I am not ashamed of the Gospel
Romans 1:16-17 (Pastor Heo)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Today, I will focus on only verse 16.
Remember, Romans 1:1, Paul introduced himself as a slave of Christ before God – apostle of Christ in this world – set apart for the gospel.
Then, the summary of the message of the gospel: Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead as a guarantee for our life (salvation and eternal life). This is the key message of the gospel. Jesus died for your and my sin and rose again from the dead. If we believe in this physical, bodily resurrection, then we can recognize his presence here and now as well.
Then, Paul expressed his personal concern.
- First, I give thanks.
- I pray.
- I long to see you.
- I want to produce more fruit.
- I am obligated (indebted) to the gospel – and must preach it.
V. 16. “I am not ashamed of the gospel”
1:16-17 = the key verses of this book (and on the banners) – these are the transition from the introduction of the letter into the main theme of the whole book. They act as a preposition to the remainder of the book.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel” – are you?
This is a seriously important question. From this short sentence, we can see 2 things.
1. Paul’s personal willpower –
commitment and volition, determination, dedication, devotion, fearlessness, bravery for the gospel. “I AM not ashamed, I WILL not be ashamed, I am PROUD of…”
At that time, 2000 years ago, there were many reasons/temptations/challenges to be ashamed of the gospel. His heart is going to Rome. At that time, the gospel was identified with a poor Jewish carpenter/criminal (crucified). It was the lowest form of execution given to a criminal. Rome was a PROUD city. Christians were middle-class, common, lower-class, slaves. Rome did not respect these kinds of people.
Also, at that time, Christians regarded each other as brothers and sisters – ONE in Christ – but this went strongly against the pride of Rome. But Paul, knowing this, shouted, “I’m NOT ashamed.”
Even now, the Devil is alive and doing many jobs, but his main jobs are 2 things:
- To keep the lost LOST
- To keep Christians ASHAMED of the gospel
If you think “my faith is private, not public” – we may be ashamed. 2 Cor 4:4 “Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of Christ.”
2. “I’m not ashamed of the gospel BECAUSE…”
The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes – first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (memorize this, OK?)
This is a short sentence, but contains the ESSENCE of the Bible – so we should spend considerable time studying this.
From this short sentence, I want to share 5 grounds/truths/facts/reasons why we should NOT be ashamed of the gospel.
Why we should not be ashamed of the gospel
#1. It is the message of God
It originated with God, from God, not men. The message was designed and made by God himself, in his heart, from the Creation of the world, even eternity.
From this pulpit, I’m preaching a message that is not my own. The gospel is the message of God, not men.
Whenever we share this message, remember, this message you are preaching is the message from God – not my own message, not made by me or any other person.
Imagine, in your school, if you carry the message of your school principal to the other teachers, can you be ashamed of this message? No. How about in your office/job, if you carry the message of the boss to your colleagues, can you be ashamed of it? No. You may be proud of it because you know whose message it is.
Like this, if you carry the message of your country’s President to another country, you are the ambassador of that message and would be so proud.
But this message is from God, who is much higher than any human President or CEO. God created all things (something from nothing) with just his Word. “Let there be light” and there was light. God is omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (everywhere), omniscient (knows all). So, how is it possible for us to be ashamed of this message from our Creator?
Please remember this whenever you preach/share this message. Whose message is this? God’s. 2 Cor 5:18-20 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to him through Christ and gave us the message of reconciliation….”
1. We cannot be ashamed because this is God’s message
#2. Its operation is POWER
Can you be ashamed of power? Big muscles? At that time, Rome was most proud of its power – material, military, physical, etc. The fear of Rome hovered over all nations. They were conquerors with bases and military positioned all over the world. But, mentally and spiritually, Rome was very weak. How about today? Where is Rome now? The gospel looked very weak in the eyes of the people, but it had POWER. Still today, it is working in power.
- Greek word (power): dunamis
- Greek word (love): agape
dunamis = “dynamite” in English
This chemical substance was invented in 1867 by Nobel – it was named after the Greek word for power.
Yes, the gospel is spiritual dynamite. It can abolish human powers, traditions, and world views. It can overcome all things. It is effective and powerful. But it must be handled very carefully only by those who know how to handle it well. It can be preached only by those who actually experienced the power of this gospel.
Remember, it is impossible to experience the power of the gospel and then be TOTALLY silent before men.
Gospel = God’s Power – transforming, saving, life-changing power
No wonder Paul was not ashamed of this power because he experienced this power in his own life. He was radically transformed from a persecutor of the gospel to a preacher of the gospel. Plus, he’d seen how it worked in other cities – so he had confidence that it was powerful. Later, Rome would be conquered by the gospel.
The gospel has more power than any power in this world. Bible says, “The weakness of God is stronger than the strength of man; the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”
#3. Its result is Salvation
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God **that brings salvation** to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The fruit of the gospel = salvation. This is the main theme in this book. Its literal meaning = deliverance, from one place to another, redeeming.
Everybody has his own need.
- What is your first need? Job, education, family, relationship, degree…
- All human beings need salvation. This is the greatest need of every single man and woman.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… The wages of sin is death… A man is destined to die once and after that face the Judgment…”
Everybody is a sinner before God. I’m a pastor, but also a sinner before God. Nobody can escape from eternal hell after the Final Judgment. This means everybody needs Salvation (deliverance from Satan, sin, hell, evil). Yes, Salvation is the forgiveness of sins, but it goes much deeper. It is the deliverance from a child of evil to a child of God. It takes us from the agony of hell to the glory of heaven.
The only way to receive this Salvation is to accept Jesus as Lord. That’s why Jesus’ death and resurrection is the key message of the gospel.
Acts 3:12 “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
1 Timothy “Here is a trustworthy saying: that Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners (like me).”
#4. Its boundary is ALL people
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation **to everyone** who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The limitation of the gospel is ALL people, in ALL places and ALL times.
- “first for the Jew, then the Gentile” =
- this is NOT exclusivity, nor priority.
- This is only in the order of events (chronology).
There is NO difference between Jew and Gentile in the matter of condemnation and salvation. In the same way, today, there is no difference between black, white, yellow, red, etc.
“This gospel will be preached in the WHOLE WORLD as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the End will come.” (Matthew – Jesus)
#5. Its condition is only “faith”
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone **who believes**: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
How nice, this God. How gracious and compassionate. God does not ask for us to “behave better” to be saved. He only asks “believe.”
- ONLY FAITH
- FAITH (JESUS) + NOTHING = EVERYTHING
- JESUS + ANYTHING ELSE = NOTHING
“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.”
God prepared for us to do something in advance. We are not to “do good” to be saved.
Rather, we are “saved by faith” to do good.
Saving faith, therefore, produces indestructible faith in God.
John “To all who believe, God gave the right to become children of God.”
So, how can we be ashamed of this wonderful, marvelous message of the gospel?
- message of God(1)
- is the power of God(2)
- for salvation(3)
- for everyone(4)
- who believes(5).
Jesus says, “If you are ashamed of me before men, I will be ashamed of you before my Father in heaven. But if you are proud of me before men, I will be proud of you before my Father in heaven.”
This is a normal thing.
Imagine if you are ashamed of your parents before others, how sad they will be. Let us make our Father God happy. Let us make our Lord Jesus Christ happy and proud of us because we are saved by his grace.
God bless you with the message of the gospel.