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Why I Believe - Rethinking Apologetics for the 21st Century, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2022 6:00 am

Why I Believe - Rethinking Apologetics for the 21st Century, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 19, 2022 6:00 am

The current moral decline and theological compromise among Christians is no longer concerning – it’s alarming. We see division and false teaching, even in the Church itself. What can those who care do? In this program, Chip explains how can we stand for biblical truth and winsomely communicate, even regarding controversial issues, with love and integrity - just like Jesus did.

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If you're a Christian, you're between the rock and the hard place when it comes to defending your faith. Here's the question.

How do you help your kids, your friends, and the people you care about know what is really true and do it in a way that's not offensive but absolutely non-compromising? That's today. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program, Motivating Christians to Live Like Christians.

I'm Dave Drouy. Thanks for joining us as we continue our series, Why I Believe. Now, last time, Chip identified some specific examples of how this progressive culture has distanced itself from God and biblical morality. In this program, he'll explain the ways we should respond in these difficult times.

And if you're wanting some more practical advice on what that looks like, stick around after the message to hear some additional thoughts from Chip. Okay, here he is now with the second half of his message, Rethinking Apologetics in the 21st Century. Yesterday, the moral climate and the values of major institutions like education, medicine, the media, they reinforced our values.

I'm a little older than some of you. I remember as a kid that if you got in trouble at school, your parents found out about it because the values of the school were pretty much the same as mom and dad. Today, a high school student cannot get an aspirin but can have an abortion without their parents knowing it. The media, the sports, the institutions, the tech companies where I live in the Silicon Valley in the greater San Francisco Bay area, their values are absolutely antithetical to what historic, traditional, biblical, or Christian values are. And so today, the moral climate of these institutions ridicule our faith and make it more and more difficult for our kids because it's politically incorrect but now you get punished.

There was a day where it was unpopular but now you are punished. You step up as a student in a university and say, I believe in Jesus. I believe in the Bible.

You're viewed as what planet are you on? You step up in a high tech company and say, I'm a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. I actually believe the Bible is true, that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. You are, I mean, you are some weird person and yet that's exactly what it was like in the first century.

And so here's what I want to tell you and this is my last observation. Before those institutions would reinforce our beliefs and now we're living in a world that is far more like the first century than the last century. And Christianity did something in the first century and the answers to how to respond when Christianity and your faith is ridiculed is already available.

Now I'm going to ask you to do something right now. I'd like you to open your Bibles to first Peter and I want to tell you that first Peter was written to a group of people who if you think you're getting persecuted, I mean they were blamed at this point in time for burning down Rome. They were viewed as anti-government. They were viewed as the problem and more and more what I hear is the problem in America is Christians and their absolute values and their dogma. So what did God say in the first century that allowed them to have an apologetic that transformed the world? Rodney Stark in his excellent book The Rise of Christianity and the Triumph of Christianity talks about sociologically not the Holy Spirit, not God's power, but just sociologically what in the world could happen that an itinerant preacher with 12 followers who when he died only had about 120 faithful followers who made outrageous claims that were anti to the to the Roman government that was a polytheistic world and he claims he's the way the truth and the life. How in the world could that itinerant preacher, there's no printing press, there's no satellites right, no silicon chips, no computers, no videos and yet in less than 300 years by 313 AD that little group of followers called the way later to become Christians were more than 50% of the known population of the Roman Empire. Think of that. There's something radical about their lives. There was about 60 million people in the Roman Empire by 313 AD it's estimated 33 million were devoted followers of Christ.

I think the answer is right here. Now don't get me wrong. Classic apologetics is really important, but they need to be repackaged. Listen to what God would say through Peter to a group of people persecuted. First of all, he opens it and says to those who reside as aliens scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, Bithynia. In other words, this is for everyone in Asia and Asia Minor and then he says to them, my grace and peace be with you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, we are born again, get this to a living hope protected by God's power. We have an inheritance that's imperishable that will not fade away reserved for us in heaven. And he goes on to say in this you greatly rejoice even if now for a little while you're distressed by various trials.

Here's what I want you to get. The early church had a living hope. It was powerful. They really believed there was a eternal life and that they lived in this temporal time and so that shaped everything. They believed they had an inheritance. Now especially in the world it was a very crude and difficult and world of much suffering. And so these people had hope that they clung on to in the midst of great difficulty and great persecution. He goes on to say, fix your hope fully on this grace and this hope, this following of a living God, not a religion, not a set of principles, it was set on him and the living hope he says therefore gird your minds for action.

