Apologetics is more than intellectual arguments; it’s a spiritual battle.
And to engage in this battle, we need “divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). So why do we often go about apologetics without the help of the Holy Spirit?
One possible reason is that we have never taken the time to think about how the Spirit aids our apologetic efforts. If you fall into this category, then this post is for you!
The Spirit Prepares Us Before Engagement
There are many ways that the Spirit prepares us for battle, but here are just three.
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
The Holy Spirit is the One who ultimately gives us the best evidence that Christianity is true. His internal witness assures us that Christ has died for our sins and has risen from the dead. If we aren’t confident in our faith, then we won’t be comfortable when objections arise and those we engage know their stuff.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Spirit produces character in us to help us be more like Jesus. And if we are like Jesus, then we will attract those around us. Additionally, if we allow the Spirit to produce this fruit in our lives, then we will become more credible in the eyes of others.
Don’t be the person who unbelievers cite for their objection that Christians are hypocrites and act nothing like Jesus!
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).
Christians are to be people of truth. Not only do we study the Word of Truth, we rely on the Spirit to lead us into the knowledge of God. Only then can we share the Gospel with others.
The Spirit Leads Us During Engagement
We also must rely on the Spirit as we engage others in at least three ways.
“So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus” (Acts 13:4).
Christians should be prepared to defend the hope within them (1 Peter 3:15). But at the same time, it’s the Spirit who opens doors to conversations and brings to our minds what we are to share (John 14:26).
Sometimes the Spirit will lead us to give a robust defense of Jesus’ resurrection, but sometimes the Spirit will lead us to weep with someone who is hurting and say nothing. Follow the Spirit’s lead!
“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
We must always be in prayer. When the early church prayed, they were filled with Spirit and with boldness to speak the truth of the Gospel without hesitation. Only the Spirit can make us fearless to share with those who might not respond favorably to the message.
“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5.
Your power does not come from your intellect, but from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). God forbid that we rely on our own craftiness and wisdom to engage the unbeliever. At all times, we must rely on the Spirit to be our source of strength.
The Spirit Changes the Unbeliever
The Spirit uses all kinds of means including apologetics, but there are many things that the Spirit alone can do in a person’s life:
- Convict of Sin (John 16:8)
- Free from the Power of Sin (Romans 8:2).
- Regenerate the Heart (John 3:3-8)
- Justify and Sanctify (1 Corinthians 6:11)
- Give True Understanding of Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
- Give Assurance of Salvation (1 John 4:13)
Apologists aren’t meant to do everything on our own. Like Paul, we can plant. Like Apollos, we can water. But only God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6).