Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Set for the Defense of the Gospel

By Edd Sterchi

    In all of Paul’s sermons, letters, and conversation, he “determined not to know anything...except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Paul knew that he must speak this way, because he was “appointed for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:17). By the way, the King James Version has Paul saying, “I am set for the defense of the gospel.” The word “defense” in this passage is the Greek word “apologia” which means “verbal defense, speech in defense; a reasoned statement or argument” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon).
    Even though not a great apostle like Paul, we too should realize our responsibility of being “set for the defense of the gospel.” It’s not just the elders’ or preachers’ job – it’s every Christian’s duty. We are the defenders of the truth. Let me give you three reasons why we should be prepared to speak and defend the gospel of Christ:
    * Because God Instructs Us To – Peter stated that Christians should “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). With an increasing number of people doubting God’s existence, Jesus’ deity, and the inspiration of the Bible, the Christian will find an increased demand upon him to be able to defend these things. It is God’s wish that we defend His Holy Word. We must know it, express it, live it, and defend it.
    * Because We Respect All of the Bible – If it’s in the Bible, we should want to present it as a part of all Scripture that we know to be inspired and profitable for doctrine and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). Many folks who claim to be religious should be ashamed and embarrassed of what they profess and do as compared to what Bible really says. But we, like Paul, should not be ashamed of the pure, unadulterated gospel (Rom. 1:16).
    * Because Souls Are at Stake – Today, as in the prophet Hosea’s day, people are destroyed for lack of a knowledge and understanding of what God’s Word says (Hos. 4:6). We need mature members of the church presenting and defending the truths of the Scripture, so that souls can be won for Christ and other souls can be strengthened in His name.
    One of Satan’s greatest weapons is the lie. It’s only one of his weapons, but he uses it quite effectively. Satan’s lies are defeated by the truth, and we need to be able to confront his lies with the truth of the Scriptures. Paul was prepared to defend the gospel – he knew it was his job. Are you? Do you? 
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/

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