“So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” 

– Romans 1:15-16

 

If ever there was a time when God’s people needed to be ready and unashamed, it is now. It should be clear to the Christian that the unsaved people of our world are hellbent on moving further and further away from God. They are not only indulging in sin, but they are also promoting it, even legislating it. They are militant in their sin. Anyone who would dare call their behavior “sin” is labelled “intolerant,” a “hater,” or worse, much worse. Truth is the new hate speech!

Our calling. But we are called to be a restraining force against evil in this world (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:7). We are called to expose the darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Jesus came with a mission of bearing witness to God’s truth (John 18:37). We are called to be conformed to His likeness, to follow in His steps, to walk as He walked (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). Therefore, we too must bear witness to God’s truth. It takes a brave Christian to take a stand against the onslaught of sin. It takes a Christian who is ready and unashamed.

Ignorance leads to uncertainty, cowardice, and compromise. Today there are segments of the “Church” that are caught up in questionable teaching and even downright apostasy. A great deal of the Church has departed from the truth of God’s word. They rely instead on human wisdom and traditions concocted by people. They have lost confidence in God’s word, or they abuse it to meet their needs or belief systems. This has led to a “Church” and “Christians” that are wishy washy and/or ineffective when challenged by the world. It has led to compromise and willful ignorance of clearly taught biblical truths.

Because of ignorance to God’s truth and shame produced by such uncertainty, sin is endorsed by what has become a false “Church.” It has led to the embracing of sin as acceptable by misguided “Christians.” Being uninformed leads to uncertainty and uncertainty leads to cowardice, a lack of courage. The remedy is to get ready and be unashamed by digging into God’s book. That’s what Ready and Unashamed hopes to accomplish. By helping you know God’s truth we aim to encourage believers and equip them to stand strong in the LORD to reach a hell-bent world.

Be sanctified by God’s truth. Jesus prayed for His disciples saying, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). A disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is “sanctified,” or set apart, uncommon, distinguishable. And what makes the disciple of Jesus distinctive is living by the truth of God that is found in His word. That implies we know the truth of God’s word.

Romans, the truth laid out clearly. I would suggest you take some time to study Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. It is a suitable place to begin your preparation. It’s a boot camp for the soul and spirit. Paul’s letter to the Romans lays out God’s truth like few other books in the Bible. It is a portion of scripture essential for every believer to know. It provides God’s gospel truth in a profound nutshell. It is the perfect place to start in God’s biblical truth to embark on becoming ready and unashamed as a Christian.

Be ready with the gospel. We need to be ready and unashamed to share the truth of God’s word and in particular the gospel of Jesus Christ. But many Christians are ill-prepared to share the truth of God’s word and the gospel. They are confused about the gospel. They are ignorant of God’s truth. They are unsure of themselves and therefore ashamed when confronted by unbelieving worldlings. Some have been delinquent about studying God’s word. Some have read into God’s word theology which just isn’t there. Others have fallen prey to scripture twisting and the embellishment of God’s word by false teachers. Consequently, they are uncertain, fearful, on shaky ground scripturally, and ashamed of what they ought to be joyfully sharing with people who are in great need. But there’s hope! You can get ready. You can be unashamed.

God’s word is understandable. The book of Romans tells us “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Romans 10:8). The word of God is understandable. The Holy Spirit makes God’s word understandable. He convicts the sinner of their sin. He points out the problem and predicament caused by that sin. Then He shows sinners the solution to be saved from the consequences of their sin. We are merely the instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His work; to get that word out to those who need it. Therefore, God’s word and gospel can and should be shared with those who are in dire need of it. The hellbent world needs saving from their sin. They need selfless Spirit-filled servants who have been readied and who are unashamed to speak God’s saving truth to them in love.

God’s blessings are brought by those who share the gospel. In Romans, the Apostle Paul is inspired to quote the prophet Isaiah saying, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7). There’s a great blessing in sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There’s a potential blessing to the one who hears it. There’s a blessing to the one who shares it. Ready and Unashamed is a book that will hopefully be used by God to revive in the reader a confidence in God’s word and a fiery passion to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christianity is being challenged. We live in a world where Christianity is being challenged on every front. Atheism, Islam, cults, a worldly philosophy of tolerance at the expense of truth, religion, apostate Christianity, personal opinion mongers, and a host of other entities are bringing an assault on God’s revealed Biblical Christianity. This is not something that we should be surprised about. The Bible tells us:

1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”

Such inspired descriptive words seem to fit hand in glove when we look at our world today. The Apostle Paul further exhorted young pastor Timothy about such times saying:

2 Timothy 4:1-5 – “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Without going into detail, it would not be a stretch to assert that our times have a great deal in common with those “latter times,” and that our present-day circumstances just very well might be, “the time will come” referred to by the Apostle Paul. How should we face these times? What should our attitude and approach be? I believe our response to such times should be to be ready and unashamed.

