“For I am not ashamed of the gospel!” declared the Apostle Paul. This declaration is found in the beginning of his letter to the Romans. This is where we start our Ignite series. The heart of these messages is to kindle a passion to proclaim the glorious message of the gospel. How do you feel about the gospel? If we want to ignite a passion to proclaim the gospel then we need to make Paul’s declaration our own. So let’s start with a question: Why would Paul, the bold missionary and great church planter, one who God used to ignite the early church with a gospel passion – why would he have to say he is not ashamed? Isn’t that to be assumed?
Paul understood the current cultural climate in Rome. In one of the most powerful cities in the world, Christians faced ridicule and persecution. Paul knew the believers in Rome would be feeling sheepish, a bit embarrassed, even ashamed of the gospel. It was contentious and controversial in the public arena of culture. Is the gospel not contentious and controversial in our time? God knew the Roman believers needed reasons not to be ashamed and we do too.
Power of the Gospel
First, Paul understood the power of the gospel for he says, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the most powerful message in the world because it comes from God, because it changes lives eternally and it is extended to all who respond in faith. Paul knew God’s message, His Word, was sufficient to save.
Experience the Gospel
Second, Paul experienced first hand that God uses His glorious message of the gospel to transform lives. His live had been dramatically and eternally changed (Acts 9). Paul also saw the extent of God saving power through the gospel. Everywhere he traveled and proclaimed the gospel, people were receiving salvation.
Paul’s desire was for the Romans to know God’s word is power and then to experience it firsthand as they respond in faith. In order for us to ignite a passion to proclaim the gospel, we must first believe the gospel is the power of God and second we must experience it in our own lives today. The gospel must move from your head to your heart then to your hands and feet. As it does, it will be like kindling of God’s spirit moving, like a spark of fire, our hearts will ignite and we will go and herald the good news of Christ.
May a contagious culture of evangelism start in your life now. May you say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel!”