Greg Laurie - Not Ashamed of the Gospel
Romans chapter one. So turn there with me if you would and the title of my message is, Not Ashamed of The Gospel. Pretty much everyone loves power, especially in America. I mean after all we're a super power. People are always into the biggest, the baddest, the fastest. I think guys especially like power for sure. You get a bunch of guys together, especially if they're in a gym and it won't be long until a competition starts, right? That's just the way of men.
The other day I was in the gym with a guy and I challenged him to a push-up competition. Want to point out he's 20 years younger than me. And I don't want to say who won, I won. No, if I had lost, already have my strategy, I would have said, "Oh great, you beat a 65 year-old-man, aren't you proud of yourself"? But then when I won I said, "Oh, you were just beaten by a 65-year-old man". But I'm up to 100 crunches a day right now. Pretty impressive. Nestle's crunches are great. And then if you get guys together around a car and somebody comes with a fast car, everybody wants to look under the hood. How much horsepower does that car have? Now we may never use it, but we love to brag about horsepower.
I read that Dodge has a new car out now, the Challenger Demon. And it has, listen to this, 840 horsepower. Now if you don't know what that means, that's insane. Nobody needs 840 horsepower. It's basically a street-legal dragster. It goes zero to 60 in 2.3 seconds. And they say it even kind of pops a wheelie, a very practical thing when you're driving around at the mall, right? I mean that's a lot of horsepower for sure. And then there's other kinds of power besides that, there's processor power. If you're into computers, processor power. How many gigs you have in that? How much storage do you have in that? And this is a good time to be a nerd by the way. In fact, it is truly the revenge of the nerds 'cause we need them so badly. We really don't need the car with 820 horsepower but we need the guy to help us set up our Netflix account or get our iPhone programmed or get our computer working again, right?
So we're into power of all kinds in our culture. Well, the Romans, they were really in to power. They were known for power. Oh sure, the Greeks had their philosophy but Rome had power and lots of it. There was no military force on the face of the earth more powerful than the legions of Rome. They were feared around the planet. And when Rome would conquer other nations and then take people as slaves, Rome could exert their power but they could not change the human heart, they were powerless to do that. The Roman world was full of violence and corruption and in fact it reminds us a little bit of today. Did you know that Rome had a very high suicide rate? That's interesting because we have a very high suicide rate in America as well. This could be indicated by the top three words that are typed into search engines on Google late at night. The three words are porn, lonely and suicide. That sums it up. Porn, lonely, suicide.
Suicide rates in America have risen 25%. 45,000 Americans take their lives every year. This despite the fact that antidepressant use is up but it doesn't seem to be helping. The National Suicide Prevent lifeline saw calls double from 2014 to 2017. So this is recent history. In just a few years, calls to the suicide hotline have doubled and I think this is only made more clear when you hear of celebrities taking their own lives. And one week as you recall, fashion designer Kate Spade and CNN personality Anthony Bourdain both took their own lives by suicide and tragically in the same way by hanging. I saw an actor being interviewed on television and he himself admitted to struggling with suicidal thoughts. So he traveled around the world and interviewed experts trying to understand why do people feel so despondent, they want to take their own lives.
And here's what he concluded and I quote, he says we have natural physical needs. We need food, water, shelter, clean air. If those are taken away, we're in trouble really fast. Then he went on to say, there is equally strong evidence that people have very strong psychological needs, and I would expand that to spiritual needs. He says you need to feel you belong, you need to feel as though your life has meaning and purpose. You need that people see and value you, and finally he said, you need to feel you have a future that makes sense.
Now here's my response. Are not all of these needs met in a relationship with Jesus Christ? And the answer is yes. And that is why we need to get this message out and we come to Paul's very well-known statement here, in Romans 1:16. I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Quick poll, how many of you are not ashamed of the gospel? Raise up your hand, you're not ashamed, very good. Alright, how many of you have ever personally shared the gospel? Raise up your hand, great. How many of you have had the privilege of personally leading someone to Jesus Christ? Raise up your hand. Wow, it's quite a few of you. And you know, that is not the national statistic.
