Sunday, February 2, 2014

Defending Our Faith

The enemies of Christianity have always tried to entrap believers into making statements that would expose their beliefs as a lie. This has been true from the time of Christ. Jesus had to deal with several groups that were always trying to ensnare Him with His own words. Matthew 22 recounts several of those moments.

On one occasion; the Pharisees sent their disciples and the Herodians to entrap Jesus by using a series of questions: ““Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.” (Matthew 22:16-22)

On another occasion; the Sadducees made an attempt to catch Jesus in a statement that they could use against Him. “23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died.28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.” (Matthew 22:23-32)

The Pharisees themselves tried their best to best him on the most significant law of the Old Testament. ““34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”* (Matthew 22:34-40)
*Note: This passage of verses establishes the way we believers should live our lives in relationship to God and to our fellow man!

Now Jesus asked them a question; He said “42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:42-46)

Jesus quoted the psalmist’s words from Psalm 110:1

“The LORD says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” (Psalm 110:1)

In each incident, the people were amazed at His words. Those that tried to entrap Him, walked away with His words ringing in their ears. He left no room for debate: Jesus Christ, the Son of God is also Jesus, the descendant and Divine Lord of King David.

The words of the Bible require no defense from us for they are the word of God! However, they are more than words. They form the core of our faith! As Jesus is the foundation of our faith, His words teach us. They show us who He is, why He came and what He has done for us! There are many non-believers that acknowledge the words of God but they deny the faith in God that those words inspire. It is that faith that we must be willing and able to defend!

As followers of Christ; we should be able to use a reasoned argument to silence those that will challenge our beliefs. 1Peter 3:15-16 admonishes us “15 But in your hearts revere 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.”

Are you ready and prepared to defend your beliefs?

In Christ,

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