No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: fear

Wait a second! Why do they get that!


Have you ever wondered…how it is…that people who will lie, cheat, steal have great lives?  By “Great” I mean from a material aspect.  They have a nice house, a nice car, never have to worry about money.  Now, this is not to say that the only people who have nice car’s, nice house’s and never have to worry about money are all liar’s cheaters, and thief’s (though all of us are some combination of that).  You get my point.  Anyway, sometimes it feels like people who hate GOD, or don’t even recognize that he is real are rewarded, while Christians sometimes are set to a life of mediocrity!  For some reason I want to say that there is a jumping point here about being prosperous etc…  Although I’ve done a lot of research on this topic over the last couple of weeks, I will avoid the prosperity gospel at this point and time.  Right now I want to focus on one specific point…. Some people who hate God, appear to have exceptional lives.

I know that all of us have had this passing thought…why?  Why do they get to have this while I work so hard to have average (the definition of success can be discussed at a later point) As it turns out… our questions are not unique in the history of the world they have been posed to God numerous times.  As a matter of fact, a little known book (to me at least) Malachi 3 deals specifically with this issue:

13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD.
      “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’ ”

 16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Let’s look at this verse by verse.

In verse 13 God is talking to the Hebrew people.  They had been complaining about why evil people prosper.  Why those who do not fear the Lord have the appearance of being blessed.  God finally responds in verse 13.  When God responds the Jews are basically saying…”we didn’t say that!”  This revealed their arrogance for sure.  So, God clearly defines for them what they have been saying in verses 14 and 15. 

Have you said those things when looking out into the world?  I am guilty of this.  When I look at places like Hollywood, pro-athletics, CEO’s or whatever… I wonder.   I think a natural fit here is to look at James 4:4; “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  This is what the Hebrews were guilty of.  The Hebrews wanted what the world had, and were wondering why God wasn’t giving it to them.

After God calls the Israelites out they respond.  God makes a distinction about who He’s talking to in verse 16 when He addresses “Those who feared God”.  God’s response in verse 17 is to those who fear God.  He says that they will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession.  I believe that here God is talking about His judgment.  At the day of judgment we will be able to see the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.  If God considers you to be treasure He will take you up, and spare you.  Those who have accepted His Son, Jesus, and only those who have accepted Him are considered God’s treasure.  In other words, The Cross becomes ours and our way onto this list of remembrance.  It is this way only…that we will be spared from judgment.  An illustration of this judgment can be found in the parable of the wedding banquet.  Here the King invites many to the banquet, but they refuse to come.  When the King’s servants are mistreated by those who refuse…the King sends his out his military to destroy them.  Such is the response in verse 18.  God has sent the invitation to many to come to Him… some will refuse (those that do not fear God).  They will perish.  Because, as Jesus said in Matthew 22:14 “Many are invited, but few are chosen”.

What we are seeing is a very personal God who has heard the cries of His people.  God reassures the Israelites (and ultimately you), that while you may have things hard, that your life may not be easy, and there is an appearance of impropriety in this world… there will be no impropriety on the day of judgment.  It is here that through God we will again be able to see the difference between the righteous, and the wicked.

Failure is not an option – it happens!


One of the things I’ve tried to put into place in my life is accountability. This is a painful thing often, because it requires people telling me that I’m not doing things perfectly (I really want to think I’m close to perfect – but the sad truth of the matter is I’m not even close). Things have been going fairly good in our church – there’s a lot of positive that’s happening in the church as a whole and in the youth as well, but when stuff goes well I rejoice with one hand and brace for impact with the other.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about integrity… Satan’s attacks… persecution… fighting for the Kingdom of God and other things.

