Staff Corner – Greg Spires - Teaching Pastor
Two boys had a typical schoolyard argument. The topic of the argument doesn’t matter because their argument followed what seems to be a universal pattern of schoolyard conflicts.
“It was green!”
“It was blue!”
“I saw it, and Jimmy did too - GREEN!”
“Jimmy is color blind, and I saw it closer - BLUE!”
“You’re a stupid head!”
“I’m telling MY DAD!”
Then comes the clincher, the end-all of arguments. It is meant to silence all opposition:
“MY DAD could beat up your dad!”
The argument was at an impasse with appeals to logic and eyewitness testimony. So instead, each appealed to power to overwhelm the other. One appealed to the power of insults. The other appealed to the power of DAD.
What we need to recognize is a simple truth: when we are at an impasse and looking for outside help, we appeal to the power that we believe works. When we don’t get the customer service we expect, we ask for a manager. If a car repair bid seems high, we get a second opinion. If someone breaks a contract, we might take them to court or hire an attorney.
We will seek the power that we believe will get the job done.
Trusting power that works is what Paul is talking about in Romans 1:16 when he says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” When he says he’s not ashamed, he’s not talking about a lack of embarrassment or awkwardness. He’s talking about having confidence that that gospel will do what God intends: save those who believe.
Understanding what it means to not “be ashamed” is essential because many people are intimidated at the idea of sharing their faith. It is a common experience to worry about fumbling words, saying the wrong thing, or getting stumped with a difficult question. But feeling this way does not mean we are ashamed of the gospel. It just means we are normal people who worry about doing things well.
Why does this matter? Sometimes we might wonder: since I feel awkward talking about Jesus, is there something wrong with me spiritually? I must be ashamed of the gospel since I’m intimidated to share my faith at times.
Feeling awkward is not the same as feeling ashamed. Awkward is how normal humans feel in situations they aren’t accustomed to being in.
Are you ashamed of the gospel? Well, let’s find out. How do you know if you stand before God, you will be accepted even though you have sinned in all kinds of rotten ways? Is your answer, “Jesus”? If so, congratulations, you aren’t ashamed of the gospel! You stood in the schoolyard face to face with sin and death and said, “My dad can beat you up, your dad and anyone else you bring to the fight – if you have any questions, see the cross and the empty tomb!”
Our enemy tries to take normal human feelings (awkwardness and intimidation) and convince us there is something wrong with us spiritually. This strategy is designed to make it seem like the good news isn’t that good because we feel bad about such accusations. How can a good Christian be embarrassed by the gospel? Good news! If you are in Christ, it isn’t possible for something to be wrong with you spiritually – because, in Christ, you are a new creation. Good Christians can feel embarrassed because that’s what normal humans do. And being embarrassed or feeling awkward is not the same as being ashamed.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Romans 1:8-17.
Praying with you,