Sunday Sermon 10.30.21
Beginning the season, the August defensive rankings of the NFL listed the LA Ram’s with the best defense, thanks mostly to our main man, Aaron Donald. (He is a beast of a defender!) But now, as of September’s end, the rankings list the Arizona Cardinals as the top defensive team.
Playing the “Big D” has alaways been coaches, (and fans) battle cry.
” Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”Bear Bryant
Even that great philosopher, Mister Miagi, from the movie, “Karate Kid” prioritized teaching Daniel defensive moves, although Daniel thought paining a fence, scrubbing the deck, and waxing the car were useless chores. It was only when Miaggi sternly told Daniel, “I HAVE been teaching you karate! Defend yourself!” Miaggi then thrust his arm at Daniel, and using the technique he learned from his chores Daniel defends himself. Another blow, and yet another blow from Miaggi and Daniel utilizes the skills he practiced in those other chores to defend himself too. He had learned karate moves, Miaggi had been teaching him to defend himself all along.
How’s your defense? Your “Big D”?
By that I mean, are you solid in defense of your values, views, standards, and even worldview? Can you defend them rationally, intellectually, soundly and based on facts? How ‘bout your faith?
You see, I am not responsible for defending your viwes, or another’s views, but I am responsible for defending mine. If I can’t, then I have some homework to do. Especially as a Christian living in these days, it is imperative that I be able to defend my Christian worldview with facts coupled with the story of my life experiences.
In the ancient Greek legal system, the prosecution delivered the “kategoria”, the accusation or charge and the defendant replied with an “apologia”, the defence. It was a formal speech to reply to and rebut the charges. (Remember Socrates Apologia defense from Plato’s Apology?)
This Greek word, “apologia” is the basis of our word “apologetics”. Oxford defines it this way,
“Apologetics – reasoned arguements on writings in justification of someone or something.”
Apologetics has become a religious discipline of defending doctrines through systemic arguements and discourse. But more importantly, for you and me, it is our ability to reasonalbly and intellectually support and defend our position in Christian faith, with facts and rational thought.
When I was young, I heard said, “If you were on trail for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It startled me and caused me to become more serious about my faith.
With that too came the idea- could I provide evidence for my faith? Was my faith in fact based on evidence or was it sort of “blind faith”? My friend, I am 100% against the idea of blind faith. You see, my faith, is in no way blind. My faith is based on fact. That fact, those collections of facts are what has become my defense. My best defense, in fact.
Here’s the deal. Scripture tells us –
” … in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”1 Peter 3:15 ESV
This word, defense, is that Greek word “apologia”. You see, we are to be ready, as in a court of law, to answer, defend, even rebut charges and questions that we are asked. Again I say, I am responsible for defending my views, answering the charge, being the DEFENDant.
Remember too, this is a formal speech. That means it is premeditated, planned out, ascribed to in advance, and held on paper (as it were) to present when asked for.
I think that is why Jesus said,
” Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer for I will give you a mouth and wisdom…”Luke 21:14
We think Jesus was telling his disciples not to think about what they would say when charged. But that isn’t quite the meaning here. What He was telling them, was to settle in their minds BEFOREHAND how they would answer. Prepare their speech in advance. Have their defense prepared and settled and then, when asked, speak it with His wisdom and help.
We see the same thing in the life of the Apostle Paul. His life was spent preparing his defense of the gospel, preaching the defense of the gospel. It was a speech he had memorized and was thoroughly convinced of, he had facts, reason, intellect, and BAM – his defense.
” Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person.”Colossians 4:6 ESV
These are the days when we must know how to answer those who ask. We must be prepared in advance. Settle it ahead of time. So that means study, prayer, filtering, and finally settling on our defense. Memorizing it, or at the very least have it so prayed into our hearts, that the Holy Spirit will call it forth when needed.
If you really want to be prepared, then I offer you one old school and one new school tool.
In the days of my youth, there was a hot book that we digested and used in our defense of the gospel. It is by Josh McDowell and called, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict“. It is still available, but is new and expanded, but called, “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict.”
Last night, I finished reading a block buster book for this generation, of the same caliber. It is by J. Warner Wallace, and is called, “Person of Interest“. This book rocked my world! Talk about preparing you with facts, reason, and evidence for being a believer????? THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ. I kid you not. If you are a believer, you need to read it. If you are a skeptic, you need to read it. I promise you, you will not walk away from your faith (or lack of it) the same. (It is an easy read, I did it in just 3 sittings, over a 24 hour period.)
We are facing days of great questionings, uncertainties and rampant misinformation. How well we know and are able to defend our faith will rock the world – IF WE ARE PREPARED TO GIVE A DEFENSE for the hope that lies within us.
May WE be the ones who turn the world right side up again, because we have the best defense.
Go with God,