>The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 – “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”. Why did Paul find it necessary to say that he was “not ashamed of the gospel”?
Could the answer be that it was no what we would think of as “Politically Correct” to proclaim the gospel? We know that First-Century Christians were often heavily persecuted for their faith. Just prior to this verse, Paul makes mention of the Roman church’s reputation – their “faith” is known or preached “throughout the world”. This would seem to imply that the Roman Christians had a reputation. Yet again we must ask – then what is the point of Paul’s reference to not being ashamed of the gospel?
After all, we know by just following what the Bible records of his missionary journeys, his afflictions in his travels, his beatings and imprisonments, and so many other hardships and oppressions endured for the gospel’s sake – so why restate this fact here?
I submit that, much as we can see in the world today – there are people who don’t mind putting on a show, building up a massive visible church, or want to be identified as a part of/member of a church – yet how many of these “professing” Christians make it a regular part of their lives to not just “admit” they are Christians – but actually live it before the world? How many of us make decisions that reflect a Christ-centered, God-honoring, commitment to the gospel?
Commitment to the gospel? Yes, commitment. Are we willing to speak of for what is right in the eyes of God, even if it means sacrifice? Are we willing to forgo certain forms of entertainment that we know openly disparages God’s name? Are we willing to endure rejection or ridicule if it means that we can tell someone about Jesus Christ?
Paul endured lynch mobs, beatings, imprisonment, trials, shipwrecks, rejection, and much more – with a willing and glad heart (singing praises to God, even when beaten and locked up), all for the opportunity to share the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul didn’t “hush up” when certain people came around. He didn’t skim over the “dirty parts” – the blood, the eternal condemnation that results from sin, or the hard subjects that we so want to skirt around (read some of Paul’s admonitions regarding divorce and sexual immorality for a real eye-opener!).
“We” like to complain, particularly around people like ourselves, about how much evil seems to be winning in this nation. Yet this didn’t happen over night. The unfortunately truth is – we have not done our duty to God. Christians have far too long been willing to just sit by and say “well, they haven’t come for me yet…” And in a relatively short time, our nation has gone from a God-fearing country that was an example to the world, to a Godless (though not lower-case “god” – because our nation is now every bit as idolatrous as Israel at her darkest hour – maybe more on that in a later post???) nation that now willingly rejects God.
We have failed for generations now to follow the Words of God to train up our children, instead the majority of even professing Christians have pawned off the responsibility off for raising up and training up their children to public schools. And many have also shirked the responsibility for their children’s spiritual well being to the church. While the church has a significant job, what does God have to say about the whole picture of raising and teaching our children?
Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
and for even more detail:
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
Sounds like God is pretty serious about parental responsibility to teach their children God’s Word – and for Christians, that should begin and focus first on the Gospel. I don’t see anywhere in these verses, or anywhere else for that matter, that says to allow strangers to do all the educating of your children, then ship them off to church/Sunday School/Youth Group for all of their spiritual training. It says to teach them when you get up, when you go “by the way” (wherever you go – while you are going), and when you lie down (at night) – sounds like we should use every moment we are with our children to teach them of God’s redemptive plan. But also remember – our actions will always speak louder than our words. If you put yourselves in your children’s place – what would you see from your life example? Would you see an abiding faith in Christ? Would you see an adult that places God first in his/her priority list? Or would you see a materialistic, self-centered, worldly person that gives – at best – lip service to God?
But I digress – and this has grown into a monster…
What I am trying to get across – if there is a hope for the future of our children, our churches, and our nation – then we will take parenting far more seriously. And we will never again allow ourselves to appear to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
God Bless… and until next time…
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