So it starts and we don't use that word a lot but a Roman soldier would have a long robe and when he was ready to go into battle he would take his belt like this and he would take it and he would tuck it in and he would gird it. He would say be sober. Here's what I want you to do. You need to get ready. You need to think in a different way. You need to be sober in your thinking.

You need to get ready to go after it. He says you're in a battle. And then he goes on to say after this hope and you are ready to think in a completely different way, focused on God's grace then here's what he says, as obedient children do not be conformed any longer to the former lust that were yours in your ignorance. But like the holy one who called you be ye holy also in all your behavior. So what he's saying is first and foremost you can't look at this life as your home. You're an alien.

You're a stranger. Second when you had this hope when you have an eternal perspective that happens deep in your heart, your behavior you become a holy person. Not holy as in weird. Holy as in loving and pure and moral. And then look at verse 22. He skips on down, sent you in obedience to the truth have purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren. Fervently love one another because you've been born again by the word of God.

So notice this apologetic. It's first this place. My world is not about just the now and just the happiness and how my life turns out and how my kids get into which school or am I upwardly mobile. It's first and foremost I have a faith that's rooted in eternity that leads to a holy life that leads to this fervent love.

This isn't about just being in a small group. This is your kids growing up in a world and your friends seeing that you love one another. You give your time. You give your energy. You give your money. You care about people.

You care about the marginalized. The early church were the ones that would take the infants off the garbage dumps. The early church was the one that helped the leper. The early church grew according to Rodney Stark because in the first 80 to 130 years there were three major plagues that went across the whole Roman world and everyone ran to the hills especially the wealthy and Christians stayed willfully in the cities and served and many of them died and their names are recorded as martyrs. They were martyrs who died to save the people ministering to them through these plagues.

Rodney Stark observes that then there were huge major metropolitan cities that the only people that were left were Christians who survived or unbelievers who were nursed back to health through Christians. See it wasn't their reasons. It was their life.

It was their love. It was their dedication and I will tell you that where I live the nuns if you will non religious affiliation in the Silicon Valley 70 percent. There are people from all over the world. It's the most diverse place.

It's the most intelligent place and what I can tell you what we've had the privilege of doing when we have loved people when we've helped the immigrants when we've helped do things in the schools when we've served the city when we've helped those in the homosexual lifestyle and driven them to their doctor's appointment and cared for them rather than judge them. Do we hold to the truth? Absolutely but a radical love is what marked the early church.

Holy lives radical love eternal perspective as you open to chapter 2 he says therefore get rid of all malice and guile and hypocrisy and envy and slander and like a newborn baby long for the pure milk of God's word that by it you may grow. Did you hear the attitudes? They weren't telling Rome what they ought to do.

They weren't saying we've got to have our rights. Get rid of all hypocrisy. Get rid of this anger. Stop posting things about this group or that group. Stop blaming.

Cause your lips to be lips of praise and encouragement. You hold to the truth. You live the life and then he says you become these living stones and you a movement occurred in the early church where they became the source of solving some of the biggest problems in the first century and they cared for people that hated them. They they returned good for evil as they were marched into stadiums arm and arm they would sing praises praying out loud God please forgive those who are killing us. It's a faith that I see when I go to China. It's a faith that I'm seeing when I travel in the Middle East and it's the resurgent the apologetic of the faith that we need in America today. Your kids are not going to be followers of Christ because you send them to a Christian school and you go to a building and everyone sits and listens to someone talk and they hear a few songs and whether it's a small little church or a mega church I will tell you your kids are bombarded your friends are bombarded with a worldview that's completely antithetical to scripture. And what it's going to take is an apologetic are you ready for this?

Here's the number one apologetic it's your life. It's a holy life with an eternal perspective that's radically loving. And then in chapter two he goes on to say that this builds and you're this chosen generation you're God's vehicle pull it's not a political party that's going to change the world. You're a group of priests you're his kingdom operational agents to make a difference.

And then he says are you ready for this? I urge you as aliens and strangers just like you don't belong here to abstain from fleshly lusts. Our morality we can't speak words and tell people how they ought to live.

Our morality especially in the area of sexual purity it begins with us not judging other people. He goes on to say then this gets wild submit therefore to the government even when they're wrong. He said I want you to submit to the government every institution you ought to be the best citizens in the world not the whiners not the complainers not the blamers.

