daily Broadcast

I Am Not Ashamed of The Gospel

From the series Less is More

Have you ever been around a Christ-follower who genuinely cares about lost people and thought, I wish I cared like that? In this program, Chip wraps up his series, Less is More: Decluttering Your Time with God. As he opens his Bible to Romans 1:16, Chip reveals what it means to be an unashamed witness for Jesus and explains how you can share the Gospel with your unbelieving friends and family.

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Message Transcript

It was just a few weeks ago I was sitting in church and our pastor, Tim is teaching through the book of Acts and beginning to talk about this passion that the early Church had to share the good news. And, you know, I have taught the book of Acts before and Tim is a very, very good man, a good pastor. But I have always appreciated, he is insightful. He seems to see things that I never see and then I look in the text and I say, “Wow, it’s right there.”

And as Tim was walking through the book of Acts, over and over, this passion of caring about lost people and he challenged us in a good way to really think about our neighbors and our friends and family members. And, I mean, I’m a pastor and, you know, I’ve had the privilege of meeting people on planes and doing some things around the world.

But as I sat there, I really thought to myself, I’ve lost something. That fervor, that deep, deep concern. I thought of some people in my life and in my network that I have started to build some relationships with and it just came to me, Do you really, really care, Chip?

And one of the things that came to my mind was, you know, sometimes I just get distracted and I need to read this and I need to do that. Or, in my case, I need to speak somewhere. And I think it’s easy to sort of, little by little by little, not only get distracted in our time with God, but forget that at the heart of meeting with God is to become like Him. And when we become like Him, the things that are on His heart become things that get more and more on our heart.

And in my earlier years, and maybe some of you are listening going, Oh, wow, I don’t want to hear this again. I already feel guilty about, you know, not sharing Christ with some family members or sharing Christ at work or etcetera, etcetera. I’m not going to go there.

What I want to say is how do we allow God to work in us? How do we declutter all this, “Am I holy enough? Am I good enough? Am I a good enough wife? Good enough husband? Good enough student? Is my career going where it needs to be?” I mean, I think we are bombarded, bombarded, bombarded by information and issues that, pretty soon, some of the most very important things, the critical things, part of our very purpose for being here, they just somehow get excluded.

And so, we are talking about Less is More. And my “less is more” verse for our time together today is Romans 1:16. It’s a verse I memorized many, many years ago. And what I want to do is walk through this one verse. You’ll probably have it memorized by the time we end our time together.

And I want you to think about this when you drive. I would really encourage you to, jot it into your phone in the notes or, even better, write it out by hand on a 3x5 card and put it somewhere you can see it and before you go to bed.

But just this one verse, the apostle Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” For I am not ashamed of the gospel.

And what I want to do is just meditate on this with you and just rather than the guilt and the oughts and the shoulds, let’s think about what these key words are. He says, “I’m not ashamed.” I want you to think about the last time that you were ashamed of something or someone, maybe even of yourself.

The picture that comes to my mind is, you know, we’re a little bit more open about our emotions and things when we are young. And I remember somehow making the varsity team early in my high school career in basketball. And I was hanging out with the cool kids and they are all a couple years, older than me.

And then a couple of my really good friends, they lived near me, they were faithful, they were really good buddies, but they were not cool. And I remember one of them coming up to, “Hey, Chip! How are you doing?” Just like, you know, when we’re hanging out near my house, but I’m with the cool kids.

And I remember this shrinking back and almost acting like I didn’t really know them. And getting this look from their eyes to my eyes like, What’s with you? And what I realized was I so wanted to be cool, I so wanted to be accepted, I was ashamed of my uncool friends. And, you know, this was long before I became a follower of Jesus, but I do believe the Lord works in our lives in many different ways.

And there was a senior on the basketball team who was mostly a football player; he never got to play. And now I’m being moved up and getting some playing time. And I was very arrogant, very mouthy. And he decided to put me in my place.

And I threw a bad pass and he gets it and he is coming down, like I am getting back on defense, he’s coming full speed, and he gets to be about ten feet and, I mean, he puts his head down and I’ve, you know, I’ve learned I’m going to take a charge.

So, I stand there and he’s about, I don’t know, two-twenty, six-five, full-speed. He throws the ball off to the side, lowers his head, and, bam! Hits me, I hit the ground, slide all the way underneath the basket all the way into the wall. And I hear the coach yelling, “Ingram! Get up! Get up!” And I get up and one shoulder is at about a forty-five-degree angle. And, you know, my arm is just sort of hanging there. And I broke my collar bone.

And I remember, uh, you know, the first couple days, a couple cheerleaders came over and one or two of the cool kids. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe it was one day. And they all disappeared. And my two buddies that were my real friends, they came by about every day.

I remember, I mean, I’m not that smart, but I really remember making a decision that, you know something? Being in the cool group is really overrated. And I’m not going to be ashamed of my friends. They are the ones who really care.

