No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: God Christ

US vs. Slovania – Yanks Robbed of a Victory


I only saw the very end of the US vs. Slovenia Soccer match… but I’ve got to say the US got ripped off by the ref. With very little time left and the score tied, the US had a free kick which resulted in the apparent go-ahead goal, but the referee disallowed the goal because of some mystery call (no one knows for sure yet even what the call against the US was). Strange…

But, like many things, this got me to thinking about life – More specifically, it got me to thinking about the afterlife. And again, I’m amazed by the fact that we will not have an incompetent judge deciding our fate… and unlike the World Cup, our fate will not be decided by our own merit and/or performance either!

From what I’ve heard, the US probably deserved to lose the match because they played so poorly in the first half and fell behind 0-2 (only 21 other times in World Cup history has a team come back from that kind of deficit to tie or win). Like the US… All of us EVERYONE deserves to live life now and in the hereafter separated from a perfect and holy God. Unlike a sports team, however, we cannot just fight back and be good enough to even things out or make things right. Instead, because of God’s justice a penalty must be paid for our sin. Here’s where the good news comes in.

Jesus came and paid the penalty for our sin!  He didn’t just even things up… He made us winners… Here’s an abbreviated version of what the Bible has to say about it… Read these out loud, and ask yourself “What does this mean?” – Think about it… It truly is Good News!

Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9-11 – If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 8:31-32, 34, 37 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

 Again, the US might have been deprived of a victory because of their bad play in the 1st half and because of a horrendous call from the ref… but those who trust in Jesus are assured of an eternal victory, though they don’t deserve it. Have you trusted Him? If not, will you?

The Star Wars Saga and the Bible… Yeah, I’m a nerd


My lame internet at home was down and Robert had a post ready yesterday, so no G90X update then, but here it is a day late (Sorry)!  Don’t know what G90X is? Check out the original article from Greg Stier HERE.

I sympathize with Robert in his last G90X post… Speed reading has its drawbacks, but it also has its benefits… The last time I tried to read the Bible in 90 days I failed spectacularly because I was in the throes of Seminary and I just got bogged down in wanting to study everything out! I think this is kind of where Robert is coming from in his last post – His mind is churning and new ideas keep popping up and he wants to slow down and investigate them all… I TOTALLY get that… In fact, this is extremely admirable (cf. Acts 17:11) I find myself demonstrating the same tendencies… But what ARE the benefits of reading ALL of God’s word in 90 days?

Strangely enough, the benefit of reading it all is what serious students of the Bible strive for in their study – CONTEXT… CONTEXT… CONTEXT… What I mean by this is that the Bible, taken as a whole, is essentially the story of how God has, is and will work out the problem of evil. That is, it is the story of the redemption of mankind!  We get that intellectually as we approach the Bible, but that really comes alive when we look at it as a whole! In fact it brings God’s sovereignty and what He’s done behind the scenes much more clearly into focus and actually helps us see things we perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise if we’re picking and choosing our way through the God’s word (and perhaps skipping and/or ignoring certain passages or books)…

To use an imperfect, but more modern, analogy (and yes, I know this analogy reveals the depths of just how nerdy I am): If one were only to see the original Star Wars films (episodes 4-6), then they may be convinced that the Star Wars legend is mostly about Luke Skywalker’s growing up into maturity… NOT SO!! When you look at all 6 films (plus the Clone Wars, if you’re as nerdy as me) then it becomes abundantly clear that story is actually about the rise, fall and restoration of Anakin Skywalker (a.k.a. Darth Vader)… In the same way, but probably to a lesser degree, we may have the tendency to see the Bible as just good moral stories about specific historical figures (regardless of the degree of historical reliability we ascribe to it)… Again, NOT SO! The Bible is about how God provides a solution to the tension between His love for us and His Justice and hatred toward sin.

So, let me challenge you to keep with it!! Look at the whole counsel of God within its larger framework (like Paul’s hearers in Ephesus did) … Give yourself permission to look at it from 10,000 feet – you can see a lot from up there… Next update – Gonna  talk about the effects of the G90X’s intense prayer plan.

Better than the P90X


One of my personal ministry heroes has recently thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak. Robert and I have determined to take him up on the spiritual aspect of his challenge… Below is an edited down version of the G90X plan you can CLICK HERE for the full article.

