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Friday, February 10, 2023

Romans 1:16

"When Not To Be Ashamed"

Message summary: As our world continues its plunge into wickedness and shamelessly promotes it, Christ’s true church needs to unashamedly stand firm for this Gospel even if it requires suffering. We know how this story ends!

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“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Being ashamed of one’s behavior or attitude can be a healthy response to our wrong, a sign of being convicted. Due to the way things have changed it is much more rare than in the past since it seems there is an attempt to justify every behavior or attitude these days.

I recall a time of healthy shame in my life growing up in the sixties in the little town of Belton Missouri. I was a bit of a rascal and certainly would have been considered hyperactive but it wasn't a disease then (now it's called ADHD).

I very specifically recall my first school paddling when I was in first or second grade. I, along with a couple of other boys, was escorted out into the hallway at Cambridge Elementary School. My paddling was administered by the principal, who brought a big paddle he kept hanging on the wall, as my teacher, Mrs. Dustin, looked on.

Our infraction was forming a circle and spinning around, singing a “rowdy” song that went something like this, “Motor boat, motor boat, round and round”. I suppose we got carried away (perhaps even wildly so) as we spun around until we splattered ourselves on the floor. Frankly this is a rather petty stunt compared to today’s school environment, but I had done wrong according to my authority. Perhaps Mrs. Dustin had asked us to take our seats and we ignored her; I don’t remember the details.

I just knew I had misbehaved and was properly shamed, especially when I had to return to the classroom in tears (humiliating even at that age, especially when you're trying to portray yourself as a hot shot). I got no sympathy when I got home either. That shame had a formative part in my life such that I recall it over 60 years later!

Being ashamed is feeling shame or guilt or embarrassment or even remorse in some instances. It describes one’s consciousness of guilt.

There are certainly valid reasons to be ashamed. This kind of shame is diminishing in our present tolerant, permissive culture. Albert Mohler writes, “The crying shame is the absence of the conviction of sin, and that absence is explained by the cultural disappearance of God as moral judge.” 

But there are cases in which we need to boldly declare, “I am not ashamed!” which is the case in today’s message.

The word, "nevertheless" in our text is significant. Paul had just referred to his suffering, which included his present imprisonment. The conjunction ‘nevertheless’ is one which expresses strong contrast. Thus the candid reality of Paul’s present suffering is set in contrast to his assurance of God’s steadfast love and care. His basis for being unashamed was that "
I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day". That is a basis we also can declare with confidence and the basis of an older song that has often blessed me!

I have also been so blessed by a newer song by Shane and Shane (link below) that declares:

I’m fighting a battle
That You’ve already won
No matter what comes my way
I will overcome
I don’t know what You're doing
But I know what You’ve done
I’m fighting a battle that
You’ve already won

Commentator W.E. Vine expounds on this freedom from shame:

“Paul’s example of freedom from shame was intended as an incentive to his younger fellow missionary to show the same confidence and endurance. He who is conscious of pleasing God has no reason for feelings of shame through experiencing any form of suffering in consequence. Faithfulness to God frees the believer from bondage to human opinion, regard, and reward.”

Peter wrote, “But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this Name” (1 Peter 4:16).

Paul declared in one of our favorite verses in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel”. Today we stand, along with millions of others, who continue to maintain and proclaim to a resistant, rejecting world that this glorious Gospel “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” That is the main message the world needs to hear.

Every one of us who believes in the Biblical Gospel has this call and the motto of every Christian should be, "I am not ashamed". As our world continues its plunge into wickedness and shamelessly promotes it, Christ’s true church needs to unashamedly stand firm for this Gospel even if it requires suffering. We know how this story ends! Today, as individuals scattered around the world, let us stand unashamedly for this Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only power of God for salvation, so let us be faithful in proclaiming it!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when our lives have been transformed by Your saving power through salvation how can we not boldly proclaim, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” It is Christ’s power that enables us to follow the path of the cross rather than the path of evil. If our commitment to follow You costs us nothing, then it is ineffective and hypocritical when we assert to others that we are believers. I want to tell the world that I’m a Christian. I’m not ashamed Christ’s name to bear. I’ll tell the world how Jesus saved me and how He gave me a life brand new. My life, my all is His forever, and where He leads me I will go; unashamed and unafraid to proclaim His holy name. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"You've Already Won"  Video   Shane & Shane  This song has really blessed me since discovering it several weeks ago. In this version I am also heartened by the expression of faith in our young people. It's one of those songs I hope we eventually sing in our church!

There’s peace that outlasts darkness
Hope that's in the blood
There’s future grace that's mine today
That Jesus Christ has won
So I can face tomorrow
For tomorrow’s in Your hands
All I need you will provide
Just like you always have

There’s mercy in the waiting
Manna for today
And when it’s gone I know you’re not
You are my hope and stay
When the sea is raging
Your Spirit is my help
He’ll fix my eyes on Jesus Christ
And I’ll say that is well
Oh I know that it is well

I know how the story ends
We will be with you again
You’re my Savior my defense
No more fear in life or death
I know how this story ends

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"  Video  Heritage Singers

"I Know Whom I Have Believed"  Video  Joslin Grove Choral Society

"I'll Tell the World"  Video  Steve Darmody

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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