Be ready and unashamed. The Apostle Paul in the opening lines of his inspired letter to the church in Rome states:

Romans 1:15-16 – “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

These words lay out the purpose of this incredible epistle. Paul says two things here that we need to take note of with all seriousness.

First Paul says, “I am READY to preach the gospel to you” (1:15). Paul was not laid back and unprepared, but he was always able to say he was “ready” to preach the gospel. The word “ready” here is translated from the Greek term prothumos. This is a very illustrative compound Greek term. Prothumos is a Greek term constructed with the preposition pro that means, “in front of, prior to.” The Greek term thumos means, “passion (as if breathing hard); fierceness, indignation, wrath.” Therefore, in verse fifteen Paul is saying that he was predisposed, passionate, eager, and willing with everything that was in him (i.e., “as much as is in me”) to preach the gospel. Does that describe how you feel about preaching and sharing the Gospel with others? The Lord would have us have the same readiness that Paul expressed in this verse. How can we have the same readiness that Paul had?

Secondly, Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” (1:16). In this second verse Paul substantiates or explains his exclamation of readiness. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul did not and would not cower in any confrontation over the gospel. He did not and would not bow to peer pressure. Popularity was not the incentive or motivation of his ministry. No, Paul was unashamed, he was convinced of, and committed to, sharing boldly the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Readiness and being unashamed go hand in hand. Paul was unashamed because he was ready. Therefore, we see here a key truth and purpose of not only Romans, but also God’s word as a whole. The disciple who is readied in the word of God by the Spirit, will be unashamed and empowered by the Spirit. The Spirit removes shame by working the word of God into the believer. Being ready and unashamed is what our mindset and heart determination should be for the times in which we live. (Romans 1:15b, 16a). That is what the epistle to the Romans is all about, discipling God’s people in a way that they will be ready and unashamed, courageous, confident, and Christ-like by the power of the Spirit. That is the aim of this study.

A Word on Shame. The first reference to being “ashamed,” in the Bible is found in the Garden of Eden. In God’s original plan, the husband and wife were naked and “unashamed” (Genesis 2:25). This was a product of God’s holy matrimony. But one of the first effects of the first sin was a loss of this freedom before each other and more importantly, before God. Read of the effects that sin had on the first sinners:

Genesis 3:7-8 – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

Why did they cover themselves from each other’s sight and hide from God? Because they were ashamed. What does it mean to be “ashamed”? In Romans 1:16 the word “ashamed” is translated from the Greek term epaischunomai and means, “humiliation, shame, disgrace, embarrassment.” Epaischunomai is a stronger form of another Greek term aischuno that means, “to have a feeling of fear or shame which prevents a person from doing a thing.”[i] Therefore, when Paul says he is not “ashamed” it means, he is not fearful but full of God’s faith and confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The enemy prepares well. Why do cults, alternative religions and false teaching proliferate? It’s not only because cultists have been thoroughly indoctrinated in their false teachings. They are often better prepared that Christian and therefore confident in what they believe (even if it is false). But the reason the enemy is so successful is that true believers are unprepared and largely uncertain about what they believe and therefore are ill-equipped and fearful about defending and sharing the Gospel. Why have religions such as Islam been able to proliferate the way they have in the world? Why have cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism et.al. grown so rapidly? Why has liberalism, wokeism, and a self-centered self-deifying mindset so saturated our society? Because they are on the offensive, they know what they believe (even though it is falsehood) and they aggressively share what they believe. And they grow because they go unopposed by those who don’t have the truth!

Christianity has become soft like fat cells. The church is suffering from lethargy, from apathy, from spiritual muscular atrophy. Muscles atrophy when they are not used. The Church has the truth of the Gospel of Christ but has lost its sense of purpose. The Church has lost Christ’s urgent call to share the Gospel and make disciples. The Church has turned inward with a preoccupation with self, (e.g., self-health; self-wealth; self-knowledge; self-obsession). The Church has turned away from the inspired and inerrant word of God to the faulty impotent traditions of men and the philosophies of the world.

The dearth of discipleship. But there’s another reason the Church is unprepared. I believe a good portion of the Church has elected to opt for the expedient seeking numerical growth at the expense of discipleship of converts. It’s relatively easy to get someone to say a prayer to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. It’s quite another thing to solidly ready that convert by discipling them in the faith. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, not merely get converts. Teaching and preaching are His mandate to accomplish this (Matthew 28:18-20).

The danger we are in. If the Church doesn’t wake up, she will find herself at the mercy of the sword of her adversaries. But more importantly, if the Church and Christians do not wake up to the reality of the situation souls will be lost and opportunities to glorify God will be gone. It’s time to wake up, believer! God is in control, and He has a plan. He is looking for those whose hearts are loyal to Him so that He can show Himself strong on their behalf. That’s exactly what the Bible says:

2 Chronicles 16:9 – “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

God has a burden for the lost (2 Peter 3:9) and He has a plan to reach them. God plans to use the ready and unashamed to reach the lost and I pray that means me and you!

Make disciples. As believers, we are instructed by God’s word to earnestly contend for the gospel. Paul was inspired to teach this as we saw above (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Jesus instructed His followers to teach and make disciples. He said:

Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

A disciple is a learner, one who keeps on learning and growing in their relationship with Jesus. Jesus commanded us to “Go therefore and make disciples. . . baptizing. . . and teaching them. . ..” This is a charge from Jesus to go on the offensive not be on the defensive.

Jesus said:

Matthew 16:18 – “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [the rock of the gospel of Christ] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

These words of Jesus are offensive in the sense that they are not defensive. Gates don’t attack, they are stationary. Therefore, what Jesus implies is that we need to storm the gates of hell and go on the offensive against every stronghold of the enemy of God. We need to steal back sinners caught in the clutches of the devil and his minions. We need to storm the gates of hell! We should be on a search and rescue mission.

Called to contend for the faith. Other Biblical writers were also inspired by God to exhort about this. Jude was inspired by God to exhort believers to contend for the faith:

Jude 3 – “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Always be ready to give a defense. This is what Peter said too:

1 Peter 3:15-16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”

Count the cost. Many have given their lives because they would not back down from contending for the faith. One example of this is Stephen of whom it was stated:

Acts 6:8-10 – “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.”

Stephen was martyred because of his confident, unashamed presentation of the gospel (Acts 7).

Get in the game and compete. The Apostle Paul spoke of and lived out a holy competition against other religions for the sake of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:25). He at times saw the need to confront others who were in error for the sake of the Gospel (Galatians 2:11). He spoke of striving for the sake of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27). He boldly presented the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:2). He rebuked people who strayed from the Gospel (Titus 1:13). He exhorted people to speak God’s truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). When was the last time we saw any such things in the Church? Today much of the Church has relinquished its authority. I’m not talking about being belligerent or harsh. I’m talking about being ready and unashamed to speak God’s truth in love no matter what.

Don’t be a victim. Take a stand! Today Christians are being decapitated persecuted. Today segments of the Church are being literally bulldozed along with their churches. There is a time to act passively. It is always time to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). But there is also a time, as our Savior modelled for us, to overturn tables! (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; John 2:15). We need to get back to Spirit filled Book of Acts living. We need to be known once again as those who turn this topsy turvy world right side up! (Acts 17:6).

Go to war. For Paul life was a war being waged for the Gospel. In this last regard he was inspired by God to write:

1 Timothy 1:18 – “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,”

1 Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Can’t you just feel the passion in these words of Paul? Later in Romans we will see that Paul was willing to give up his own salvation for the lost (Romans 9:1-3). Paul was all in when it came to reaching the lost. Paul counted the cost of His Savior Jesus. He was ready and unashamed to do whatever it took to see sinners saved (especially his own countrymen). That passionate readiness and determination is what God wants in us.

Have a Tribulation saint mindset. John the apostle wrote of the Tribulation saints who overcame the devil and his allies. John noted how God’s people overcame the enemies of God with a bold testimony:

Revelation 12:11 – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

The Gospel of Jesus is nothing to be ashamed of; it stands the test and proves superior in every way to every other alternative. There is only one way, the Gospel of Jesus Christ way. The epistle to the Romans is an inspired writing of God to His people that clarifies His Gospel and gives them ammunition to ward off and defeat all opponents. The epistle of Romans is not only an apologetic defense of the faith, it is a polemic battle cry for the believer to storm the gates of hell and steal the lost out of the clutches of the devil.

