Nine Characteristics of an Apologet

What is Apologetics?

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, it means a systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine), and a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity. So it is a defense of the faith. All Christians are called to defend the faith. 

The Profile of an Apologet

If we take a look in Acts, we will find the exact description of an apologet. Some renown apologets in Scripture are the apostle Paul, Apollos, Jude, Aquila & Priscilla and John. Let’s build the profile of an apologet based on the text from Acts chapter 18. I will include the Greek terms for more clarity. 

1. An apologet is Eloquent (logios, λόγιος) 

Whoever defends the Gospel of Christ must be diligent to be learned, to study, to be a person of letters, and be rational and wise. Often times the Lord gifts apologets with eloquence in speech or writing. 

2. An apologet is Mighty (dunatos, δυνατός) 

One must be able to strongly and powerfully defend the true doctrine of Scripture and put down the shrewd arguments of those who attack the Word of God either directly or indirectly. 

3. An apologet is Instructed (katecheo, κατηχέω)

Whoever is involved in apologetics must be able to instruct and teach others either orally or through other ways, the Truth that Scripture contains, and how to defend it. That is what all the apologets in the book of Acts did. Paul was teaching regularly, Apollos taught, Priscilla & Aquila taught Apollos and so forth.

4. An apologet is Fervent in Spirit (zeó, ζέω)

The meaning of this Greek word zeó means to be boiling with heat, to be hot, to be seething with emotion, ardently committed to something. This should characterize all Christians, and this kind of attitude is needed when defending the most precious Word of God. 

5. An apologet must be Accurate (akribós, ἀκριβῶς)

The meaning of this word is exact, careful, strictly exact to the finest detail. It means Christians must be very factually precise about the Word of God and the doctrine. The word akribós means that accuracy is gained through comprehensive probing and investigation. It also comes from being humble enough to learn from others who are more advanced than we are-  as Apollo was when he learned more accurately the the way of God from Priscilla & Aquila who were more informed than him (v. 26). 

6. An apologet must be Bold (parrésiazomai, παρρησιάζομαι)

An apologet must be able to speak freely (or at least write freely) without inhibition. Our confidence as Christians comes from knowing that God is always right- His Scripture is True and will ultimately win, no matter what! So this should make us as bold as lions.

7. An apologet will Greatly Help the Saints (polus, πολύς ; sumballó, συμβάλλω)

The Greek word used in this verse is polus which means much, many/numerous and often. Then the word for helped is sumballó which means together, conversing or pondering, or disputing. So Apollos was a man who conversed and worked together with others to help many saints and brought them together to discuss truth, and disputed the errors of false teachers. 

8. An apologet will Powerfully Refute False Prophets and Errors (eutonós, εὐτόνως ; sumballó, συμβάλλω)

This interesting word eutonós means well stretched and fully extended to the limit, in a well strung manner. It also has the sense of vigorously and vehemently. So a Christian and an apologet must be vehemently defending the Word of God against errors! The word diakatelegchomai means to utterly refute, prove all the way through, convict. So Apollos vehemently proved all the way through the truth of God’s Word and the falsity of those false teachers! In fact, the real meaning of the word diakatelegchomai means: ‘he met the opposing arguments in turn (dia), and brought them down to the ground (kata).’ So he basically punched the living daylights out of the false arguments like a boxer. Those opposing him had nothing left to say! 

9. An apologet will Demonstrate Truth through Scripture (epideiknumi, ἐπιδείκνυμι)

The Greek word epideiknumi means to show and prove. So as Christians and apologets we must prove the correctness of our arguments backed up by Scripture, the ultimate Truth. 

How To Be An Overcomer

 

We live in the last days. This means the days after Christ and before His second coming. You have probably noticed that in all societies there is an increase in evil people, hate, occultism, hostility towards Christianity. These verses sum it all up:

And thou, O Daniel, hide the things, and seal the book till the time of the end, many do go to and fro, and knowledge is multiplied. (Dan 12:4)

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Tim 3:1-5) 

Knowledge increases, more and more people travel all over the world, and they are lovers of themselves and of money, boastful and hateful. Sounds like the 21st century to a T.

So how do you overcome?

  • How do you grow in godliness?
  • How do you shine as a light and witness to people?
  • How do you stay away from sin, worldly influences and crooked people?
  • How do you get a reward in heaven?

Here are practical ways to be an overcomer, from the book of Revelation, the book about the end times. These practical steps are in the verses in the passage to the church in Philadelphia. God doesn’t just throw us out there in an evil world and then says “okay, get out there and overcome! You’re on your own!”. No, He provides everything we need to be able to overcome! And He reveals them to us in Scripture. So these words should be buried deeply as seeds in our spiritual mind and watered with prayer so we will grow into “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

Read the passage and then I will show you the steps outlined in the verses.

