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Ashamed of the Gospel?

Ashamed of the Gospel?

Do you find yourself hesitant to share your faith with the people around you?  Do you get flustered when asked about what you believe or your opinion on religious matters?

Many Christians find themselves in this condition.  As we continue our study in Romans, Paul gives us the answer to this.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:14-16

We probably all know by now that the word Gospel in the Bible is a Greek word that literally means the Good News.  What is this Good News?

According to the verse above, it’s the power of God to save everyone.  That’s the Good News in a nutshell.  God is powerful enough to save all who come to Him.

Because of this truth, Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed” of this Good News.  But that statement leads us to a thought provoking question.  If I am ashamed of it, is it really the Gospel?

Think about this illustration for a moment.  You were just promoted to Vice President of your company and your salary was doubled.  Would you be too ashamed to tell anyone about that good news?  If you had just won a new car, would you be too ashamed to speak about that?

When it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have to ask, what is it that we’re ashamed of and why?  Is it even the Good News that we’re talking about?

If I were to ask people “What is the Gospel?”, I would probably receive many answers.  There are a host of believers who are actively trying to “win the lost.”  They would most likely give me very Biblical answers.

What I want to know are the perceptions of those who hear the Gospel.  From talking with unbelievers who have been “witnessed to” I could boil it down to the following: “You’re an evil sinner going to hell, but if you repeat a special prayer you can go to Heaven.”

If that’s what they got out of an encounter with a Christian, then something’s wrong with our approach.  There’s no way to demonstrate a statement like that.  That’s why so many unbelievers are bitter toward those who have tried and failed to convert them.

We need to return to a true understanding of what the Good News is all about.  Here’s an example of Jesus’ ministry.

“The time has come,” he said.  “The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!”

Mark 1:15

Jesus made two statements.  The kingdom of God is near was the Good News.  The Lord then told the people how to respond to this Good News.

Repent and believe is not the Good News, it’s the response that’s needed.  We must learn that the power is in the Good News, not in the response to the Good News.  In many cases, we have started calling the response, the Gospel.  You cannot go out preaching “repent and believe” and assume you’re bringing the Gospel to the world.

When it comes to the Good News, one size doesn’t fit all.  There are gang members and single moms, Wall St. executives and the homeless.  Is the Good News the same for all of them?

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the response to the Good News must be the same for all people.  But the message itself will be different depending upon who you’re talking to.  This is how God established it in His Word.

God, Himself, gave us four Gospels.  Matthew was written for the Jews and Mark for the Romans.  Luke was for the Greeks and John contained Good News for the Christian.

It’s a fact that religious people need to hear something different than the unchurched.  The Bible itself describes the Good News in many ways.  It’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, of God, of Christ, of God’s grace, of your salvation, and the Gospel of peace.

Of course, no matter how the Gospel message is tailored to an audience, Jesus Christ is central.  Furthermore, it all must be demonstrated by the power of the Holy Spirit in order for the world to see the full picture.

Question: How can you bring the Good News to those in your sphere of influence?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2020 in Power of God, The Gospel

 

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The Last Days – The days of Noah #returnofChrist

UmbrellaIn my last post I talked about a statement that Jesus made to the church.  In it He warns us that the last days before His return would be similar to the days of Noah.  What was that like?  Things were going along business as usual.

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
Genesis 6:5

That sounds very familiar.  God saw how great man’s wickedness had become.  People’s thoughts would turn in the direction of evil all the time.  Our society is like that today.  The main concern of most people is, “How can I satisfy myself?”  That’s fallen man’s cry from morning until night. Both Noah’s society and what we see happening around us today sound the same to me.

You know the rest of the story.  God shows Noah His plan.  Noah obeys and builds the ark for the saving of his family.  But what does all that have to do with the return of Christ?  Jesus is making a comparison here.

The world was filled with violence during the days of Noah.  Our society is plagued with the same things as well.  We see wickedness, evil thoughts, corruption, and violence all around us.  If you live in the inner city, violence is a way of life.  Unfortunately, it’s moving out more and more into the countryside, just like it was in the days of Noah.  What is this leading to?

On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.  They had with them every wild animal according to its kind…Then the Lord shut him in.
Genesis 7:13-16

Just like it was in THE DAYS of Noah, they were eating, drinking, and marrying right up until THE DAY Noah entered the ark.  Scripture says “the very day” Noah entered the ark.  At that point the flood came.

Did they have any warning that the flood was coming?  They sure did!  Noah had been warning them for about one hundred years.  That’s how long it took him to build the ark.

What we need to understand is that when the door to the ark was finally shut it was too late.  Here is a very important question.  Who shut the door to the ark?  Please pay careful attention to this fact.  It was God who shut the door.  Noah didn’t shut it, and he couldn’t open it.

Once that door was shut, no one could change their mind and get in.  It was too late.  I’m sure that when the rain started falling, there were people pounding on that door.  But when God shuts the door, the time of repentance is over.

I believe that there will be a day when God will close the door to salvation.  That’s why it’s imperative that we preach the Good News while God’s ark of salvation remains open.

Question: What are you doing to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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How We Water Down the Gospel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo we proclaim the same Gospel as the early church did?   Is there something missing from our experience that would make a big difference?  I believe that we’re lacking one of the greatest aspects of the Gospel.  We need to return to this truth if we’re going to impact our generation for Christ.

In my last post I talked about the need to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  In today’s post I want to explain exactly what that means.  Here’s one of the verses I looked at last time.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.  You know how we lived among you for your sake.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

I have heard people explain this verse by saying, “The hearers were convicted by the Holy Spirit.  That’s the power Paul’s talking about.”  I simply can’t agree with that kind of thinking.  Paul said that the Gospel came to them with power AND the Holy Spirit, AND deep conviction.

Even the very word conviction that Paul used was a Greek word that means many assurances.  It was something that could be seen and experienced by the unbelievers receiving the Good News.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

As you can see, I’m not using some isolated verse without context.  This teaching runs throughout the New Testament.  The Good News must be demonstrated.  That demonstration can only be energized by the power of God.  It is beyond our human ability to walk on that level if we rely upon our own strength, wisdom, and knowledge.

I fear that too many Christians allow their faith to rest on man’s wisdom, because they have never seen a demonstration of the power of God.  There are so many believers that have never seen a healing or a miracle.  They have never heard an anointed prophecy or someone speaking in the heavenly language.  There are Christians that have never witnessed someone delivered from demonic possession or oppression.

As a result the Good News, in most cases, has merely become an intellectual debate.  On many occasions, what we call the Gospel today, is void of any power to change the direction of a life impacted by it.

The church needs to do what it takes to once again walk in this life-changing power.  In short – we need revival.  We must admit that we’ve lost something along the way and allow the Lord to make the necessary adjustments.

Questions: Do you think the modern “American Gospel” has the same impact as the early church?  If not, what must we do to change?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Power of God, Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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