Pastor Mark Willey
To begin a new series today we're going to be focusing on a series called conversations about God the church and Christianity and our text is found from this passage. This will be the text that is sort of the Foundation for the series in verse 15 in particular First Peter 3 Verse 13 through 17. Here's what we read. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good. But even if you should suffer for what is right you are blessed. Do not fear their threats do not be frightened but in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander for it is better if it is God's will to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Let's pray. Lord I ask that your spirit would move among us this morning. God this series is one I am excited about and yet I recognize the real need of your spirit to be at its center. We need you to be our teacher our guide. God help us to apply the principles of this verse where it talks about giving a reason for the hope that is in us with gentleness and respect. God lead us as we look at some challenging questions in the weeks to come. Some controversial ones certainly Lord direct us.
May we have teachable spirits even today in Jesus name Amen. A.
Number of years in a row I went into a public high school in our area had the chance to go in as a part of a clergy team. We went in individually to speak to the senior health classes and the senior health classes. Basically you had the option you could do it for two days in a row because there were eight classes that you could take all eight in one shot. I tried both ways. It was a tremendously enjoyable experience spiritually refreshing mentally emotionally exhausting. I had the chance to meet with every senior in the school in those classes and it was a forum where I was at. It was one of those ampitheater type classes where everybody is up above and you're down at the bottom and it did feel a little like the Roman Forum at times. But I remember the time I was introduced one time in particular by one of the young women that was a part of the department.
And she introduced me this way and Kate and I had all different kinds of clergy come in. We were assigned to come in and talk on the subject of family. Our views on family marriage and moral issues and there was a Muslim E-Man that came in Jewish rabbi that came in Catholic priest that came in Protestant by their expression more mainline liberal perspectives. I was the token conservative Protestant evangelical that came in and I came in and I remember this this very pleasant young teacher was introducing me and she said to the kids she says you may always have wondered what an evangelical pastor is. I've always wondered. We have one today. It was I really felt like she was saying we have a pygmy from western Africa who's going to be our show and tell today and here he is. And it struck me and the experience bore this out just the confusion of what a pastor and what an Evangelical is today we'll look at that again in a little while.
But in that presentation 42 minute class I took some around 18 to 20 minutes to do a presentation on my beliefs on a morality marriage family. I tried to spice in humor and then it was open season and questions came from everywhere. I don't remember a class where we got done where there weren't still hands up. I mean it was it was fun. It was exhausting. But I mean questions divorce gay marriage gay relationships euthanasia right and wrong us all kinds of sex questions hell and heaven. How can you believe in a book written 2000 years ago. Questions now using this term. But this this concept. How can there be an ID. The problem with the exclusivity of Christianity and on and on it was an invigorating experience. And invariably at the end of the class there would be one or two maybe at most three kids that would come down that would sort of come off to the side and who were young people of faith and of the Christian faith and they would thank me for just giving a fairly reasonable presentation of things that they believed that they embraced.
But there were also many people that were not in a buy in.
Capacity. And I found the experience of being with with that environment where there was no loyalty to Christianity very impactful to me. I found that it was. It enabled me to see a sincere confusion about Christian beliefs and values and quite honestly many held to a vision of Christianity that I also would completely reject. I also saw the personal nature of the topics that this for many was not theory that we were discussing this conversation mattered. It spoke about their families choices. It spoke about their identity. It spoke to the things that they were trying to find happiness and acceptance and I also felt to some degree sometimes more than others. The animosity on the part of some to what I believed but it and other similar experiences in different context that have affirmed to me the importance of Christians being ready to engage in conversations about these and other topics of life and faith. Our text is first Peter 3:15. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
I'm actually addressing three people in this study and I'm hoping that you will be one of these three I'm addressing in a broad sense. All of you that are a part of our church family that have embraced Jesus Christ as your Savior.
That my hope is that you who I hope are engaged with people in your office in your school on a soccer field who undoubtedly have many of these questions whether they have expressed them to you or not yet. I'm hoping you will feel better equipped to defend and explain your faith and to do so as first Peter 3 says with gentleness and respect. I'm also addressing in this series those of you who are not followers of Christ. I believe we have them every week. A number of you and our services are certainly on line and who some of these questions I hope will be questions that you identify with maybe some of these or one of these has been one that you have found particularly a reason to put off Christianity and whether you are would express that or not. I want you to know that there is on our Web site as of today there is a place on our home page where if there are any questions anyone wants to ask and it is designed intentionally to be put in anonymously you can put those questions and we will genuinely try to address those on our conversation. We're calling continuing coverage continuing the conversations and the evening meetings. We're going to be having the first of those will be September 18th here and probably in the lobby.