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.  I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:7-13)

God Provided for YOU to Overcome: 

  • Be Christological- Christ centered (He is the one who is Holy and True) (v.7)
  • He set before you an open door that no one can shut (v.7)
  • He gave you some strength (v. 8)
  • Keep God’s Word (Scripture, His promises, correct doctrine) (v.8)
  • Do not deny His name (v.8)
  • Keep His commands (God’s Word) through the power of the Holy Spirit (v.10)
  • Endure patiently the trials and difficulty of the Christian life (v. 10)
  • Wait for the Coming of the Lord (v.11)
  • Through prayer and fasting, hold on to what you have (faith, Scripture, spiritual work/ministry) so no one takes your crown (v.11)
  • Have an open ear to what the Spirit says through God’s Word (v.13)

God set before you the way to overcome. May He help us all to persevere and be overcomers through the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen!

 

This Christmas- Give To These People!

Last week, I had a post about gift ideas for Christmas for those difficult people that you can’t find a gift for. (Note, it is updated with a few more ideas).

Remember the Poor

But, of course, Christmas is not about material things or about presents and all the outward decor and celebration. It is about Christ- the Ultimate gift of all eternity, our Redeemer and Savior, God-Man. It makes sense to share the joy with those who need it most this season. Let us remember the poor (Gal 2:10). 

Remember the workers in ministry

In addition, let us remember ministries that help spread the Gospel or defend the faith with integrity. Below are a few of the ministries I like and recommend that you consider to give to during this Christmas season. 

Samaritan’s Purse by Franklin Graham Ministries

I was personally blessed by Samaritan’s Purse as a young child. There were a few times at Christmas when their gift boxes that they give to children were about the only Christmas present I received as a missionary child. Click on the title to see their Christmas gift guide. You can give even as little as $8 and help a family plant a fruit tree, or send a missionary doctor, or give a lamb that sings “Jesus Loves Me” for a blind child.

Operation Heal Our Patriots

Another one of Franklin Graham’s ministry is Operation Heal Our Patriots. This is for my countrymen here in America. You can show your support for the troops by donating to this ministry that reaches out to veterans with PTSD and have a struggling marriage. I love this patriotic type of giving! 

HeartCry Missionary Society

The ministry of Pastor Paul Washer. If you look on their website you will see a map of their ministry all over the world, in US, Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, China, Russia.

I praise the Lord that brother Paul Washer is a humble man of prayer and integrity and may the Lord keep him that way. So it is a ministry of integrity.

Bible Society in the UK

I just recently learned more about this ministry. I am not familiar with the leadership, but the story of how they began is very touching. Many years ago, a young Welsh girl desperately wanted to have a Bible of her own and traveled 26 miles to get one from a Reverend. That inspired the Reverend to start a society to spread Bibles in Wales and around the world.

Now they’ve been spreading Bibles in more than 200 countries, including Communist countries. You can get some lovely free stickers from them for Christmas too! I think it’s a lovely idea to donate something to spread Bibles in countries where they are not easily accessible. 

Romanian Orphan Ministries

This ministry reaches out to many orphan children in Romania, a country in Eastern Europe that was under Communism until 1989. The founder of this ministry is an American. Read his story on the website- it is quite amazing to see the round-about way the Lord has brought him to start such a ministry. They are a Christian organization that seek to disciple and help young Romanian orphans. 

Institute for Creation Research

This amazing ministry offers resources for Christians all around the world. They provide videos online, books, DVDs, magazines, articles, devotionals, and a free monthly magazine. They help Christians defend the Biblical worldview of how God is the Creator.

The organization is made of highly skilled Christian scientists with Ph.D’s and science degrees who humbly teach churches and laypeople logical ways of defending the faith. They travel all around the United States and hold seminars and conferences. They have also sent some scientists internationally to a conference in South Korea to teach! I have been supporting them for years, and I praise God that he has godly men of integrity teaching the about Genesis- the first book of the Bible, which is the foundation for the rest. 

Characteristics of Brethren

What do real brethren look like? 

In Romans chapter 16 the Apostle Paul is greeting a group of people. They are regular Christians in Rome, but they have become known throughout the world wherever the Bible is read. 

Imagine, this is their mark in history! What does Paul say about them? Does he say “Greet Phoebe who was always stylish and always wore the latest fashion? Or Greet Mary who was always witty and smart? Greet Priscilla who had this huge awesome house and latest car? Or Greet Gaius the one who was super popular and had thousands of followers?” Nope. 

