The Great Apologist

article by site-founder, Connie Rice

This post is inspired by Ravi Zacharias [and was written prior to accusations leveled against him after his death when he could not defend himself]. Those familiar with his lifelong ministry through “Ravi Zacharias International Ministry” (RZIM) know that this brilliant, gracious, articulate, and godly man was not only uniquely gifted as a clear communicator of the truth of God’s Word, but was also an ideal example of how to communicate with those who hold different beliefs in a way consistent with Jesus’ teachings – with love and grace. White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnaney, summed it up well in her “Christian Broadcasting Network News” (CBN) interview with David Brody in her comments, “You know, my dad said to me that Billy Graham was the great evangelist. And I think Ravi Zacharias is the great apologist.” I agree and can relate to some of her other comments as well: “To have someone from an academic place, as an apologist could equip you with those arguments where you didn’t have to check your brain at the door when you became a Christian where there is the intellectual foundation for everything we believe,” McEnany explained. “There’s prophecy. There’s the human cell. There’s the amazing creation of the human body and all of its complexity and the planet, the universe.”

Listening to Ravi Zacharias was so helpful to me in not only finding answers to my own questions, but in how to help others find answers to theirs. The goal for me is truth – I want to know what it true. If it differs from my opinion, then I must be humble enough to admit that I could be mistaken. God has given us the truth – both in His revealed Word and in His Son, Jesus Christ. He loves us so much that He has gone to great lengths to show us His love and to have a personal relationship with us.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Romans 5:6-12

Before accepting God’s free gift of salvation made possible through the voluntary sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I lived out of my own wisdom and as most people these days, developed opinions based on what I had learned and from my personal experiences. Once the Lord opened my eyes to the spiritual realm and I experienced His love and mercy, I was overwhelmed by His grace and began to read the Bible and go to church so I could know Him more. Since then, I’ve grown closer to Him and because of what He has already done for me, want to serve Him every day that He gives me on this earth.

“Once more Jesus said to them, ‘I am going away, and you will look for Me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.’ This made the Jews ask, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, Where I go, you cannot come?’ But He continued, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins.’ ‘Who are you?’ they asked. ‘Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,’ Jesus replied. I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent Me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world.’ They did not understand that He was telling them about His Father. So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me. The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.’ Even as He spoke, many believed in Him. To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’.”

John 8:21-31

The truth has set me free and more than anything, I want others to be set free too. God created a perfect world and mankind, and gave them the freedom to choose – free will. They had everything they needed and lived in a place of perfect harmony and beauty. Unfortunately, like we’re so many times are tempted to do, Adam and Eve took their blessings for granted and wanted the one thing that God told them not to take. They chose to disobey His only command and consequently brought curses into the world – sin, death evil, sadness, pain, sickness, etc. They paid the price with the loss of their fellowship with their Creator and having to make their way in a harsh world. Sadly, we share their sinful nature – but God had a rescue plan:

“Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ: “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Thankfully, with God’s rescue plan to reconcile us to Himself for eternity, He will conquer evil once and for all, and He promises a new heaven and a new earth to His followers.

“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth’, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’. He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death’.”

Revelation 21:1-8

When I get to heaven, I look forward to meeting Ravi Zacharias and the “great cloud of witnesses” that have gone before me. There are many more not written in the Bible or even in history books, but they lived their lives surrendered to their Savior and accomplished what He had in mind for them, making a difference in the world. I have no doubt that they and Ravi Zacharias have been received by their loving Creator with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. If you have not had the benefit of hearing Ravi Zacharias yet, check out some videos on the RZIM YouTube Channel.

The most important question we can ever answer because it affects not only now but how we spend eternity is the same one Jesus asked His disciple, Peter:

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then He ordered His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.”

Matthew 16:13-20

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.”

John 14:6

If finding out what is true is important to you, how will you answer Jesus? Who knows? Maybe you will be the next great apologist.

© Constance Rice 2020

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