When I first became a believer in Christ, I had this overwhelming desire to share Christ with others. I shared Jesus with people left and right. I shared what he had done in my life with my best friend Scott and several teachers I had been under during my time in school.
I didn’t matter that I didn’t know everything about the Bible and it didn’t matter what people thought about me or how they responded. I just had the desire to share Jesus. Along the journey though, something changed. I began to care about my reputation and my image. I once wore only Christian t-shirts and I suddenly found myself not wanting to wear them as often. I wanted to ‘fit in’ again; I wanted to have friends who accepted me without being afraid of being made fun of for my beliefs.
As I journeyed through my life, I remembered the verse found in Romans 1:16, which had since become a source of discouragement because I found myself, not sharing my faith as I once had. Since that time, I have come to realize that being ashamed of the gospel goes much deeper than sharing your faith verbally with others. (On a side note, to those who have a hard time sharing their faith, continue to rest in God and ask him for an increase of faith in this area.)
-What does it mean to be unashamed of the gospel?-
(1) I am unashamed to speak.
Romans 10:14, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
Being unashamed of the gospel means you are willing to share your faith, verbally, with others. Sharing in the life of Christ includes sharing in his victories, his suffering and the burdens he has on his heart. Jesus loves his own but his heart longs for the lost. Jesus loves to adopt children. Our message to the world should be of reconciliation.
The message isn’t about what we have done or what we can do but rather, what God has already done in Christ. Our response to his work is to believe. The work God looks for in us is belief in the Son Jesus.
“The emphasis of the Gospel is not YOUR faith but rather His work.”
– John Crowder
(2) I am unashamed to stand.
John 15:8, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”
Being unashamed of the gospel means you will stand up for the gospel and stand against the world. And you will be hated for doing so. When you take that stand, you will be labeled as intolerant, judgmental and unloving.
Not long ago, Phil Robertson (of the Duck Dynasty) was suspended for sharing his beliefs against homosexuality. He was suspended for speaking about his faith. In that time, he has been labeled as someone who is against homosexuals and does not accept them.
Truth is not always popular and isn’t always easy to stand up for but it is worth it.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
– Rick Warren
(3) I am unashamed to confront.
Hebrews 12:6, “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
Accountability has become a rather dirty word in Christian circles. We believe it exists but we don’t want to “preach at people”, we don’t want to “jump down someone’s throat” and we certainly don’t want to “offend others.”
So we often take the easy road of not saying anything and letting things be the way they are. I mean, after all, God works in people’s lives to bring about his purpose and will so why should we bother right? Does that sound like God’s will for us though? Is that really having the heart of a leader and a servant?
Jesus had no issue holding his followers accountable. When Peter tried to distract him from going to the cross, Jesus rebuked Peter by focusing on the one who was speaking into his life (Satan). Jesus wasted no time revealing the one who would betray him at the Last Supper (Judas). Jesus had no issue calling out the false teachers of his day.
The message of the gospel is grace and grace does not allow sin to have dominion over others. Grace eliminates sin through love. If we are unwilling to confront those who live in sin, we do not love them in the way Christ loved us. We love them in such a way that they like us and won’t be offended by us.
“I’ve realized something; God doesn’t want to be in the center of everything we do because He is a selfish egotist. He wants to be in the center of everything we do because He knows how to walk us through every situation.”
– Samuel Armstrong
(4) I am unashamed to live.
1 John 2:6, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
One of the biggest “Christian catch phrases” I heard growing up was this: “You talk the talk. Do you walk the walk?” There’s truth in that too. Believers in Christ are transformed by the Spirit of God. When a person places his or her faith in Christ, they are raised from death to life!
Before Christ, we were enemies of God. In Christ, we are his sons and daughters. Before Christ, we are hostile towards God. In Christ, we are called friends of God. Before Christ, we were slaves to sin and death. In Christ, we are released from the chains of oppression. Before Christ, we were dead to sin. In Christ, we are alive to God.
To follow Jesus requires action. Paul said the “…live I now live I live by faith in the son of God…” (Gal. 2:20). Faith is not a relationship with God, but rather what connects us to that relationship. We are called to follow the Person of Christ, not a set of beliefs.
“There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life. Following Jesus will cost you something.”
– Kyle Idleman
(5) I am unashamed to give.
1 Corinthians 15:58, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
Whenever the topic of “giving” is discussed, people might become a little uncomfortable. I’m okay with that. God is okay with that too. Being someone is unashamed of the Gospel is reflected in our obedience to sharing the story with others, having a boldness to confront others in regard to sin, being confident and making a stand for Christ and against the darkness and living our lives in a way that honors God. The gospel though brings about transformation.
The gospel, according to Romans 1:16, is the power of God which brings about the transformation in our lives. Living a life that is unashamed of the gospel means you are willing to work for the Lord. That means, you roll up your sleeves and do whatever it is God has called you to do and do your absolute best.
If you’re a teacher, teach those in your classroom to the best of your ability, giving God all of the glory. If you’re a computer technician, do your absolute best with your skills, giving God all of the glory. If you serve at your church, serve God with everything you have. If you’re a pastor, love the church God has entrusted you with and give everything up (with exception of your family) for the sake of that church.
“When I try, I fail. When I trust, He succeeds.”
– Corrie Ten Boom