Robert and I will start tomorrow and we commit to posting weekly updates on Mondays letting you know how we’re doing… We’ll also post random stuff from our G90X experience periodically both on our site and on Greg’s – Will you join us?

1. Go through the Bible in 90 Days.

I’m going to read a lot of it and listen to the rest on CD. One of the things I want to do is to journal my thoughts along the way so that I can write down key insights from the Word of God as I go through it. There is an excellent reading guide on the biblein90days  that I have downloaded to use (you can also read any One Year Bible at a rate of 4-5 of their “days” at a time). Call this the nutrition program for my soul. There’s no better than God’s Word.

2. Spend 90 minutes of concentrated prayer per week

What I mean by this is, not your typical “Good morning Lord” or “thanks for the food” quickie prayers, but concentrated, passionate and intensive worship, supplication and intercession where I spend time in PRAYer (Praising him, Requesting stuff, Admitting sins and Yielding to his Spirit.)

I am a big believer in prayer walking for the simple reason that ADD guys like me have a hard time sitting still. Walking and praying… brings solitude, worship and focus.

3. Memorize 90 Verses.

Yes, that’s right, one verse per day for 90 days. That may sound extreme but when you consider that Jewish boys in Jesus’ day had the first five books of the Bible memorized by the time they were 14. At the bottom of this blog are the verses I’ve chosen to memorize and their categories… (see Greg’s full article for his suggestion on how to do this)

4. Sin attack

I’ve identified two sins in my life (no, I’m not going to share them with you) that I’m going to attack in the next 90 days. Pray for me as I do. Scripture reminds us to search and destroy those sins that hurt our relationship with God.

4. Accountability

If you choose to join me, you can come back to this blog and give me updates and I’ll do the same. Invite your friends to join us! It should be fun, challenging and somewhat painful but, as Tony Horton of P90X fame reminds us, “Do your best and forget the rest!”

By the way, let’s not be legalistic with this. G90X is just an intensive spiritual workout to jumpstart our spiritual disciplines. Remember that those who choose to do it with me are not necessarily more spiritual than those who don’t. You can do all the disciplines in the world and if you are not controlled by the Spirit and fueled through God’s power in your motives it is all wood, hay and stubble.

If you are choosing not to do it (which is totally fine) I challenge you to, at the least, amp up your spiritual disciplines. Maybe this means 9 verses instead of 90, reading through the Bible in a year rather than 90 days, etc. But, whatever you choose to do, do it in the strength that God provides and not the flesh. Some great spiritual pump up advice is found in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power….”

Why do this? For Christ and his cause, THE Cause, to know Him and to make Him known. Let’s be disciples and make them. But for us to do both effectively we must be energized, disciplined and fueled in our own souls. God has given us the Spirit of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) so that we can live and give the gospel to everyone around us out of a heart that overflows with divine power (and huge triceps may intimidate some into the kingdom as well!)

The 90 verses (and the categories they fall under).

7 Warm up verses: 1 Timothy 4:7, 8 and 1 Corinthians 9:23-27

16 Worship verses: Colossians 3:16, 17; Ephesians 5:18-20; Psalm 66:1,2, Psalm 95:6,7; 1 Chronicles 16:23-29

12 Prayer verses: Luke 5:15,16; Matthew 7:7,8; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Psalm 34:15; Psalm 66:18; James 5:16; 2 Thess 3:1

11 Dependence on God verses: Colossians 3:1-4; Galatians 2:20; John 15:1-5; Isaiah 12:2

16 Dive into Scripture verses: Psalm 119:97-104; 1 Timothy 4:13; Psalm 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:14-17

16 Sin killing verses: Romans 8:12,13; Psalm 101:1-4; Galatians 5:16-24; 2 Timothy 2:22

12 Fasting verses: Isaiah 58:1-9; Matthew 6:16-18

LOST Series Finale


Sunday night was bitter sweet for me. LOST is over… Yeah, I can admit that I’ve been a huge fan of the show. My wife and I didn’t start off watching it, but got caught up in about season 3 by renting the first two seasons on DVD just before season 3 launched. This series has been one of my favorite shows of all time and the finale didn’t disappoint.

Of course, there are plenty of things to criticize about the show’s world view… but seriously, who forms their belief system over something they know to be fiction? There are, however, at least a few parallels to biblical Christianity (this is often true of great literature)… So, to put LOST to bed, so to speak, please allow me to point out just a couple of these.