I am consistently wary of how my failings may affect my family, my ministry and other people.  A few years back (okay a lot of years back) DC Talk wrote a song that captures my personal feelings on this matter. The 2nd verse and chorus are particularly appropriate:

Father please forgive me for I cannot compose
The fear that lives within me or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road you’ve carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar

Do they see the fear in my eyes?
Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise
All the doubt I’m feeling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

 

Here are a few things I know:

  • When someone starts making an impact for the Kingdom of God – Satan takes notice and goes after them with everything he’s got (cf. Job; Luke 22:31-32; esp. Luke 4:1-13 ).

 Hey, this is a great strategy! Take out/discredit the leadership and the followers will be easy pickings. To do this he will use lies, deception, evil people, bad circumstances… but like Robert pointed out in a previous blog Satan often focuses most on our particular weaknesses and natural dispositions to specific sins… Usually for Christian leaders the temptations that lead to epic fails are in one or more of these 3 areas (cf. 1 John 2:16): Pride (fame, influence, accolades); Money (Stealing, hording or materialism); Sexual Immorality.

 In fact, this is exactly what “Christian” means. That term started off as a derogatory term basically meaning “little Christs”… This is such a complement when we are being like Him, but the sword is double edged… it cuts both ways… when we carry His name what we do says something to people about Him – it’s not fair to Him, but it is the harsh reality of the matter.

  •  If we get things flipped around to where life is about our fame and glory we are in for a world of hurt because we will be fighting God (cf. Prov. 3:34) and Satan.

 There is no doubt that we will be persecuted – scripture is clear about that. However, we are only blessed when we are persecuted for doing right… Otherwise we’re just getting what we deserve.

  • We are all going to sin! The point is to get accountability in our lives and be daily in God’s word and controlled by the Spirit as much as possible in order to minimize the impact and depth and breadth of our inevitable failures! (cf. Ephesians 5:15-21; Galatians 5:15-26)
  • Forgiveness is available to any who seek it – but this requires humility to repent and confess when we have failed! (cf. 1 John 1:9, James 5:16)

1 Peter 5:1-11 really speaks to all of this. Let me encourage you to read it and meditate upon it, especially if you are in any sort of Christian leadership and most especially if that leadership is in any way in the public eye. Jesus took quite enough of a beating for us 2000 years ago… He certainly does not need another black eye.

One of the guys that regularly hold me accountable sent me a good reminder yesterday from Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest): “Unguarded strength is double weakness because that is where the retired sphere of the leasts saps. The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.” Now that’s some old English speak that basically says, be careful about what you are strong in because it can become an area of pride and pride comes before a fall.

My friend’s take on this was:

If our strength is UNITY… be careful.

If our strength is COMMUNITY… be careful.

If our strength is TRUTH… be careful… Etc..

 Each of these (and numerous others) is a double edged sword.. since each can probably derail us too..  I must know who I am in light of HIM.

Another thing… It is important to note that the failings of humans do not really invalidate the truth of the Gospel (the claims of the Bible should be evaluated on their own merit) – however, Christians’ failings can damage the perception of the Gospel in the court of public opinion and make it more difficult sometimes for people to come to Christ.

Is accountability fun?!?! NO WAY – actually it quite often stinks, stings and smarts. But at the same time it keeps us from MUCH MUCH more serious damage to ourselves, our families, our friends, and the reputation of our God.

The Obituary of Jesus


Thank God it’s Friday? Not for these guys… Not today.  This day held more anguish, pain, panic and despair than all the days from the beginning of time combined…  Today was so indescribably bad because it was such a stark contrast with the highs they had experienced over the last 3 ½ years – especially this last week – even earlier last evening had been intimate, festive, warm and safe!

Not now… Now He was gone and they were scattered – scurrying like roaches when the lights come on, because… HE… was… DEAD… And Hope was no more.

Let me explain by backing up a bit. For centuries their people had been waiting – waiting for a man sent from God who would make everything right… A man who would restore all things to the way they should be – one who would rebuild the bridge to God that we had broken so long ago… one who would bring Freedom to the captive… Hope to the desperate… and Love to all.

This waiting wasn’t just wishful thinking. Scriptures spoke about Him over and over and over… on every line of every page.

Now He was here! They were absolutely 100% sure of it! He was born into the right family, in the right town at the right time… He was there when they most needed Him and He was doing all the things Scripture said He would! They said He would be a prophet, and He boldly taught about God’s Kingdom and fearlessly spoke of the future. The prophets said He would be a healer, and they had seen Him give sight to the blind, restore strength to the cripple, open the ears of the deaf… even raise 3 people from the dead!

But He wasn’t just any prophet… and He wasn’t a typical physician, nor was He a magician. This one had a power and air of authority they could not explain.  For goodness sakes, evil spirits and even the elements obeyed His voice!

Earlier that week, as they entered the city for the festival, people flooded the winding road that lead down the hill through a garden full of olive trees. They screamed out His name! They just knew NOW was the time He would set the wheels in motion to take His rightful place – to become King! But they didn’t understand that on this day when families across the nation would choose their sacrificial lamb, HE, the Promised One, was presenting Himself as the only sacrifice that would be needed… EVER!

That night, they retired to an adjacent town to spend time with friends – It was an exciting day and a restful and refreshing evening. The next day as they made their way into the city He cursed a tree for having no fruit… this was just a precursor to the events later that day… Oh, how encouraged they were as they watched Him enter the religious center of the nation and clean house… He drove out the corrupt merchants who were using the people’s religious hopes as an excuse to turn an unfair profit… and then He healed the sick there… The people were amazed, grateful and sang out His praises, but the leaders were enraged… His followers could scarcely contain their joy – the revolution MUST be beginning!

After another wonderful evening with their gracious hosts, they returned to the city to find the cursed tree was dead – What power! What a King! That day, they spent quite a while with Him on a special mountain overlooking the metropolis. He spoke about the coming destruction of the city – Could it mean that He was planning on mounting a rebellion against their oppressors? Could it be now?! They could only assume they would play central roles in the coming new order… They knew it was coming because they were confident in His right to rule and His power and authority to make it happen! They also knew that they, His chosen few, would get the privilege to eat with Him at a very special occasion tomorrow!

They did share that meal with Him… but before that He washed their feet – to them, it was like being knighted – What an honor and pleasure to be so favored by this soon to be crowned King. During dinner He prayed for them and made them new promises of how God would see and relate to them. They were confident in Him and His promise, but there was an air of sorrow in His voice and a look of grief in His eyes.

After the meal, they went back to the olive grove where He had spoken of the city’s destruction the day before – this time they went to pray. Then, one of their own, one they had hardly noticed had left during supper, showed up with a troupe of men armed with weapons and torches. As their friend greeted Him with a kiss, the guards seized their Lord!

What could be happening?!?! Chaos and panic set in… One of His followers drew a sword and cut off a guard’s ear. But the Master demanded they stop, and He even healed the man – Why was He letting this happen? The group of soldiers moved to arrest them all, but everyone but Him ran… one only escaped by slipping out of his clothing!

They could not understand; their heads were spinning! Through the fog of adrenaline and fear each of them did their best to lay low while keeping tabs on what was happening to Him – He had to be okay… How could they go on without Him?

He was put through trials by several religious and political figures. A few of the trials were illegal… all of them were rigged – they were shams. None of the inquisitions showed a shred of evidence proving Him guilty of ANY wrong doing – Yet, through it all He was punished and tortured and beaten to the point one could no longer tell He was even human. Then, the people who earlier had cried out His name in triumph shouted for His execution!

They marched Him naked through the streets forcing Him to carry His own instrument of death. But, as they were slowly killing Him, He begged God to pardon them. As He breathed His last, the sky darkened, the earth shook, the temple was damaged and the hearts of His followers melted and their hopes evaporated into mist… Sorrow reigned.

