“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?” SERIES
Message #4 – “Unashamed!”
CWBC – 3/18/18
INTRO – Have you ever been ashamed of something? I suppose we all have at one point or another. Like a kid who brags to his friends that he can beat up the skinny new kid in the neighborhood. So he starts taunting the new kid, teasing him, bullying him, until finally one day, the braggart & his posse catch the new kid at a park by himself. They corner him & the braggart now has his chance to show everyone just how tough he is. So he steps up to the skinny kid, bumping him w/ his chest, makes another smart-aleck remark, & before he finishes it, the skinny kid uncorks a right hook to the side of the braggart’s head & lays him out cold. As the skinny kid walks away, the braggart’s buddies are now laughing at him as he starts to come out of the haze, feeling embarrassed & ashamed, since he made such a fool of himself.
Or suppose someone you don’t like at school has a dad who is in jail. And suppose that you make fun of him for this and call him names and point out to people that his dad is a crook. And you boast that your dad is a successful financial officer at a major bank. Then one day you go home to the terrible news that your dad has been arrested and charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars. The next day you don’t even want to go to school because you are so ashamed – both of your father and yourself.
Or like the time that my 2 brothers & me stole all the money out of the wishing well at LTOK & got caught by my daddy as we were counting out the money on the table in our camper. Daddy made us walk back up to the front desk & confess to what we had done as we returned the money.
We’ve all had those times when we’ve been ashamed of something we had done or something we had said. Maybe it brought embarrassment to us or to our families. Maybe it hurt someone. Maybe it cost us our job, or cost us a relationship, or cost us our reputation.
But today, I want us to think about one thing that we must never be ashamed of – The Gospel of Jesus Christ! You see, when we live a life that is unashamed of the Gospel, God can & will use us to reach others for Him.
EXPLANATION – Take your Bibles & turn to Romans 1:16 (page 939). We’re still in the series, “What Is the Gospel?” And this morning, we are going to consider the importance of living an unashamed life. Stand please as we read this verse of Scripture:
Romans 1:16 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
We start our unashamed life when we truly believe the Gospel.
If you want to know what the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus is all about, then get into the book of Romans. It is, without a doubt, the most important book in the NT about our beliefs as Christians. It is THE great letter of Theology w/ Paul as its author. It is the definitive statement of what Paul believed, a statement of his theology & doctrine. He wasn’t writing this letter to attempt to address any specific problems or dangers that the church at Rome was facing. He did that in some of his other letter – 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, etc. But in Romans, he was writing primarily to help the believers in Rome to get their faith grounded as deeply & strongly as they could. He knew that they were living in a strategic region that has explosive potential for the spread of the Gospel. So he recognized the importance of helping them nail down the essential beliefs of the Christian faith. As G. Campbell Morgan wrote, Romans “…is the foundation document of the Pauline system of teaching. It is intended to set forth clearly God’s way of salvation for ruined man” (The Analyzed Bible: Romans, p. 11).
So, exactly what IS God’s way of salvation for ruined man? Paul clearly states it in Romans 5:6 & 8:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the unrighteous…But demonstrates His own love for us in this: While were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When we come to the place in our lives where we truly believe that & accept Christ as our Savior:
- When we truly understand & believe that we are unrighteous sinners;
- When we truly understand & believe that Christ died for us, taking our place & taking our punishment on Himself;
- When we truly understand & believe that the only way we can be saved is to trust Christ alone & accept Him as our one & only Savior;
- Then we will be saved & begin living our unashamed life for Him!
We live our unashamed life in the power of God.
Rome was a filthy city in Paul’s day. One ancient philosopher called it “a cesspool of iniquity.” This was the environment into which Paul took the Gospel. And it’s very similar to the environment you & I live in today.
There are many people in our world today who will attempt to make you feel ashamed of the Gospel & your commitment to live for Jesus.
- Our Gospel demands that we live a holy life. Our unholy world totally rejects that & ridicules anyone who lives like that.
