The Upward Look, By Jon Forrest
A seminary professor told his class about getting to serve on Billy Graham’s team for a crusade in Korea. He told about sitting on the platform one night during the invitation, right next to Billy Graham.
The professor couldn’t help noticing that, during the invitation, Billy Graham started looking down at his fingernails. He thought, "I can’t believe Dr. Graham is so unconcerned about this invitation that he would be studying his nails!"
He became indignant on the inside about it, but just then, Graham pointed to one of the Korean ladies who had come forward to talk to the counselors. Then said to the professor, "Do you see that lady? -- She did my nails today, and I was able to lead her to the Lord."
1 Peter 3 tells us that persecution is to be expected among followers of Jesus Christ. But, what Peter is most concerned about is our attitude and actions. He teaches that we should never be persecuted for doing what is wrong. But we should not be surprised if we are persecuted for righteousness sake. If we follow Christ, we should expect to get that kind of treatment.
However, verse 15 gives us an important key to the reason we should be good examples when under persecution or in daily struggles.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15
Are you always prepared to tell people why you have hope? Are you constantly seeking an opportunity to share your testimony? Or, are you afraid someone will think you’re a religious fanatic? Are you afraid you will be criticized? Let me just say, if you are afraid of a little criticism or rejection, you may need to look at the context of this passage. The context is dealing with persecution for living for Christ.
The Apostle Paul exercised his rights as a Roman citizen to appeal his sentences at higher courts. There were actually times when he could have taken a legal way out, but used his rights so he could move up the ladder of Roman authorities and preach the Gospel to the Roman hierarchy. One leader King Agrippa, responded in an interesting way to Paul’s testimony.
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” (Acts 26:28 New King James Version)
Paul was almost successful. I suggest you read that chapter and see how Paul approached the king. He did it with great respect and honor. If you notice the passage from 1 Peter 3:15 the last sentence begins with “Do this with gentleness and respect…”
Personal evangelism isn’t about shouting at people or condemning them. It is about respecting and loving them enough to show them how one beggar found bread. Seek opportunities and openings with people you meet on a regular basis to tell them what Jesus has done for you. Then tell them how he could help them with their struggles. Offer them yourself and then your Savior.
I have had people tell me before, “all my friends are Christians.” If that is what you think, you aren’t looking far enough. You meet people every day who are potentially your friends. How do you think Billy Graham led the Korean manicurist to Christ? When he met her, I’m sure she wasn’t his friend, but he made her his friend. Then he shared the most important person in his life with his new friend. He told her about Jesus. This is called:
I ask you, “Are you seeking, really seeking the opportunity to share the reason for the hope that lies with in you?” Keep looking.
Every day, seeking, while living daily
Sunday we will look at another message in our series on Peter’s letters that we have titled LIVING HOPE. This week’s message is titled, “It Ain’t Easy Living for Jesus” based on 1 Peter 3:13-22. I hope you will join us at 10:30 Sunday morning on First Christian Church’s Facebook page for a Facebook Live presentation of our morning service. Keep praying for God to bless and use our church family through this pandemic crisis. God is still on His throne and prayer changes things!
Seeking with you,