This past Sunday, we looked at John 18:19-24. In that passage Jesus, having just been arrested, is before the High Priest Annas being questioned about his disciples and his teaching.
We asked this big picture question,
What is a Christian Defense?
Here are the scriptures we read to understand that question.
John 18:19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20]Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
And we attempted to answer the big picture question by seeing that the Christian life is
- Openly Proclaimed
- Elicits Hostility
Let’s spend some time on our first point.
The Christian life is openly Proclaimed
John 18:19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.
First, Jesus has proclaimed his teachings, what he believes openly, to whoever would listen
As you think about your own life we need to realize that if there is any truth, movie, book, restaurant, that you love, it becomes part of your day-to-day conversation? We tell the people in our circles what we are excited about. I want you to see that there is a correlation between that and how much we talk about Christ.
Jesus was excited about his Father, the good news about himself and he shared it with anyone who would listen and especially with those in his circle.
As you think about your own life, is that true of you? If not, why?
Second, I want you to see that there is a consistency to Jesus life. What he believes and speaks of in private is what he confesses and speaks of in public.
He’s not putting on a show, acting a certain way….then retreating with the boy or girls to “let his guard down.”
We can often live wearing different masks throughout our weeks, 1 for church, 1 for school or work, 1 for home, 1 with these friends, 1 with those friends. Things we would never accept someone saying in one of those venues, we are making those very same comments in another. We need to own that, and begin to ask the hard questions of why that is the case. Is it out of fear or maybe is it the desire to be accepted and liked? And then move towards deep heart change that comes from honestly coming to God with these questions and ourselves.
This openly proclaimed lifestyle elicits hostility.
John 18:21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”
What was already a highly charged environment now erupts in violence with one of the guards striking Jesus.
This is the same with us. As we stand up for what is true, what is right, and what is good we will face hostility. It may not be someone striking you but it will be in their treatment of you and in the words they will say to you & about you. One of the reasons we don’t talk about Jesus, stand up for what we believe, etc, is because we will face hostility, right? And honestly, we don’t want to experience that. We need to be reminded though, that we are willing to face hostility for many things in our lives….our spouses, our children, noble causes – and wrestle with why we avoid hostility in one area while being willing to endure it in another.
The reason the church faces hostility is because it has the audacity to say that there is a truth that is outside that judges us.
The world has a lot of trouble with Christians because they won’t put it first (and won’t put yourself first even).
While you love and care for this world, you’re not on a side….and because of that the you can’t be trusted.
The reason is because your citizenship is in heaven, and in effect your root system has been transplanted to Christ….(That’s the analogy that Jesus is getting at when he is speaking to his disciples in the early parts of John 15 when he tells them that “He is the vine and they are the branches”)….no longer is the world the main thing that defines you.
All the things that often define and create an identity for someone (political party, social class, power, prestige, money, or anything else) —- no longer do for you, now that you are in Christ, because he is your identity.
And that is part of why the world doesn’t understand Christians. And what people don’t understand, they fear.
Just because you face hostility for what you believe does not make it any less true.
Jesus still stands by his words in the midst of the hostility that is continuing to grow. After being struck he defends himself with these words in vs. 23.
John 18: 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Jesus is saying to them, “hey if something I have said and taught contradicts itself or is against God, bear witness to it. Bring people forward that can testify to my words. But if you can’t, why are you striking me?” He is speaking to their hearts. They are being ruled by fear and anger. Jesus points them back to truth. What they should be seeking after in the first place, right? But what this interaction reveals, and what is often the case in situations like this, is that’s not the operating theme. What they are concerned about is not losing control, status, influence.
He’s bringing it back to truth. Notice that Jesus responds to them…he defends himself.
What I want us to see is that if someone questions your faith or makes an argument and you don’t know the answer guess what, I bet someone in our church does, like our elders and pastors. Don’t let the possibility of that stop you from sharing your story. How great to have a question posed and to have to think deeply about it, search the scriptures, ask your pastors and elders, and then come back to that person for a follow-up conversation.
You don’t have to know every answer to every possible question or objection to Christianity to openly proclaim and boldly and confidently live the Christian life day-in-and-day-out. Even if someone asks you a question you don’t know. It shows humility to be able to tell someone you don’t know or you need to think about that. Speak truth and share your story – if you don’t hear anything else this morning, I want you to hear that. Speak truth and share your story, that’s our your responsibility. It’s not about being incredibly creative, reading, and researching every possible answer to every possible question before you can. Speak truth & share your story.
Three quick takeaways from this sermon to consider as we go through our week.
- As we start this new week I want you to start thinking how you can share your story, what God has done and is doing in your life with people you interact with each day/week. That might look as simply as you inviting someone to church next week.
- I also want us to stop being silent in areas we should be speaking into.
- I want our church to be encouraging each other this week – towards that end. I want us this week sitting down for a coffee or lunch with each other, being honest, maybe sharing how hard or intimidating it is to share your story with someone else. I want us asking who she want to be inviting to church this week, for our Christmas service.
We too often hold the view that there is no way God could use us in bringing someone else to salvation. That’s just a lie! Don’t believe it, not for one second. Boldly and faithfully go through your week speaking truth and sharing your story, trusting that God is at work. Pray that God would bring many people to faith through our witness. If you want to listen to this sermon, check out our sermon page.