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The Sixth Sunday Of Easter

 "Offering A Christian Apology"

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

1 Peter 3:15-22

Introduction: It’s a skill we all need to master if we wish to get along with people. You need to recognize when you’re wrong and to apologize for it. It’s a survival skill. Knowing how to apologize–we call it "repentance"–is one of the most important things Christians do–not only to one another, but especially to God. I invite you to think about OFFERING A CHRISTIAN APOLOGY. I’m thinking of the word "Apology" in two senses of the word 1) Repenting when you sin and 2) When asked about the hope that you have in Christ. The word "apology" not only means being sorry when you sin; its main meaning in ancient times was to give a defense of what you believe.


I. When you sin

A. "Repentance" is the word most often used–It means "to change your mind"

"Repent means ‘to turn,’ implying a change in behavior. It is turning

from sin toward God." (Handbook of Bible Application) As in 1 Kings

8:35-36; Ps. 106:6ff; Jer. 3:25-4:2; Daniel 9:5f.

B. Repentance means to die to sin in Baptism and to rise to new life with Christ–text, vv. 18-22

1. To die to sin, as in Rom. 6:1-3. See also Gal. 5:24, Col. 3:3, 1 Pet. 2:24

2. To be raised with Christ in newness of life–see Rom. 6:4ff. See also Lk. 15:24, Rom. 8:11, Eph. 2:6, Col. 3:1.

II. To give a defense when asked about your hope in Christ, text v.15

A. In word–1 Peter 3:15-16, as in Mk. 5:18-19, 2 Tim. 1:8. Whenever we confess in the Creed that Christ "descended into Hell" we are joining him in declaring victory over evil and the evil one–vv.18-19

B. In deed–1 Peter 2:10-12, as in Matt. 5:16, James 2:18; also Matt. 5:13, 1Thess. 1:8.

Richard Lenski writes: "In the face of suffering the readers must sanctify the Lord Christ. ... To sanctify Christ is our hearts is to keep him in our hearts as the holy one. In order to do that we ourselves must be holy, i.e. sanctified. He is ours and we are his; we separate him for our hearts and are separated for him. That means that we keep ourselves from sin and give the world no cause for slandering either him or ourselves. It further means that we fear him alone, lest we sin against him by fearing men and by letting their threats prevent us from bowing to him alone.

...With hearts that are ever sanctifying Christ the readers face their opponents. ‘Ready always for a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you.’ This is the living hope mentioned in 1:3 and it comprises all that we expect from God on the basis of Christ. ‘Apologia’ is the regular term for a defense which a defendant makes before a Judge. He must first be heard. Peter is not thinking only of court trials. ...Let whoever will constitute himself a Judge, the Christian is never to evade or put him off, he is to be ready to present his case, his defense, to render account as to what his hope embraces, and as to why he holds it in his heart. We may say that he is to be ready always to testify, to correct ignorance about Christ, to spread the Gospel light, to win others for Christ...."

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