Summary: Living fully committed to Christ as Paul was when he said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel," changes our lives.
“Seven Words That Will Change Your Life”
Illustration: A lady was out hitting all the local garage sales when she came across an old needlepoint picture that read, “Prayer Changes Lives.” She bought it, took it home and began to look for just the right place to hang the new picture. Finally, she decided that it went well in the dinning room over the dinning room table. With great pride she admired her garage sale discovery and could hardly wait to show it to her husband. That evening when her husband arrived home from work, she showed the picture to him but he made no indication one way or another of his likes or dislikes of the new picture. The next day as the lady was cleaning the house, she discovered that the new picture was gone. As she continued to clean the house, she discovered the picture behind a bookcase. She thought, “That’s strange,” and rehung the picture in its original location. The next day, to her dismay, she discovers the picture gone again and again discovers it behind the bookcase. When the husband arrives home, she confronts her husband and asks him if he is displeased with the art of the needlepoint, to which he responds, no, not at all, it is a great work of art. She continues, is it the place? Do you not like the place it is hung? He says, no, not at all, it is in a great location. She concludes that it must be the message and asks him if it’s the message that he doesn’t like. He says, no, not at all, the message is great. Finally, she says, then what’s the problem? He says, “I just don’t like change.”
That story reveals more of a truth about us all than we might be willing to admit. But the reality is, you cannot become OR be a Christian without change. From the moment we accept Christ, we begin a process of change – we become new creatures in Christ.
The good news is that it is Christ that gives us the ability to change. We are his workmanship, his creation, created for his purpose.
This morning I want to share with you an avenue of change. Simply said, I want to share with you Seven Words that will Change your Life.
They are in our text for this morning: Romans 1:16 (Read text)
Did you see them?
They are (underline them):
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel.”
First of all, we need to consider the time in which this passage was written. Rome was in power. Rome was an Empire filled with pride. After all, they’d been in power for a little over 200 years (sounds a lot like another nation I know). Pride came from what a person had or the social status they held. This Pride was Empire-wide. Even the Jews (i.e. Pharisees) of Jesus’ and Paul’s day had a type of pride. We read in Matthew 23:1-7 what Jesus said about them (Read).
And in this ancient world filled with the pride of social standing Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!”
II. Ancient Languages Grammar Lesson:
In both Hebrew and Greek, many times a person will emphasis their statement by stating the opposite in the negative. For example, several of the 10 commandments are stated “You shall not....” The reason for this is that it emphasizes the desired opposite action.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” literally means, “you shall have great respect for your neighbor” or “you shall love your neighbor so much that you would never say anything bad about him.”
Jesus says in the model prayer, “and lead us NOT into temptation.” Lit. = “lead us in such righteousness that we never face temptation.” It emphasizes the desired opposite action.
The same is true in our text for this morning. When Paul says, “I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel,” what he is saying is that “he is PROUD of the Gospel.”
No one in Rome with pride would even consider following the teachings of the crucified son of a carpenter.
III. (Paul’s Background)
Consider what Paul had been through. He had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Beroea, laughed at in Athens, and in Corinth his message was considered foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling-block to the Jews.
But Paul stands firm in his commitment, tall in his faith and says “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.”
IV. Can you echo those words?
A. At school, work, or play, do you proclaim the fact that you have made a commitment to Jesus, or is that something you try to keep under wraps?
B. Do the people closest to you know the stand you have taken for Jesus? --- or are you keeping that top secret?