OF THE GOSPEL
Pastor Gary Giddings
Sand Lake, Michigan
Romans 1:16-17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Before the Apostle Paul was saved, he was “Saul of Tarsus,” a mover and shaker in the Jewish religion. He was very zealous as he rounded up so-called “heretics” that dared to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. He disagreed violently with those who called Jesus the “anointed one,” or THE CHRIST.
But Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and he was never the same! He put aside all the benefits of being a Pharisee in order to follow Jesus. He was NOT ASHAMED, humiliated or embarrassed to identify with Jesus because his personal relationship with Jesus changed his life! Paul said, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8)
Paul no longer cared what the religious Jews thought of him and his new found love for Jesus. His friends in the Jewish Council no longer had any respect for him because they supposed that Paul had dishonored and disgraced himself by identifying with Jesus. Not only was Paul redeemed and made a New Creation in Christ, God gave him a commission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he once opposed.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Saul of Tarsus simply believed on Jesus Christ to life everlasting. This is the PATTERN for us: believe on Jesus and receive life everlasting. There are so many stories about those who, once AGAINST the Gospel of Jesus, came to bow the knee to Christ! Pray for those around you who need salvation. It may seem impossible at times, but KEEP PRAYING for them to be saved. Your life might be the model that helps them to come to Christ.
Romans 9:30-33 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.
Jesus is called A ROCK OF OFFENCE for those who reject Him. But this Rock, Jesus Christ, is our stability and our strength! There is NO SHAME in the RIGHTEOUSNESS which is of FAITH in Jesus. Paul found that righteousness could NOT be attained by his “good works.” Paul declared that “we are made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Romans 10:9-11 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
God will honor those who submit themselves to Him. We may be shamed by the world, but not by God: we are now His CHILDREN. He loves us and He will take care of us! God honors those who put their faith and trust in Him. Even if our family and friends no longer respect us, God’s honor is much greater. What we have in Christ goes against the grain of this world system, so don’t expect to be praised and honored by this world. But only the Gospel of Jesus gives us the real picture of reality and the ability to enjoy it.
1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-24 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God … 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Paul admits that preaching is foolishness to the world. But what makes it worthwhile is that God uses it! The power of God will flow through the channel that He chooses, however simple and backward it may seem to our human sensibilities. The power and wisdom of God is still Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:15-16 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
As we humbly read, study and meditate on God’s Word, we will learn to rightly handle and to AGREE with God’s message to us. This is how we can PUT AWAY the vain babblings of the world, the flesh and the enemy. We will NOT BE ASHAMED of the Gospel of Christ but we will REJOICE in Him.