It’s really kind of crazy for a kid as young as I was to just have this moment of awareness that it’s really easy to so want the approval of people that you think matter and really not honor the people that matter most. And the apostle Paul here is saying to all of us, “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” not just of Christ, but the gospel. That’s the next word. And the word “gospel” literally, it means good news.

I think sometimes, and maybe this is me, but I think sometimes we’ve gotten the idea that the gospel is like this sales pitch we need to make. And we need to really confront people with this sales pitch and then we need to get it all right and then we need to have this moment where we say, you know, “Is there anything keeping you from receiving the gospel right now?” And we kind of get this built up. The fact of the matter, the word “gospel” wasn’t just used of Scripture, but it was an announcement - announcement often made by a king.

Someone would blow a big trumpet and, “We have an announcement.” And the word literally is good news: euangelion. There is good news; there is something great that has happened. And so, you know, a king might make a big announcement, “Hey! I just want to let you all know, you know, like, everybody here is going to get two extra bushels of wheat.” Or, “I want you to know that the army came back and we won this big victory and we are going to have a great big party tomorrow!”

And so, the gospel really is not a sales pitch that we need to corner people in and get every aspect of what we are going to say and how we are going to say it. He says, “I’m not ashamed of this good news.” And then in verse 17 he tells us that the good news is this message that God the Son took on human flesh and lived a perfect life, died in our place for all people, and rose from the dead. And in doing so, His death on the cross atoned for or covered or paid for the sins of all people of all time.

And then he makes some conditions. “For whoever believes.” You don’t have to receive this free gift. But in other words, this is an announcement. This is like, you know, “Hey, I’ve got the cure for cancer! Anybody got cancer who’s interested?” Well, of course.

And so, I just want you to think about rather than the guilt trip, rather than the why-am-I-so-focused-on-myself, the ultra-introspection. I want you to begin to think today just this one verse, “I am not ashamed of the good news.”

And then he tells us why, “For it is the power of God for salvation.” That word “power” we get our – it’s dunamis – we get our word dynamite. In other words, this gospel, this message, this announcement, this truth – God has put the dynamite power that saves people.

And the word “salvation” here has, it’s the idea, in the Old Testament it was like being delivered, like, out of a bad situation or out of a pit or away from your enemies.

And in the New Testament, salvation really has the idea of: we are delivered out of our sins. We are forgiven of our sins. But the picture really has kind of, like, three tenses. In the past it’s all our past sins are forgiven. That’s what the gospel does. Anything, think right now, you have ever done, you have ever thought, you’re really ashamed of, it’s under the blood of Christ.

God, in His great mercy, in His great love for you and, are you ready? In His great love for those people that irritate you, in His great, great love for some family members that don’t know Jesus, in His great love for people that make fun of you because you do believe in Jesus, in His great love for people that hold a different political persuasion than you, in His great love for those people whose sexual identity is different than yours, in His great love for people that are hostile and of other religions and in their beliefs actually kill people thinking that they are doing a good thing.

The gospel is the power of God for salvation. And that salvation means all past sins are forgiven. It means in the present, the power of sin has been removed. We can live this new life. And in the future, it means the presence of sin will be gone. And it’s just, you know, as someone has said, “It is such a great salvation.” And the power is in the gospel.

I think we get confused sometimes because we think the power is in the messenger instead of the message. And I remember hearing maybe some great evangelists and watching people be spellbound with, you know, a Billy Graham or a Luis Palau or whoever you know and Wow, they have this special gift and it seems like when they speak and they talk, I mean, people lean in and God really works. And you can kind of get the idea that it’s them. And this text says, no, that’s not it. The power is in the gospel. It’s in the message, not the messenger.

I’ll never forget a time in my life that God decided to show this to me. If a lot of these basketball stories bring you fellow hoopers back into what we’re really talking about here, great. And if it’s like, Man, Chip, is all you have is basketball stories? Well, I played full-court with young guys until I was about sixty. I am a basketball addict.

And so, in my early days after college, I played on an international team and played all the Olympic and selection teams of every country in South America, save Uruguay. And we had a really good team. We had a seven-footer, two six-eleven guys, all major college guys save me and a couple guys. And I’m not sure how I got on the team, but I’m glad I did.

And so, I mean, you know, we had these red, white, and blue uniforms. And we had played, I mean, we played two or three games a day. The big games, Olympic teams were at night. And I had memorized my testimony in Spanish and had a couple years in high school and a year in college. So, I wasn’t fluent, but I could share my testimony and share the gospel clearly.

And we were now in Chile going to all these cities and we made it finally to the southernmost city in the world: Punta Arenas. Our summer is their winter. It was cold. I was exhausted. We played some really, really hard games.

And so, we’re in this town and television crews are there and I’m watching them interview people and I just find a corner and I just sit down and I just told the Lord, you know, I’m done. Man, I’m emotionally, I’m physically, I’m fried.

And so, I sit over in the corner and this little boy, maybe ten years old, comes, you know, “Hey, señor!” You know, he starts asking me questions. And I’m just thinking, I mean, in my heart of hearts, Kid, just get out of here. I mean, please, just get out of here. I really don’t want to talk to you.