I read recently that 90% of Christians have never led a person to Jesus. Why do you think that is? The answer is the devil is in the details for sure. Because one thing we know about Satan is he does not want you to share your faith with anybody. And he will do everything he can to keep you from doing it. And know this, when you get out there and say, I'm not ashamed of the gospel and you start looking for opportunities to engage people in evangelistic conversations, you are gonna face satanic opposition in one way, shape or form. The devil's objective is to blind and bind people for life. Again, the devil's objective is to blind and to bind people for life.
2 Corinthians 4:4, it says Satan who's the god of this world has blinded the eyes and minds of those that don't believe. They're unable to see the glorious light of the good news. They don't understand the message about the glory of Christ. So our mission should we decide to accept it, cue Mission Impossible theme, is to lovingly engage these people with the gospel. Because 2 Timothy 2:23 says, perhaps God will change these people's hearts and they'll learn the truth and they will come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap for they've been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. Man, we need to redouble our efforts to do that because America right now seems to be coming apart at the seams. We are so divided, that certainly has shown itself in the confirmation of judge, now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the divide in our nation. And we see gender divide, we see racial divide, we see political divide of course. And it seems to be worse than it's ever been, and we say how are we ever going to put this back together again? It's not a political solution, it's a spiritual solution. We need another Jesus revolution, we need a spiritual awakening.
Listen to this, the world needs to hear the gospel and let Christ change them. But the church needs to live the gospel and give an example to lost people. And when you stop and think about it, Jesus put some pretty unlikely characters together in his home team, the disciples. I mean we think of the disciples like they're standing on little pedestals and they never made mistakes, nothing could be further from the truth. They were extraordinarily ordinary people, just like you, just like me. Jesus called one guy, called Simon the Zealot and he put him together with another guy known as Matthew the Tax Collector.
Now, if you don't know the culture of the time that doesn't mean a lot. Simon the Zealot, what does that mean, the zealot? Does that mean he was very excitable and drank Red Bull all day long? No, a zealot is a word that speaks of someone who is dedicated to the violent overthrow of Rome. You could call him Simon the Anarchist, Simon perhaps even The Terrorist, Simon the Zealot. And then there was Matthew the Tax Collector. Matthew was a Jew also known as Levi, and he was sort of a turncoat from his own people, his fellow Jews, collecting taxes for the occupying force of Rome. So here you have a guy that's in collusion with Rome and you have another guy that's dedicated to the violent overthrow of Rome, and Jesus says to the two of them, now you guys get along and love one another. But Jesus brought these people together and their lives changed.
Think of James and John. They're called the sons of thunder. You don't get a handle like that for nothing. If they were around today, they would definitely be outlaw bikers I think. You'd hear 'em rumbling in five miles away, they'd have Ape hangers handlebars, they'd cruise in, they would have those leather vests, tats up and down their arms. That of course have the obligatory wallet on a chain as all bikers do. And then there might have a knife in their belt, they would come and sit down and you wouldn't want to mess with these guys. On one occasion, they wanted to call fire down on a city because the city was not receptive to the message of Jesus, slightly overkill. And he had one of those brothers, John of James and John, went from being a son of thunder to the apostle of love.
Only God can take a son of thunder and turn him into an apostle of love. Only God can take a Saul of Tarsus, the Christian killer and turn him into the great Apostle Paul, the author of the gospel we're looking at together. And that is why Paul said I'm not ashamed of the gospel. The former Saul of Tarsus knew if God could reach him, anyone could be reached. And so, to this powerful Church in Rome, Paul writes this epistle or really, a letter. And we should be glad he wrote it, because it was his desire to go to Rome but he wasn't able to go when he wanted to go, so he wrote them a letter. And now we study this letter together. Romans is the most basic comprehensive statement of what the gospel is in all of the Bible, in a logical systematic way, Paul knocks down every argument against the gospel and he shows that Christ and Christ alone is our only hope in both the first and the 21st century, and any century to follow.
