A lot of Christians, including myself, like to quote Romans 1:16 “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.” We wholeheartedly believe this and this may be true for us to a certain extent, but we have to remember who these words were coming from at the time. Paul, the author of Romans and of many books in the Bible proclaimed the Gospel in a hostile time. To be baptized and to say Jesus was God was a one way ticket to prison or execution. Living in America we can’t quite grasp the severity of proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior because there is no persecution other than being told we’re bigoted and judgmental. Paul writes these words while he is in prison, believed to have been waist high in human waste. The state of his living was not good, but this man meant his words. He lived these words out, hence the horrible conditions he was in.
My pastor this morning emphasized the importance of the Gospel, the Word of God, it has power. It saves and changes lives and it is by hearing the Word that people open their eyes to the reality of their sin. Wearing crosses whether tattooed or by jewelry, going to church, or wearing t-shirts that say we “<3 God” doesn’t hold any power like the Word can. People need to hear the Word of God, Jesus was the Word and we think just by living for God that people can read us. Yes, we are a light separated from this dark world, but because we are the light we need to shine truth on God’s Word. People are in darkness and on their way to hell because we’re too afraid to speak up. We want the approval of man to the point we neglect Jesus’s lasts words and mission to go make more disciples. Will we offend people? Yes. Will we annoy them? Yes. Will we push certain people away from us? Yes. Could we lose our friends? Yes. The things that will happen to us on this earth don’t even compare to what these people will suffer for eternity – separation from God.
Francis Chan’s book Multiply touches base with the fact that Christians will walk away from church services with conviction and almost pat themselves on the back for feeling bad. It’s like that’s what we’re looking for, when we leave church are we moved with emotion? It seems like that’s our only goal. We should be moved to action, we should be out there getting our hands dirty. Satan has us where he wants us, complacent Christians who feel conviction, but do nothing about it. We’re not a threat to Satan. I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning I want Satan to be like “Oh no, there’s that woman of God!” I want him to feel threatened.
With my uncle being laid up in ICU after heart surgery, practically on his death bed, my dad has raised hands held high in prayer over my uncle. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this was in front of working nurses, people who are trying to help on my uncle get back to health. I have been so moved by my father’s faith and him being unashamed in public prayer. I feel so ashamed of myself, Jesus is risen and I’m afraid to proclaim that to people? Do I read my Bible every day and pray? Yes. To the world’s standards my walk with God is good, but I know that is far from the truth. I need to trust in Jesus despite my circumstances and walk out in faith knowing that His Word, when preached, will not return void.
We all have seasons Jesus needs to walk us through and I’m not telling you to look for sin, but if you’ve been complacent… ask the Lord to challenge you and break you of the things you’re putting your trust in.
^^ Please take the time to watch this video by Kari Jobe called “Forever”. It is such a beautiful song! So much truth.