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.
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!”
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