In today’s atmosphere, it is sometimes difficult to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us. When we encounter resistance, we need to remember one thing…there is power in the Gospel. Romans 1:16 says, “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.” (NASB) In today’s climate, the world doesn’t want to hear it. The enemy of our souls has this world in his grasp, and he would do anything to keep the Good News from being propagated to those around us, including causing us to be afraid or hesitant in sharing Jesus with others.
The Apostle Paul was writing to the Roman Christians of his day. Their world, much like ours, was hostile to their telling the Good News that Jesus died for them because of His great love. The early Christians were persecuted, killed, harassed, and yet, they stood strong sharing with any who would listen about Jesus’ love and sacrifice for them.
I look back at those early day Christians and marvel at how they could stand so strong in the face of the persecution they had to endure, many where it led to their death. How could they be so unafraid as they faced lions, torture, crucifixion, prison, and any number of other things? They knew the cost of preaching Jesus, and yet they did so unashamedly, with boldness.
Our verse today tells us one way they were able to witness…there is power in the Gospel! Power to withstand persecution, power to overcome fear, and power to live a life of purity and righteousness in a fallen world. The Gospel gives us the strength to endure whatever we face as we share with those around us.
In the United States, we don’t see much in the way of that kind of persecution. I think because of this it is easier for some to be afraid or self-conscious in sharing what Jesus has done for them. We allow fear to creep in, we want to avoid controversy or ill-treatment from those who would reject the Gospel. Sometimes we just assume most people are Believers, especially if they are “good people”.
I know someone who endured persecution for many years because of the ministry he had. He was threatened with fines, was accused of something he didn’t do, was followed everywhere he went, and eventually, it meant the end of his ministry. It has had a profound effect upon him emotionally, and yet he has seen God raise up a different ministry and he is sharing Jesus through this different way of ministering. Through this new ministry, he is impacting people around the world, whereas the previous ministry reached out to a smaller area. God expanded his ministry in a way he never realized was possible.
We may not face that kind of resistance to our witnessing, but God gives us the power to face what the enemy would throw at us. We do not need to be afraid; we can tell others how much Jesus loves them even if it means they blow us off. Remember, they are not rejecting us, they are rejecting Jesus!
Our love for them and concern about where they will spend eternity should outweigh any issues we face. Even when they condemn us for being “Jesus Freaks”, Bible-thumpers, or point out flaws in us, saying we can’t be a real Christian, the Gospel give us power to face whatever comes our way. In our witnessing, we can lovingly explain that even though we aren’t perfect, Jesus is, and He is the one who forgives us and restores us, and it is because of this that we have hope. It is through that power that we can boldly say, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!”