I Am Not Ashamed :: By Howard Green

Almost everyone likes to make a good first impression. God made us highly sociable beings, and most of us don’t leave our homes wondering, “How many people can I offend today?” In an effort to be seen as kind and loving, many Christians refrain from going into all the world to preach the gospel because they fear it will offend people. Some believers seem to value their standing in the community and reputation more than the name of Jesus.

As we near the close of the age, the Bible says our faith will cost us more than our reputation. It might bring the loss of friends, family, finances, and even our life. The realistic possibility of losing everything for what you believe begs the question, Are you ashamed of Jesus? (Luke 9:26).

A disturbing trend has emerged recently in places that weren’t overtly hostile to the gospel. It is the trend of enacting legislation to silence a Christian’s right to free speech if their words are deemed hateful or offensive.

Recent examples include a street preacher in London who was threatened with arrest for simply saying, “God gave his only son, that whatever person, a homosexual, liar, drunk, or prostitute, believes in him, shall not perish and have everlasting life.” A young Christian lady was singing gospel songs recently on a London street. She was approached by five police officers and told that she couldn’t sing church songs outside of church. These are just two examples of many attempts to squelch the gospel under the guise of hate speech laws.

A newly proposed Canadian law, Bill C-367, would end free speech protection for faith-based groups, and they float the bill under the pretense of antisemitism and hate speech. Governments that were at least tolerant of free speech in years past are increasingly proposing and passing laws meant to silence Christians.

As the world turns increasingly against the gospel, I wonder who can stand as our faith begins to cost us something tangible. This becomes more evident in America and Europe when living for Jesus, for the most part, only costs us our reputation, and for many, that’s too much of a cost to bear.

It appears that sharing the gospel without the lure of a trunk full of Halloween candy, free lunch, spreading mulch, or a free Christmas show is deemed ineffective. Yes, we are saved unto good works, and Christians should be the kindest, most giving people in the world, but nowhere in the Bible will you find preachers earning the right to share the gospel. This is a spiritual bait-and-switch and the sort of charade that leaves would-be disciples distrustful of churches and Christians.

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on, and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” – A.W. Tozer

When you take a look at a large segment of Christianity today, many so-called leaders have traded the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to reach lost souls for the convincing power of our own goodness. Here’s one example out of many I could give:

A fellow minister told me I wasn’t permitted to pass out gospel tracts or pray for people at our community ‘outreach’ function on the church property because there is a deep mistrust of churches and church leaders nationwide. The stated goal was to provide an opportunity for us to ‘know’ our neighbors, provide a safe space, and build bridges so we can eventually engage them with the gospel (Galatians 1:10).

This sentiment isn’t unique to that particular church because the sin of self-congratulation and promotion to the world is in many of our local churches. In an effort to be unique and relevant, they have become irrelevant to the Kingdom.

This unbiblical approach to the great commission is virtually everywhere you look in many so-called evangelical churches. Why is this? Simply put, by its very nature, the gospel is offensive and a matter of eternal life and death (2 Corinthians 2:15-15). In reality, many so-called ‘Christians’ would rather ingratiate themselves to the community by becoming more like the world to reach the world. We are told things like we have to earn the right, build bridges of grace, get them to trust us, and seek to know them before we share the gospel. This pseudo-evangelism is spiritual deception from the pit of hell.

If we wait to ‘eventually’ engage people with the gospel, it rarely happens, and most people we view as projects eventually go into eternity unsaved and unwarned. Here’s what A.W. Tozer said about our worldly efforts to win public opinion instead of lost souls:

“Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society’s own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.” – A.W. Tozer

I love the Church of Jesus and other believers. There is a true remnant church, authentic individual Christians in many churches worldwide that make up the body of Christ. How is it, then, that so many other professing Christians are afraid of the name of Jesus both inside and outside of church? Jesus explains why in Luke 9:25-26.

The people who are preoccupied with religion and standing in the world will be ashamed of Him. Jesus makes an interesting point because He knows many people say, “Lord, Lord.” So they might identify with Jesus on a surface, religious, church affiliation level, but not in public with what the Bible says because it might offend someone.

We esteem the praise of people more than pleasing God. Jesus says not only are you ashamed of me but “ashamed of my words.” This is why, in the context of His warning about being ashamed of Him, He tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and lose our lives for Him. Perhaps it’s time for personal and collective introspection among believers to ask the question: Are we ashamed of Jesus and His words?

Dear friends, we aren’t the first generation to witness nominal worldly Christianity, as if there is such a thing. True believers are marked by boldness and love. We should boldly proclaim the gospel, and our love for the Lord and lost people compel us forward to share it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

You would think that with the gift of hindsight and discernment, the tepid approach of groveling for the world to like and accept us, Christians would see that it doesn’t win disciples but makes false converts. Jesus said this world will hate you because it hates Him. Our job isn’t to reinvent the great commission with a supernatural version of Dale Carnegie’s Winning Friends and Influencing People. Instead, we must do what Jesus says and compel them to come in (Matthew 22:9). We must love people in word and deed, and a tangible way to do this is by sharing the gospel. It’s the most loving thing you can do for others, knowing they will spend eternity in heaven or hell. I am not ashamed (Romans 1:16).

All for Him,


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