Clearly Christian – Session 2 | Free Bible Study with Trevor Sutton

Clearly Christian – Session 2 | Free Bible Study with Trevor Sutton


-: In the olden days, and by that I mean the early 2000s, it was pretty easy to keep up with social media. It wasn’t that hard to keep up with social media back then because there really were only two different platforms that you could choose from. It’s a lot harder today. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of social media platforms that you could choose from. And the same could maybe be said about truth. You know, there used to be a finite number of worldviews and perspectives that someone could hold; that is, there a finite number of truth claims. But not anymore. There are thousands and thousands of truth claims and worldviews, billions of perspectives, all claiming that theirs is the truth. You know, the Apostle Paul encountered something like this when he was in Athens. We hear this from Scripture: Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. Athens was full of idols, I mean, full. It was a massive cosmopolitan city with people from all around the world exchanging thoughts and ideas. The book of Acts says that all the Athenians did was talk about new ideas and new thoughts. All they did was discuss the possibility of new philosophies and new gods. So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, says this, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way “you are very religious. “For as I passed along and observed the objects “of your worship, I found also an altar “with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ “What therefore you worship as unknown, “this I proclaim to you.” Paul spoke the truth to them. He proclaimed Jesus into this mess of confusion. He didn’t back down, he didn’t say whatever you wanna believe is true. He spoke truth, and people came to know Jesus. As the people of Jesus, we are called to do this very same thing. Our culture and our world is not unlike Athens. The internet, it’s full of people talking about new thoughts and new ideas, exchanging competing ideas about what they think is truth. As the people of Jesus, we need to own the truth. Now there’s three ways that we can do this. First of all, know the truth. Scripture says this: The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. God’s word is truth, so we know God’s word. We study Scripture, we dive into Scripture, we dig in. When you know God’s word, you know Christ. Martin Luther called Scripture the cradle of Christ. And just as a cradle holds a child, God’s word holds Christ. God’s word delivers Christ, God’s word is where we meet Christ Jesus. We also speak the truth. We hear this in the Bible: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of your speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Owning the truth and knowing the truth compels us to then speak the truth. Now this doesn’t mean yelling or being forceful or angry or hurtful. But this does mean that speaking up in a world of falsehood. And then we also live the truth. We hear this: How can we, who died to sin, still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried, therefore, with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Owning the truth means living it out. God has called us to new life in Christ Jesus, and that new life is not just someday, it’s not just spiritual. It’s today, Monday morning. Put the truth of God into action in your daily life. Live in a way that aligns with God’s word and God’s will. Live like the new creation that you are in Christ Jesus. (lighthearted instrumental music) (enchanting piano music) A lot of people spend a lot of time on the internet. And much of that time is on social media. You know, social media is not the most charitable place in the world. I think the IRS may be more charitable than most digital spaces. But the followers of Jesus can shine his light into these digital spaces by turning against the tide, and by being charitable in how we think and speak about others. Here’s a few ways you can do that. First of all, think before you post. This sounds painfully obvious, and yet it is painfully overlooked in online interactions. God’s word says this: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. It is so easy to bear false witness about others online because that person is not directly in front of us. Social media creates the perfect environment for putting false words into people’s mouths and minds. In a post-first-ask-questions-later culture, the people of Jesus are called to a higher standard to pause and to think about the fallout of their actions. Ask yourself, am I somehow lying about my neighbor with this post? Am I putting the best construction on this person? Am I being kind in my assessment of this individual? Another thing is this: digital encouragement. Social media is an encouragement desert. Everyone is too busy posting about cute their kids are, how great their dinner is, how awesome their vacation is going. Social media reveals how we are all curved in on ourselves. Sin causes us to be bent away from God and to be curved in on ourselves. And we see this all over the place on social media. Bending the truth to make ourselves look better, bending the other people’s words to make them sound worse than they really are. You could even look at someone on their phone and see how they are curved in on themselves, bent inward, closed off from God and others. Scripture says this: Therefore, encourage one another and build on another up, just as you are doing. When everyone else is patting their own backs, why not do the opposite and publicly encourage someone else online? Speak a kind word about someone else, say something constructive about another person. Maybe share your appreciation, your respect for someone in your life. You’ll be amazed by how just a small word of encouragement can make a huge impact on somebody else. And then finally, defend a reputation. God’s word says this: Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. You know, God’s word warns us about slander and slanderers. But online interactions can be tricky, because it’s all public. Someone says something harmful or hurtful, and it’s out there for the world to see. And this makes it particularly hard to intervene in a situation and defend someone’s reputation. The best way to handle this is to be discreet, tactful, as you defend someone else’s reputation. If possible, pick up a phone. Did you know that smartphones can actually be used to call people? Call that person who’s spreading these hurtful words. If a phone call’s not possible, maybe use direct message or a personal note to contact that person. It’s important to remember that even in defending someone else’s reputation, we must assume the best and be kind toward the person that we are rebuking. (lighthearted instrumental music) (enchanting piano music) Basic apologetics, defending the Christian faith, it’s not rocket science. It’s not even as hard as assembling IKEA furniture, now that’s hard. However, it doesn’t mean that we should take apologetics lightly or casually. Apologetics is not finding a brief article on social media, reading it quickly on your phone, and then setting out to defend the faith with this little kernel of so-called knowledge. You know what’ll happen? You’ll end up embarrassed. I know this because I’ve done this before. I live in a college town with lots of smart people. I’ve made the mistake of talking authoritatively on things that I don’t know that much about. And I found out that there are people who know a lot about their particular area or their expertise. Because of that, I’ve learned to not take apologetics lightly. Now I wanna discuss three ways that we can lean in and learn apologetics. The first way is this: read expansively. God’s word tells us, an intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. It is vital that we are well read and knowledgeable on a topic. This means that we, first and foremost, know what we believe and why we believe it; we know God’s word. But second, it’s important for us to also read both classic and contemporary apologetics books. A great classic that I’d recommend is St. Augustine’s Confessions. In that book, he discusses his reasons for initially rejecting the Christian faith, and then his reasons for ultimately becoming a follower of Jesus. It’s a brilliant book by a brilliant thinker. The third part of reading expansively means reading books and writings that are arguing against Christianity. By reading the accusations and the arguments that people make against the Christian faith, you’ll be better prepared to engage these topis when they happen in your typical daily conversations. Another thing is this: go deep. God’s word says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Wisdom knows its limits. Wisdom fears God because we are not God. And wisdom doesn’t assume that it’s greater or bigger than it really is. You know, it’s unrealistic and overzealous to think that you can be a competent apologist in all areas. Being knowledgeable about the depth and the breadth of many different subjects, it’s impossible. Rather, consider going deep in one particular area. Dig into Creation studies, or the reliability of Scripture, or logical arguments for the existence of God. Not all of these, just one of these. See, a mark of wisdom is knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know. And then lastly, be nice. This is not exactly in the realm of learning apologetics. Nevertheless, it’s an important characteristic that should be maintained throughout all of our interactions when it comes to apologetics. This is a way that we can be charitable toward others. God says this: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. The followers of Jesus must be winsome and kind as they defend the faith. Loving your neighbor does not mean arguing him or her into sheer frustration and anger. If you get the sense the conversation’s getting heated, then come back to it another time. If you notice that people are reporting you online or unfriending you, then consider how tactful and kind you’re being in your approach. Defending the faith is not a license to throw verbal rocks at people. (enchanting piano music)

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