Not Ashamed 2 - of the Gospel
Reading: Romans 1:8-17
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I. The Gospel is the Power of God
A. It’s not the power of Persuasion
1. When a fire fighter squirts water on a fire, the water, not the fire fighter puts the fire out.
a. There are techniques to learn, but that has to do with effectiveness in getting the wet stuff on the hot stuff.
2. In spreading the Gospel message, we have to remember that it is not the person speaking that changes anybody, it’s the message.
a. We shine the light in the dark.
b. We don’t make the dark go away, the light does that—we just learn how to let the light shine.
3. This is both humbling and freeing!
B. The Good News in Plain language
1. We want to remove as many obstacles as possible so that people can hear the message of reconciliation through Jesus as clearly as possible
2. Get rid of “churchy” and “technical” language — People need to understand the message a lot more than we need to use certain words.
3. We don’t need to “dress up” the message to make it more appealing, more interesting, more compelling.
a. God is the one making it work!
C. God’s Good News always Changes people
1. It is the power of God for salvation — that always means change!
2. God’s word, once spoken, always accomplishes it’s purpose.
a. But our words are just words.
b. Say what God says, then stop.
3. God’s Spirit speaks God’s word (sometimes through us) and makes his word effective.
a. Sometimes the change results in salvation, sometimes not.
II. The Good News of Salvation
A. We are free from the Penalty of sin
1. We who have grown up in the Church have heard this over and over again. That, however, makes it no less true.
2. Our sin creates a moral debt. We have a penalty to pay and we are incapable of paying it. Jesus pays it for us.
a. There’s no other way to get it paid.
b. He pays it all.
3. This means we live without guilt.
a. Guilt is something all human beings understand.
b. Guilt is the emotion that reminds us of our moral debt — it tells us we’ve done something wrong and have to make it right.
c. When Jesus rights all our wrongs, he takes away our guilt (though sometimes some residual emotion remains).
B. We are free from Slavery to sin
1. Sin in us wants to keep feeding on sin — it convinces us we can’t really live without it.
2. Jesus provides us with a whole new source of nourishment — a new source of life!
C. We are free to move Closer to God
1. Human beings are created with a desire to find and build some sort of relationship with God.
a. But we also know that there’s something wrong with that relationship
2. All our human effort can’t fix our relationship with God.
3. But Jesus has already fixed it.
a. That’s the message: it’s been done. It is the Gospel of reconciliation.
b. The Good News is that we are once again free to walk in the garden with Him in the cool of the day.
III. Unashamed of the Message
A. Because it is True for us
1. We are unembarrassed because we know the message is true for us.
2. We know how the message is true for us.
a. How the message has changed us (though we’re still growing)
b. How the message has restored our relationship with God (though we still have a long ways to go).
c. How our relationships with everyone else have improved (though there’s still room for improvement)
3. Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.
a. We Know it’s true because of our experience and because God’s written Word tells us it’s true.
B. Because we Know it is true for everyone
1. Since the Bible says it, we trust it. The message not only has the power to change us and our relationship with God and other people, it has that power for everyone.
a. We know we won’t be embarrassed by the message wondering if it will work or won’t on some people. We know that All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
2. There aren’t different paths to salvation — some that work for some people and some that work for others. This is a one-size-fits all message that really fits all.
3. In a nut shell, here’s how people can take advantage of the Message:
a. Confess and ask forgiveness
b. Trust in Jesus’ work to defeat the power of sin and death
c. Receive Jesus into your life as your rescuer, leader and brother.
d. Live in such a way as to bring honor to Him.
C. Because it doesn’t Depend on us
1. We know we can count on the message to not let us down, because it’s not our message, and because the effectiveness of God’s word doesn’t depend on us.
a. It might not have instant, noticeable effect, but it will always have lasting effect.
2. We can be inept, tongue tied, use the wrong words, have lousy timing and still God’s Spirit can use what we say to change people.
a. It’s not the person holding the flash light, but the flash light itself that chases the dark away.
b. Even if we’re shaky, it’s still less dark!
3. We aren’t ashamed of the message because it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
The Bottom Line:
|We are Free to speak the message of Salvation As It Is, because it contains God’s power to change the Hearts of all who hear it.|