Characteristics of Christians

Here are the characteristics these people displayed. Let’s put the pieces together and see how the Christian should leave a mark in this world. 

  1. “…our sister, who is a servant of the church” (v. 1)
  2. “…a helper of many.” (v.2) 
  3. “…fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (v.3)
  4. “…risked their own necks for my life” (v.4)
  5. “…the church in their house” (v.5) 
  6. “beloved” (v.5)
  7. “firstfruits” (v.5) 
  8. “…who labored much for us” (v.6)
  9. “…who are of note among the apostles” (v.7)
  10. “…beloved in the Lord” (v.8)
  11. “…our fellow worker in Christ” (v.9)
  12. “…approved in Christ” (v.10)
  13. “…who are in the Lord” (v.11)
  14. “…who have labored in the Lord” (v.12)
  15. “…beloved…who labored much in the Lord” (v.12)
  16. “…chosen in the Lord” (v.13)
  17. “…the brethren” (v.14)
  18. “…all the saints with them” (v.15)
  19. “…your obedience has become known to all” (v.19)
  20. “…my fellow worker” (v. 21) 
  21. “…the host of the whole church” (v.23) 
  22. “…a brother” (v.23) 

Isn’t that a beautiful description of the life of Christians? Beloved in Christ, saints, servant hearts, ministers, hosts, approved in Christ, brothers, obedient etc.  

What do the names mean? 

Finally, let’s see what all their names meant! I always love looking up the meaning of their names. Comment below and tell me which name you liked the most- or which did you not know about! 

  1. Phoebe – bright
  2.  Priscilla- ancient
  3. Aquilla- an eagle
  4. Epaenetus- praiseworthy 
  5. Mary- obstinancy, rebelliousness (p.s. never knew the meaning of that until now!)
  6. Andronicus- man of victory
  7. Junia- youthful
  8.  Amplias- large
  9. Urbanus- of the city: polite
  10. Stachys- a head of grain
  11. Apelles- called
  12. Aristobulus- the best counselor 
  13. Herodion- heroic
  14. Narcissus- stupidity, a daffodil and narcotic plant
  15. Tryphena- luxurious
  16. Tryphosa- luxuriating
  17. Persis- of Persia 
  18. Rufus- red
  19. Asyncritus- incomparable
  20. Phlegon- burning
  21. Hermas- mercury
  22. Patrobas- paternal
  23. Hermes- herald of the gods
  24. Philologus- lover of the Word
  25. Julia- soft haired
  26. Nereus- lump
  27. Olympas- heavenly 
  28. Timothy- honoring God
  29. Lucius- light bright white
  30. Jason- healer 
  31. Sosipater- savior of his father 
  32. Tertius- third
  33. Gaius- lord
  34. Erastus- beloved
  35. Quartus- fourth

Practical Tips: How not to care about what people think (PART 2)

Continuing from (Part 1), 

Many people have this inner struggle of worrying about the opinion of others. It pops up occasionally in everyone’s life, whether we know it or not. 

Here are some practical tips to overcome the struggle. Please read all the Bible verses because they are the most important, core tips! 🙂 

 

Finding out God’s will for your life and embracing it

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth (John 16:13)

When you pray and seek God’s perfect will for your life, you will have a clear direction and purpose in your life. This will enable you to remain unshaken when people come at you with opinions or when you are tempted to live in a way that is not according to God’s will.

Not watching television 

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

Television is filled with filth. Also a lot of social media has a way of creating ungratefulness and comparison. It also raises sinful desires in people, causing them to want to pursue fleshly ambitions. Staying away from them will keep your mind clear.

Basing your choices on Biblical standards not cultural trends 

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess 5:22)

Going along with cultural trends keeps you from being yourself. You are trying to fit in the crowd. It is also dishonoring to God and sinful. Your life choices should reflect Biblical standards, and then whatever people may say, you will be right, because it is based on God’s Word!

Recognizing that as a Christian you are different than people in the world

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20)
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:4-5)

You will be judged by non-believers and it may be uncomfortable at times. But you have to remember you are always different than them. Live for what matters not for temporary “friendships” and approval.

Keeping a heavenly perspective 

Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:24)
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)

Keeping your focus on getting a heavenly reward can be a motivational factor to live a unique God-honoring life, above the opinions of people.

Caring about what God thinks, not what people think 

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Ultimately we should care more about what God thinks of our life, actions, character and accomplishments, not what people think. People do not have a final say on your value or life.

Staying involved in ministry

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4:10)

Use the talents, abilities, resources, and opportunities God has given you to serve Him. Staying involved in ministry will keep you too busy to care what people think. It will keep you focused on what really matters, and seeking God’s kingdom will ensure a true rewarding life!