Not the people that you know say you know the government did this you know that this political party did this so I'm gonna blame the media here and it's higher education here. The early church understood it was the positive message of their life and they hold to the truth but they were the best citizens the kindest people they were the most winsome. In fact he would even go on to say what credit is there if you suffer for doing what's wrong? But when you suffer for doing what is right not claiming your rights this finds favor with God for you were called to this purpose since Christ also suffered for you providing you an example to follow in his steps. Do you understand what it looks like when everyone knows when things are unfair when you respond in a good way when a boss or a meeting or a neighbor or a situation when it is so unfair and it is so wrong and they meet someone who models Christ likeness don't you understand that's powerful? I mean that's what Jesus did and so he says to us here's the core of your apologetic before you give them reasons before they want to sit down and ever ask about the hope that's in you you know what they need they need to see the kind of life that's saying what makes you tick?

I was with a Google executive recently and we're on a plane riding together and he's from a Hindu background but like most Hindus like most Buddhists like most people in Islam and like most Christians they don't practice their faith okay? They're culturally that like most Jews and so what we really practice is upward mobility getting ahead getting a good education but I will tell you this about every person he really cared about his wife he wanted to be a good dad we had a conversation for an hour and a half on a plane and you know what I didn't start with here's the five reasons why I believe the Bible I want you know Jesus is the only way and here's all the reasons for it he didn't want to hear any of that he actually said to me you know this sounds kind of crazy because I mean he was super well educated he was super bright he goes I don't really get like Christianity Islam I don't even know the basic story could you tell it to me? And I did and pretty soon I started talking about 40 years of marriage and started talking about you know some struggles big struggles that I had with some of my kids and how God worked and what the principles were and what I believed and why I'm telling you an hour and 51 minutes into that flight over that time this guy I end up handing him the book why I believe and instead of him feeling like I'm right and you're wrong you know what he felt like? He felt like someone put his arm around him and we were sitting on this side of the table and truth is on that side of the table and there's a loving God that has truth that wants to help him be a good dad that wants him to have a great marriage that wants to help him invest in his kids and that there is truth that's sustainable and verifiable but he wasn't ready to hear any of that until I listened until I loved him until I didn't judge him and he gave me all you know I think as long as you're sincere it doesn't matter what you believe I said you know that's a really interesting statement and we walked down that path logically and I'm gonna tell you little by little by little what he realized is he's heard all this mantra of our day but he hadn't really thought it through he didn't know what he really believed or why and he the same human needs that everyone has that's where we begin I love it he even tells us to let our family life demonstrated he says wives in chapter three this is how to respond to your husband and then hey husbands this is how you respond to your wife and this is so radical I mean a woman was just a piece of property to be used and abused and he says live with your wife in an understanding way she's a co-heir of the grace of God and then he says to sum it up this is a great passage because it's the actual context he says here's what I want you to know to sum up let all be harmonious and sympathetic brotherly kind-hearted and humble in spirit not returning evil for evil or insult for insult can you imagine if we just applied that to social media alone not evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead for you were called for this very purpose why that you might receive a blessing and then that passage talks about that blessing and the kind of life it produces and it's that kind of life that people will say oh would you tell me the hope that's in you can you tell me how your family looks like this can you tell me how your life is working like that because here's what I know people can say whatever they want you don't have to believe in gravity you jump off a four-story building I'll tell you what the results are about the same of someone who says I believe in gravity this person says I don't believe in gravity they both jump off you don't have to believe in how what God says about relationships you don't have to believe that Jesus is the only way you don't have to believe that I will tell you when you violate the principles of the kingdom of how God has designed life to work then what you have is destruction and heartbreak we have the highest suicide rate in the history of America especially among 13 to 17 year old girls and middle-aged people those who are struggling with sexual identity issues whether transgender or with homosexuality you have again high suicide rates we're living in a day where what Christians need to be and to become our first and foremost godly loving kind and winsome because here's the deal classic apologetics assumed that we were living the kind of life that people were asking about the hope that's in you now you anybody asking you that what's your hope is your life that different can I be very gentle but I want to start our time be very direct have you unconsciously unconsciously so I don't mean you willfully done it somehow thought that just going to church intellectually believing a few facts praying a prayer is really going to cause your family your kids your neighbors to see Christ as the most attractive and powerful reality in all the world and if you're concerned about