Today I want to share a few brief notes and observations from that sermon - which can be seen here:
The main verse was Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (of Jesus Christ), for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and th en to the Greek.
But to understand where Paul was coming from, you need to look back before the For to see what was in verses 14 and 15:
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. So I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel..."
Paul felt that he was Obligated to share this message, he had to do it, there was no option here, the message was that important, it was that Powerful.
Remember, I believe the most important point of this is to remember that Paul made these points as he was going into Rome. Not only could he expect imprisonment, but Paul (who was a man of great prominence, stature, and notoriety, "boastful qualities since birth") was also less than a nobody. Rome could not have cared less that he was circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee. Paul was a poor insignificant Jew who sewed tents - no different than the other few hundred of his countrymen living in the Roman ghetto. He was poor, he was traveled, he was dusty and dirty (not to mention a lengthy criminal record...), and walking into the center of power and wealth.
As he would have walked into this seat of power with his dusty sandals, dirty feet, and traveled clothes, he claimed (this poor refuge) he had the single most important secret the world had ever known - something so powerful it could save them all (not to mention the audacity to say they needed saving in the first place!)
It was in this scenario that he yields to obligation and says he is Not ashamed of the gospel.
The 'good news' Paul was presenting, the Romans would find foolish, the story of a man dying a criminals death by the single most shameful death available in the world (on a cross) was to save them. He was not ashamed.
The gospel message wasn't what made him unashamed, in fact, the gospel he was presenting was the very thing that had, was, and always would cause him to be shamed - but the Power of it to bring salvation to EVERYone was what made him not be Ashamed Of it.
We will be misunderstood, misquoted, chastised, accused of division and elitism, and we will be shamed, but we should not be Ashamed.
Remember, it is the Power of the message, the message that Paul says Just before making this statement is his Obligation to share with everyone!
Jesus was shamed his whole life. See, in Hebrews 12:2 it says that Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, “For the JOY set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.
Jesus was Shamed just as Paul was Shamed, just as we all at times are Shamed, but Jesus told shame, No. No, I will not quit, I will not stop, I will not yield, I will not let you take me because I can offer Hope and a future, I can offer Joy, I came to give Abundant life, I am SALVATION and the JOY of that message cannot be stopped.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life; No man comes to the Father buy by me”. That is absolute truth. Our story may be crazy, and our level of comfort with sharing it changes day to day year to year decade to decade, but that message is the Power of God for Salvation for ALL.
John Piper says it like this,
“You will be shamed for the Gospel, but you do not have to be Ashamed of the Gospel."