“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Anyone who knows me will tell you I have a lot of favorite verses. Almost every time I recite one, I say, “This may be one of my favorite verses.” But if I were forced to choose my top ten favorites, Rom. 1:16-17 would be among them. I have always found this a fascinating verse because of its implication. When Paul said he was not ashamed of the Gospel, he had just finished saying, “I am under obligation to both the Greeks and the barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” (v. 14-15). Are you under the obligation to preach the gospel to everyone? Not obligated because you are being forced to, but obligated because the drive to do so is so overwhelming that you cannot escape it.
Are you eager to preach the gospel to people wherever you find yourself in this world, whether at home, in a local store, or when you are on vacation? Or, are you ashamed of it? Far too many professing Christians are eager to discuss the gospel with brothers and sisters in the church but not with strangers. They will debate or even argue with people on social media but do not take a moment to approach someone stumbling around in the darkness of sin. We have much to say in church and to the few who engage us outside of it, but besides for those times, we are as silent as mice. Why is that? Why are we too afraid to share the Good News with strangers? I think we are more fearful of the persecution we may face by man than we are of answering to God. We don’t like to admit it, but God seems “far away,” whereas the reaction of people around us is immediate and oftentimes severe. Instead of being proud of our beliefs, we treat Jesus like a family member in jail. You love them, but you tend not to speak of them to anyone but family. You are ashamed to admit that you are related to them, so you avoid any conversation that could connect you to that person.
I often hear people say, “I am just not that outgoing that I can approach strangers,” or “We pay the preacher to do that. That is his job.” To be clear, putting that on the preacher is a cop-out for those who are too afraid to do it themselves. The Bible is clear that it is the responsibility of every Christian to spread the Good News. I am sure you know people personally who are not believers, so why not talk to them. After all, someone spoke to you. Whether it was a parent, grandparent, friend, or even a stranger, someone cared enough for you to begin a conversation about Jesus with you. Do you maybe say, “People don’t want to be bothered with Christians anymore?” Are you talking about every single person in the world? I was one of those people, and it took someone more than once to ask me to go to church before I did. So what if they ignore you or ridicule you. Who cares? Speak to enough people, and you will “close the deal,”’ so to speak.
If you are not ashamed of your spouse, you will tell the world about them. You will carry them on a pedestal and gush about them every opportunity you get. So why is it so hard to do the same for Christ? Your spouse may be all that, but they pale in comparison to the amazing glory of our Savior Jesus Christ. Besides, your spouse, as awesome as they may be, cannot give the gift of eternal life to anyone. So, are you ashamed of the Gospel or not? Do you wear your Christianity like a badge of honor, or do you hide it like a family member in jail?