First of all… the concept of the show started out simple enough, but then it got REAL complicated – REAL quick… Not everything made sense – no one could ever quite understand all the rules governing the island and those living on it – good people went bad, people with dubious pasts redeemed themselves. To the very end everybody had their own opinions as to why such and such was happening (from the tiniest detail to the over-arching purpose/meaning)… In fact, the most helpful episodes were the reruns that included the writers’ and/or directors’ commentary – but even these sometimes brought more confusion and questions than they provided answers.

Isn’t that just like real life, though? Life starts out real simple, but gets REAL complicated – REAL quick. Not everything that happens to us makes sense – Why do bad things happen to us or people we know? Why does the economy stink? Why do folks get laid off? What is the Purpose of Life? Why is the government so jacked up? The questions roll on and on… And the stronger the questions and challenges the less we know how to deal with them on our own!

Sorting it all out can be crippling! So people turn to various religions and try all sorts of theories (remember the hatch… Hugo’s unlucky numbers… Daniel’s crazy insights and ideas – including the nuke… Desmond’s idea last night). But even when they find the right place (we believe this to be the Bible) to search for reliable answers to life and morality (I mean, just how are we supposed to fight the “Smoke Monsters” in our lives – whoever he is) the waters can still be muddy because people often have a hard time understanding it or it leads to more questions!

SPOILER ALERT: Two of my favorite places in this last episode is where Jack initiated Hurley by passing him the bottle as Jacob had done for him – “Now, you’re like me”. Kate said “I know you don’t understand, Jack… But if you come with me, you will.” She touched his life profoundly and then led him to his father, who could (and did) provide the answers.

Both of these scenes demonstrate the kind of evangelism we need to have in the Church today… a passionate compassion for other people that leads them to be their best by seriously engaging in a relationship with God. In both scenes a life-altering decision was made and it was initiated by one of the characters simply asking them to make a decision. The decisions were tough but because of the love and care and friendship that had been invested between them the decision was really not all that hard… But still, one had to ask and the other had to accept. Demonstrating their decision wasn’t complicated – instead, it was so easy Hurley asked “Is that it?” It is the same for sharing and accepting God’s free gift of salvation. Through Jesus there is redemption for everyone even someone as evil as Benjamin Linus (I was glad to see them bring that character around for good through admitting his failures and apologizing). But for that to occur they must be presented the Good News that forgiveness and a new life are available though Jesus… this means that we are going to have to do a much better job of just lovingly asking our friends and family to make a decision (just like Kate and Jack did) – I’d venture to say that we will often get similar responses as the ones depicted on the show… acceptance (even if there is some reluctance at first).

That is what Robert and I are trying to do with this venue… it’s our driving force… our passion… our purpose: To connect with you and share life with you – to show you the way to the God and place (God’s Word – the Bible) where we’ve found our answers – And, we want to do this with No Shame, No Fear and No Apologizing – though we ourselves have been LOST, even though we fail… We sincerely hope you will come along with us and see where this ride takes us – It’s wilder and more awesome than anything Jack, Sawyer, Kate, John or Hurley could ever have imagined!

A Thankful Prayer for Mothers (or Anyone Else!)


Mother’s day is a notoriously hard to preach on… I get both the blessing and the challenge of preaching today. As I tried to decide what to speak about I got more and more nervous… You have to decide whether to preach to moms or to children… Then there’s the complications:

  • Not everyone is a Mom, who wants to be
  • Not everyone has/had a great relationship with their mom.
  • Not every mom and child can be together on this day

What God led me to was to speak on Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:3-14).

What I found in this passage was a cycle of thankfulness and prayer that would benefit us all! But first, we’ve got to back up and point out a foundational premise… God wants us to be joyful, prayerful and, most of all, thankful – Regardless of our circumstances! (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Paul showed us that our thankfulness will lead us to think of, and more importantly, pray for other people (cf. Romans 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2-3; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Philemon 1:4-7; Colossians 1:3-14) – hint, hint… if she’s living, this can and should involve your mom, regardless of the type of relationship you have! Fleshing out thankfulness through prayer starts the cycle that will pay dividends for your whole life.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for youCol. 1:3-4, 9

It may be hard to be thankful for certain people – maybe they’ve hurt you… but the fact is that EVERYONE God has placed in your life has helped you to become the person you are. Being thankful for what God has done in and through both you and them will free us to ask God to work in their lives (especially if you are already thankful for them).

