3; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Philemon 1:4-7; Colossians 1:3-14) – hint, hint… if she’s living, this can and should involve your mom, regardless of the type of relationship you have! Fleshing out thankfulness through prayer starts the cycle that will pay dividends for your whole life.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for youCol. 1:3-4, 9

It may be hard to be thankful for certain people – maybe they’ve hurt you… but the fact is that EVERYONE God has placed in your life has helped you to become the person you are. Being thankful for what God has done in and through both you and them will free us to ask God to work in their lives (especially if you are already thankful for them).

There is a good pattern in this passage (Col. 1:9-14) of what we should pray for other people often. We should ask God to help them:

  • Live a life HONORING of Him
  • PLEASE Him in every way
  • Bear FRUIT in every good work
  • Continue to GROW (in the knowledge of God)
  • Be STRENTHENED with all power to produce endurance and patience.

Next, we should ask God to fill them with Joy so that they will, then, be led to become more and more thankful for what God has done in and through them, which should, of course, start the cycle all over again.

If you look at the end of the passage there is a long list of what God has done for Christians, for which we should be infinitely thankful.  What this says to me is that our thankfulness isn’t tied to our friends and relatives – we CAN be thankful for them – but our attitude of thankfulness is not dependent upon the quality of our relationships with them! This is because it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done – it’s about what God’s done!

If we start this cycle of thankful prayer, for not only our mom or kids, but for most of the Christians in our lives we will be richly blessed… Because thankful prayer leads us to encourage and be encouraged by each others’ Faith and Love (cf. Col. 1:3-4)!

Let me encourage you to start the cycle today – and let the people you are praying for know about it!!! It will make a world of difference in your heart, your attitude and will add immeasurably to your joy!

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To rebel or obey…that is the question.


To Rebel or to Obey…That is the question.

What can I say?  I, like many of you (at least according to the polls) do not like the fact that our government now controls most of the auto industry, health care, and student loans.  As I sat and watched (with disgust) as the house passed a bill that will effectively socialize health care, I wondered, what recourse we as Christians have against such a governmental move.  My question is, can Christians rebel against the government without sinning?

Most people (atheist’s, and Christians alike) will use Romans 13 to say that Christians have no right to rebel against government.  Romans 13:1-7 says this:

 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (NIV)

 

So what are we to take from this?  Paul’s point is very clear.  Submit to governing authorities, because God establishes authority.  IF YOU REBEL YOU ARE REBELLING AGAINST GOD!  Wait a second did I just read that?  Sure enough, there it is Romans 13:2.  How does this stack up against the rest of scripture though?  Even the most basic level of Bible knowledge will show that that the Bible has examples where God moved people to resist a government. 

Moses is the easiest example where the Bible shows how God can prompt us to resist a government.  

Exodus 1:15-21 shows us how midwives disobeyed Pharaoh when asked to kill every Jewish boy.

Daniel 3 shows three men (Shadrach, Meschach, and Aded – Nego) defy Nebuchadnezzar when asked to bow down before him as king.

Acts 5:29 shows Peter defying a Judge.

Daniel defies King Darius’ decree in Daniel 6:1-17.

The Bible does contain events which show that Godly men disobeyed authority.  If you read Romans 13 in conjecture with these stories there would appear to be a contradiction.  Either Paul got it wrong, or the people in these events got it wrong.  I have to admit, I was stuck at this point.  So which is it?

To begin my own evaluation you have to remember one simple point, God cannot contradict himself.  And, if you remember from my previous post (The Bible…Good Moral Stories?); every word in the Bible is true.  So based on that simple principle both Paul and the other events have to hold a singular valid point. 

The next point, what were the conditions that allowed these people to rebel?  I think Acts 5:29 and Daniel 3 hold the key.  In both examples the men involved with these events choose to obey God rather than obey men.  This involved knowingly disobeying the law of the land.  For Peter it was claiming that Christ was Lord, for the three men in Daniel it was not kneeling down before Nebuchadnezzar.  The other examples also support this notion.  The single message we can take from these events is that in all of them, the laws were in contradiction to God’s law, and God’s word. 