The next day’s headlines would not sing to the world the news they had hoped: A NEW REIGN AND RENEWED FREEDOM. Instead, they would be replaced by an obituary:

At the age of 33. Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, King of the Jews, has passed. He died outside Jerusalem on Golgotha by crucifixion – Executed by the Romans at the request of the Sanhedrin for treason against Caesar and spreading subversion throughout the land. Death was confirmed by spear thrust through the heart. He was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great. He spent His early life as a carpenter, but gained fame in recent years as an itinerant rabbi. The body is being held in the tomb of a friend, under Roman guard. Funeral services and body preparation are scheduled for after the Sabbath. He leaves behind a grieving mother, Mary; a Father, God… and many followers whose dreams were shattered, whose expectations were crushed and whose optimism was gone…

All because He… was… DEAD…

No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing, Part 3


Apologetics NOT Apologizing

So what does all of this mean?  We have no shame to share the gospel, we have no fear of what will happen when we share the gospel…so…what do we do now?  For the answer to this question we go to 1 Peter 3:14-16.

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15 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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.(1 Peter 3:14-16, NIV)

Here Peter reasserts why it is important to not be afraid.  That even if you suffer, the Lord is with you.  Peter asks to not be afraid of what the enemy fears.  Here, in this context, he is saying to not be afraid to suffer or to fear the threats of those who WILL rise up against you, but look to the Lord.  Peter goes on to ask all of us to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks. 

How do you prepare for a business meeting?  How do you prepare for a test?  Do you study?    Being prepared doesn’t mean that you go to church every Sunday and then do nothing for the rest of the week.  Being prepared means having your nose in the Bible constantly.  Being prepared is clothing yourself in the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17), including the word of God.  Being prepared is expanding your knowledge so that you can be effective and productive while serving Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8). 

In the middle of v. 15, Peter tells us to be prepared to give a defense or answer to everyone who asks.  Here is where “Apologetics” comes in. Apologetics is not what it sounds like.  It is NOT apologizing; it IS defending your faith.  The Greek word that is translated “to give an answer” above and “give a defense” in other translations is “apologia”- thus the term “apologetics”.

1 Peter 3:15 is the result of having no fear and no shame because of your great love for Jesus and his word.  You should have no fear or shame because YOU have to be prepared to give a defense of the Lord to anyone who asks.  First, notice that the only qualifier attached to this statement is a defense to EVERYONE who asks.  There is no qualifier that would allow you to skip your answer because of your location, or because of WHO “everyone” happens to consist of. 

Next, Peter tells you how to defend and provide the answer.  Peter tells us that we need to answer everyone with gentleness and respect.  So provide an answer, but do so respectfully.  Why should we do so respectfully?    Peter makes the point explicit.  We make our defense so that we can keep a clear conscience.  That way if the people we are answering speak against us THEY will be ashamed of themselves. 

The point here is that they are armed and set against you.  WHY give them any more ammunition?  If you act like an idiot when professing the faith, how much do you want to bet that within 5 minutes after your answer they are telling a friend “What a real Christian, he/she was mean spirited, and disrespectful”.  How’s that faith working out for you?  The point: don’t be over zealous, and stay within the spirit when you give your answer (Colossians 4:6). Have you ever heard the phrase “He/She’s trying to hard”? That is what we’re trying to avoid here.

Have you been in a conversation where someone makes you feel guilty for believing what you do? Almost to the point where you want to apologize for professing your faith?  NO APOLOGIZING.  Folks, all of us have to understand that we have one mission in life, to Glorify God.  This can be done any number of ways, but it cannot be done if you feel guilty or if you feel a need to apologize to someone for what you believe. 

