"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing
January 28, 2010Posted by on
When I began this post I thought that this would be a really good first post to the No Apologizing blog. Now that I have completed this, it is nearly four pages long. This will be a three part series. Each part will focus on a part of the No shame + No fear = No Apologizing. Hopefully this will be a good way to keep you coming back for at least a week…
You could begin this blog by saying in a day and age when it is becoming less popular to be a Christian than it has in the past… This simply is not the case. Sure, the society we once knew has evaporated before our very eyes. An American culture that used to welcome and embrace Christianity has now begun the process of turning its back on Christ. These actions, while alarming, are not unique to our time or culture. What is unique to our time and culture is the ability to reach so many people with so little effort.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Is there any doubt that the enemy is on the move, utilizing technology in a way that favors him. Temptations, deceit, distortions, and half truths are all freely available online. The enemy will use these tools to turn people away from Christ and bend them to where they convince others to turn away from Christ. Satan’s goal for technology; convince non believers that there is any number of ways to heaven, that God simply doesn’t exist, and to get believers to commit evil. It really is that simple. So how does God use this for good? The same technology that is available for Satan (Blogs, Vlogs, Facebook, Youtube, GodTube, etc…) is available for Christians hoping to make a difference. It is incumbent for us to utilize this technology in order to make an impact.
Are you embarrassed to tell others about the good news of Christ? Are you afraid that you may get laughed at, talked down to, or mocked? Do you treat Christ like your embarrassing but rich Uncle? You know, you pretend not to know him when you can avoid it, but when you need something, he is on speed dial number 1. If you have faced this situation before, then chances are that you have experienced some sort of shame in expressing what you feel about Christ.
I can see some of you right now staring at your computer saying there is a time and place for everything. If given an opportunity to give defense of the Lord will you back down and say nothing, or will you rise to the occasion?
The first part of our little equation is to have no shame of the gospel of Christ. Paul speaks to this point specifically in Romans 1:14-16.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… (Romans 1:14-16, NIV)
In v. 14 we see that Paul is obligated to preach the gospel to everyone. Why is Paul obligated? Because Paul has firsthand knowledge of God’s grace and mercy (1 Corinth. 15:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:12-14). As a result of the transformation Paul experiences, he is EAGER to preach the gospel (v.15). At the beginning of v. 16, Paul boldly states that he is not ashamed. Again, why is Paul not ashamed? The next statement is explicit. Paul is not ashamed because it is the POWER of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (1 Corinth 1:23-24). You almost get the sense that Paul is almost incredulous, and has to state that he is not ashamed. The power of God for the salvation speaks simply of the cleansing of our sins from the sacrifice of Christ. Paul’s rationale, why should I be ashamed of the Gospel? It only brings everlasting life and salvation through Christ! Paul goes on in v. 17 to make it more explicit. Paul says that inside of the gospel a righteousness is revealed. How is it revealed? THROUGH FAITH! (Romans 3:21-26).
As Christians we should feel the same obligation that Paul feels in v. 14. Consider 2 Corinthians 5. While this entire chapter is LOADED with reasons why we should feel obligated to preach the gospel lets focus on verse 14.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV)
This single verse speaks volumes about why WE should feel obligated to preach the gospel. Christ died for our sins. He wiped the slate clean. HE stood before the judge and took our punishment. As a result HE has given us ever lasting life. If that isn’t worth talking about then I don’t know what is. When put into the context of verses 11 – 13 we can begin to understand the importance preaching. Paul points out that because we, as believers, have an intimate understanding of God (and ultimately judgment) we will try to persuade others. He acknowledges that we aren’t preaching to reaffirm our faith (talking for the sake of hearing ourselves talk), but to give God an opportunity to be happy with us, by answering those who put other things above God. In reading this verse I am struck by two descriptions. First ministering to people who will label us as being out of our minds (v. 13). Second, a description of ministering to those who place other things above God in their heart (end of v. 12). It is interesting that Paul does not designate between nonbelievers, and believers in this passage. Which makes sense. I have been called crazy by believers and nonbelievers. I have seen both believers, and nonbelievers place other things above God in their hearts. I am one of them.
We have experienced the same grace and mercy that Paul experienced. Notice in the entire section of Romans there is not a single clarification as to when it is a good or bad time to preach the Gospel. If you believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins you must be ALWAYS PREPARED to give a defense of the Lord (1 Peter 3:15). No excuses. None are built into the Bible and excuses are, just that – EXCUSES. We must stop allowing our fear and our culture to drive God out of our lives.