Let’s look at some other things that Paul said in general to help shed some light on our overall obligations as Christians.  II Corinthians 10:5 states “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This to me defines the very nature of the issue at hand.  Paul states that we will demolish EVERY pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.  The knowledge of God is the Bible.  We will demolish anything that sets itself up against the Word of God.  How can we compare the events noted above, with II Corinthians 10:5?  Back to Romans 13…

What point is Paul trying to make?  To what specific point was he talking to? Re-reading Romans 13 I come to the conclusion that Paul was talking about general law, and paying taxes.  If the general law, for instance, is to stop when a policeman pulls you over, do not rebel.  If the general law is to pay taxes then pay your taxes.  This is the point, I believe, that Paul is trying to make in Romans 13.  How do I come to this conclusion?  Paul knows that God would not have us submit to laws that are contradictory to His law.  God has shown us, through His Word, that we are obligated to not obey laws that defy God (see above).  This successfully answers the question I posed at the beginning; can Christians rebel against the government without sinning? Would we be violating Biblical doctrine if we did rebel against the government?  The answer is:  IF a particular law CLEARLY contradicts GOD’S WORD WE ARE OBLIGATED TO DISOBEY THAT LAW. 

So what now?  If you have come to the same conclusion that I have the next viable question to ask is what do we do know?  II Corinthians 10 holds the answer to the question.  II Corinthians 10:2-5 (NIV) states:

I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Paul is clear as to how we are to proceed.  We will not use the weapons of this world.  We as Christians must, MUST unite together and proceed in a way that is demonstrative of God’s love, and will.  We can defy ungodly laws, without violence.  So what does that mean?  Legal challenges, not obeying laws that contradict the Word of God and voting Godly Christians into office.  These are a few of the things we can do at this time.  But we must be united behind the mantle of Christ and hold firm.   

It would be easy for me to stand in front of you and tell you what I think you should do in response to the passage of the health care bill.  You probably can tell from the opening paragraph where I stand.  Romans 13 is something that I have been praying about since the health care bill passed.  Atheists love to remind me of my obligation to submit to authority, especially when they are in authority.  It is important to understand that I don’t have all the answers and can only provide insight as to my own education when I study the Word of God.  The initial version of this post was much more harsh, and much more to the point.  I believe that through prayer the Holy Spirit softened my heart.  It is far too easy to fan the flames of discontent than it is to stoke the fire of reason.  Our first obligation must always be to God and his infallible Word.

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The Bible…Good moral stories?


Have you ever been in a conversation about the Bible and hear a believer say “Some of the things in the Bible are good moral stories”.  How about a conversation with a non-believer that usually ends with “you believe that everything in the Bible is absolutely true?”  I certainly have.  What these people are usually implying is that some of the stories in the Bible are a little too fantastic to believe.  Nine times out of ten they are usually referring to Jonah, Noah or maybe even creation. 

The people described above are indirectly calling into question the inerrancy of the Bible.  If you are like me, you had never heard the word inerrancy and the Bible in the same sentence, let alone as truth.  In fact, up until a couple of years ago I would have been the person described above.  I used to look at the story of Noah, and the story of Jonah and say “wow, Really!?”  It was hard for me to accept the fact that a man would sit alive in the belly of a fish or that the world was flooded and Noah’s family was the only group that survived. 

If this is the first time that you are hearing the word inerrancy, the definition is simple.  According to the dictionary inerrancy means without error.  So what does inerrancy mean in the context of the Bible?  Well, if inerrancy means without error that means that in order for the Bible to be inerrant it has to be true.  The Bible has to be true.  Say it one more time and really let it soak in.  The Bible has to be true.  This includes all of the “stories” that are in the Bible. 

God is truth.  This is a pretty simple statement.  How do we know that God is truth?  He describes Himself as truth (Deuter. 32:4, Psalm 33:4, John 17:17). Meaning that truth is a characteristic/attribute of God.   What is the consequence of being truth?  That God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).  This provides the biblical foundation that God, and by extension God’s Word, is truth.  Pretty easy right?  God is truth, therefore God cannot contradict himself, and cannot lie.

Most people don’t hang their hats on this point when arguing against the inerrancy of the Bible.  What you will more traditionally hear from atheists primarily is something along these lines…”Your own Bible says that man will make mistakes.  Men wrote the Bible, so how can you say that the Bible is inerrant?”   If you have heard this statement before (I am sure many of you have) you should know that the premise of the question is incorrect.  This is a reflection of how half-truths can shape an opinion.  Man did not write the Bible alone.  The proof? 

2 Peter 1:21:

21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21, NIV)

Need more proof?

1 Corinthians 2:13

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:13, NIV).

NEED MORE PROOF? 