Be respectful when sharing your faith, be knowledgeable when you share your faith, but do not be ashamed or apologize for what you believe in.  What do you have to apologize for?!?!  If you have trusted in Jesus, you have been granted the greatest gift of all of humanity (a relationship with the God of the Universe).  Rejoice and be happy.  Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed, SHARE YOUR FAITH, DEFEND YOUR FAITH.  It is not enough to CALL yourself a Christian – BE one!  James 2:14-26 calls on us to do more than have faith.  Christ calls on us to put his words to practice, not just to read them (Matthew 7:26).  We should all be motivated to SERVE the Lord (Colossians 3:23, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

If we were to look at No shame + No fear = No Apologizing from as a Biblical formula it would look like this:  Romans 1:14-16 + 2 Timothy 1:7-9 = 1 Peter 3:15-16.  If you have shame it will alter the formula and ultimately the outcome. If you have fear it will alter the formula.   The absence of both shame and fear have to exist in order to get the answer of 1 Peter 3:15-16.  To borrow a phrase from the 9/11 tragedy: “Let’s Roll!” Let’s get to it without shame, without fear – with NO APOLOGIZING!

No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing, Part 2


No shame + No Fear = No Apologizing.  In the previous blog we focused on the shame that some of us may feel when presented with opportunity to preach the Gospel.  We looked specifically at Romans 1:14-16 as the foundation for this principle.  In this blog we are going to build onto the formula by taking a look a fear in preaching the gospel. While at face value shame and fear can look the same as you will see they are distinctly different.

So now that you are convinced that you are not to be ashamed, what if you become afraid? The truth is that there is no shortage of God’s word about what to do with fear (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23 are but a few examples).  These verses serve as a foundation for every Christian that you have nothing to be afraid of or to be anxious about because God will always be with you.  In the context of this blog though, let’s focus on 2 Timothy 1:7-9.

7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. (2 Timothy 1:7-9, NIV)

Once again I see your eyes burning a hole in this passage focusing on the word ashamed.  Why is this passage part of no fear instead of no shame?  Context.  Paul is writing this letter to Timothy as a prisoner.  Why is Paul a prisoner?  Focus on the word timidity.  The translation above is the NIV translation.  The King James Version uses the word fear.  Lets look  at v. 7 with the word fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

Now back to the question, Why is Paul a prisoner?  Because he showed no fear in speaking the truth even though he knew, more than likely, that the consequences of the truth would be prison.  Once again Paul is leading by example.  In these verses he is calling on Timothy to show the spirit of power that God had given him (v. 7).  In this context Paul is imploring Timothy to not be afraid to testify about the Lord, or to treat him like the embarrassing uncle described in our last post, but to join him in a place of no fear.  What Paul so elegantly points to at the end of verse 8 and verse 9 is that our suffering is not because of anything that we have done, but is to glorify God through His purpose, and to demonstrate His grace.

Let’s be clear about one thing, if you show no fear in testifying about God and the sacrifice of Christ, there is a high probability that you will suffer.  Paul invites Timothy to suffer with him as though it is a birthday party! How amazing is this verse?  When you read 2 Timothy 1:7-9 in conjunction with Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 41:10, and Psalm 23 the full picture begins to unfold.  There is no doubt that Paul loved to preach the gospel (Romans 1:14) because of the impact that it had on his own life.  He had no fear of preaching the gospel because of the foundation that had been laid. That foundation is, God will not abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 John 4:18, Isaiah 41:10, and Psalm 23).  As a result, Paul was more than willing to suffer for Christ because he KNEW that his suffering was for the glory of the God who loved him so much.

These actions may seem a little surreal, and actually demonstrate the amount of FAITH that Paul had in God.  Paul had actually relinquished total control to God.  Paul was walking in faith.  This made him righteous – this made him dangerously fearless.   Paul didn’t just talk about faith, he didn’t just read about it, and he didn’t just preach about it, HE LIVED BY IT.

The difference between shame and fear is the message delivered.  Shame will force you to water down a message and make it palatable to an audience (often to the point the truth is lost).  Fear will force you to not deliver the message at all.  When you have no shame, and no fear you have a straight forward message of truth, regardless of the consequences.  Do not doubt for one second that we, even in today’s society, can act the same way Paul did.  God has promised us that we will be okay – not comfortable – not necessarily even happy – but we will have joy and a peace that cannot be explained away.  What do you believe, your own emotions or an everlasting God?

No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing


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.

No Shame

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.

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