There is a good pattern in this passage (Col. 1:9-14) of what we should pray for other people often. We should ask God to help them:

  • Live a life HONORING of Him
  • PLEASE Him in every way
  • Bear FRUIT in every good work
  • Continue to GROW (in the knowledge of God)
  • Be STRENTHENED with all power to produce endurance and patience.

Next, we should ask God to fill them with Joy so that they will, then, be led to become more and more thankful for what God has done in and through them, which should, of course, start the cycle all over again.

If you look at the end of the passage there is a long list of what God has done for Christians, for which we should be infinitely thankful.  What this says to me is that our thankfulness isn’t tied to our friends and relatives – we CAN be thankful for them – but our attitude of thankfulness is not dependent upon the quality of our relationships with them! This is because it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done – it’s about what God’s done!

If we start this cycle of thankful prayer, for not only our mom or kids, but for most of the Christians in our lives we will be richly blessed… Because thankful prayer leads us to encourage and be encouraged by each others’ Faith and Love (cf. Col. 1:3-4)!

Let me encourage you to start the cycle today – and let the people you are praying for know about it!!! It will make a world of difference in your heart, your attitude and will add immeasurably to your joy!

SHARE THIS:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Retraction… JESUS LIVES!


As dawn broke that morning the shroud of sorrow that had covered them for the past days seemed strangely different. But why should it? Today His body would be prepared with spices by some of the women who had followed Him.

They were still afraid… still hiding, and yet there was something in the periphery of their minds, something just buzzing in and out between their subconscious and coherent thought that would not let them go. Though He had been laid in a guarded tomb, something within them would not let them bury this and just move on.

What had He said before that just wouldn’t come fully to mind? Had He told them this would happen?

Suddenly, Mary burst in the door shouting hysterically: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

What else could go wrong?!?! Two of them bolted for the place where He was laid. Sure enough, He was not there – Neither were the Roman guards that had been stationed there. Strangely though, the burial clothes rested on the table where his body had been… the cloth that had covered His face was folded neatly aside, but the rest were not unwrapped, instead they were vacated as though the body had disintegrated or vaporized! How could any of this be?

They left bewildered… trying harder than ever to remember His instructions to them. There was nothing left to do but return to their hiding place – hole up, grieve and pray.

Mary interrupted the silent tears again exuberantly, almost incoherently exclaiming something about seeing Him in the garden after they had left. They rationalized that she must have been mistaken and in denial… So they locked the doors and hid… and trembled… and wondered…

That night as darkness fell the anxiety increased in this little group who were huddled behind their locked doors. Suddenly, a voice they never had dreamed in their slimmest of hopes they would hear again pierced the silence and startled them out of their stupor. It said, “Peace be with you!”

PEACE?!?! How could there be peace? He was gone and now they were delusional… because some had seen Him die, the rest had minimally seen the guarded grave – He was Dead, there was no doubt about it… And yet, here He was… Right before them – What in Heaven’s name was going on?

Their hearts nearly stopped from joy and shock when He showed them His scars. It was Him and He was ALIVE!!! It all made sense now… He HAD told them He had to die, but He had also hinted that death would not be the end of the story – He had promised that He would never leave them… Actually, He said that He would never, never, never , Never, NEVER leave them or turn them away!

So, now that He was back and had proved His ultimate power and authority, certainly He would begin the conquest now. But He said that He would not now – not in the way they had expected anyway… But really, had He EVER done things the way they expected?

He instead told them they were to take His message of peace, hope and love to everyone on earth! They could be confident that because of what He had done in dying for them  – in dying for the world He had fulfilled all their previous hopes and dreams and had flung open the lanes of fellowship between God and man… And He had validated and sealed the sacrifice by rising from the dead…

No one would retract the story of His death… why should they? He really had died.

