And the Answer is. . .
Text 1 Peter 3:13-17
Enemies had harmed the disciples. They had injured the bodies, but not the souls. Be ready to answer to those who ask. . ."Why do you have hope?" IF we suffer, do not be afraid. The IF is the important word here. There is that possibility, but it may not be a probability. God's blessings will follow. Be not afraid nor troubled. Trust in God's support. Peter is writing this during the time of Nero and his terrible persecutions. Peter encourages us to hang in there and not give up. When we live for God, there will be trials. Peter says we are called the people of God. We are a group within a group, a nation within a nation.
The Jews were seen as a threat because they wouldn't accept the ways of the world. Christians are also attacked for the same reason. We need to reach out to the unbelievers. Bring them over to our side. Revere Christ as Lord. Live to please and honor God because we are His. He is our absolute Lord. Live daily to show others who we follow. Be ready to explain what we believe, who we believe and why we believe it.
The gospel is valid. When asked why we have hope (a focused desire for future good with a confident expectancy), not hopelessness, rather a life of endless hope, we need to be ready with an answer. Keep the focus on Jesus and His goodness as we give our answer. Ask permission to share what we know. Share all the experiences of the good in our own lives. Be careful in speaking the truth. An attitude of arrogance and knowing it all will turn others off. Carry on your discussion in a tone which God can listen to with joy. Bring in the light of God's Holy Word. We may suffer for our beliefs, but we can rejoice that we are in that place. In Acts 5: 41, 42 we see that the apostles were grateful for their place. Know that He brings us joy!