We're reading now about the first Jesus revolution if you will, when Jesus himself started it and passed this message on to his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. So let's read now from Romans chapter one, we'll read verses eight to 16 and I'm reading from the New King James Version. Paul writes, first they think my God through Jesus Christ for y'all, so we know Paul was southern, for y'all. That your faith is spoken up throughout the whole world for God is my witness whom I serve with my spirit and the gospel of his son, that without ceasing, I make mention of you always in my prayers making requests by some means, now at least I may find a way in the will of God to come to you, for I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift.
Underline that phrase, we'll come back to it. Impart to you some spiritual gift that you may be established, continues on. That is that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware brothers that I often plan to come to you but was hindered until now that I might have some fruit among you also. Underline that too, we'll come back to it. Just as among the Gentiles, I'm a debtor both to Greeks and the barbarians, to wise and unwise. And as much as it is in me I'm ready to preach the gospel to all who are in Rome, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it, is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
Wow, boom, there's some truth there. It's like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant, right? It's just a lot of truth coming our way. So since this was the first Jesus revolution, let's find some takeaway points. If you're taking notes, number one, if you want to be a Jesus revolution Christian, you should be known for your faith. If you want to be a Jesus revolution Christian or a believer like those of the first century, you should be known for your faith. Look at verse eight. I think my God through Christ for you all that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
It wasn't easy to be a Christian in Rome. Rome was of course, the capital of the Roman Empire. It was a center of power, huge population lived there, around a million people. Caesar Nero was in power. Nero was insane. He toward the end of his reign went out of his way to destroy Christians. In fact, it was Caesar Nero that sent Christians to be covered in animal skins into the arenas to be killed by wild animals for sport and the entertainment of the people that were in attendance. It was Caesar Nero that literally covered Christians with pitch and lit them on fire and used them to light his own garden as he rode around in his chariot. Yet, this Church of Rome did not just survive, they flourished and not only did they flourish, but they impacted the Roman Empire and in fact they impacted the whole world. That is why Paul says, you're known for this around the whole world.
Are you known for your faith? If we were to poll people that work with you, that live near you, that know you and we were to ask 'em, is this person a Christian? Would they say, oh yes, no question about it? It's a good thing to be known for. As I've said before, if you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you. And I mean good evidence, not Harvest Crusade bumper stickers, though that's a good thing, I'm all for that.
Number two, if you want to be a Jesus revolution Christian you need to be using your spiritual gifts. If you want to be a Jesus revolution Christian, you need to be using your spiritual gifts. Think of verse 11, I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift that you may be established. I mentioned last time that God gives spiritual gifts to each one of us. And if someone gives you a gift, should you not open it? I love to get gifts for people. And I'll get a gift for my wife occasionally, and maybe I have it wrapped up in a box, I don't wrap it myself. Because I have no wrapping skills at all, and that goes for wrapping gifts and hip-hop as well, no rapping skills. So I'll give this gift and go, "Kathy, I got this for you". Maybe we're out at a meal or something. She'll say okay, and she'll set it aside and eat her meal, I'm like, "Open, open it". "I'll open it later after dessert". "No, no, not after dessert. Open it now, I'm so excited, I think you're really going to like it". So here's God in heaven, he says, I've given you a gift or I've given you gifts, will you open them?
Now are you going, sorry to throw my wife under the bus on this one, but are you gonna just leave them sitting there until after dessert? Hey man, open those gifts that God has given to you, they're spiritual gifts. In fact, we're even told in 1 Corinthians 1:7, we should not come behind at any spiritual gift as we wait for the coming of the Lord. Now later in Romans 12:6-8, Paul talks about these gifts. He says we have different gifts according to the grace that is given to us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him do it in proportion to his faith. If it's serving, let him serve. If it's teaching, let him teach. If it's encouraging, well let him encourage. If it's contributing to the needs of others, then give generously. If it's leadership, let him govern diligently and if it's showing mercy let him do it cheerfully. Note it says we have different gifts. We all have gifts that God has given to us.