2 Timothy 3:16

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

The message behind these verses, while man put pen to paper so to speak, they were not writing, the Holy Spirit and God were writing.   So lets back up a second and recap.  We have God saying that he is truth and incapable of lying (Deuter. 32:4, Psalm 33:4, John 17:17, Titus 1:2), we have multiple verses saying that man alone did not write the Bible.  We have this written explicitly in 2 Timothy 3:16 that God BREATHED the scripture.  What is the conclusion to be drawn?  That scripture is truth.  No discussion, no qualifiers, no distinction on moral stories, or things of this nature.  SCRIPTURE IS TRUTH, according to the word breathed by God.  This tells us that the Bible is inerrant. 

The argument posed in this blog is a simplistic basic argument for the inerrancy of the bible using God’s word.  Skeptics will challenge truths in the Bible because they appear to be contradictory to other statements in the Bible.  In future blogs we can address some of these “discrepancies” (emphasis on quotes). 

As Christians, we run the danger of showing others that the Bible is errant.  Statements like “good moral story” and “a little too fantastic” will do nothing but demonstrate your own lack of faith in the holy word of God to those you are testifying to.  Ultimately the question that has to be posed is this, if the book of Jonah is not true, what else isn’t?  Go back to the word of God.  If Jonah is not true then God is not truth.  Which means that possibly other parts of the Bible are errant.  Which ones?  Who knows, but what we do know is that this thought process brings error to the word of God, which destroys the entire bible.  Seem fatalistic?  Think about it.  The life of Christ, true or false?  You are probably screaming true, right?  But what is more fantastic, a man living in the belly of a fish, or a divine pregnancy where God sent his son, who was of God to die, where he was crucified, raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven?  Get the point?  The next time you feel your mind thinking that creation, or Jonah, or Noah or ANY of the “fantastic stories” of the Bible are just that, remember 2 Timothy 3:16, and know that God is truth, you are not.

PLEASE NOTE:  For a more evidential and less philosophical argument that doesn’t rely upon the interpretation of any Bible verses/passages, check out Kevin’s post on manuscript evidence.

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No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing, Part 3


Apologetics NOT Apologizing

So what does all of this mean?  We have no shame to share the gospel, we have no fear of what will happen when we share the gospel…so…what do we do now?  For the answer to this question we go to 1 Peter 3:14-16.

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.(1 Peter 3:14-16, NIV)

Here Peter reasserts why it is important to not be afraid.  That even if you suffer, the Lord is with you.  Peter asks to not be afraid of what the enemy fears.  Here, in this context, he is saying to not be afraid to suffer or to fear the threats of those who WILL rise up against you, but look to the Lord.  Peter goes on to ask all of us to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks. 

How do you prepare for a business meeting?  How do you prepare for a test?  Do you study?    Being prepared doesn’t mean that you go to church every Sunday and then do nothing for the rest of the week.  Being prepared means having your nose in the Bible constantly.  Being prepared is clothing yourself in the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17), including the word of God.  Being prepared is expanding your knowledge so that you can be effective and productive while serving Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8). 

In the middle of v. 15, Peter tells us to be prepared to give a defense or answer to everyone who asks.  Here is where “Apologetics” comes in. Apologetics is not what it sounds like.  It is NOT apologizing; it IS defending your faith.  The Greek word that is translated “to give an answer” above and “give a defense” in other translations is “apologia”- thus the term “apologetics”.

1 Peter 3:15 is the result of having no fear and no shame because of your great love for Jesus and his word.  You should have no fear or shame because YOU have to be prepared to give a defense of the Lord to anyone who asks.  First, notice that the only qualifier attached to this statement is a defense to EVERYONE who asks.  There is no qualifier that would allow you to skip your answer because of your location, or because of WHO “everyone” happens to consist of. 

Next, Peter tells you how to defend and provide the answer.  Peter tells us that we need to answer everyone with gentleness and respect.  So provide an answer, but do so respectfully.  Why should we do so respectfully?    Peter makes the point explicit.  We make our defense so that we can keep a clear conscience.  That way if the people we are answering speak against us THEY will be ashamed of themselves. 

The point here is that they are armed and set against you.  WHY give them any more ammunition?  If you act like an idiot when professing the faith, how much do you want to bet that within 5 minutes after your answer they are telling a friend “What a real Christian, he/she was mean spirited, and disrespectful”.  How’s that faith working out for you?  The point: don’t be over zealous, and stay within the spirit when you give your answer (Colossians 4:6). Have you ever heard the phrase “He/She’s trying to hard”? That is what we’re trying to avoid here.

Have you been in a conversation where someone makes you feel guilty for believing what you do? Almost to the point where you want to apologize for professing your faith?  NO APOLOGIZING.  Folks, all of us have to understand that we have one mission in life, to Glorify God.  This can be done any number of ways, but it cannot be done if you feel guilty or if you feel a need to apologize to someone for what you believe. 

