ARE YOU ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST ?
Scripture Text: Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
The above Scripture text is one of my special favorites because it expresses so clearly and forcibly, the heartfelt conviction of every true child of God. Yes, everyone who is truly "saved", or "born again", can say of a truth that they are "NOT ASHAMED of the Gospel of Christ", and the reason is simply because "it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (or the Gentiles)."
Another reason why I like this utterance by the Apostle Paul, is because it searches the heart and soul of everyone who professes to be a Christian. And friend, if you claim to be a child of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then let me ask you in the presence of God today, "Are you ASHAMED of the Gospel of Christ? Are you? Do your friends and relatives know you to be 'all out' for God? Does your life bear witness to the fact that, by faith, you've been to Calvary and have seen that precious, sin-cleansing blood flow for your sin? And friend, do you tell others what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you, and what He can likewise do for them? Do you? Friend, when was the last time you spoke to some unsaved person about their spiritual condition in the sight of God? And when was the last time you passed out a Gospel tract? Was it earlier today, yesterday, last week, or perhaps, many months ago, if at all?"
Our Scripture text is bound to be soul-searching to any professing Christian who does not tell others of God's salvation, which is found in the person of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, alone. Let me remind you what the Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 10:32,33, "Whosoever therefore shall CONFESS Me before men, him will I CONFESS before My Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall DENY Me before men, him will I also DENY before My Father which is in Heaven." He also said in Mark 8:38, "Whosoever shall be ASHAMED of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ASHAMED, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
David, the Psalmist, declared in Psalms 31:1, "In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ASHAMED: deliver me in Thy righteousness." And the Apostle Paul again reminds us in Romans 10:9-11, "That if thou shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth CONFESSION is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED."
I remember hearing the story about a professing Christian who was talking to a passing stranger about God's way of salvation, and of the fact that the alternative to accepting Christ as his Saviour, was eternity in the Lake of Fire. After listening for awhile, the unsaved stranger interrupted the Christian and said, "Sir, if I believed what you've told me about my sinful condition; about the blood of Jesus Christ; about being "born again"; about the second coming of Christ; and about the place called Hell; well Sir, I would spend every possible moment of my remaining life time, seeking to tell others how they can be saved." Doesn't that search your soul, Christian friend? Yes, and it searches mine too !
Friend, if you're ASHAMED of the Lord Jesus Christ - then you don't know HIM ! If you're afraid to speak to your friends and relatives about the value and virtue of His blood that flowed at Calvary - then you don't really love THEM. Afterall, how could any true child of God; indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God; saved from the flames of torment in Hell; and with the love of God in their heart---I say, how can they be ASHAMED of speaking well of the One Who delivered them from eternal wrath? And I'm sure that some of you reading this message today, will be surprised to know that some of the fiercest opposition which I've received to my radio ministry of 50 years, has come from people who profess to be on their way to Heaven. Yes, and their oral or written expressions of vilification must bring a stench to the nostrils of God. But I believe in telling it like it is, and I've only got one Lord to Whom I must give an account someday; so I'm NOT ASHAMED to tell others about the Lord Jesus Christ; what He has done for me, and what He can likewise do for them.
I must add too, that just because a person calls themselves a Christian, doesn't mean that they must be a Christian. Most of the people I associated with thought that I was a Christian for many years before I really became a Christian. Afterall, I was raised by Christian parents; I was baptized, a church member, I taught Sunday School, and I even preached on occasion; Yes, I was highly religious and moral, but that didn't make me a Christian. No, I was like many people today who have a "profession without a possession". And had I died in that spiritual condition, I would now be down in the place that Jesus Christ called "Hell".
Many times in the past, I've met people who said that they THINK that they are a Christian, or perhaps they said that they HOPE that they are a Christian. Listen my friend, if you are really saved, you KNOW WHEN, WHERE, and HOW you were saved, and thus became a Christian. No, you don't get saved in your sleep ! In I John 5:13 we read, "These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW (not hope so) that ye HAVE (present tense) eternal life, and that ye may BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God." Yes, faith in the blood of Jesus Christ SECURES our salvation, but faith in the word of God ASSURES our salvation !
