ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; Romans 1:16
I was in prayer the other day. Actually, that’s not true. I wasn’t praying, I was complaining, dumping all of my frustrations at the feet of my Lord. We do that a lot, you know, complain. We call it prayer, but it is really nothing more than a gripe session with Jesus.
I am so frustrated by what I see passing as Christianity today. Now before you get all self-righteous on me and accuse me of being self-righteous, let me make it clear that I am not nearly the Christian I wish I were. I come up short in so many ways. But like a quarterback who just played a lousy game, no one has to tell me my shortcomings. Believe me, I know what they are.
“Where is the power, Lord?” I complained in my prayer. “I am so sick of status quo, mundane, form-of-godliness-Christianity. Where is the power? Why does your Church seem to be so ineffective...so afraid to stand and display your power?”
“Where is the power?” I half-screamed. “This is the most Gospeled-nation the world has ever seen. Everywhere I go people are “saved,” yet there has never been a time when evil was more rampant than today. WHERE IS THE POWER?”
Stop and think about your community for a moment. Go ahead--in your mind, go up and down your street. Count the number of homes in which you would probably find a Bible, with the “Gospel” of Jesus inside. What would be your count…90% of the homes….95%... have a Bible? It may be dusty, but it is there.
So where is the power? If America is so full of the “Gospel,” where is the power?
I believe it is possible to have the Lord speak to you. After all, the Spirit lives within us, and Jesus told us that “My sheep hear my voice…” John 10:27. It is a small, still voice, a thought actually. But I know we can hear the voice of God.
After I was done yelling my prayer at Him that small thought came to me. “Read the verse again,” came the prompt. “Meditate on it.” So I did. It was then that the meaning hit me.
“Hmmm…ashamed of the Gospel…power.” There is no power in the Church today because we are ashamed of the Gospel.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not ashamed of the Gospel when we are in church. No, some dance, lift their hands, weep and fall all over themselves demonstrating their love of the Lord. But when the service is over, they leave the church and become Secret Service Christians, making sure they only reveal their identity to other Christians. Ashamed of the Gospel---that is the truth about most of us.
You see, the Gospel isn’t for the saved. We are beneficiaries of it, but the Gospel is for the lost. “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” Mathew 12:39 - The lost world is looking for a sign of the power of the cross. The “Church” is looking for the power to manifest in the security of the building.
There is very little Gospel power in the world today because those of us who know the Gospel are ashamed to share it outside our church.
How do we square the powerless Church with this Scripture: Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Or, this one: John 14:12 - “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Greater works than Jesus…..wow.
Because we have become ashamed of the Gospel, the salt has lost his savor, and good-for-nothing Christianity has become the norm in America.
I’m not talking about some hyper-charismatic thing. I’m talking about the old-fashioned, everyday Gospel, “that old-time religion” that Jesus left us.
Where is the power?
Step outside your church and look around. If Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were to suddenly appear on the scene would they recognize in America the same faith they died to give us? What would they think of the life-enhancement Gospel currently passing as Christianity today? What would they think of the powerless churches dotting the landscape of America or the mega-churches that more resemble a shopping mall than a house of worship? Would they take their places in one of these churches content to allow their butts to merely warm the pews? Is this the Gospel they gave their lives for?
My take on it is that they would be ashamed all right…ashamed of us and what we have allowed the Gospel to become.
I visit a lot of churches. Rare is the church I am in that is not praying for revival in the world, for a return to Jesus and Biblical principles. But there is a dichotomy at work. The Church is praying for revival in the world while the world is waiting for revival in the Church.
I Peter 4:17 - “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
Where is the power? Oh, it is available, but the Spirit is waiting for a committed, sold out body in which to pour it. Mathew 5:15 - "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."
We are ashamed of the Gospel. We hide it under a bushel.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
By the multi-millions we sit in our churches and pray for the blessings and the power of God to fall upon our dear little hearts while outside the walls of our stained glassed fortresses evil runs unopposed.
A lost world is looking for the power of God. The modern American Church denies the power exists.
Mathew 28:18-20 - “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”
Why is evil running rampant? We have denied the power of Spirit, we have hidden from evil, and we are ashamed of the Gospel.
“Go ye” Jesus told us. “Come ye,” read the signs outside our churches now.
“Oppose evil," says the true Gospel. “Hide from evil,” chides our modern-day Christianity.
“Take up your cross,” declared Jesus. “Downplay the cross,” is the new mantra.
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God….”
Jesus did his work outside the temple. His power was not on display “during the service.”
Want to see the power? Go. Where ever He leads, to whomever He leads. You don’t need a degree, you don’t need a following. “Behold I am with you always…”
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© 2007 Dave Daubenmire
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
I am so frustrated by what I see passing as Christianity today.