Ready for Class?
Ready for Class?
Words of Faith 8-30-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
One last warning. Jesus did not say ‘if’ you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities. He said ‘when.’ Hard times were ahead for those who followed Jesus. There would be persecution and it would come from religious leaders and authorities. We know that this time came soon after the death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 4:1-21) and continued through the New Testament era.
The promise was that when they were arraigned and brought before officials because of their preaching and teaching, the Holy Spirit would teach them what to say. In contrast to Jesus' enemies, who blasphemed the Holy Spirit, Jesus' followers would be helped by the Holy Spirit. They did not need to worry over the right words in such situations.
The persecution did not stop in the first century. In every decade there has been persecution of those who have hope because of Jesus, sometimes from the institutional church itself. We can make a fair assumption that every one of us will face a time when we will have to give an answer for our faith here in this life. It may or may not be in a time of persecution. It may be in a moment of office conversation or a chat among neighbors when the light suddenly turns to you and someone says, "And what do YOU think? Aren't YOU a Christian?"
The promise from Jesus is a wonderful one. When that time comes for us to give witness, the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Wouldn't it be nice if the Holy Spirit would teach us now, before we need to know what we should say? Not really. Then we would have what is called a "pat answer," a "stock reply," or a "scripted response." The reply Jesus desires from us is none of that. It is from the heart and it is composed by the Holy Spirit specifically for that situation.
We often worry about what we might say when the time comes to give an answer for our faith. Peter later wrote that we should be prepared for such an occasion. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 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" (1 Peter 3:15).
How can we be prepared? It is not about memorizing a speech. It is about setting apart Christ as Lord and being surrendered to the Holy Spirit. It is about developing the qualities of gentleness and respect in our relationships with non-believers.
The truth is that when we come to such a time, we don't want to have "all the answers." We just want the Holy Spirit. Some people go to seminary or Bible school thinking the purpose is to get all the answers. The purpose, in fact, is to get tools and to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Tools allow us to rightly divide the Word of Truth. A deep relationship with God will go with us wherever we go. If a person comes home from Bible school with "all the answers" they have missed the point.
The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher in the universe. But God calls the time and location of the class! He decides when to convene the lecture and the lab. It may be in a court of law or a place of official persecution. It may be on a playground with some moms or at field coaching soccer. Ready for class?
Lord, I am ready. When You need me, teach me what to say. When You are ready to use me, teach me how to love. When you are ready for me to speak, speak through me. In Jesus' name.