Now, when you become a Christian and you ask Christ to come into your life, and you ask him to fill you with His spirit and empower you with the spirit, he will install in you or instill in you I should say, gifts from the spirit. You need to find out what those gifts are and start to use them, why? Because these gifts of the Spirit that God wants to give are not toys to play with, they are tools to build with, and they are weapons to fight with. Let me repeat that again. These gifts that God wants to give you and it's on the screen are not toys to play with, they're tools to build with and weapons to fight with. Maybe God's giving you the gift of being an evangelist.
I remember when I was a young Christian, I went down to see Billy Graham preach in the stadium and in fact I was already beginning my ministry at that point. And I watched him preach, I was so amazed. I loved it, seeing all those people accept Christ and I went forward too. I was already a Christian but I just wanted a closer look at Billy Graham. And there he was and I thought, that's what I want to be when I grow up. I never thought that I'd be preaching in a stadium but I just felt sort of a connection to that gift that he had and I thought, I think God wants me to do that, I think God wants me to tell other people about Jesus. But the problem is, we think an evangelist is just a guy in a pulpit preaching, and that can be an evangelist but some of the best evangelists I know don't have pulpits and they don't pastor churches, they're just folk out there who love to engage people in evangelistic conversations.
I introduced you recently to my friend, Barry McGuire. Not the singer, another Barry McGuire, this is from McGuire's Car Wax. It's his family that started that company. Barry's a very successful businessman, he's not a preacher per se. But I'm telling you when I'm hanging out with Barry McGuire he puts me to shame. He engages everyone in evangelistic conversations, he's always looking for ways to share the gospel. And he'll go into all kinds of very interesting settings with a lot of non-believers present, and he'll tell them about his faith in Jesus and what Christ has done for him.
I received a letter the other day from a lady who actually works as a sheriff, and it sounds to me like she too is an evangelist. Let me read you her letter. She says I became a Christian in high school and was baptized at your church in Riverside at the age of 19. Certainly after I became a deputy for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, I worked my way through the ranks and I find myself now working as a sergeant in the very city where I once patrolled as a deputy. As a result, I find myself reunited with the same lost and neglected drug-addicted souls from 15 years ago. This world, she writes, has not been kind to them. I felt very convicted to cover these people by prayer, by name and attempt to bring them to Christ for the salvation and hope only he can bring.
She says, by listening to your radio program on my way to work, I've been encouraged by your words to do the work that God has called me to do for him. Tonight, I was not only able to share the gospel with a broken drug-addicted woman, but she was open to being led to Christ. I was a bit unprepared for the last part, and I found myself not being able to remember the prayer to lead people to Christ. Fortunately for me, you had a short video on your website, I was able to play for her. We both watched and she prayed the prayer and I for her. I'm encouraged to reach out to others that this world has given up on and I also I'm going to be better prepared next time. I know that not every contact will end this way tonight or end this way as it did tonight, but I want to continue to water and plant being assured God's Word does not return void. Then she concludes by saying, I'm praying for a Jesus revolution.
Is that an amazing letter? So next time you get arrested, I know you get arrested a lot, pray it's her. No seriously, here's a lady who has a career in law enforcement. She's putting it on the line for the gospel. Understandably, this could jeopardize her career to engage people like she has. But who else would reach these people in this state? And I love the way she's taking the platform God has given her and using it for his glory. You have a platform as well. So yeah sure, there's the gift of the evangelist but other people are more into detail. They're into minutiae. By the way I know I'm not one of those people, but they love all of that. That might be a person who has a spiritual gift of hems or maybe you like to see people learn and grow spiritually, maybe you have the gift of teaching. Maybe you always see what's wrong in a person's life, you might have the gift of criticism. Oh wait, that's not in the Bible, too bad for some. Because they think they have that gift. And it's not a gift. But there is a gift of exhortation.
