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A Shameless Gospel

October 3, 2014

man afraidGiving the gospel message to the unsaved is a mission of seemingly impossible proportions. Besides the obstacles inherent within each of us, a selfish flesh and a pride filled fear of men, and besides the aggressive efforts of Satan and his minions to keep the lost blinded in darkness, we face the challenge of a culture that actively opposes the preaching of the gospel message. We are daily confronted by a way of thinking that insists all beliefs are equally true and only the individual can measure the validity of a belief for himself. One can only say what is right and true for himself, but never insist on it’s necessary truthfulness for another. To make matters worse, the church, which is to be the pillar and ground of the truth, has abdicated its responsibility and allowed the culture to determine what truth is and how it is to be communicated. These forces combine to fill the heart of faithful Christians with fear and trepidation at the thought of telling others the gospel. Wise Christians will reflect on how the gospel should be given in the face of such implacable foes.

To answer that question, we can turn to the God inspired words penned by a man who preached the gospel in the face of vicious enemies, whose preaching was frequently rejected and whose message was overwhelmingly victorious. In Romans 1:16 Paul sums up his conviction about preaching the gospel to a world that trips over the supposed foolishness of the gospel. Paul says “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Despite all the opposition, the host of rejections, the persecution, the disappointments, the false professors and the false teachers, Paul looks at the gospel and declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” How should Christians give the gospel in our world today? In the same way Paul did, without shame. Though the world demands a softer, more user friendly gospel, we must give the Biblical gospel without shame. Though many in the church offer a gospel of personal ease, prosperity and comfort, we must give the Biblical gospel without shame.

Why is Paul not ashamed of the gospel? “for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Paul tells us several great things about the gospel that encourage us to give the gospel without shame or fear. The gospel message is the gospel of Christ. It is not about you. It is not about the lost person, their feelings or their desires. The gospel is about the work that Jesus has done to bring salvation. The gospel is a message given to you, to which you must respond, but the gospel is not about you. The gospel is a message given to each person, to which each one must respond, but it is not about him. The gospel is about Jesus.

The gospel is the power of God. One of the most horrible things to happen in American Christianity has been the acceptance of teaching that people will be not be saved unless the preacher captivate and entertains them. For nearly 200 years now, we have suffered under a steady string of celebrity preachers and performing evangelists who have redefined the preaching of the gospel in a way that bears only superficial similarity with what is found in the Bible. We do not need modern means and methods to make the gospel work. The gospel is the power of God! Insisting that the gospel preacher needs to captivate the audience and appeal to the desires of the seeker for the gospel to be effective is like giving someone a lit stick of dynamite and telling him that for it to work right he has to say “boom”. We don’t need to add our own special effects to the gospel. The gospel is the power of God! Nothing man does adds anything to His power. None can add anything to the gospel to make it work or to make it work better. The gospel works, just give it. The gospel does not need man’s wisdom to make it powerful. The gospel is the power of God. Unleash the gospel and it will transform hearts.

This is true because the gospel is the power of God! The gospel is not a message of human invention. The gospel is not a carefully crafted message of man’s wisdom dependent on the personality, charm, wit or intellect of the person giving the gospel. The gospel is God’s message about God’s Son filled with God’s power. You just need to give the truths. Our world demands a carefully choreographed multi-million dollar performance, but nothing that can be devised in Hollywood and performed by the greatest actors of all time can match the power of God. No special effects, CGI, moving dialogue, stirring orchestrals or heart rending scenes of tragedy and hope will ever come close to matching the power of God to convict of sin and draw the lost to Himself. Only God can change the heart and soul. Only God gives sight to the blind sight and life to the dead.

The gospel is God’s power to salvation. The power of God at work in the gospel is the power that saves men. Nothing else in this universe is promised to have the power to salvation. Creation speaks of God, but it is not the power of God to salvation. Apologetics can help remove some objections to the gospel, but it is not the power of God to salvation. Philosophy may help one think more clearly about truth, but it is not the power of God to salvation. Promises of the joy and comfort  found in God may help prepare one to hear the gospel, but they are not the power of God to salvation. Nothing but the gospel is the power of God to salvation. Only the Gospel pierces to the depths of the human spirit. Only the gospel unveils the motives and desires of the heart. Only the gospel pulls back the masks and defenses all men construct. Only the gospel brings men to the throne of grace and gives grace and mercy to all who trust the Great High Priest.

How does the faithful Christian give the gospel in the face of intense opposition? Without shame or fear, for the gospel is not of his own devising and is not reliant on his own power. The gospel is not weak and helpless in the face of a world of rebels. The gospel is God’s power to salvation to all who believe.


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