Practical Tips: How Not to Care About What People Think (PART 1)

 

I, like many other people, often find myself worrying about what others may think of me. This adds unnecessary stress and keeps me from being myself.

  • It later leads to bitterness.
  • It keeps me from pleasing the Lord, being efficient in things that matter- like serving Christ and living my full potential as He wants me to live it.
  • I can lose sight of His plan for my life by trying to please others.

Many people have this inner struggle. It pops up occasionally in everyone’s life, whether we know it or not. 

Here are some practical tips to overcome the struggle. Please read all the Bible verses because they are the most important, core tips! 🙂 

Immersing yourself in the Word

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, proving yourselves to be My disciples. (John 15:7-8)

Being in the Word and loving Christ more than anything or anybody will keep you from worrying about other people. It is the right foundation, the right anchor. When you are preoccupied with His eternal Word, you will be so satisfied and happy you will not care of the opinion of people. You will have more wisdom and insight into life than worldly believers who do not spend time in God’s Word. God Himself will teach you and guide you how to live your life when you abide in Him. 

Knowing your value in Christ as a child of God

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26, 28)

When you feel down, or start to worry about how “adequate” you are- remember you are immensely valuable to God! And in the family of God there is no partiality, no differentiation, we all have the same status! Some may be more famous, richer, or more successful than you on earth, but ultimately we are all the same if we are in the family of God! And your eternal spiritual status is all that matters! 

Don’t be a people pleaser

…for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:43)
The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

Why should we strive to get appreciation from men, glory that is temporary? If we try to please people and model our life in the ways people tell us to, then we will become ensnared– constantly doing what others tell us and becoming bitter. Live a life of freedom in Christ- seeking to please only Him!

Recognizing your uniqueness

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)

You may not be the  “-est”,  like the smartest, richest, strongest, most organized, most beautiful, most successful, but you are the Only! You are unique. Your character is unique. Nobody will ever be you, or live your life. I really like this quote: “why try to fit in, when you were custom made?” Embrace your beautiful, unique, only self! And praise the Lord for giving you life! 

Claiming God’s Promises

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Knowing God has amazing plans for your life will raise you up over the words of people, over their opinions, suggestions or judgmental attitudes. You will have peace and joy knowing your heavenly Father has made you exactly how He wants you to be, and placed you exactly where you are supposed to be,  and gave you exactly what you need to be you, if you trust in Him. 

Avoiding comparison

A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, (Galatians 6:4)

Comparing yourself to others will only ruin your Christian walk, steal your joy, make you bitter, and may lead you to decisions that are not according to God’s will. You will be pursuing different things (houses, cars, jobs, fashion, you-name-it), to compete with your neighbor. Comparison will make you ungrateful for what God has already given you. 

 

To be Continued…

Define Prayer- What prayer is for us in the 21st Century

Did you know prayer has very practical applications for young adults, families, mothers, and every Christian in the 21st Century? Let’s look at prayer from a Biblical perspective and why YOU and every Christian should apply prayer more often in your daily life! 

Prayer is security

Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

In this world where there is terrorism, changing values and danger on every side, prayer is our security. We have to pray for safety all day every day. 

Prayer is prevention

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Praying daily prevents many bad things from happening in your personal life, and in the world around you. We are required by the Bible to pray for world events so that we may benefit from peace and safety. 

Prayer is knowledge and wisdom

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Don’t trust in your own ability. Ask God for guidance and wisdom in daily activity and you will be amazed at how He will give you wisdom and knowledge.

Prayer is investment/preparation

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)

Preparing for your future? Making important decisions? Planning something great? Worried about something on the horizon? Prayer is the answer.

Prayer is worship

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! (Psalm 141:2)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9)

Always remember to give honor to God in prayer. Your prayer is worship. 

Prayer is fellowship

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Matthew 18:20)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

Prayer is communication with God the Father, and fellowship through the Holy Spirit, and with brothers and sisters in Christ.  

Prayer is thanksgiving 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:4-5)

It is important to give thanks for answered prayers and God’s blessings in your life! Most prayer in Scripture is thanksgiving prayer. 

Prayer is precise, logical and not mystical 

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)

Charismatics, Pentecostals and mystics claim they pray- but repetitive, trance-inducing mantras and mystical prayers are NOT Biblical. Prayer is a precise, logical communication established by GOD. 

Prayer is our access to blessings 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

We have access to the Creator of the Universe! We have access to everlasting blessings for all our needs and wants. 

Prayer is Power

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:16-18)

The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, literally pray all the time. Prayer can be hard. But it is the most powerful tool and weapon of the Christian. That is why the Devil will do anything to distract you from prayer!