Ashamed of the Gospel
by Steve Hale
"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 the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
as -it is written, 'The just shall live by faith" ( Romans 1:16, 17, NKJV).
Are we ashamed of the gospel? I can hear the resounding sounds of outrage at even the asking of such a question. But brethren, it is a question worth asking, and examining.
Even demoninational, evangelicals are asking this question. John MacArthur has shaken evangelicals everywhere with his powerful book Ashamed Of The Gospel. Our own brother, F. LaGard Smith, expressed some of the same concerns in The Cultural Church.
Again, are we ashamed of the gospel? Are we affecting society, or is society affecting the church? Consider these sobering questions:
Convenience or carelessness? No one complains when an athletic event goes into overtime. No one says much about it being too hot or too cold in a gym, or at a football field. Yet, if a church service or a Bible class goes just 5 minutes over the allotted time, elders and preachers throughout our brotherhood get bombarded with criticism.
Are we too busy for God's word? Are we in too big of a hurry over a soul that responds to the invitation? Do we get squeamish over a prayer that is a bit long? Do we decry a lack of friendliness and fellowship, and yet always hurry past everyone to our cars? Are we ashamed of the gospel?
Sermon or syrup? 2 hours. 90 minutes. I hour. 45 minutes. 30 minutes. 20 minutes. This is the rapid decline of audience tolerance and gospel acceptance during the last 200 years. With the advent of T.V., movies, and spectacular entertainment, preachers are under more and more pressure to be flamboyant, and full of showmanship.
Plain gospel sermons are considered boring anymore. Keep our attention, is the cry. And preachers are trying. The shame of it is this: many do not come to learn and grow, but to be entertained.
Hosea cried out: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." (Hos. 4:6). Are we ashamed of the gospel? Are we having another famine ( Amos 8:1 1)? Do you "...hunger and thirst after righteousness ... ?"
The above article appeared in the Mt. Juliet Messenger on May 1, 1994
by Steve Hale
"'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord God. 'That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LOPD" ( Amos 8:11, NKV).
Are these days back again? Amos preached during the time of Jeroboam 11 (786-746 B.C.), who was the son Jehoash of the Jehu dynasty. Benhadad III of Syria had been removed as a military threat to the Northern Kingdom, and so this forty years was a time of relative peace and prosperity.
The small villages gave way to larger cities, and the prosperity resulted in overcrowding. With the cultural, economic, and social revival underway, the Northern Kingdom was in its golden age. However, the affluence was not handled well, and the Israelites were exceedingly immoral ( Amos 2:6-8; 5:11-12). They followed the Canaanite god Baal, and engaged in drunkenness, violence, gross sensuality, and idol worship.
This great prophet of Tekoa denounced Israel's sins, and made stirring pleas for repentance. He declared that God ruled over all nations, and unless they repented' an invader would come to them from the east (1:3, 6, 9: 11; 2:1, 4, 6). We all know that this came true with the Assyrians' capture of Samaria in 722/721 B.C.
The proud, prosperous Israelites wanted the acclaim of popular Baal, and forgot God, His message, and His messengers. Today, we are given God's message through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Are we forgetting His message? Are we ignoring His messengers? Are we ashamed of the gospel?
Our affluent society wants to be pampered and coddled. Mega-churches have arisen that contain everything from shopping malls to drive-in theaters. These huge churches are in search of 'bigness" and 'what works.'
Frightening sounds are arising from our brotherhood. Faithfulness is not the preeminent criteria, but 'growth.' The uncompromising gospel message is being replaced with a utilitarian message. "Another gospel' is replacing the old. We are being told that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures.
Any, of us are willing to change methodology. Changes that bring more zeal and enthusiaism are welcomed by us all. But, we must never, never change the gospel message! Are we ashamed of the gospel?
May 8, 1994
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