Not Ashamed

Not Ashamed

I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)

Gospel means Good News. If you are a Christian, how do you feel about that Good News?

Lexico.com uses the following sentence example for ‘Gospel’ – “It is the Church’s mission to preach the gospel.” In Mark 16: 15-16, Jesus told us to “Go…!” And, He also warns that those who don’t believe, will be condemned. Does it concern you that people who don’t receive Jesus’ offer of salvation – those you work with, live near, your loved ones, will one day stand condemned before Jesus – the righteous Judge? It concerns me – deeply and daily!!! 

If Lexico understands the Church is responsible for bringing the Good News to the world, what is the Church’s understanding and response to this mandate?

Our Response

If the Great Commission from Jesus is to reach the lost in our communities and make disciples through preaching and living out the Word in our daily, moment-by-moment lives, I believe (sadly) the Church is failing as a whole.

Why is it the exception to hear about lives being saved, healed, and delivered in the places we Christians live, work, and breathe? Why is there little difference in the speech and actions of Christians (on a day-to-day basis) compared to the lost who live around us? How can we reach people around us when most unbelievers we know don’t know our identity as Christians (because we’re afraid of losing our jobs/being “persecuted”), and most who do know us as ‘Christians,’ will call us hypocrites?

I have been in many great churches where I have been well taught and spiritually well fed. I hear challenging sermons and spirit-filled worship music. But it seems the body as a whole is largely unmoved/unchanged by the power of God, and consequently, unwilling to bring Jesus out from the walls of our buildings on Sunday, into the highways and byways (Luke 14:23), Monday through Saturday.

As the Church goes, so goes the nation. We, as Christians are very quick to point our fingers at the world we embrace six out of seven days a week. When the church is lethargic and in moral decline itself, how dare we accuse the world of moral failure as we stand by with little distinction in our daily living, from the ways of their world.

When the Church compromises the truth (many of the moral failings of society have infiltrated the Church) or fails to speak and stand for truth (in love), it affects all areas of our society. The leaders we have, the laws that get passed, the angry verbal attacks we engage in, and the overall godlessness that surrounds us reflect the unwillingness of the Church to be the salt and light that seasons, brightens, and preserves the world.

Our Identity

Who are we as believers? Is our identity: mother/father, teacher, woman/man, Italian, Yankees fan, artist, registered Republican/Democrat, Bostonian, etc…, or are we first – a Christian? How would a doctor be evaluated if he/she went to a hospital six days a week, but only acted as a doctor on Sundays?

Luke warm, double-minded, near-sighted, lovers of self, lovers of money and the things of the world. More interested in saving a dollar than saving a soul, more outraged over an unsaved friend overcharged $70.00 on a home furnishing purchase, than the fate of their eternal destination.

Where is our God when we leave our church buildings on Sunday morning? Are we so entrenched in the ways of the world (cell phones, computer apps, the 6:00 news/weather report, our “likes” on Facebook, secular TV shows, remodeling our homes, etc…) that we blend in/conform more to their ways than the ways of God? If we truly love God and others as ourselves, how can we forget who we are and passively watch our unsaved friends (unequally yoked with them – by our apathy) as the devil they serve takes them by the hand and guides them to hell. We should have nothing in common with the world. But when we seek God only once a week (Sunday, nine-to-noon) what else should we expect?

We use phrases like “we’re only human” and “no one is perfect” as excuses for bad behavior, bad attitudes, worldliness, etc… We’re supposed to be in the world, not of the world (1 John 2: 15-17). Someone is perfect – His name is Jesus – the One we are supposed to imitate. If we, the Church don’t desire to live godly lives, how dare we ridicule those in the world around us who are without hope (or desire) of changing – without the power of the Holy Spirit?

We can shine up our church buildings, expand, remodel, change ministry names, merge with other churches, add/take away programs, etc…, but if we don’t have the desire to live godly lives and aren’t heartbroken for the lost world we live in, aren’t we just “white washed tombs” (sitting in our favorite church pews) – possibly growing in numbers, but not in truth of the life we are command/called to.

I worked many years at Yale University in a department where evolution was taught and embraced. By not checking my Christianity at the door of my workplace (free speech is still the rule of the land), I saw students, faculty members, staff members, and research scientists openly receive prayer (offered in loving concern), and come to faith. I also saw the crumbling marriages of two co-workers restored, and a weekly prayer group that met on campus for 13 years.

Our Challenge

There is so much more our LORD has for us as a whole and individually (Ephesians 3: 20-21). We live so far below God’s best for us. Let’s live like we believe, “The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us.

Let’s challenge each other and be the example of what it looks like to live our faith (every day) at work, home, school, on social media, at the gym, sports and music events, grocery stores, while driving, taking the bus, when we disagree with someone, etc… Lets speak the truth in love, walk in faith, ask someone (a co-worker) how you can pray for them, shine His light in the darkest places, hand out tracts, and leave tracts in public places. Let’s salt the earth with the preserving flavor of the Good News – of the greatest love (Jesus) and greatest, most powerful love story (Jesus’ Cross and resurrection from the dead), ever told (John 15: 13-14)!

Please hear my heart as broken and my words not as condemnation, but as a loving challenge to not be ashamed of the Good News we have to offer.

May Jesus’ name, once again be a spoken blessing, as the one and only true God – the Light, and the only hope for this world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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