Summary: The gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful in and of itself!
1. Afraid & Ashamed. Embarrassed & Intimidated.& Timid & Shy.
a. I’m sure some of you can identify with these… at times we’ve all had a little bit of each in our lives.
b. But it’s a bummer when it comes to Jesus isn’t it?
c. I mean we don’t want to be intimidated… but we are.
d. We don’t want to be embarrassed… but we can be.
NO… we want BOLDNESS in sharing the good news!
• You’ll remember back in the EC, the believers were called before the Sanhedrin, the religious rulers of the day…
• They were grilled for the message they were spreading and warned to never share this message again!
• Every reason to be afraid, fearful, ashamed… What did they do?
• Notice 4:23… they went home and prayed!
NOTE: There have been times when I’ve really struggled with v16.
• It’s just so silly to be ashamed of the good news, but it’s also very easy to fall into the trap of fear.
Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) 25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
• So I pray for boldness in my life and in yours.
• It’s God’s will for us to share the gospel with everyone, everywhere, seeking to win them to Jesus Christ!
NOW Paul had a LOT TO FEAR in going to Rome!
• Nero was on the throne and was actively persecuting, torturing, and killing Christians.
Nero ordered the Christians to be rolled in pitch and set alight to form living torches for his gardens. He ordered Christians to be swen ito the skins of wild beasts and flung to savage dogs. He had them shut up in ships which were sunk in the Tiber.
• Rome was where Caesar worship was alive and well making the worship of Jesus grounds for losing everything.
• Rome… full of military might. Rome… full of immorality.
• Rome… filled with reason after reason to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• And to think of a Jewish tentmaker going to Rome to preach a message of a poor Jewish carpenter who was crucified in a most horrific way… it sounds a little funny.
• But Paul was ready… Look back at 1:14ff
I. (1:16) NOT ASHAMED!
1. (16) THE GOSPEL IS GOOD NEWS
a. With all that could force the gospel into hiding, Paul says I’m not ashamed of the gospel!
b. I’m a debtor. I’m ready. AND I’m NOT ashamed.
Paul KNEW the gospel message… not from some class that he took, or from the testimony of someone else…
• He was personally touched by Jesus Christ Himself & changed!
• When he mentions SALVATION, he speaks first of himself.
Psalm 40:2 (NKJV) 2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.
You’ll notice the word SAVED is used some 20 times in this section.
Saved & Salvation carry the same basic idea…
• It means to BE RESCUED or DELIVERED from something.
• From what? Look at v18… the WRATH OF GOD.
• So people today need to be saved whether in Rome, or Aurora, or Denver, or Vladimir Russia
And THOUGH GOD’S grace can’t be earned, or deserved and salvation is a totally a gift and there is nothing we could ever do to pay for it, Paul still felt he was indebted to God’s great grace!
• NO He’s not trying to earn anything, he just realizes that because of God has done, he wants others to be saved too!
• We’re so grateful for all God has done that we have His favor and we feel forever obligated not only to ENJOY the gospel but also to SHARE it with others!
IN the Old Test there is a wonderful story of a group of lepers who head into the Syrian camp.
• Let’s flip over to 2 Kings 7:1-8
Today is the day of GOOD NEWS!
• Jesus Christ has come and it’s not enough to just sit around and be happy we’re saved… it’s time to go to the lost!
• God loves this world: He so loved it that He sent His only Son.
Notice too that the GOSPEL IS POWERFUL.
• There are 6 different words in the Greek language for power and this one means that it’s INHERENT, RESIDING IN NATURALLY!
• It’s not A power, or SOME power, but it’s the POWER OF GOD inherently… an explosive kind of power.
• Whenever you share the gospel, God’s power is unleashed!
• Be careful when you start seeing people’s lives change that you begin to think it’s you. It’s not!
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.