A teacher tells me how to do it, someone with the gift of exhortation makes me want to do it. Some people are very good at expositing scripture and teaching me what it says, and I understand it better but then there are certain people you listen to and I get motivated. I think, "Ooh now, I want to go out and do that". That's the gift of exhortation. Sometimes there's a corrective nature to it, where you tell someone, this isn't quite right but you do this really well, let me encourage you. Hey, if you have this gift, use it, the gift of exhortation. Maybe you like to take people into your home and feed 'em, bless them, feed and bless them. Maybe you have the gift of hospitality. Find your gift that God has given you or your gifts and begin to use them.
Point number three, a Jesus revolution Christian is a fruitful Christian. A fruitful Christian, verse 13, Paul says, I do not want you to be unaware brothers that I often plan to come to you but was hindered until now that I might have some fruit among you also just as among the other Gentiles. I'm looking for some fruit. That was Paul just basically saying to you guys, do you have pears and apples and oranges 'cause I'm really into fruit. No, no, he's talking about a different kind of fruit. It's spiritual fruit. Actually that Bible uses that word a lot to describe different things. If you're taking notes, listen to this, a change in your behavior and character is fruit. It's called the fruit of the Spirit. And Galatians 5:22 says, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.
I know some people that are theologically astute. They know a lot but they're not loving people, and I know other people that don't know that much but man, they're just full of love. Can we have both? Can we have our teaching right but be loving, caring people? Jesus said by this, shall all men know you are my disciples, that you have love one for another. Back in the days of the Jesus Movement, we used to have a song we sang together. Love, love, love, love, Christians, this is your call. Love your neighbor as yourself for God is love. It's a wonderful thing to have this fruit in your life. Number two, offering our praise and worship to God is a form of spiritual fruit. Offering our praise and worship to God is a form of spiritual fruit. Hebrews 13:15, through Jesus let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips to Him. The fruit of your lips.
So sometimes when we have worship, and I'll admit I look around a little bit, and some people are worshiping, they have their hands lifted up, they're singing every word. Other people are just there tight-lipped, no hand-raising for them, looking up, looking down, looking up, wait what are you doing? Bring forth some fruit. "Well, I don't sing very well," so? The fruit of your lips, verbalize it. It's like with your wife, you think, "I love my wife so much, I love her, love her". Tell her, you idiot. Verbalize it, she can't read your mind. You do have the love, are you sure the wife say yeah? That's right, who said that? One wife said that. But yet is your husband with you? You're not married, okay. Well, we're just.... We're not gonna go there but okay. But verbalize it to God. It's not like God doesn't know, the fact is God can see your heart but he wants you to verbalize your praise, that is a form of fruit.
Paul says I want to see fruit in your life. So that would be the change in our character, the fruit of the Spirit. That would be our praise and worship offered to God and thirdly, giving our finances to the work of God is a form of fruit. Because Paul writes Philippians 4:16, even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Listen, spiritually fruitful Christians are generous Christians. Here's what we miss about giving. We think we're losing our money, when in fact, we are investing our money because it's not your money. It's God's money, because you belong to God. I belong to God. The Bible says you're not your own, you've been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body. I'm only giving back to God what he first gave to me and when I give, I receive interest in heaven. Spiritual fruit to your account that Paul's alluding to here means you've laid up treasure in heaven.
Now look, you don't have to give anything if you don't want to. I don't know what the problem is but whenever you bring up two subjects, sometimes Christians get defensive or disconnect. One of them is evangelism and the other one is, giving of your finances. Well, why are we uncomfortable? Why? I think the reason is is because these are areas we may be weakened. They may be areas that we're not participating in. So here's what I want to say to you, I'm gonna let you off the hook. You don't have to give anything, don't give anything. You don't have to ever share your faith again. You're off the hook, you feel better now? But here's the point. Do you want to have an eternal reward waiting for you in heaven or not? 'Cause when you leave this earth, you're not gonna take any of your cool stuff with you, not even your Dodge Demon with 800 plus horsepower. Your kid's gonna get it and he's gonna drive it into the wall or something. But when I invest in the work of the kingdom of God, I know it will be waiting for me on the other side, a spiritual fruit in heaven, that's right.