We'll address those questions as well as others that are raised. If we get too many questions we've got some ideas of possible ways we can continue to provide other forums to address those. But if you have those questions and maybe you don't want to do it in the group you're not a person like stand up in front of a group. Well please feel free to put them in and we will we will try to honor those and get to them. I also want you to feel free if you come to those meetings to not only view that is this is a chance for me to ask my questions. I also will give opportunity for give and take. You may have rebuttals you want to share. I want to do that. I want us to be able to do that with gentleness and respect. But you are welcome to do that as well. I'm also addressing you in the church who may have embraced Jesus Christ as your savior but you have the same questions and it's awkward to ask them. Maybe you wouldn't know the forum to do it again.
Maybe you would want to do it in anonymity put it in and please feel free to express that on the Web site on the on the question section and we really will try to address those. And it doesn't have to be questions just related to sermon stuff. It's any question I mean this is your chance to to have at it. And that's why I have been. He'll be there for all the ones I don't want to talk about. All right. I'd like to talk this morning on the subject of why are we doing this.
Why are we having these conversations that start here with me talking to you. But I hope we'll continue in dialogue in those continuing conversation settings. And I'd like to give three reasons and the first of those is simply there are Biblical reasons for doing this. As Dorothy said in Cannes when the Wizard of Oz we are not in Kansas anymore. We are not in the place where we were two generations ago in western civilization. We are not.
Frankly I'm energized by it.
I don't I love living in a day of postmodernity. I love living in a secular culture. I am more motivated to minister here in the Northeast than to go to another part of the country which is much more church. I like living as a minority culture in order because I think it's where the Gospel can most thrive and can most have a beauty of impact and Western culture has definitely moved from a cultural Christian value system. Nowhere is that more evident than in the matter of religion. There is a plurality in Western culture of religious faith. It is now offensive to pray to Jesus in a public gathering because he is for many only one of a number of Religare religious founders and leaders who should be addressed. But of course this is not a new situation.
This is exactly the situation of the early church in the Roman Empire. This is exactly the culture in which they they they did their lives and carried on the business of their existence in Rome. There is a famous building. It is right downtown in the center of ancient Rome. It's called the pantheon. And I've had the chance to be there to stand in there and it was built a few years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The Pantheon was the center of religious experience and expression in all of the Roman Empire. It was deliberately built by the Roman leadership to say this is what we believe about religion.
And it was given the name pantheon intentionally. Pantheon is from two words. Pan means all the honors thast means God. It means that we embrace all Gottes pluralism religious pluralism is the belief we can bring that up. The belief that multiple religious worldviews are equally valid and accurate. This was the perspective of the Roman Empire.
That you could believe anything you could believe in any god. Call him whatever you want. Call her whatever you want what ever you wanted her him to be or them to be fine.
The only problem is if you start saying that your religion is the only true and valid way to get this was a real problem for the early Christians because their founder had said this I am the Way the Truth and the Life no one comes to the Father except through me.
When Jesus declared those words and similar words like it in John 14:6 he was declaring an exclusivity of Christian faith. This is the most abhorrence. It was the one abhorrent belief that there was no place for in a pluralistic culture of the first century. It got Christianity into great trouble.
It gets Christianity into great trouble today.
We are living in a culture of pluralism of religious pluralism where you can believe whatever you want except when it is perceived as being exclusive. We need to recognize this we need to embrace this we need to we need to that this is the reality of the culture and we need to see that this is not new.
We have just come full circle back to the first century but God did pretty well with the early church in the first and second centuries and he did it partly through the methodology of the Apostle Paul the great ambassador of the church.
Paul's methodology was to take the message of Jesus and to do in his presentations a specific way of presenting it. It was called.
He reasoned one of those verses and there are a number in the New Testament. 17 verse 16 and 17 while Paul was waiting for them in Athens he was greatly distressed to see that was city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God fearing Greeks as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
The word reasoned is literally the word Apollonia Apollonia and it's where we get apology from. And that doesn't mean Paul was in the marketplace in the synagogues and everywhere apologizing for Jesus you know saying I'm sorry I'm sorry I believe I wish I didn't. No that's not what I meant. Apology meant literally meant. It was a defense of or an explanation of. He was explaining Christ and the whole system of Christian belief.
The idea of this is that he became an apologist one who explained defended clarified both what Christians believe and why.
And he went with this message throughout the marketplace. The synagogues the public places.
Now me I'd say well that's cool and there are a number of passed in New Testament where this word is used to say well that's cool but I'm not Paul. I mean I don't do that. I don't go to the Mount Laurel Park and set up the thing and say you know I liked it.
I'd like to give a defense of Christianity. I'm I'm not a public speaker either. I just don't do that.
It's an interesting thing and the New Testament it's our text this morning as a matter of fact. First Peter 3:15.
Be ready always to give an apologia for your hope.
He's not speaking to the pastors here. He's not speaking to Peter and Paul and John and the apostles speaking to you. He's speaking to me. He's saying all of you are to give an Apollonia to others an explanation to be able to speak. And when are you able to do it.
If you look at the first part of 315 it says when they ask you you are to give an answer that presents an apple logia of your hope.
People are asking you questions is a conversation going on. So they want you to be able to delineate why in the world you believe in a religion that is exclusive which is offensive to all of us. Why in the world do you believe that this god who supposedly the sovereign transcendent one god that created the universe.
And yet he allows so much evil and suffering in the world. Why this god can be a loving God and yet you talk about an afterlife of judgment. I mean how can you do this. How can you have hope in this person. How can you trust yourself to this person.
And Peter Peter says you need to have an apple or you need to be able to reason.
You need to be able to process and think through because these are real questions.
We are ready to give any answer and upload the reason for our hope. The
first reason we're having this conversation is just because it's biblically commanded that we be able to process this way with people around us and ourselves. Secondly there are historical reasons for these conversations.
In 180 a guy was born whose name was Justin Martyr. Actually it's just in the martyr but it calls him Justin Martyr as if martyr was his last name. Justin Martyr was one of the early church fathers right after. Just to give context. He was born in 100 A.D. John. John the Apostle died in 1995 A.D..
So he was right there early church leader John Justin Martyr wrote to defence's of the Christian faith to APOLLODORUS. They are and one was addressed to the Emperor of Rome. One was addressed to the Senate of Rome. They were given really cool creative historic titles. And we know them all today by these creative titles. The first apology and the second apology of Justin Martyr. The first apology he's addressing the Roman emperor what he's really speaking for all Christians to all people around them. He addresses a number of issues.
Here are some of the issues he shows that what they're persecuting is in name only by that I mean this and that's his phrase. But what he's what he means by that is you have a car creature.
You have a straw man of what we Christians believe. You know you're saying we we because we celebrate the Lord's Supper that we are cannibals and we drink and eat blood. And he goes on eating lots of more practical things he says we're not who you think we are. And he explains to them this is who Christians are. He goes on it's additionally he says you know if we dress like everybody else we do our jobs like everybody else.
You know we we we just we're not any different except we have an absolute wholehearted centered allegiance to Jesus Christ. But he first of all just tries to say I need to clarify. Christians in practice are not what they are accused of being. Secondly he contrasts Christianity with other religions and explains why Christian worship only one God. He had to do that. He had to be able to address the exclusivity of the Gospel. I mean you've got to be able to do that. That's the most offensive thing other than maybe the fact that people would believe there's evil in the world therefore there can't be a good God ruling over it. But the fact that Christianity is an exclusive faith we have to be able to dress and process that and he and so he he addressed that. The third thing was he explained what Christians really are he said we are not people that are righteous.
We are not people that are good. We don't think we're morally better than anybody else. He says we are desperately needy sinful broken people. Jesus Christ is everything. And in the in the. And the apology. He's he's presenting this he's he's exalting Jesus Christ. He says it's not us. It's in spite of us that we've been forgiven and accepted and the simplicity of life in Jesus he saw was being confused with the trappings of of legalism and formal religion and he saw that as a barrier that was being built between people secular people and Christians.
And he says we're all broken people.
We've just found in Christ rescue in the second apology he raised some of the exact same questions that are current in our day. He talks on the issue of why does God allow suffering. He talks on these issues how can that be a future judgment if God is a loving God. I say all it's to say this is not new ground. What
we're doing these are not new Christian questions what we're asking this is the this is what happens when you are doing life in secularism and religious pluralism. The church must be able to process and to have an up a larger defense and understanding to think through and not just say well you know God said it I believe it is good enough for me. Well that isn't good enough for your children maybe that isn't good enough for your neighbor that isn't what people are asking legitimate practical life related questions.
