‘..I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes….’ (Romans 1:16) Here Paul gives a ringing declaration of confidence in the gospel we all need to hear. There are great pressures everywhere for Christians to conform today. Paul faced the same pressures. Yet he gloried in the gospel.
D.L. Moody was one of the greatest evangelists ever. He shook 2 continents for Christ. But he was never ordained, just a shoe salesman who was born again and got so excited about it he went everywhere sharing the good news. A big man with a booming voice, he drew great crowds, but he was uneducated. In 1870 he addressed a huge crowd of educated, sophisticated English people, with awful grammar: ‘Don’t never think that God don’t love you, for He do!’ A sophisticated English woman told him: ‘Mr Moody, you ought to be ashamed of yourself!’ He hung his head and said ‘Ma’am you’re right. I am ashamed of myself, but I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Another time a lady said ‘Mr Moody, I don’t like the way you share the gospel.’ ‘How do you share it?’ he replied. ‘Well, I don’t particularly.’ ‘Well then, I prefer the way I share the gospel to the way you don’t share the gospel!’
Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel (1) because it was good news. We should want everyone to discover the love of God and the joy in Christ we have discovered. (2) It was authentic, ‘the gospel of God.’ There are many gospels of men, but only one gospel of God. (3) It was reliable, as shown by the resurrection of Jesus, ‘proof to all men’ (Acts 17:31), Paul’s own radical conversion (watch out Richard Dawkins!) and the conversion of the Romans he was writing to. (4) It works. The word for power here is dunamis from which we get dynamite. The gospel is dynamite, with the power to change lives now and in eternity. Duncan Donaldson, locked up 80 times for drunken behaviour, was saved and ended up wearing a t-shirt, ‘Under new management!’ Another reason I’m not ashamed of the gospel – it’s for everyone – everyone who believes. Some people think the idea of personal salvation is foolish, but there’s nothing foolish about it. ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ (1 Cor 1:18). What do we mean by saved? Rescued from a terrible plight. In Mel Gibson’s film Hacksaw Ridge an unarmed Christian Desmond Doss, saved 75 comrades wounded in the battle of Okinawa. In his great love, Jesus Christ went right into the crossfire, dying on a cross to save us from God’s holy anger against our sin. (5) It meets our deepest need. v.17 ‘For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.’ This is the great truth which sparked off the reformation 500 years ago, and it’s the truth we must still declare. The gospel has power to make people right with God for all eternity, all by faith. Let’s be ready to share the love and joy of Jesus with everyone we meet!