And he just, “Señor, why are you here? And what is this?” And we’re a Christian team. “Well, tell me about Jesus.” And literally, in my mind I’m thinking, I mean, it wasn’t quite this bad but you just need to hear it went something like this: Look, kid, I don’t want to talk to you right now, but here’s the story. God loves you very, very much. And Jesus, fully God and fully man came, lived this perfect life, He died in your place to forgive your sin. He rose from the dead.”

I shared the gospel as halfhearted as you can share the gospel. Super clearly, however. And did it in Spanish and, you know, like, and then, okay, you know. “Shoo, kid.”

And so, later we were playing a game and I did not have one of my better games for obvious reasons. My attitude wasn’t good. And usually right after the game then we would have people come down and we would talk for sometimes an hour. People would come out of the stands. And on this particular day, it was like, I’m done.

And so, I said, “God, if You want someone to talk to me, You bring them to me.” I mean, I don’t suggest this is how you should live your life. But this is a moment of weakness and there’s a major point to it.

So, I went over and just sat down on the bench and all the other players are out there and hundreds of people have come down and there’s interaction everywhere. And pretty soon I look up and I’ve got a group of about twenty people. And I’m sitting and they are all around me.

And, I mean, that’s where God pricked my heart and said: Chip, would you get off yourself? I brought you here. I love these people. Share with them clearly and powerfully how they can have a relationship with Me. I died for them. And I got a Holy Spirit spanking real quickly and it was, Okay, Lord.

And, I mean, I clearly, passionately engaged with them, shared the gospel. And so, I said, “Has anyone ever placed your faith in Christ as I have talked about this here today?” And I hear this voice in the back, “Si, señor! Si, señor! Si, señor!” And this little ten-year-old that was at the airport, comes to the front and begins to explain how, “Yes, I did after I talked with you.”

And my point is this: you know, the power is in the message. Paul says: I am not ashamed of this great, amazing news that Christ has died in our place and He loves us and He’ll forgive anyone and everyone who does – what? Who believes. But the gospel is the power of salvation.

And it’s to everyone and it’s for everyone. And so, I just want to encourage you today. I don’t know how you feel about your frequency of sharing the gospel. I know for a season I found myself sharing my testimony or giving, you know, a little nugget of this here or there.

And in more recent months, especially as I have seen what is happening in the world, I realize the power is in the gospel. And two or three times recently – and this is sort of like, you know sharing a bit of a confession, but also a next step of obedience. There are a lot of ways to share the gospel, right? The bridge illustration, the Romans Road, various ways, lots of easy, clear ways once you have built some relationship.

And just recently I have, rather than just sharing a portion of my testimony, I had my knee replaced. And my physical therapist was there and we became friends and we had sort of a common experience in the Philippines.

And I just so liked him and I was praying, God, give me an opportunity. And one day he asked me a question that led to, you know, a testimony, a little bit about basketball and Christ in the Philippines. And we were getting to my very last day and I thought, God, You love this man. And You want to see Him with You. And it’s not like all the world’s pressure is on me but I feel compelled. Would You give me the boldness to share with him?

And I think the enemy blinds us to thinking people aren’t really open when Jesus said that the fields are white for harvest.

And we were getting near the end of my physical therapy and I said, “Hey, I know we have just a few minutes left and you need to go see another client. But do you have, like, three, five minutes max? Could I share a picture with you?” And, he looked at me like, “Of course!”

And I had, hoping this would become a reality, I had drawn on an eight-and-a-half by eleven sheet of paper, like, a cliff. Two sides. And I walked through the bridge illustration where, you know, man is on one side, God is on the other.

And I put a picture of the cross that bridges it and explained, you know, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin is death or separation from God forever and that’s bad news and it’s true of all of us.

And then on the other side I said, “Over here, but here’s the good news is that while we were yet sinners, while we were God’s enemies, Christ died in our place and whoever would believe in Him, whoever would receive Jesus, turn from their sin and in the empty hands of faith and receive Christ, that God says, ‘To those who believe, I will give you eternal life.’” It’s a gift. To everyone who receives Christ, to them He gives the right or the authority or the power to become a child of God.

And I had a little pen and I’d draw the picture and I said, “Where are you?” And he put a little spot, you know, over on the left side. And I said, “Would you like to be on the right side?” He goes, “I sure would.” And I said, “Are you ready to do that today?” And I knew he really got it. He said, “You know, I’m not quite ready, because this is a big decision. I’m real familiar with God, but I have never understood this. I’d like to pray and think about this.”

I said, “Well, would you know what to do when you are ready to receive this free gift with all the implications?” And he said, “Absolutely.” And so, I just want to tell you, let’s, today, focus on one verse. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Why? “For it is the power of God,” for what? “…salvation.” To who? “To everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

May God give you the boldness that you desire to love the people that God loves so much and I know that you care about.