We need to process and think through those things and there are biblical perspectives and even practical philosophical responses that can be given there are historic reasons. There
are biblical reasons for doing this series. Now put the cookies on the bottom shelf. Why are we specifically doing this. What
are the practical reasons for these conversations. And I would suggest three. Number one I see the value of a series like this because people have misconceptions about Christianity and God today. Christianity is not viewed relationally it is viewed culturally it is not viewed as a lifestyle so much as it is viewed as a cultural movement. This
is important for us to understand because when most people not most when many people use the word evangelicals they're talking about this cultural phenomenon. This group of people and they tend to associate them as a as a mass group. That's why I mentioned last week in in that recent Atlantic article I read which was put out by a guy who was trying to define the term evangelical and was fascinating. He was wrestling with how to define evangelical and he is not one but he had studied and done it. He'd seen all the surveys and he talked to all different kinds of people and he said basically there is such a broad understanding of the term evangelical in our culture. He says by one definition it refers to as few as 7 percent of the population. By other definitions it embraces 47 percent of the population.
That's either 1 out of 2 or 1 out of 14 that's a pretty big difference. And it just shows a confusion of the term that for many the term evangelical. And when people hear if you would embrace the term evangelical I would. I'm struggling with it today honestly because it's hard. I have I don't have an don't have a better one because to me the term evangelical refers to a defining of certain Biblical theological positions on the work of the Reformation truth of the gospel of saving by faith alone of of of the sufficiency of Christian scripture the sufficiency of Christ death on the cross. But that isn't what many people hear when they hear the word evangelical. For many it is a culture synonymous with the Republican Party.
Now I'm not saying you shouldn't be a Republican. Not saying you should be Republican. I'm not saying but I am saying this. Recognize that your friends that view you being an Evangelical is synonymous with being a member of the Republican Party. The standard bearer of the Republican Party to their mind often is people like Rush Limbaugh. You say well that's great. I agree with some of the things Rhasis. OK.
But you probably would not want him the standard bearer of what you hold to by faith when his whole stick is to be caustic mocking intentionally arrogant with talent on loan from God defending liberals with one hand of his brain behind his back. It may be creative in a way to get an audience but it doesn't sound like Jesus talk. It's not the spirit of Jesus. And again just realize that when people if they if they associate your Christianity with that kind of politics that kind of political practice they haven't aberant perspective of what your faith is. And I would say to you there are many that do. When in the past election it was striking to me how often liberal commentators were always talking about the evangelical vote the evangelical this evangelical this and they had these mass numbers of millions of people like a whole demographic like 90 percent of people in an area I say I've never been a place in the entire world were that many people in that locale were evangelicals. And
as I listened to those evangelicals Tang I think that's not me but the perspective is associated in many people's minds with a political political or political party. For some people it is a culture.
There are evangelicals now would be a culture unconcerned about the poor and social outcasts that basically you know the evangelical community is different from the mainline liberal churches who are caring about social needs and the poor but evangelicals they just care about your soul.
Of course we care about your soul and is our ultimate concern. It's the ultimate concern.
Well a private man if he gains the whole world but lose his own soul. But Jesus cared about more than people Salt's he cared about their social needs he cared about their physical needs. He was constantly involved with people in need.
Constantly caring for their physical afflictions their suffering. One
of the most encouraging things I've heard in the last few weeks was just sitting with Pastor Ben from our Collingswood campus. He's talking about what's been happening in the last couple of months at their Monday night outreaches. Monday night is basically at the campus. They have that's when they open up a few things. One they open up their food pantry in a large way which is the Collingswood campus is in West Collingswood. It's right near the border of Camden and there there is an area where there are needs of food and help and they have actually had to say look we're going to let you come in and get a lot of groceries one night. But we can only have you come once a month. They're keeping records because they're having 30 or 35 families every Monday night coming for it so that's over four weeks that's 100 120 families that are depending on food.
They have a vegetable garden there at Collingswood that is a thriving vegetable garden that that the community people have come in and worked with the leaders of the campus. They've built this vegetable garden every week. They come they take care of it. They work with our people and they take these fresh vegetables home some of them haven't had fresh vegetables in years. There's a there's a ministry to immigrants at the Collingswood campus every Monday night. There is a. English has a second language for immigrants that are living in the area. They now have eight different nationalities that are coming in every Monday night being trained in English as a second language.
There was an article last Sunday's featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the Collingswood campus and their care of people in their community.
