1 Peter 3:14-17
But and if you suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;…
I. THE RELIEVER MAY BE QUESTIONED CONCERNING HIS HOPE — l. By the infidel. To the mere scoffer the Christian is not required to reply. With such our only aim should be so to speak as to awaken the conscience, and arouse and touch the heart.
2. By the worldling. The hope of the believer will stand the severest scrutiny; while the worldling is often found to confess that the advantages of the present state are with him who is living under the influence of a hope that has respect to the future.
3. The sincere inquirer after truth may question him. One who has just been made sensible that he is a sinner against God, and needs pardon. His mind is full of anxiety; and he feels that he needs direction, instruction, and guidance.
II. THE BELIEVER SHOULD BE READY TO ANSWER THOSE WHO INQUIRE CONCERNING HIS HOPE.
1. He should be ready to answer, not forward, but prepared, competent to reply.
2. The reply should be an answer. It should be to the point; adapted to the character, and appropriate to the circumstances of the questioner. "A word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
III. THE DISPOSITION WITH WHICH THE INQUIRY SHOULD BE ANSWERED.
1. With meekness. By a harsh manner of vindicating the truth, the enmity of the carnal heart against it may be increased.
2. With fear. With holy fear and jealousy of ourselves, that we may speak only that we have known, and testify only that we have seen.Lessons:
1. Believers, aim to be intelligent Christians.
2. Be humble, meek disciples of your great Master.
3. Many of you may never while on earth be questioned concerning your hope. The day is fast coming when "the fire will try every man's work of what sort it is." What will be the character of the worldling's hope then?
Parallel VersesKJV: But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;