- Tim Tebow
- Our Gospel demands that we believe in & pray to a God who we can’t see. It demands that we “walk by faith & not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). The world of skeptics totally rejects that & ridicules anyone who lives like that.
- VP Mike Pence – ridiculed by Joy Behar on “The View” for his statement that God speaks to him.
- Our Gospel demands that we believe, read, study, & obey the commands found in an ancient holy book, written by over 40 different writers, over the course of about 1,500 years. The world of nonbelievers totally rejects that & ridicules anyone who lives like that.
That’s why, in order for us to live an unashamed life for the Lord, we need the “power of God for salvation.” The “power” of God that Paul is talking about here is the power that had changed his life, & he knew that it would change anyone & everyone else who would turn their lives over to Jesus Christ! That’s why he wasn’t ashamed of this Gospel! And the wonderful news for us today is that we, too, are given that power the very moment that we come to know Christ as our Savior & Lord. Listen to these verses:
- Romans 8:11 – “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
- Ephesians 1:19-20 – “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty powerthat raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
We will reach others for Christ when we are living an unashamed life.
Not only does God’s power save us & give us the ability to live an unashamed life, His power also work in us to enable us to share the Gospel w/ others.
The Gospel is for “everyone who believes,” whether they are Jews or Gentiles. God is not going to force Himself on anyone against their will. In order for them to experience the power of God to bring salvation into their lives, they must respond in faith when the Gospel is shared with them. That’s where you & I come into the picture. The message of the Gospel is for all people b/c all people need to be saved! Mark 16:15 says, “Go ye into all the world & preach the Gospel.” And when the Lord gives us a commission like that, He is going to give us the power to fulfill it. The same power that saves us is the same power that makes it possible for us to live an unashamed life. And when we aren’t ashamed of the Gospel, we are going to be much more willing to reach out to others who are lost w/out Christ.
Warren Wiersbe: “God does not ask men to behave in order to be saved, but to believe. It is faith in Christ that saves the sinner. Eternal life in Christ is one gift that is suitable for all people, no matter what their need may be or what their station in life.” You & I are called to live a life that is unashamed of the Gospel & take that Gospel to all people.
Here’s the thing that I want you to leave here with today: You need to live your life unashamed of the Gospel so God can use you to reach others for Him.
Why? Read article last week that ranked the most evangelical states from 1-50. Just FYI – TN was #1 & Utah was #50. MS was #6 on the list. But here’s the thing that caught my eye: In 43 out of 50 states – fastest growing religion is “unaffiliated.” 15 states have “unaffiliated” as their “Most common religion.” While Mississippi’s most common religion is “evangelical,” (no surprise) the fastest growing religion in Mississippi is also the “unaffiliated” group – up 8%.
We have to wonder if one of the reasons that there are so many people who are “unaffiliated” now is that they are not seeing real Christians living real unashamed lives in our world today. So how do we do this? How do we live an unashamed life? One word: DEDICATE.
DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST. Get saved TODAY! Come to Jesus TODAY before it’s too late!
DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO GROWTH. One reason why we sometimes find ourselves ashamed & embarrassed is that we simply don’t know what we believe or why we believe what we believe. Dedicate your life to the study of God’s Word. Dedicate your life to the Church where you can be fed & where you can serve. Dedicate your life to a deepening prayer life.
DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO AUTHENTICITY. Be real! The world needs to see Christians who are real, who own their mistakes, who get dirty, who have kids that throw temper tantrums in the middle of the grocery store, who struggle to pay the bills, who wrestle w/ faith questions in the midst of pain & suffering, who don’t have all the answers, but trust God anyhow. They need to see integrity in every area of our lives, whether that’s at work, at school, on the ball field, at the dance studio, at the hunting camp, or any other place.
DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO OTHERS. Get out & get involved in some people’s lives. I know you’re tired, & I know you’ve got important things to do w/ your time. But if all of your time is consumed on yourself, then you’re not going to have any opportunities to live that unashamed life & reach others for Christ.
When we live an unashamed life, we will be able to pray St. Patrick’s prayer:
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 517). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.