Now we're gonna receive an offering, no we already did that, okay. Point number four, we should have though, we should have changed that. See, I'm a stupid preacher, what do I know? Point number four, Jesus revolution Christians are people who preach the gospel. And that brings us to verse 16 again. I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it's a power of God and salvation for everyone who believes that the Jew first and also for the Greek. Now, Paul was fearless when it came to proclaiming the gospel. He saw what happened in his own life and how God transformed him, and he wanted it to happen for others. But if we are honest we don't do this as often as we should. I don't do it as often as I should. You think, oh no Greg, you must go everywhere and preach to everyone? No, no, I miss opportunities just like you do.
I've never told this story publicly before, but years ago I met George Harrison. Ever heard of him? One of the Beatles, right? Okay, so I'm a Beatles fan. Anybody like the Beatles? Anyone hate the Beatles? You hate them, get out. Get out, no don't, don't get out. So I've always loved the Beatles. And anyway, I'm in Hawaii, I'm on the island of Maui and over in Hana which is sort of the other side, the very tropical side of Maui. It's a beautiful place to visit, there's not many places to stay. There's like one general store, one restaurant and I knew that George Harrison lived over there. And so I went over there with Kathy my wife and then I said, wow, maybe we'll run into George Harrison. She says, "I don't think so".
And so we're sitting in a restaurant and her back is to the door. And I say, "Oh, Kathy, George Harrison's walking in right now. Hey George, over here, come here George". She says, "What"? And she turned around, of course he wasn't there. Then we're in another place, they said, "Oh look, it's George Harrison". "Hey George, come on over here". She looked around, it wasn't him. "Stop doing that". So we're sitting down at the beach and I've my back to the stairs. And Kathy says, stairs coming down on the beach, Kathy says, "George Harrison is walking down here right now". I said, "Right". She goes, "I'm not kidding you". I said my back to the stairs, "Hey George, come on down here". My wife, "It's him, look". I turn around, there he was. A living, breathing Beatle. And he sat right behind me.
I'm sitting there, I'm trembling, I'm so nervous. And I thought, "What do I say? What do I say to him"? And he's talking there with some guy and it's, "I'm George Harrison and I talk like this. I'm from Liverpool and we're the Beatles. Lovely, fab gear and all that, watching you," it's just like... And he's talking, it's George Harrison. So I look in my little backpack and what do I have? I have a Beatles cassette. This marks it in time, a cassette. How many of you have never heard of a cassette? You can find cassette players on eBay somewhere, check 'em out. Vinyls made a comeback, not cassettes yet. But anyway, so I have this cassette of the Beatles and I grab the cassette and I turn around to George Harrison, I said, "Hi. I love the Beatles and I have your cassette". And he just looks at me, he doesn't even like respond to me. It's like I don't even exist. I turn back around, "Okay".
So a little later on, we went back up the stairs and we're getting ready to leave and he's standing there. So I walk up to him and I start talking to him, and we're just chatting away. And now you're thinking, "Great, did you share the gospel with George Harrison"? No. Why not? Because I'm an idiot. Because I was too starstruck, I was too nervous and I missed a great opportunity you see. And we all miss opportunities, don't we? Alright, so learn from that and next time, because I could have said, "George, all you need is love but you need God's love, you see". No, who knows what I would have said? He might have beat me to death with one of his guitars, I don't know but don't miss those opportunities, don't be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
Why do we not share our faith? Number one, maybe fear of rejection and failure. Fear of rejection and failure. Well, I'm just gonna bomb. I won't have the right words, maybe not. But what is success in evangelism? Listen to what I'm saying. What is success in evangelism? Is it results? I led 20 people to Christ, I have notches on my belt right here, see it? No, no, success is faithfulness. Success is faithfulness to give the message of the gospel because only God can convert a person, not you and not me. So my job is to share the truth and if they respond, praise God. If they don't, well at least I did my job. Because in that final day when they stand before Jesus, he will not say well done, good and successful servant. No, he's gonna say well done good and what? Faithful servant. So be faithful, that's how you measure success.