This is what we want to be known for is surely ultimately our desire to see people know Jesus and know him personally. But if we are representatives of His Kingdom we will also be representatives of his values.
He was not only concerned with the spiritual needs of people but to the many people evangelical means a culture unconcerned about the poor and social outcasts. Third it is a culture that often they would perceive as morally self-righteous and hypocritical. It struck me a few I don't remember the exact election it was three or four years ago. I noticed in a scorecard I'm sometimes sent about political leaders that there were a number of political leaders that scored on this morally moral checklist. One hundred percent on the moral conservative support group voter rating schedule. And these were home run Guice or gas.
And yet a handful of them had just been exposed in having adulterous affairs. Here they were. There was a hundred percent and this is the perspective you know is a huge pick and choose your morality. And this is a challenge. This is again I'm talking about perception here.
I was talking to a girl who was cutting my hair a while back young woman and I don't even remember how we got on the subject of church she didn't know as a pastor we were just chatting about church and I asked her if she if she went church anywhere and she said no I don't go to church I never go to church.
I said why because it was obvious she had strong feelings she said. Church's hate gay people.
That's important to know that's important to recognize that that is a perception. She's not alone as many people that perceive there is there's an absolute animosity. You may say well why do we care what the world thinks. The gospels and offends people who don't know Jesus are not able to understand his teachings. All true except maybe it isn't just the Gospel that's offending and that's why we have to be aware and we have to think what are people hearing. This is what Justin Martin was saying. Watch
you're addressing who you're accusing us of being is not who we are. But he dialogue he processed. He was willing to listen.
What are you hearing what are you hearing when you see us. Yes
that is true. No that isn't true.
We do believe that. Here's what we mean by. No we don't mean that. That's not what we're standing for that's not what we want to be associated with. But there must be the dialogue and we must have some some awareness of even how to engage in those conversations.
The church also contributes to giving misrepresentations about Christianity which is the second reason we need to do the series to my mind the church gives a discordant message on what Christians are will be talking about what a Christian really is.
To be a Christian means to be a member of Christ's kingdom.
The principles of his kingdom life are very different than church culture at times to be in it to be a resident of Jesus kingdom to be a citizen of his kingdom means in Matthew 5 3 7 that the values of Jesus are permeating through my life. Those values he says in Matthew 6:55 our humility generosity forgiveness going hard deep with my own motives and ambitions.
And seeing what is ruling me the perspective that we can give out is one that is very contrary to that in a discordant message the church can give. We need to remember what it means to really be a citizen of Christ Kingdom. Secondly the church tends to overly simplify issues and problems.
I remember back when I was in I was training for the ministry and I was I was really a go go boy for Jesus. I mean I was really hot for Christ. And I wanted to win everybody to Christ and I had a very myopic view of lots of things. But my heart was right. I was I was zealous and I worked at J.C. Penney and I was there a summer.
Actually my wife was working in one part and I was in the stockroom and there was a guy in the stockroom that was in he was in his master's program in psychology. Now at that time I had been taught my view of Christianity evangelic Christianity said that that psychology was was there was no place for that for the for Christian and so this guy you know he's he's talking.
And so he says well how do you.
We were talking one day. How do you help people. You know you want to help people I say well I believe the word of God has the answer to all of life's struggles.
And he said that you do. So yeah. And I was very and I still believe that. However I would handle a little better. And he said OK.
He says OK. O'KEEFE says that's really interesting the Bible has he answered all us from he says OK I have this guy I'm meeting with say and he is terrified to get in an elevator.
Because he's claustrophobic in the elevator and every time he goes in he totally freaks out.
Do you believe the Bible will help this guy in the elevator.
Yes. He said wow that's fantastic. Does the Bible talk about elevators. This was a bad position to be in. I said no.
And I wanted to say. But he does talk about sin. But somehow I felt like that might not be the best way to respond. I just went basically a ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I had nothing. I had a totally bewildered. Now I would like to think if I had that guy again and he said Do you believe the Bible has the answer. I do. I do. I
think the Bible speaks to all of life issues.
And I say you know the Bible certainly affirms that life experiences can shape us and that but I believe that that our emotions are largely impacted by our thinking like them more important even then the event is our process of the event. And so here's a guy that needs to understand that he is afraid and he's no understand what caused him to be afraid. But I also think that he needs then to to apply truth thinking to a certain that he would agree with everything O.S. at that point.
But I said you know the Bible talks about fear more than any other thing.
And I said I think the Bible would have tremendous help in helping him to think through the source of his fear of how God could be with him in trouble that God could help him through this.
