Monday, June 19, 2006

I Am Not Ashamed

Rom.1:17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ...
Paul was a thoroughly educated man and fluent in several languages. He had studied the law and was a teacher of the Old Testament. His credentials were impeccable. So it would be natural that he would be mocked and questioned by his former colleagues when it came to his new found faith. Come on, Paul, where is all your learning? You studied at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the most respected teachers in the civilized world. You were a Pharisee of Pharisees, a leader among the most astute religious minds of your day. And now, instead of bringing us a higher plane of Spiritual thought which would appeal to our intellectual prowess, you come preaching a "dead Jew on a Roman cross". Come on, Paul, reconsider and come back to us.

We live in a world of incredible knowledge and sophistication. Technological breakthroughs are the norm and computers boggle the mind. The average $300 home computer is several times more powerful than the one that flew to the moon on the Apollo spacecraft. We've seen the surface of Mars and the bottom of the ocean. From space we can see a picture so clear on earth you can read the headlines of the newspaper someone is reading. And yet the true gospel of Jesus Christ has not progressed technologically. Are you telling me that among all the breathtaking advances in science, astronomy, economics, philosophy, and all the other areas of higher learning, are you saying that you still believe that archaic story about Jesus dying and resurrecting from the dead? Is that what you're telling me?

We live in a world where no one is ashamed of anything anymore. Jerry Springer is not ashamed to offer his senseless show for all to see. Hugh Hefner is not ashamed to proclaim that sex is free for everyone. The gay community is not ashamed to parade publicly to shout their perversion. The talk shows are not ashamed to broadcast their mindless dribble. Hollywood is not ashamed to make their Godless films. The terrorists are not ashamed to film a beheading. And yet we as the church talk about sex, dating, fatherhood, finances, hobbies, success, morality, and a million other fringe issues while we seem to be ashamed of the cross itself. Why not billboards, why not Larry King, why not books, why not television, why not the open, unashamed message of the cross of Jesus Christ wherever we can?

Over a month ago I asked the Lord what could I do to openly, and outside "normal" parameters, witness for Him. Sure I leave tracks and speak for Him when I can, but I wanted Him to direct me to something that would glorify Him. It didn't matter if it was "effective", I wanted to publicly witness for Jesus. He directed me to make a 3 foot by two foot sign and put it on a 2x4 and hold it up. It reads: Prepare Now - I am Coming - Jesus. Now I picked the busiest highway with three turn lanes that don't even fully empty with each light. And I go at rush hour on Friday afternoon, standing for about an hour and a half, with a shirt saying "Following Judah's Lion", and holding high that sign. I know, a real nut. Now let me say that that is nothing compared to being publicly beaten, having your beard pulled out, spit upon, your back lacerated, jeered and mocked, thorns pushed into your skull, forsaken by your loved ones, nailed upon a cross almost naked, and watched like you were some kind of animal on a barbecue spit. If He, the sinless Lamb of God, wasn't ashamed to endure that for me, the least I can do is be a fool for Him.

We live in a church age when the cross of Christ is a side issue. The so called Christian books could easily be placed in the "self help" section of the store. In an effort to appeal to the masses the church has removed the unpleasant parts of the gospel of Christ until all that's left is an earthly "makeover" with a little cross tastefully sprinkled to give it some flavor. The mighty banner of the gospel for which thousands upon thousands of men and women have gladly given their lives for over the centuries, is now no more than a religious perspective that fits comfortably inside an anti-christ culture. In a society that mirrors the description in Romans chapter one, we are accepted as a part. We have left being salt, we are now sugar. God send a revival.



Mike Ratliff said...

Good post. No matter how sophisticated the world gets or technologically advanced it gets, its morals degrade even further. That is why we must not be conformed to this world, but instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we live for God's glory alone, build His Kingdom instead of walking around in ours then we are Not ashamed of the Gospel. This costly grace is costly to our flesh. It is treasure, however, for the Spirit-led.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

JT333 said...

Lord God, use these words as salt that causes the world to thirst for Your Living Waters once again. May Christ be exalted and sinners humbled as we gather at the foot of Your cross, sacrificing our broken, contrite hearts in exchange for Your glory...In Christ

Keep lifting high the cross... God is with you...
Jeremiah 1:17-19