Be respectful when sharing your faith, be knowledgeable when you share your faith, but do not be ashamed or apologize for what you believe in.  What do you have to apologize for?!?!  If you have trusted in Jesus, you have been granted the greatest gift of all of humanity (a relationship with the God of the Universe).  Rejoice and be happy.  Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed, SHARE YOUR FAITH, DEFEND YOUR FAITH.  It is not enough to CALL yourself a Christian – BE one!  James 2:14-26 calls on us to do more than have faith.  Christ calls on us to put his words to practice, not just to read them (Matthew 7:26).  We should all be motivated to SERVE the Lord (Colossians 3:23, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

If we were to look at No shame + No fear = No Apologizing from as a Biblical formula it would look like this:  Romans 1:14-16 + 2 Timothy 1:7-9 = 1 Peter 3:15-16.  If you have shame it will alter the formula and ultimately the outcome. If you have fear it will alter the formula.   The absence of both shame and fear have to exist in order to get the answer of 1 Peter 3:15-16.  To borrow a phrase from the 9/11 tragedy: “Let’s Roll!” Let’s get to it without shame, without fear – with NO APOLOGIZING!

No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing, Part 2


No shame + No Fear = No Apologizing.  In the previous blog we focused on the shame that some of us may feel when presented with opportunity to preach the Gospel.  We looked specifically at Romans 1:14-16 as the foundation for this principle.  In this blog we are going to build onto the formula by taking a look a fear in preaching the gospel. While at face value shame and fear can look the same as you will see they are distinctly different.

So now that you are convinced that you are not to be ashamed, what if you become afraid? The truth is that there is no shortage of God’s word about what to do with fear (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23 are but a few examples).  These verses serve as a foundation for every Christian that you have nothing to be afraid of or to be anxious about because God will always be with you.  In the context of this blog though, let’s focus on 2 Timothy 1:7-9.

7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. (2 Timothy 1:7-9, NIV)

Once again I see your eyes burning a hole in this passage focusing on the word ashamed.  Why is this passage part of no fear instead of no shame?  Context.  Paul is writing this letter to Timothy as a prisoner.  Why is Paul a prisoner?  Focus on the word timidity.  The translation above is the NIV translation.  The King James Version uses the word fear.  Lets look  at v. 7 with the word fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

Now back to the question, Why is Paul a prisoner?  Because he showed no fear in speaking the truth even though he knew, more than likely, that the consequences of the truth would be prison.  Once again Paul is leading by example.  In these verses he is calling on Timothy to show the spirit of power that God had given him (v. 7).  In this context Paul is imploring Timothy to not be afraid to testify about the Lord, or to treat him like the embarrassing uncle described in our last post, but to join him in a place of no fear.  What Paul so elegantly points to at the end of verse 8 and verse 9 is that our suffering is not because of anything that we have done, but is to glorify God through His purpose, and to demonstrate His grace.

Let’s be clear about one thing, if you show no fear in testifying about God and the sacrifice of Christ, there is a high probability that you will suffer.  Paul invites Timothy to suffer with him as though it is a birthday party! How amazing is this verse?  When you read 2 Timothy 1:7-9 in conjunction with Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 41:10, and Psalm 23 the full picture begins to unfold.  There is no doubt that Paul loved to preach the gospel (Romans 1:14) because of the impact that it had on his own life.  He had no fear of preaching the gospel because of the foundation that had been laid. That foundation is, God will not abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 41:10, and Psalm 23).  As a result, Paul was more than willing to suffer for Christ because he KNEW that his suffering was for the glory of the God who loved him so much.

These actions may seem a little surreal, and actually demonstrate the amount of FAITH that Paul had in God.  Paul had actually relinquished total control to God.  Paul was walking in faith.  This made him righteous – this made him dangerously fearless.   Paul didn’t just talk about faith, he didn’t just read about it, and he didn’t just preach about it, HE LIVED BY IT.

The difference between shame and fear is the message delivered.  Shame will force you to water down a message and make it palatable to an audience (often to the point the truth is lost).  Fear will force you to not deliver the message at all.  When you have no shame, and no fear you have a straight forward message of truth, regardless of the consequences.  Do not doubt for one second that we, even in today’s society, can act the same way Paul did.  God has promised us that we will be okay – not comfortable – not necessarily even happy – but we will have joy and a peace that cannot be explained away.  What do you believe, your own emotions or an everlasting God?