But Always Speak the Truth in Love in the Spirit. We have been sharing some militant words here. There is indeed a certain militancy about the ministry of God. But lest we get the wrong impression and go out in our own strength with an uninformed and misdirected zeal (see Romans 10:1-4; Acts 9:1-2) we need to understand the method and the manner ordained by God.

First, the means used by the unashamed in the attack is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. If the unashamed goes out in their own strength, they will fail. We have centuries of Church embarrassment to testify to the validity of that truth. The Church was never meant to be a human organization. The Church is the body of Christ. Jesus is the Head of the Church. The Holy Spirit is the One who empowers, guides, and works in and through God’s people and the Church. This is a truth principle found throughout the Bible but here are two supporting verses:

Zechariah 4:6 – “So he answered and said to me: 1 “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”

Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Keep your sword sharp. “The sword of the Spirit. . . is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). A good soldier knows their weapon. Military recruits are trained to take apart and put back together their weapon, IN THE DARK! The word of God is the weapon of the Christian. You need to know God’s word, cover to cover, backwards and forwards, sideways and every ways. You need to know the details and the general overview of God’s word.

The word of God is the language of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the revelation of God found in God’s word. The Spirit gives us our commands to engage the enemy, in His word. If you don’t know His words, you won’t be able to hear His commands. Like a soldier in deep enemy territory, without communication with command, you will be easy prey fo the enemy.

To rely on the Spirit leads the unashamed to go out not in their own perceived authority (which is really no authority at all) but to go directed by the Spirit inspired word. And the mission is to proclaim the Spirit inspired word. This is seen in the following verses:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Rely on our Commander. Peter sums up the need to rely on God when he is inspired to write:

1 Peter 4:11 – “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

If we rely on the wisdom of this world and our own opinion and strength to be ready, we will end up inevitably ashamed of what we are and are doing. If on the other hand, we go out relying on the empowerment of the Spirit and the holy, inspired, inerrant word of God, we will be confident, bold, and inevitably more than a conqueror in Christ. For when we rely on the Spirit and His word, we cannot but please our God. And He is the only One we really need to be concerned about pleasing.

Second, the manner in which the unashamed go on the attack is in God’s love. Yes, we are in a war, but Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). It’s in war time that such love has the most opportunity to be fulfilled.

The greatest expression of love. Have you ever heard of The Soldiers Creed? It was created in 2003 but was a practice in spirit long before that. It states:

The Soldiers Creed

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team.

I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained, and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.

I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America, in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

We too are members of a team, a church team. We too are servants. We too are on a mission. We too will never (or should never) accept defeat. We too should never quit. We too, as disciples, should be disciplined. We too should be ready with the weapon of God’s word. We too should be expert in God’s ways. We too should always be ready for deployment by the Lord. And we too, in the love of Jesus, should “never leave a fallen comrade” behind.

Wreck enemy words, rescue the enemy from death. Our fighting strategy is expressed in the words, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but might in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10:4-6). We aim to destroy falsehoods and deception, but we don’t want to destroy people in the process. Those who have strayed should be sought out and recovered if possible. And we sacrifice, in love, so as to leave no one behind. We lay down our lives for friends and those around us. That’s what Jesus did for us, for His enemies. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Therefore, we wreck enemy words, but rescue the enemy from death. That is what we should do too.

Speak God’s truth in love. We are not to reduce the sword of the Spirit to a jagged edged machete used to hack people up with our “truths.” No, truth loses its meaning to the hearer when it is delivered in any way but the love of the Spirit.

Paul was inspired to say these words:

Ephesians 4:11-15 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”

What we say and do must be said and done in the love of the Lord. Anything done without God’s love is worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). This love is from God and is our motivation as Paul is again inspired to write:

Romans 5:5 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

That should be our heart attitude with which we go on the attack for the Lord and His Gospel. We are to love people into the kingdom of God.

How about you, are you ready and unashamed of the Gospel of Christ? Or are you suffering from spiritual muscle atrophy, apathy, or anemia? The Gospel of Christ is set forth in the epistle to the Romans and is a powerful holy weapon from God. We should put the Gospel on like wearing a pair of war boots for battle (Ephesians 6:15).  But we should be motivated by the greatest force in eternity, love. Let the Lord of Christ compel the solider of Christ. If we do that, we can’t lose, because “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Let’s commit Christ’s calling on us to prayer, and let’s pray He empower us to reach the lost and defend the Faith. In Jesus’ name may it be so. Amen!

 

[i]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This