Sunday PM, January 10th, 2021

“The Gospel According to Paul” #2

“Are You Ashamed of the Gospel ?”

Romans 1:14-17

 

In these verses, Paul gives us the theme of the Book of Romans. Here is the essence of true Christianity. Here is the answer to the ancient question, “How shall mankind be justified with God ?”

“I am not ashamed of the gospel” is a negative way of saying something positive. It’s like saying, “Not bad” when what you really mean is “Good.” Instead of saying he was proud of the gospel, Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel. On other occasions, Paul said he gloried in the gospel. But, here, as he prepares to come to Rome, he says “I am a debtor ... I am ready to preach the gospel ... I am not ashamed of the gospel.”

In Romans 10:11, after calling on believers to publicly confess and identify with Christ, Paul says, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” If that is so, and it is, why are some ashamed of the gospel?

Some are ashamed of the gospel ....

  • For Intellectual Reasons. 1 Corinthians 1:23 says the gospel is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greek foolishness. Intellectually, the gospel is an offense to a lot of people. They ridicule the gospel on intellectual grounds. Some are embarrassed because they can’t deal with the intellectual simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • For Philosophical Reasons. I believe that we are seeing a battle these days that is philosophical. It is a battle of ideas about how we will reach our world. The gospel reverses all the world’s ideas. It is not in line with any other teaching that you will find. The unpopularity of a crucified Christ has prompted many churches to abandon the gospel message, to present a more acceptable Christ to the unbelievers of our day. Preaching the gospel is not very popular in this present world. It is not uncommon to hear that churches have either eliminated entirely, or largely reduced gospel preaching. Instead they are relying on music, skits, or multimedia presentations to convey the message. The philosophy being promoted today is that the church should “market” itself to the public as offering services which are appealing, entertaining, and non-threatening to unbelievers. The Gospel is regarded as threatening.

The Following Is A Collection of Quotes Taken From Newspaper Clippings and Magazine Articles Where the Preaching in “User-Friendly” Churches is Described.

  • There is no fire and brimstone here. No Bible thumping. Just practical, witty messages.
  • Services at our church have an informal feeling. You won’t hear people threatened with hell or referred to as sinners. The goal is to make them feel welcome, not drive them away.
  • As with all ministers, the pastor’s answer is God, but he slips God in at the end, and even then doesn’t get too heavy. No ranting, no raving. No fire, no brimstone. He doesn’t even use the H-word. Call it “Light Gospel.” It has the same salvation as the Old Time Religion, but with a third less guilt.
  • The sermons are relevant, upbeat, and best of all, short. You won’t hear a lot of preaching about sin, damnation and hell-fire. Preaching here doesn’t sound like preaching. It is “friendly talk.”

So the new trend may be summed up as follows : Be clever, informal, positive, brief and friendly. And never, never use the H-word.

A preacher friend once said, “Most modern-day preaching sounds more like group counseling than the proclamation of God’s word. It’s what the people want nowadays, but since when did God call us to tell people what they want to hear ?”

We have replaced a sovereign God with a sovereign congregation. We have turned the church into a neighborhood pub. That may sound like an overstatement. But here is a direct quote, “Remember how the corner tavern used to be the place where the men of the neighborhood would congregate to watch major sports events, the World Series, Super Bowl or boxing ? While times have changed, the same concept can still be used to a great impact by the church. Most churches have a large hall which could be used for special gatherings around major media events - sports, political debates, entertainment specials and the like.” (George Barna - The Frog In The Kettle. pp. 94-95).

But the church isn’t a lodge recruiting members. It’s not a pub for the neighborhood. It’s not a community center where parties are held. It’s not a country club for the masses. It’s not an open forum nor a political convention. The church is the body of Christ which assembles for worship and instruction from the Word of God ! The church exists to fulfill the Great Commission which is to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” If you make the church anything else, you mock God, and you say, in essence, that you are ashamed of the gospel, that the gospel is not good enough, that we need something else to reach our world.

Some are ashamed of the gospel ….

  • For Social Reasons. The Bible says, “Not many wise ... not many mighty ... not many noble” are called, 1 Corinthians 1:26. Have you noticed the crowd who is drawn to the crucified and risen Savior ? The gospel starts from the bottom up in so many circles. It is rare to find sophisticated, wealthy people who embrace the gospel. Jesus himself spoke of the difficulty of a rich man entering the kingdom. Sometimes the problem is that the rich don’t think they need anything, including a Savior. But sometimes the problem is that we are inhibited and embarrassed about approaching those who are “high classed.” You see, the poor can be just as ashamed of the gospel for social reasons as can the rich. There is a universal need - sin. There is a universal provision for that need - the gospel. On that level all men are equal. We just think that some are more equal than others and, hence, are ashamed of the gospel.

Some are ashamed of the gospel ….

  • For Moral Reasons. Galatians 5:11 speaks of “the offense of the cross.” Many people find Christianity unattractive because of its emphasis on sin and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Have you ever heard anybody refer to Christianity as a “slaughter house religion” ? That offense has not ceased. The true message of the cross means separation from the old ways, old habits, old tendencies, even old friends. Some people don’t like the gospel because the gospel has moral implications. Like a man who was being witnessed to by a preacher and encouraged to receive Christ. The fellow replied, “Pastor, I’ve thought about it. And frankly, right now it would be downright inconvenient.” The gospel does demand something of those who receive it.

It is easy to be ashamed for intellectual, philosophical, social and moral reasons. But let me remind you of what Jesus said in Luke 9:26, For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in ... glory …

Let us affirm the testimony of the great Apostle Paul in his last letter who said, “Nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day,” 2 Timothy 1:12. We must not be ashamed of the gospel. And I want to show you why Paul was not ashamed. He would walk into any city, in any circumstance and preach the gospel in all its power. He gives us the reason for his resolve. The word “For” is critical in vs. 16, 17, and 18. It means “because.” Paul was not ashamed of the gospel because it is ...

1. The Good News. The word “gospel” in the Greek means good news.

Good news to a ...

  • Student ... “I passed.”
  • Soldier ... “The war is over and I’m coming home.”
  • Young married couple ... “We’re having a baby.”
  • Married couple with 9 kids ... “We’re not having a baby.”
  • To an heir … “You're in the will.”

The gospel is good news. Why should we be ashamed of “good news” ? The gospel is the best good news of all times.

What is the gospel about ? What is the “good news” about ? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4….“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That’s the good news. The good news of the gospel is ...

  • There is an answer for sin.
  • God welcomes the lost.
  • Jesus paid it all.
  • You don’t have to spend eternity in hell.
  • You can go to heaven free and forever !

Paul was not ashamed of the gospel because it is ...

2. The Power Of Salvation. Believing the gospel saves. It brings salvation. What is salvation ? It is the deliverance of a person from the consequences of the fall of Adam and one’s own personal sin. To be saved means to be free from the greatest evil and to be given the greatest good.

 

Sinner, repent and believe the gospel ! Trust in Christ and be saved from sin and hell ! Christian, don’t be ashamed of the gospel, and don‘t be a shame to the gospel. After all, it is the only message that we have to preach !