Not Ashamed of the Gospel
Ashamed – embarrassed, regretful, unwilling, uncomfortable, reserved, sorry
The Apostle Paul wrote these words.
“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:14-21
The occasion was a letter to the church, the body of converts and new believers in Rome. This was not a letter to the pagan Roman world, though that world is referred to frequently throughout the message. It is also important to note that this is not a letter of condemnation but of exhortation.
At no time during his message to the Roman church does he call for judgment, punishment or condemnation in any way. Though some have preached from this book harsh rhetoric of legalism and condemnation and in so doing postured themselves in “self-righteous” judgment against sinners, that is not what the Holy Spirit prompted in the Apostle when He wrote it.
The opening verses of this letter speaks of the grace of God and centers on the person of Jesus Christ and the love and peace of God extended to all within the church. How could he greet them with this greeting, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7) in one breath and then tear into them with condemnation in the next?
That is not the way of Love.
When he says he is indebted to the Greeks, the Barbarians; both to wise and unwise, he is saying that his calling as an Apostle of Jesus Christ compels him to preach the gospel and teach the truth of God’s word to everyone who will hear it, whether they receive and believe it or not regardless of nationality, intellect or any other such things.
To preach salvation is not to be responsible for saving anyone. That is a work of Jesus Christ alone. Our part is to do all we can to make sure His message is declared as far and as widely as possible to as may as we can reach.
(Evangelist Billy Graham, preaches the Gospel to thousands of believers during the meeting at Bercy's Stadium in Paris as part of a worldwide crusade, September 20, 1986. File photo/Reuters)
The late evangelist Rev. Billy Graham was such a man of uncompromised, unashamed declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
So Paul is saying, when it comes to preaching the gospel I am not ashamed. Now in context the meaning of this word might be better understood by saying, I’m not embarrassed, reluctant, uncomfortable or reserved in my passion to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Why was it important to say that to the church of believers in Rome in AD 56? For the same reason it is important to say it to the Church that is in the United States of America, the Church in Canada, the Church in Russia, in England, in China, in Sudan, in Saudi Arabia, in Iran, in Iraq, in Japan, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, Scandinavia, Egypt, Nigeria, Bangladesh, New Deli, Syria, Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica and wherever those who call on Jesus Christ for salvation dwell throughout the world in 2018.
The message of the Gospel to those who are perishing is foolishness, but to us who believe it is the power of God.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
And Jesus tells us that there will be those who will be offended because of Him. Not the least among them were the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’ “Luke 7:22-23
Today they are the spiritual “score keepers” in the church who have made themselves watchful to address the specks in everyone’s eyes, while disregarding the log in their own eye. They are also the pseudo religious intellectuals and academic scholars who don’t really believe in God but they can quote just enough Scriptures to tell the church how it ought to embrace whatever secular notion they conceive because it’s the loving thing to do and after all Christianity is a religion of “love.”
These are the ones that the Apostle warned us about who “hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” Their very existence is proof of God’s sovereignty as their Creator, yet, for all their claim to intellectual understanding they refuse to acknowledge Him as God.
Now no reasonable person wants to be offensive. Most of us want to be accepted and considered embraced and included, not shunned, dismissed or rejected by our pears or anyone for that matter. But when it comes to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we run the risk that we, and our message, will be rejected, considered offensive and foolish.
So, what do we do? We have the commission from Jesus, as His ambassadors in the world, to preach the gospel to every creature and to be ready to do it at all times, when it’s convenient and expected and when it’s inconvenient and undesired.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” 1 Peter 3:15
This does not mean we need to have a three-point sermon in our pockets for every occasion. NO!
It does mean for us to just be willing and ready to tell our story of what salvation in Jesus Christ has meant and means for our life.
In time, as you read and study the Word and as your faith grows from experience to experience with Him you will gain greater understanding and insight into the fullness of the knowledge of God and as you grow in knowledge you can share what you have received with others.
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians1:15-21
The real question is are we willing to be rejected and offensive to some for the sake of pleasing God and bringing light and life to those who will receive it, or are we ashamed, embarrassed, reticent, unwilling to preach the Gospel because we are more concerned about pleasing men and being accepted by those who oppose our God and shun the truth?
We don’t have to fear men because God is with us all the time and in every situation.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Be blessed by this ministry in song by André Crouch and the Disciples.