No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing


When I began this post I thought that this would be a really good first post to the No Apologizing blog.  Now that I have completed this, it is nearly four pages long.  This will be a three part series.  Each part will focus on a part of the No shame + No fear = No Apologizing.  Hopefully this will be a good way to keep you coming back for at least a week…

You could begin this blog by saying in a day and age when it is becoming less popular to be a Christian than it has in the past…  This simply is not the case.  Sure, the society we once knew has evaporated before our very eyes.  An American culture that used to welcome and embrace Christianity has now begun the process of turning its back on Christ.  These actions, while alarming, are not unique to our time or culture.  What is unique to our time and culture is the ability to reach so many people with so little effort. 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Is there any doubt that the enemy is on the move, utilizing technology in a way that favors him.  Temptations, deceit, distortions, and half truths are all freely available online.  The enemy will use these tools to turn people away from Christ and bend them to where they convince others to turn away from Christ.  Satan’s goal for technology; convince non believers that there is any number of ways to heaven, that God simply doesn’t exist, and to get believers to commit evil.  It really is that simple.  So how does God use this for good?  The same technology that is available for Satan (Blogs, Vlogs, Facebook, Youtube, GodTube, etc…) is available for Christians hoping to make a difference.  It is incumbent for us to utilize this technology in order to make an impact.

No Shame

Are you embarrassed to tell others about the good news of Christ?   Are you afraid that you may get laughed at, talked down to, or mocked?  Do you treat Christ like your embarrassing but rich Uncle?  You know, you pretend not to know him when you can avoid it, but when you need something, he is on speed dial number 1.  If you have faced this situation before, then chances are that you have experienced some sort of shame in expressing what you feel about Christ. 

I can see some of you right now staring at your computer saying there is a time and place for everything. If given an opportunity to give defense of the Lord will you back down and say nothing, or will you rise to the occasion?

 The first part of our little equation is to have no shame of the gospel of Christ.  Paul speaks to this point specifically in Romans 1:14-16.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.  16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… (Romans 1:14-16, NIV)

In v. 14 we see that Paul is obligated to preach the gospel to everyone.  Why is Paul obligated?  Because Paul has firsthand knowledge of God’s grace and mercy (1 Corinth. 15:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:12-14).  As a result of the transformation Paul experiences, he is EAGER to preach the gospel (v.15). At the beginning of v. 16, Paul boldly states that he is not ashamed.  Again, why is Paul not ashamed?  The next statement is explicit.  Paul is not ashamed because it is the POWER of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (1 Corinth 1:23-24).   You almost get the sense that Paul is almost incredulous, and has to state that he is not ashamed.  The power of God for the salvation speaks simply of the cleansing of our sins from the sacrifice of Christ.  Paul’s rationale, why should I be ashamed of the Gospel?  It only brings everlasting life and salvation through Christ!  Paul goes on in v. 17 to make it more explicit.  Paul says that inside of the gospel a righteousness is revealed. How is it revealed?  THROUGH FAITH! (Romans 3:21-26).

As Christians we should feel the same obligation that Paul feels in v. 14.  Consider 2 Corinthians 5.  While this entire chapter is LOADED with reasons why we should feel obligated to preach the gospel lets focus on verse 14.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV)

This single verse speaks volumes about why WE should feel obligated to preach the gospel.  Christ died for our sins. He wiped the slate clean. HE stood before the judge and took our punishment. As a result HE has given us ever lasting life.  If that isn’t worth talking about then I don’t know what is.  When put into the context of verses 11 – 13 we can begin to understand the importance preaching.  Paul points out that because we, as believers, have an intimate understanding of God (and ultimately judgment) we will try to persuade others.  He acknowledges that we aren’t preaching to reaffirm our faith (talking for the sake of hearing ourselves talk), but to give God an opportunity to be happy with us, by answering those who put other things above God.  In reading this verse I am struck by two descriptions.  First ministering to people who will label us as being out of our minds   (v. 13).  Second, a description of ministering to those who place other things above God in their heart (end of v. 12).  It is interesting that Paul does not designate between nonbelievers, and believers in this passage.  Which makes sense. I have been called crazy by believers and nonbelievers.  I have seen both believers, and nonbelievers place other things above God in their hearts.  I am one of them.

We have experienced the same grace and mercy that Paul experienced.  Notice in the entire section of Romans there is not a single clarification as to when it is a good or bad time to preach the Gospel. If you believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins you must be ALWAYS PREPARED to give a defense of the Lord (1 Peter 3:15).  No excuses.  None are built into the Bible and excuses are, just that – EXCUSES.  We must stop allowing our fear and our culture to drive God out of our lives.

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