I wonder if, like me, you often find yourself switching off a little bit as you read familiar Bible passages? It’s easy to assume we know what’s going on and so not pay enough attention to the detail.
One such passage is the famous verse from 1Peter that we read together a few weeks ago:
but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,1 Peter 3:15
It’s a classic text that is often used to defend the idea of apologetics – the defence of the Christian faith. But that can be a scary thing – our mind turns to the idea of detailed philosophical arguments or in-depth knowledge of first century archaeology and history. As helpful as all those things can be (and we thank God for the experts in the field!) is that what Peter has in mind?
Jesus, through his Apostle Peter, isn’t calling us to years of academic study to construct some sort of explanation of our Christian faith. He simply calls us to always be ready to explain our hope. That word hope is something that we’ve become very familiar with in 1 Peter. It speaks to our great confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and so we also will be. Not just that, we have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading (1Pet. 1:4). This is the hope that Peter has been consistently pointing us to. That great truth that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1Pet. 5:10).
So we need to be ready to explain that particular hope. In other words, be ready to say “Jesus was raised and is coming back and this is why I act the way that I do”.
Of course, the challenges that will come upon us (both spoken but also felt in various circumstances) have particular shapes; our culture has it’s own particular obsessions and therefore it’s own particular questions that it will want to ask us. How can we always be ready to give an answer that points to our hope?
Over the next four weeks our sermon series will be looking to give some answers shaped by this hope that we have in the risen Jesus. Not just philosophical arguments or archaeological/historical proofs but an answer shaped by the truth that the risen Lord Jesus is returning – the sort of answer that Peter urges us to have. We’ll look together at four areas where we ought to be living differently to the world and where the world will be constantly challenging us:
- The sex and gender debate
- Dealing with Suffering
- Using our Wealth
- Abuse of Power
Please pray for your preachers as they look to put together helpful material so that we can all be prepared to give an answer. Expect to be challenged as we think through how we ought to be living differently in these areas. And look with expectation for opportunities to provide those answers to others so that they might also know this great Hope for the World that we live out and speak about.
David Ould / Senior Associate Minister
St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta
PRAY: Pray for each of us as we are challenged to think through how we ought to be living differently over the next four weeks of sermons. Pray that we would look with expectation for opportunities to provide answers to others so that they might also know this great Hope for the World that we live out and speak about.
Join us this Sunday for our Sunday services. We meet at 8am, 9:30am, 11am and 5pm at the Cathedral – and online at 11am. Check out out Sunday services page for more information on our face-to-face services.