your children if you're concerned and feeling intimidated by what's happening in our world stay with me because we're going to talk about this new apologetic that starts with your life and how then we use all those facts and all that truth in a winsome way to put our arm around people to really help them understand and them to accept and understand that there is a God who cares about him you know the mandate hasn't changed going to all the world and what preach the gospel that's what God wants to do in us and through us father I pray right now for every single person that you would give them a moment of truth to analyze and evaluate where they're at in their relationship with you father I pray that we would grasp first and foremost that our lives have to scream the love of God and the truth of God before our mouths can speak about the same would you guide our time would you help us to be Christians who really live like Christians for your glory and for our good in Jesus name Amen. Ship will be right back with his application for this message Rethinking Apologetics for the 21st Century from his series Why I Believe. Let me ask you how confidently can you answer questions about God and the Bible are you pretty sure of yourself or do you feel unprepared wishing you would have paid a little more attention in Sunday school through the six part series Chip will help you better understand the bedrock concepts of the Christian faith and how you can communicate that truth in engaging ways to others now if you want to learn more let me encourage you to check out Chip's book Why I Believe or the small group resources these are the perfect tools to help you go deeper for complete details go to the Chip Ingram app or call 888-333-6003 well before we go any further Chip's with me in studio now to share what's been on his heart recently Chip well thanks so much Dave I want to take just a few minutes to talk about something really important God has been using the ministry of Living on the Edge in incredible ways we've been growing and reaching folks like never before and you're an important part of that your gifts to Living on the Edge make it possible for us to be present in places that without you we simply couldn't be many of these places are extremely dangerous to proclaim the name of Christ and your gifts make it possible for us to reach people in desperate situations you know right here in the United States I can't tell you how many emails and letters I receive that somewhere in that letter or email it's like I was on my way to the abortion clinic or I was planning to end my life or I was about to give up on my marriage or I was giving up on God because of something terrible that happened to me but then I started listening to you on my drive to work or my neighbor gave me this book or I found your app and you know this series on overcoming emotions or whatever it was God's catalyst to begin a total transformation in my life these things aren't happening because of Chip Ingram or even Living on the Edge they're happening because God is working in and through those who by faith respond and obey him you know we can't do anything alone that's because it's not God's plan for any of us we are in this together and Living on the Edge as God's ministry is about you and me doing exactly what God calls us to do and so I would ask you first would you really pray for the ministry and second would you pray specifically about partnering at a deeper level and partnering with us financially do whatever God leads you to do and let me say in advance let's keep pressing ahead and thank you very much thanks Chip well if you're already a financial partner thank you with your help Living on the Edge is ministering to more people than ever before but if you're benefiting from Chip's teaching and haven't yet taken that step now would be a great time to join the team to send a gift or become a monthly partner go to Living on the Edge org or text the word donate to 741 41 that's donate to 741 41 or visit Living on the Edge org app listeners just tap donate well with that here again is chip with some final thoughts as we wrap up today's program you know I've been thinking about those believers in the first century that Peter was encouraging you know their faith was radical their faith was practical I mean it was lived out in the everyday life in dynamic ways and their faith was contagious despite all the persecution it was like it caught on like wildfire and finally their faith turned the world upside down and it got me thinking is my faith like that is my faith radical do I really believe that God does miracles that I can trust him for everything is my faith practical am I helping meet real life needs of real people or did somehow along the way it got transferred into going to religious services and just trying to be a bit more moral is my faith contagious are people asking you and me about what makes you tick and tell me about your marriage tell me about your parenting tell me why you work like this with that kind of attitude you know the overwhelming truth is that our children are leaving the faith because the faith they've seen in many of our homes and churches is not attractive our consumer Christianity has asked too little not too much of them and turning to Jesus as the self-help genie for a happy life misses the mark this generation longs for a faith that makes a real difference that costs something that changes the world not simply makes us more comfortable is that what they're seeing in you and me you see real change it starts with you and it starts with me what would it look like beginning today for you to have a radical practical contagious faith that makes a difference great challenge chip thanks hey before we go let me remind you of an easy way to listen to our extended teaching podcast here chip anytime on amazon's alexa echo and echo dot just say alexa open Living on the Edge and you'll hear that day's extended teaching anytime you want well for chip and everyone here this is dave druy saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-08 17:47:57 / 2023-03-08 17:57:39 / 10

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