Q) How do I explain that Jesus is God to someone who lost his faith?
A) This is a wonderful question. I think the first, and most important thing to realize is that we will never be able to argue somebody into the faith. A Saving Faith is not an intellectual issue. There are very smart people on both sides of the argument, yet non-believers have a heart that will not accept the truth. Therefore, the issue is not about a change of mind, but a change of heart. This means the most important thing you can be doing for your friend is to be praying for God to change his heart. Once his heart is softened, he will be able to make the choice to change his mind. He probably lost his faith, not because of some great argument from a non-believer, but because he stopped living in God for so long that he went from lukewarm to cold. His is a heart issue.
Secondly, the most important thing we can do to influence a non-believer with the gospel has less to do with our words of teaching, and mostly to do with our own lifestyle and testimony. Nobody can argue with your changed life. Nobody can argue that a Christian is different then the rest. That we value things that others do not, and we live up to those values. With a changed life being an example and a witness to others, you will then be noticed as having something others do not. Eventually they will ask you what that something is, and where it comes from. And when you tell them why you are different, because of the works of Jesus Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit, you will have earned the credibility to be heard as a result of your consistent long term behavior of gospel living.
All the while, we do well to remember the words of Peter.
1 Peter 3:15 – Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
This tells me we can expect opportunities to defend the gospel message, so we must be ready with the right answers. Therefore, I am encouraged that you came to me with this question. It is OK if we don’t have all the answers. We never will, and if we think we do, we have stopped learning. You did well to ask, and with the information, you will be ready to defend why you believe what you believe.
As you give your defense, let us remember what Peter said that we must do so with gentleness and respect. We must deliver this information with love, and never in conflict. Those we are defending the gospel to may desire conflict, especially as they feel convicted. Their conviction may make them uncomfortable, which could result in them lashing out at you. But your gentle response will be more evidence to prove that a real God is living in you.
This was a two part question. The other part of this question will be revealed, and answered in next weeks post.