1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
What causes someone to ask you to tell them the truth? It seems this is what Peter’s getting at. He seems to imply that our “preaching” should be so loud through our “living” that it demands a question. So how does this happen?
Consider one of the texts you’ll read today in Titus 2. Paul writes about “sound doctrine” in vs. 1, and yet, after he states that we should have “sound doctrine,” observe where he takes that argument. He doesn’t continue on into a doctrinal statement, church diplomacy programs, or into denominational bylaws. He does not ask whether someone has been “baptized in the Holy Spirit” or whether they “speak in tongues.” He doesn’t use any of the qualifications many churches use today to determine whether you’re a “right and true Christian, like you oughta’ be.” He goes into a discourse of how older men should treat younger men, and how older women are to take care of younger women. He talks about the conduct of the community with one another, not individual piety or theology.
And this makes sense, because does our God have good theology? Yes, of course. However, he made us in his image—his likeness. We look like him. He’s a Trinity—a community. God is a friend and has friends. Therefore, the truest message the world can hear is to see a people that love each other—“they’ll know you by your love.” Without this, preaching doesn’t matter.
So let’s pair this with Romans 10:14 that says; “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” Notice that in this context, Paul is talking about a new community. Jew and Gentile together. An audio and visual community. One of love and embrace. This is what Paul has in mind when he thinks of the robustness of preaching.
What does all this mean? I think it may cause us to think through “what” rather than “who” is doing the preaching.
*For further reading in the Bible: 1st Peter 3:15; Romans 10:14; Titus 2:1 – 2:10
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