I've used this illustration before but I'll use it again, because I only have four illustrations. But let's say that you had cancer, and obviously you wanted to be cancer-free. So you were a medical scientist and you spent hours and hours and hours and hours and years and years working for a cure. And one day you came up with one, amazingly it was one pill you took one time. And so you tried it on yourself, you were instantly cured of cancer. Now, my question is, would you want to share that cure with anybody else? I think you would. I think you would go first to other people you admit at the hospital who are also fighting cancer and you would share it with them.
Well listen, we have something more powerful than even a cure for cancer as wonderful as that would be. Because you could be cured of cancer but you're still gonna die. But this is the message that says you don't ever have to die, you can live eternally. It's the message of the gospel. Don't be ashamed of it. We need to get it out to people. But we don't, we don't, why? Well, maybe we're embarrassed to talk to a complete stranger. You're uncomfortable. One of the top fears most people have is the fear of public speaking. So the idea of walking up to a person you've never met before or standing in front of a crowd of people and telling them something terrifies you. Okay, I understand that. But there are times when your message is more important than your fear of crowds.
Let's say there was a fire and you wanted to warn people. "Well, I have a fear of crowds". Shut up. Warn people, yell fire and tell 'em to get out. What are you talking about? Sometimes the message is more important than your personal hang-up. And so when you have something worth saying, it should transcend your discomfort. Well, I'm afraid that if someone might ask me a hard question I don't have the answer to. I've got the answer, you're ready? You might want to write this down. If someone asks you a hard question, here's the answer. I don't know. That's okay, I don't know, it's a good question. I'd like to get back to you on that. But here's what I do know. You just pivot right back to what you know and be better prepared next time like that deputy said. "I'll be better prepared next time". That's all.
Learn from it, but see, the point is, you do know more than you think you know. It's like that one guy who was blind and he was healed by Jesus and they tried to engage him in a theological debate, asking this man if Jesus was a sinner or not. I love this guy's response. He says, "Look, whether he's a sinner or not, I don't know. But I know this much, once I was blind but now I see". You know that, don't you? You can tell people about what Christ has done for you. Well you say, I don't need to preach, I'll be a good example. Well, that's great, please be a good example. But Jesus did not say go into all the world and be a good example. He said go into all the world and preach the gospel.
Listen, good examples will not bring people to Christ but good examples can open the door for them to articulate the faith, because you earned the right to be heard. So yes, be a good example but use it as a springboard to share your faith, and I'll tell you why. There's power in this message. Paul says, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God. There's power in it, explosive power. In fact the word that is used here for power is from the root word, Dunamis from the Greek. Alfred Nobel, ever heard of him? He's formed the Nobel Peace Prize. And Alfred Nobel, a lot of people don't know this about him, created dynamite. And in fact he had this incredible invention with this explosive power and he didn't know what to call it so he went to a friend who knew Greek, and he said what is the Greek word for explosive power? And his friend said it's Dunamis. "Oh Dunamis, okay, I'm gonna call this dynamite".
And the reason that Nobel started the Nobel Peace Prize which he is best known for is because he was known to that point for the guy who invented dynamite that was being used in warfare at that point. And he didn't want to be known as the guy who invented dynamite. So he formed this peace price. But the point of it is, dynamic explosive. So there's explosive power and this is the key in this simple message of the gospel. Don't change it, don't alter it, don't take away from it, don't add to it, just proclaim it and stand back and watch what God will do.
I've been amazed time and time again in every setting you can think of, large and small. With very open audiences, very closed audiences, even hostile people and I've shared this message and I've seen how the gospel penetrates the most hardened heart and goes into the most unexpected places and brings about the most extraordinary results. My job is to not be embarrassed by it, not be ashamed of it, just proclaim it and that's what we're all called to do. Well, if you wanted to sum up what I think we've read here in Romans one, I think the theme is sharing. You share your spiritual fruit, you share your spiritual gifts, you share your finances and you share your faith. An if you do that, you'll be a Jesus revolution Christian. But we don't like to share. Go back to your childhood, who wants to share?
