The Defense of the Gospel

I. We can be “confident” in God’s good work (Philippians 1:6)

A. We are His “workmanship” for good works (Ephesians 2:10)

1. Created in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24)

2. Created and called for a purpose (Romans 8:28-29)

3. Created with full glorification promised (Romans 8:30)

4. Created to receive a guaranteed inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5)

B. We share a common bond (Philippians 1:7)

1. It is “right” to have such love for each other.

a. Paul has them “in his heart”
b. Philippians are “partakers of Paul’s grace”

2. It generates a great “longing” for each other (Philippians 1:8)

a. Paul longs to establish them (Romans 1:11)
b. Epaphroditus (church member) longed to share the news of his recovery with the church (Philippians 2:26)

C. We possess a “like mind” – we “think” together for the Kingdom.

1. Phroneo (the Greek word) stresses a common understanding.

2. Phroneo is used 26 times in the New Testament – 16 in Philippians.

a. Philippians 2:2 -- Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind
b. Philippians 2:5 -- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
c. Philippians 3:15 -- Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded God shall reveal even this unto you.
d. Philippians 3:16 -- Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
e. Philippians 3:19 -- Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
f. Philippians 4:2 -- I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
g. Philippians 4:10 -- But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful but ye lacked opportunity.

3. We have the “mind of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:16); we should be “likeminded one toward” each other (Romans 15:5).

II. We have a responsibility to “defend” and “confirm” the Gospel.

A. The various “commissions” to the church are well known

1. We are to “teach” all nations “teaching them to observe all things” that our Lord Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20).

a. Matheteuo (28:19) stresses the end product of making a disciple (follower) out of “all nations.”
b. Didasko (28:20) describes the action – teaching
c. Ephesians 4:12-16 provides the expanded role and end goal of this command.

2. We are to “go” and “preach” the gospel to “every creature” (Mark 16:15)

a. Poreuomai (go) describes our “normal lifestyle”
b. Kerusso (preach) is the action term to “herald, declare”
c. Euaggelion (the gospel) is the “good announcement” we declare
d. Pas ktisis (all creation) is the all-inclusive goal.

3. We are to be “witnesses” of the life, ministry, and doctrine of Christ Jesus (Luke 24:44-48 and Acts 1:8)).

a. Martus (Luke 24:48, etc.) carries the idea of a totally committed witness of truth.  It is sometimes translated “martyr” (Acts 22:20 and Revelation 2:13)
b. The Law of Moses (Pentateuch, Torah), the Prophets, and the Psalms are to be the source of our “witness” about Christ (24:44)
c. All these historical books point to the “Events” of the substitutionary atonement and resurrection of Christ (24:45-46)
d. These true events (about which we testify) will produce “remission of sins” (24:47)

4. We are given a very broad responsibility as the “saints” (Ephesians 2:19) and “ambassadors” of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) to declare “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

B. The “Good Announcement” must be “preached” under God’s authority.

1. It is not to be merely “declared” in words alone.

a. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 -- For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.

2. It must be understood as “the” power of God.

a. Romans 1:16 -- For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

3. It must be presented as the “only” gospel.

a. Galatians 1:9 -- If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

C. The “defense” of the gospel requires readiness.

1. Apologia is the Greek term used.

2. 1 Peter 3:15 encapsulates the classic use of the word.

a. Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

3. Romans 1:19-20 insists that those who reject, have no “defense”

a. That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

D. The need for readiness requires both preparation and determination.

1. Our command is to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

2. Moses choose “to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25)

3. Solomon “determined to build an house for the name of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 2:1)

4. Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would…not defile himself (Daniel 1:8)

5. Paul “determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

E. The “Good Announcement” is a message not an activity.

1. Churches are embracing a format of developing “facilitators” not “teachers” for their Bible study forums

2. “Sharing” not “learning” becomes the end product with a focus on “helping” not “loving”

3. The “one another’s” become more important than holiness or comprehending the eternal Word of God. 

4. Some pastors have become consumed with “growth” not “maturity” and seek to “attract” rather than “win” the lost. 

5. “Christian fun” is the dominant theme among youth ministries – almost to the exclusion of a passion for holiness.

F. The “apologetics” of the “Good Announcement” makes demands             (1 Peter 3:15)

1. We must “sanctify” our hearts before “giving and answer.”

a. John 17:17 -- Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth
b. 2 Timothy 2:21 -- If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

2. We must give a “reason of the hope” that is in us.

a. Romans 8:24 -- For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
b. Hebrews 6:19 -- Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast

3. We must “answer” with “meekness and fear”

a. Colossians 4:6 -- Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
b. 2 Timothy 2:25 -- In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth

G. The “defense” must also be with “confirmation.”

1. The word, bebaios, means “steadfast, sure, firm”

2. Hebrews 6:16 -- For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.

3. Colossians 2:7-- Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

4. Hebrews 13:9 -- Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

The Gospel of the Kingdom – looks ahead to the promise and inheritance (Matthew 4:23)
The Gospel of Christ – looks on the substitution and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
The Everlasting Gospel – rests on the One who Created all things (Revelation 14:6)

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