“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16a, NIV)
Somehow those of us who follow Jesus have become ashamed of the gospel. We live by the old adage, “There are two things you don’t talk about: religion and politics.” Except we do talk about politics, incessantly (just scroll Facebook sometime… on second thought, don’t waste your brain on Facebook). We’re not ashamed of whether we support the President or wish he would resign early. Yet, we feel like we have to hide our allegiance to the only One who really matters. I wonder what would happen if we were as passionate about our King as we are about our President?
We’re worried our friends will be offended if we talk about Jesus. We don’t want our neighbors to think we’re weird. The last thing we need is more awkwardness when our extended family gathers for a holiday. Even church leaders have bought into this thinking.
For 30+ years, many churches have felt the need to downplay their Christianness and disguise their churchiness. Let’s build church buildings that don’t look like church buildings. Let’s dress in less churchy clothes (gone are the days of wearing your Sunday best to meet with the King of the Universe… I wonder how we’d dress to meet with the President?). Let’s make the music in worship more of a show than a corporate act of praise. Let’s make the preaching less “offensive” and more self-help pop-psychology. Instead of serving others and meeting the needs of our community in the name of Christ, let’s plan more entertainment for people. Maybe somewhere along the way we can pull the old bait-and-switch. They thought they were coming for free candy, but they got a Bible verse instead!
Standing with Paul and declaring Romans 1:16 for ourselves is part of what God is calling LakeView to do as He leads us into a new era of being (not just doing) the church. We are not embarrassed to follow Jesus. We don’t need to downplay the fact that we the people of LakeView are a family of disciples living for the glory of Christ and the common good. In a world where every movement contrary to God’s Word celebrates its own “pride,” we stand resolutely on Jesus’ side without apology. We don’t fight with the world–our battle is won through love, sacrifice, and suffering. We serve, we give, we worship, we proclaim the good news of Jesus. We don’t hide our faith. We are not ashamed of the gospel!
Hopefully, that’s becoming true of us individually as it becomes true of us corporately. Warren Wiersbe once said, “If you were arrested today for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” My prayer for this week is that we all go and start leaving evidence!