I remember when I was a kid I had little toy trucks called Tonka trucks. Anybody remember those? They still make 'em but they're plastic, that's lame. Mine were metal. And I ran 'em into each other and dented 'em and filled 'em with gravel and dirt and they lasted forever. In fact, I played with 'em this morning. No, I wish I still had 'em actually, they'd probably be collectible. But when you give a toy to a child or a doughnut to a child or a cupcake or something, they're so happy. I got this, oh they're so happy and then you use that dreaded word, share it with your little friend. Ugh, no. They don't want to share and we don't want to share. We've got our cupcake. Why do I want to give you some of it? I want it all for me. No, God wants us to share these things with others.
And let me say in closing, I'm gonna share this with you. Eternal life is a gift. It's a gift from heaven. I love how the Bible calls it, the unspeakable gift, which is another way of saying indescribable. There's no way to describe the awesomeness of this gift. God offers the complete forgiveness of your sin, where you will now know the meaning and purpose of your life and you'll have the guarantee, the assurance that when you die you will go to heaven. He says, here's my gift for you, will you take it? Now don't say I'll have it after dessert. Open it now, grab it, rip off the paper, take the gift out of the box and enjoy it.
And I want to offer you this gift of forgiveness today because there's some that have joined us who maybe don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ. You don't know what it is to say for sure that you'll go to heaven when you die. You have even had those despondent, perhaps even suicidal thoughts yourself. You're looking for hope, you're looking for meaning, you want to know that someone loves you and cares about you. I'm here to tell you you are loved, and you are cared about by Jesus Christ himself, and by all these people around you that are followers of Jesus. So you don't give up hope. I want you to embrace hope. Hope has a name, and it's Jesus. And he'll come into your life and forgive you of all of your sin. And if you've never asked him into your life, why don't you do it right now as we close in prayer? Let's all bow our heads, everybody pray:
Father, thank you for your word to us now. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross in our place and burying our sins, and then rising from the dead. Now, I pray for any person here who does not yet know you, help them to see their need for you and help them to come to you and believe.
Now all our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, and we're praying together. How many of you would say today, Greg, pray for me, I want Jesus to come into my life. I want him to forgive me of my sin, I want to receive this gift of eternal life that you've been talking about, pray for me. If that's your desire, if you want Jesus to forgive you of your sin, if you want the gift of eternal life, if you want to go to heaven when you die, wherever you are would you lift your hand up and let me pray for you. Raise your hand up saying I need Jesus today wherever you are and I'll pray for you today. God bless you, raise your hand up high. You want Christ in your life, God bless you, God bless you, God bless you. All over the room I see hands going up, is yours one of them?
You may be watching the screen right now, would you raise your hand up? Even though I can't see you through this screen. The Lord sees you right where you are. Raise your hand up and say yes, I need Jesus Christ today, pray for me. Anybody else? If you haven't raised your hand yet, lift it now. God bless all of you. Now, I'm gonna ask if you would please, every one of you that raised your hand, I want you to stand to your feet and I'm going to lead you in a prayer. Stand to your feet and we're gonna pray together. You that raised are hand, even if you did not, but you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, you want him to forgive you of your sin, let me pray with you. Stand up, you heard me right stand up and others are standing by the way. So you're not alone, just stand up and we're gonna pray and settle this right here, right now. I'll wait one more moment. Anybody else? You want Christ to come into your life, you want this hope that we've talked about today, stand and let me lead you in this prayer. Just like that deputy led that lady in. Alright, all of you standing pray this prayer out loud after me. Again as I pray, pray this prayer right where you stand out loud, pray this now.
Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Jesus, come into my life. I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my savior and Lord, as my God and friend. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.