And I go back through what he was saying. Psychologically looking at this guy was completely credible.
There was an embracing of that. I mean he's psychology is the study of the soul Suq us. He was recognizing disguise an impact by a life situation whereas that for a chapter and verse how you're going to deal with that whereas the elevator in the Old Testament you don't need to go there and you can embrace broader truth but we just need to be careful how we talk and not speak simplistically. Yes the Bible does speak to every issue certainly speaks to the issue of fear but that doesn't mean we deny life experience. We don't deny the importance of understanding life experiences families of origin all of those things.
The church can't seem overly simplified and the church tends to have a pecking order since this is important and this is a very hot button issue today. Many would would struggle with what they would believe was a pecking order of sins that the church has. David Kinsman is it Kinnaman in his book un-Christian which is talking about a significant number of young adults being turned off to the church says this almost 50 percent of young people have a negative view of Christian citing the following reasons hypocrisy of Christians anti-homosexual. They're Christians are too sheltered. Their church are too political. The church are too judgmental. That second one is one culturally that absolutely the church is accused of. That you make this a much more significant issue than any thing else Jesus did have an order on sins although I believe all sin is sin but he really talked about for Christians those which are most destructive.
They were things like greed and pride and failing to forgive and unkindness. We need to remember that. And I've said this many times and I'm sure this will come out as we have conversations together. Do not talk on some of these hot button issues today if you don't have a face if you don't have someone in your life that is near to you that you love. And every time you think of your Biblical response to some of these issues if you don't have a person that's in your world you're doing life with. Be very careful how you talk because you will talk differently. I don't mean you change your convictions I don't mean your change. I hope you don't change your biblical perspectives but you will look at it differently.
When you have people whose face is a part of your world and your life the last thing reason I believe we need to have these is Christians are missing biblical truth. It's my whole hearted belief that the greatest problem that we Christians have is we don't really have a biblical understanding first about our own hearts and the desperateness of our need for God about God being truly fully a God of grace. And third about why God does have moral boundaries for our lives why God does have parameters.
That's why I believe it's important to process these questions today. And you may be here and saying I don't have any of these questions you're raising these are non-issues to me. I've come to experience the goodness of God. I don't have any struggles with anything that's going to be raised in this series.
I would just say this.
Some of the people in your world do some of your coworkers do some of your neighbors do some of your kids may and they are going to be in a world which is where our world is now and is moving where Jesus is certainly no more a viable option than Mohammed is where the sexual behavior is completely viewed as a matter of personal choice. The religion not only does not have the answer to evil in our world but many would feel that that religion is the source of evil in our world and if our children our grandchildren are are growing in that culture those are issues that we need to be aware are being fed and being to some degree inoculated in that the Bible is a book that has some cool insights.
But out of touch with contemporary life and culture all those perspectives lead to this. People don't comprehend how God can have moral standards on issues of sexuality and not be a stodgy prudish God. They don't understand how God can be loving and have a hell. Maybe you don't. We're going to talk about that.
They don't understand how the Bible can fit with modern scientific findings. They don't understand or comprehend how God can be kind and allow evil and suffering.
Some of you here are struggling with these exact same questions. Oh you wouldn't say you struggle with it you just say these are legitimate questions and I would agree we want to process these together we want to think about these together. This whole series is built on this reality that Peter says to us I want you to have an apple logia I want you to have reasons.
Why you embrace and why you and the answer you have to these questions but there they are founded on an assumption. Peter says I want you to have an answer. To be able to answer to give.
The Appolo to for the hope that you have it implies one thing somebody is asking somebody wants to know. What causes people to want to ask us questions. There is something in our lives that is compelling.
People want to ask Jesus questions. People came to the church they wanted to understand the reason that they they seemed so illogical. You're kind people your generous hearted people and yet you seem to have such an exclusive faith which seems so harsh and cold. They seemed in congruity but they wanted to understand. Peter said think through how you'll talk through that do with gentleness and respect. But it is founded on us living humbly gently respectfully recognizing the seed of every known sin in our own hearts.
That we then can have an Apollo show when we are given the opportunity to converse on these topics. We can converse with gentleness and with respect. Let's pray Lord we need you to lead us in all these things God. We're going our way. Some weighty questions. Are questions that many many of us have had to deal with already. In our own lives and the lives of people around us we want to be learners. Teach us. That we can be representatives as citizens of the kingdom of Jesus to this generation in whose name I pray Amen.