Because He was Alive, they now understood… Not only was He the Son of God – He IS God and He always will be! And now He has gone to prepare an eternal home for all who place all their trust in Him…

Now they fully understood this: there was no way to remain silent – there was no reason to hide. Nothing, not even death had power over Him, so it had no power over them! The revolution HAD begun, but it was not a violent uprising – Instead, they began to shout out to all who would give an ear – a continual outpouring of grace, peace, love and hope…

And the refrain has echoed from the hearts and lips of His children throughout the years ever since: “HE IS RISEN – HE IS RISEN INDEED!” Hope Reigns eternal…

All because Jesus is King and He… is… with us!

Are you a good person?


Do you think you are a good person?  If you are like me, you think that you are.  Who wants to think that they are a bad person? 

Well, there is one way to find out if you really are a good person.  Just answer these questions below honestly.  If the questions have a sound a familiarity, it should.  The questions are based off of the Ten Commandments.  Are you ready?

  1.  Have you ever told a lie?
  2. Have you ever used Jesus or God as a curse word?
  3. Have you ever looked at someone of the opposite sex with lust?
  4. Have you ever stolen anything?
  5. Have you ever hated anyone?

If you were honest you probably answered yes to all of these.  I am in the same boat with you. 

Have you ever told a lie?  What do you call someone who lies?  A liar.  It doesn’t matter how insignificant the lie is, or the volume of lies you tell.  A lie is a lie.  The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word?  If you have then you are a blasphemer.  Blasphemy is so offensive to God that when declaring the Ten Commandments God said that he would not acquit anyone who does it (Exodus 20:7). 

Have you ever looked at someone else with lust?  Why lust?  Jesus said that anyone who looks at a woman to want her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  According to God, if you have done this, you are an adulterer (Matthew 5:27-28). 

Have you ever stolen anything?  What do you call someone who steals? A thief.    Stealing a pack of gum is no different than stealing a DVD, video game, or car. There is no distinction between frequency or what was stolen.

Have you ever hated anyone?  This is an interesting question because we all have emotions and I know that I have expressed and acted on hateful emotions towards others.  Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer in their heart.

If you answered yes to these that would make you a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous murderer.  Sound a little harsh?  IT IS as harsh as it sounds.  Here we have only covered 5 of the Ten Commandments, and we all (myself  included) have violated all 5!  Does this concern you?  It should.  Do you still believe that you are a good person?

 “But, Robert I did do these things, I am not that way anymore?”  Basically you are saying that you think the statue of limitations has run out and that God has forgotten that you did these things.  I can assure you he hasn’t.

If you woke up and were standing in front of God, and he were judging you based on His law would you be innocent or guilty?  I would be guilty. 

If you are reading this saying “Robert, I don’t believe God”.  Well just because you don’t believe in the judge doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to pass down a verdict to you.  If you are standing in a court room, and the judge finds you guilty of committing a crime, and you say “I’m sorry judge I don’t believe you exist”.  Do you think the judge will let you walk away? 

If you are standing in front of a judge, and say “yes your honor, I did steal all of that money, but I give to charities”.  Do you think the judge will let you walk away?

If the Judge lets you walk, how good of a Judge would he/she be? 

God is a righteous Judge.  He must punish violations of His law.  This is true whether you believe in Him, or don’t believe in Him, whether you stole only a pack of gum, or actually murdered someone!   If you violate His law he must find you guilty, and you should punished accordingly.  What is the punishment?  Kevin touched on that in his last post (Romans 6:23). 

Now imagine that you are standing in front of a judge who is about to sentence you to prison for a crime you actually committed.  All of a sudden someone walks in, stands before the judge and insists that he will pay the penalty for you so that you would not have to be punished.  That would be amazing wouldn’t it!  This is exactly what Jesus did for you on the cross.  He stepped in and accepted the penalty for your sins.  He did this out of love for you, and so that you could have eternal life and not perish in the lake of fire.  “Robert, what’s the catch?”  The “catch”, you must believe and confess that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and was raised from the dead.  That is the catch.  If you believe this in your heart you will be changed forever. Now, this belief isn’t just mentally understanding this is true – it is trusting in it as your only hope for heaven… It’s placing your faith and trust in this truth just like you place your faith and trust in the pilot and the plane when you fly across the country. It’s a no holds barred type of belief.

Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus’ payment for your sin? If not, He is waiting for you to do so (Revelation 3:20) – He WANTS you to do so! If you have trusted in Jesus, please live for him and tell others about what He has done for you! Too many of us are loving “good people” straight into Hell because of our silence.

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.

%d bloggers like this: