Christians have hope when no one else does. They have hope in this life and hope for the life to come. Their hope is not just rooted in optimism or the power of positive thinking, Their hope is anchored in Christ.
In your heart set apart Jesus as Lord. And always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the HOPE that you have. Do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)
honor Jesus as your Lord
Jesus is the Lord. He is the Lord of the universe, the Lord over all. The question you must ask is this: is Jesus your Lord? That is, is He your Savior? And does He direct and guide your life? When you honor Jesus as your Lord, you follow His teaching. You obey His commands. You delight to do His will because you know that it is for your good and His glory. When you follow Jesus as your Lord, you will have hope: eternal hope and hope for daily life.
13 And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. (1 Peter 3:13-18 HCSB)
What does honoring Jesus look like?
- Be deeply committed to what is good (v13)
- Realize that you are blessed (v14)
- Do not fear what the world fears (v14)
- Endure suffering the way Jesus did (vv16-18)
always be ready…
So here is how the process goes.
- You display genuine hope, even when life looks hopeless
- People notice
- People ask you why you have such hope — what’s the reason!?
- You give the answer — Jesus!
Amazingly simple process, right? It applies to the teenager who has hope in Christ when life is difficult and to the martyr across the world being persecuted for her faith. God gets you ready to share. He gives you the words to say and He empowers you with His Spirit. The word translated “defense” or “answer” is the Greek word apologia. In a technical sense, you are engaging in Christian apologetics, giving a defense of your faith.
But don’t be intimidated by the terms. What God is saying is that whether you are debating an atheist on the campus of an Ivy League university like Ravi Zacharias has done or whether you are having a cup of coffee with a friend talking about your faith, you should always be ready when God gives you opportunities to share the reason for our hope — tell them what God has done in your life.
The gospel in three phrases, straight from 1 Peter 3:18:
- Jesus died for your sins
- Jesus will make you righteous
- Jesus brings you to God
do this with gentleness and respect
Every person that you talk to was created by God, created in His image. They are worthy of you showing them respect. They may be hostile toward your message. They may mock or slander you. They may even persecute you for your faith. But no matter what they do, you should respond with an attitude that honors Christ, one that shows that He is your Lord. Do not yell. Do not lose your cool. Do not be overwhelmed. Answer them with gentleness and respect.
And when you do, they will really see that your hope is in Christ!