I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Part NineThursday, November 03, 2005
C. How do you defeat this shame?
Peter encouraged his flock in 1 Peter 4:16 with the following: “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” In light of such excuses and arguments and objections, I offer you four solutions in closing on how to defeat shame and fear.
1. First, believe that the gospel is God’s power to salvation.
The reason Paul was not ashamed of the gospel is stated for us in verse 16. The little word “for” that appears in most English translations indicates a causal clause. That is, Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for anyone who believes.
Beloved, perhaps the reason you are ashamed of speaking the gospel is because you do not truly believe it is God’s power. Paul did. That’s why he was unashamed to face any and all obstacles in order to carry it where God wanted it to go.
We will speak to this part of the verse next week. But suffice it to say this week that the gospel is a miraculous power, folks. It is the only message on the face of the earth that can affect lasting, eternal change in a human being. It is the only message in the world that can actually transform the way a person lives, thinks, believes, acts, talks, etc. No other message has ever produced such a historical change on the face of the earth. It is a message that actually carries God’s very divine, supernatural power with it as you speak it. Believe in it, believe in its work, and you will no longer be ashamed to speak it. This power of God puts you on the offensive, rather than the defensive.
2. Worship Jesus Christ.
Second, I have always said that evangelism is the blood that pumps through the heart of worship. If your heart beats with worshiping Christ, then what flows out of your heart will be gospel words, gospel exhortations, gospel sighs, gospel affections, gospel encouragements, gospel warnings, gospel everything!
Worshiping Christ must be done with the right affections and right doctrine. This is what Jesus meant by worshiping in Spirit and truth, in John 4. You must worship Jesus Christ the way He desires to be worshiped, with the affections He wants you to have for Him, believing the truths about Him He has told us to believe. Focus your efforts, your studies, your quiet times, your devotions, your family discussions, everything…focus it all on these things so that your heart may beat stronger and stronger in worship of Christ. This the only failsafe method of evangelism, beloved. Worship Christ and He will overflow through your life and lips.
3. Learn the gospel well and study how to share it.
Third, we must learn the gospel well and study how to share it. Proverbs teaches us that the wise in heart study how to answer. Peter echoes something of this in 1 Peter 3:15 when he tells the suffering Christians to do the same thing. You must study and be prepared to tell others of Jesus, but that hinges on your worship of Him. Peter writes, “in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Being ready to give a reason for the hope within you may mean studying and learning. Perhaps learning a gospel outline some sort. Perhaps taking an evangelism class. Perhaps reading good books on the subject. But in the end, as Peter writes, however you do it,
“do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (vv. 16-17).
4. Use Every Opportunity God Brings Your Way.
Finally, you must use every opportunity God brings your way. Some will be more obvious. These will be opportunities where you will know right off the bat that you must share the gospel. But there will be other times when you will not necessarily have a doorway created for you by God’s providence. You may have to construct a doorway for you to walk into in order to share the gospel with them. This requires listening carefully to what a person is saying to you, taking sincere interest, yet guiding the conversation through questions to the key questions. In other words, if you don’t have opportunities, it requires making opportunities. The words of Paul from Ephesians 5:15-16 help us here.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
In the next and final post, I will attempt to bring a conclusion to this series.