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Taking the Offense (without being offensive)

You football fans know the benefit of having a good offense all the while recognizing that without a good defense you’ll be clobbered by the other team as they put more points on the board than your offense does.  In the life of the Christian, we need a good defense but we also need to be on offense—without being offensive.  As we live for the Lord, we want to let our lights shine that others will see our good works and glorify God (Matt. 5).  We want to properly “adorn” the doctrine of God—make God’s doctrines/teachings look good to others (Titus 2:10).  That’s us being on the offense.  Doing good things, presenting Christianity as we live it—using our lips as we have opportunity (Go into all the world and preach the gospel—Mark 16:15).

Having a good defense means that we know what we know and why we know it.  Paul said, “I am appointed for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:16).  Peter, in 1 Peter 3:15, told believers to be prepared always “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” The context here is similar to Paul’s later epistles and to Luke’s writings: non-Christians are slandering the behavior of Christians and threatening them with persecution (1 Pet. 3:13-17; 4:12-19). When challenged or even threatened, Christians are to behave lawfully, maintain a good conscience, and give a reasoned defense of what they believe to anyone who asks.  Why do you believe what you believe?  How well do you know the Word of God?   Is it True?  How do you demonstrate that to others?   Is it authoritative?   Do you—and shouldn’t others—obey it?   Preparing ourselves for these events is part of what draws us together in our assemblies for Bible study and worship.  We learn ourselves and we teach one another in those settings.  The upcoming "Defending the Faith" Conference this church is hosting is an excellent way to learn to be on the offense without being offensive.  

Defending THE Faith is something we are always to do; even “contend” for it (Jude 3).  That’s being on the offense.  Carry the ball–take the truth–to the world.  Engage the enemy (Satan) by knowing God’s Word and speaking it, teaching it to those who need it most.  As Paul said, “speaking the Truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

May God bless us and bless the lives of others as we live out His Word, as we teach that Word faithfully, and as we demonstrate His amazing love and mercy and grace in the process.

Jimmy E. Gaston

 

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