Now friend, the next thing I want you to notice about this verse of Scripture is that "the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to EVERYONE, and thank God for that ! Yes, the word "Gospel" means "glad tidings", or "good news"; WHY? Because it can take a religiously-lost, vile, and Hell-deserving sinner like Minor Hawk, and make him fit for the presence of a Holy and Righteous God. Friend, the Gospel is for EVERYONE-the rich and the poor; the old and the young; the Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew, and the Muslim; the red, the yellow, the black and the white. Yes, it is for "whosoever"; for EVERYONE, you and me and EVERYONE else. WHY ? because "ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) WHY ? because "ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERYONE to his own way;" (Isaiah 53:6) WHY ? because "we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6) WHY ? because "we've ALL gone aside, we are ALL together become filthy: there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE."(Psalms 14:3)
Furthermore, if you're still unsaved today, then you've never experienced "the power of God unto salvation." No, you've never been "born again" by the Holy Spirit of God from above. And friend, if you've never been "saved", then you're still lost; you're still under the condemnational wrath of God; and you're still on the broad and crowded road that leads to Hell and the ultimate Lake of Fire. However, even though you are spiritually lost and headed for eternal torment, I'm happy to tell you that this is still the day of God's marvelous love, mercy, and grace. Yes, and even though we're ALL deserving of God's eternal judgment and wrath, nevertheless, the Gospel is still available to ANYONE, and EVERYONE, reading this message today. WHY ? because God is "not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9) WHY ? because "The Lord is nigh unto ALL them that call upon Him, to ALL that call upon Him in truth." (Psalms 145:18) WHY ? because "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men." (Titus 2:11) WHY ? because "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of ALL acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (I Timothy 1:15)
Friend, the Gospel of God's marvelous grace is for EVERYONE in the world today. WHY? Because we're ALL sinners; we've ALL been born in sin and shapened in iniquity. (Psalms 51:5) Yes, but thank God, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from ALL sin." (I John 1:7) HOW ? Well, our text tells us HOW, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation TO EVERYONE THAT BELIEVETH". So there is the answer, "TO EVERYONE THAT BELIEVETH."
Perhaps you're thinking, "Well, what do I have to BELIEVE ?" Friend, you MUST BELIEVE that you're a lost, guilty, and Hell-deserving sinner, in God's sight. You MUST BELIEVE that you can neither merit nor inherit the Kingdom of God by your Christian heritage, culture and upbringing; nor by your baptism, confirmation, dedication, church membership, so-called "good works", nor any other such religious activities or virtues. Friend, if you're ever going to be in God's Heaven, you MUST BELIEVE that when Jesus Christ was shedding His precious blood on Calvary's cross, He was dying for you, and your sins. Yes, we're told in I Peter 3:18, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." And the moment you place your faith, or trust, in the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour---at that moment you'll be "saved", "born again", and you'll become a child of God. And furthermore, you'll be as sure of being in Heaven, as though you were already there, walking on the street of gold.
However, I must warn you, in love for your soul, and in view of eternity, that the day of God's grace is quickly drawing to a close. Every indication in the world today points to the soon-return of the Lord Jesus Christ; and if you're not saved when He comes again, you'll be left behind for the terrible judgment of God. Not only that, but even before He comes again, you could be cut down out of life and into eternity in a moment of time. Yes, many people throughout the world today awoke in good physical condition, but they gave no thought to the fact that today's date might be on their tombstone as the date of their death. Tell me friend, if this should be the date of your death, where would your soul be for ALL ETERNITY --- HEAVEN or HELL ? In Deuteronomy 30:19 we read, "I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Yes, and don't forget that YOUR FUTURE DESTINY IS DETERMINED BY YOUR PRESENT DECISION.
Well friend, you can't say that you haven't been warned. And we're told in II Corinthians 6:2, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold NOW is the day of salvation." In Isaiah 1:18 we read, "Come NOW let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." And sad to say, there are countless souls down in Hell right now because, even though they heard the Gospel faithfully preached; and even though they were convicted of their need for a Saviour by the Word and Holy Spirit of God; they decided to wait for a more "convenient season", like Governor Felix told the Apostle Paul in Acts 24:25.
And is it possible that someone reading this message today is going to be like King Agrippa in Acts 26:28, who heard the Gospel and said to the Apostle Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Well friend, King Agrippa was ALMOST SAVED, but he was COMPLETELY LOST. Yes, and that's the reason God's word is so clear in reminding the unsaved sinner that the time to "consider your latter end" is NOW. Not tomorrow, next week, nor next year, but N-O-W, NOW. In Proverbs 27:1 God warns, "Boast not thyself of TOMORROW; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Another warning is given in Hebrews 4:7, "TODAY if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Again in Proverbs 29:1 we read, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Finally, I would remind you of the words recorded in Job 22:21, "Acquaint NOW thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee."
In closing, if you are still unsaved, then I plead with you, in love for your soul, and in view of eternity, to acknowledge your sinful condition in God's sight, then simply take God at His word, and trust in the sacrificial death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your personal Saviour. Friend, if you'll do that right NOW, the word of God, which cannot lie, says that you'll be SAVED, not only for time, but for all ETERNITY ! And remember, my friend, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY ! Yes, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk