Summary: In this sermon we notice eight reasons why we should not be ashamed of the gospel.


Today we come to Romans 1:16-17, which is the theme of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Let’s read Romans 1:16-17:

"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. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ’The righteous will live by faith’" (Romans 1:16-17).


At first glance it is an extraordinary thing that Paul should say that he is not ashamed of the gospel. For when we read that statement we ask, “Why would the apostle ever think that something so grand might be shameful?” That question is not very deep, since we have all been ashamed of the gospel at one time or another.

The reason we are ashamed of the gospel is that the world is opposed to the gospel and ridicules it, and we are all far more attuned to the world than we imagine. Today’s culture endures a veneer of religious tolerance, so that people are careful not to scorn Christians openly. But the world is still the world, and hostility to God is always present.

If you have never been ashamed of the gospel, the probable reason, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests, is not that you are “an exceptionally good Christian,” but rather that “your understanding of the Christian message has never been clear.”

Was Paul tempted to shame, as we are? Probably. We know that Timothy was, since Paul wrote him to tell him not to be (in 2 Timothy 1:8). However, in our text Paul writes that he was “not ashamed of the gospel,” and the reason is that “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”


In our study of Romans 1:16-17 today, following the treatment of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I want to suggest eight reasons why we should not be ashamed of the gospel.

I. The Gospel Is “Good News”

First, we should not be ashamed of the gospel because the gospel is “good news.” The word “gospel” means “good news,” and no rational person should be ashamed of the proclamation of good news.

We can understand why one might hesitate to convey bad news, of course. Imagine a policeman who must tell a father that his son has been arrested for burglary. We can understand how he might be distressed at having to communicate this sad message. Or again, imagine how a doctor might be dismayed at having to tell a patient that tests have come out badly and that she has incurable cancer.

When I was a young pastor I served as an overnight hospital chaplain once a month at the local community hospital. One night at about 3 o’clock in the morning I was called to a patient’s room. The family had been summoned because the patient had taken a turn for the worse and did not have long to live. When I entered the room there were about ten or twelve family members already there. They had already received the bad news about their loved one’s imminent death. I did what I could to comfort and console them in their grief.

But the gospel is not like this. It is the opposite. Instead of being bad news, it is good news. It is good news about what God has done for us in Jesus. It is the best news imaginable.

II. The Gospel Is about Salvation

Second, we should not be ashamed of the gospel because the gospel is about salvation. And not just any salvation. It is about our salvation.

The background for this side of the good news is that, left to ourselves, we are in desperate trouble. We are in trouble now because we are all guilty of breaking God’s law. We presently stand condemned by God’s law. We are also in trouble with regard to our future; we are on a path of increasing frustration and despair, and at the end we must face God’s just wrath and condemnation and the final execution of his sentence against us for our transgression of his law. We are like prisoners under the sentence of death.

Some years ago I visited a teenager in prison. He turned eighteen years old later that week. He was in prison for twenty years for armed robbery. I talked to him about the gospel and told him that every person in the world is already under the sentence of eternal death. It is not as if people are somehow “innocent” now. No! That is a most unbiblical truth perpetrated by the Liar himself, Satan. Every single person in the world is already under the condemnation of eternal death. That young teenager in prison had been convicted and sentenced to jail for a certain crime, and therefore he had a record. I told him that all people have a record in the court of heaven. God has a file against every single individual with every sin ever committed against his holy law.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Beamer Films
Video Illustration
Talk about it...

Johnsie Cogmn=an

commented on Jul 14, 2007


Jonathan Quema

commented on Apr 19, 2009

my God bless you more,, i was so bless.

John E Miller

commented on Nov 3, 2011

I think that this an excellent, thoughtful, well-prepared gospel message. Would that it was more typical of the sermons preached in many church buildings today!

Terry Thompson

commented on Oct 30, 2014

In all due respect, I think your answer is not very deep. Who among us has seen the ascended Christ with our own eyes, or heard Him speak audibly? Who among us has been called to be an apostle? Who among us performs miracles, knowingly writes scripture, corrects and adomonishes the church of Christ with power and authority? Have any of us been used to disrupt the commerce and religion of entire cities, or been required to stand before kings and rulers for the gospel? Certainly Paul was a man as we are, yet none of us have been given the authority that was given to Paul. Considering all of the above facts, it is too shallow to claim that Paul suffered shame in the same way we would suffer shame. It would be better to reason that Paul would be tempted to suffer shame because he knew what a miserable sinner he had been, even the chief of sinners. But then we know Paul gave counsel to Timothy to not be ashamed. Did Timothy live the same godless life before conversion? Appparently not, according to Paul's testimony of Timothy's youth. I believe that the only temptation to shame that Paul, Timothy, or any one of us could suffer, is the shame of speaking boldly of the Sovereign Creator's choice of those who will be saved, even the worst of sinners (I would argue Paul's assessment of that title if it had not been scripture!), and bypassing those who in the eyes of the world are righteous and good. All due respect.

Terry Thompson

commented on Oct 30, 2014

Another viewpoint would be to consider the philosophy of the day, which is not that different from today. The Greeks aspired to humanist supremacy, the Jews believed in supremacy as a God-given right. Then Paul comes along and says both need to repent, but God has established the number of those who would be saved, nevertheless, the gospel call is to all men to repent. The backlash from all men would be great. What a contradictory view! God calls us to repent, but He has established the number who will be saved? How ridiculous to the human mind. It all comes down to the supremacy of God, and that none of us can look into the secret things that belong to Him alone.

Join the discussion