There are many people who live in this world who are ashamed of Christ.
Peter was in Matthew 26:69-75: “Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.”
This shameful incident brought Peter many tears and heartaches later. It was one of the things Jesus brought up after the resurrection in John 21:15-17. Many people today, when asked whether or not they are a Christian, will say something like, “Yeah, I go to Church…” because they are ashamed of Christ’s name. Many people are actually embarrassed/some are actually insulted when you ask if they are a Christian.
Luke 9:23-26: Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”
My question for each of you today is, are “you” ashamed of Christ?
I. Many people are ashamed of the Cross (gospel) of Christ
1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Paul says that to many the message of the gospel is foolish, or stupid. It is inconceivable to much of humanity. Rather than be ashamed, we should glory in the cross. Romans 1:16 – “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.”
II. Many people are ashamed of Christ’s name
Many people are actually embarrassed when you ask if they are a Christian, yet Peter tells us that we should glorify if we suffer as a Christian (1 Peter 4:16 – “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”).
But some are actually insulted when you associate the name of Christ with their souls! The Bible tells us (Acts 8) that when the early church was persecuted and scattered they went everywhere preaching the word. They never stopped standing up for Jesus, no matter what.
Friends, we need to quit sneaking around like we are spreading some type of disease when we talk about Jesus. Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
III. Many people are ashamed of the blood of Christ
Blood is repulsive and crude to the minds of millions, yet Peter calls it precious blood in 1 Peter 1:19, saying we were redeemed “…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Why is it so precious?
It can wash away our sins (Revelation 1:5 – “…To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood”).
Take away our iniquity (1 John 1:7 – “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”).
Cleanse our conscience (Hebrews 9:14 – “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”).
Matthew 26:28 – “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
IV. Many people are ashamed of the Bible, Christ’s book
They would not be ashamed to be seen with a novel, a poem, a newspaper, a magazine or even pornography in their lap. But if you were to find them with a Bible in their lap, they would be (1 Peter 1:24-25: “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever”).
Psalm 19:7-11: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.”
V. For His precious name’s sake, people were
Eaten by wild animals, starvation
Used as human torches in Nero’s gardens
Beaten, beheaded, put on the rack and burnt
Cut in little pieces while bleeding to death
Slowly broiled over fires
Poisoned, raped, hung up by hooks
Used as human feeding troughs for pigs
Thrown off of cliffs, skint alive
Children brutally murdered in front of parents
Parents brutally murdered in front of children
Placed in sacks with poisonous snakes
Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of Caesarea when Diocletian’s persecution began. Being condemned for his faith at Antioch, he was scourged, put to the rack, his body torn with hooks, his flesh cut with knives, his face scarified, his teeth beaten from their sockets, and his hair plucked up by the roots. He was strangled to death after that (November 17, 303 A.D.).
There are many other ways that the early Christians suffered. Do you know why they were persecuted by the devil and the Roman Empire like they were? Because they were not ashamed of Jesus!
Our world and our nation are in the process of self-destructing. On an individual level, we come in contact every day with people whose lives are being destroyed by sin. When the ancient world was going through the same process, God looked for people who would serve His purpose, who would realize the value of people, who would intercede for these people so they could turn to God and be saved and not be destroyed.
Ezekiel 22:30 – “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found no one.”
Today God is looking for men and women who will stand in the gap, who will raise a standard of righteousness (say and do the right things), who aren’t afraid to tell people that God loves them (the message of the cross), that Jesus wants to save them, that Jesus has the power to help them overcome this world. Will He find that someone in us?
Our world, this country, our community, will not survive another generation of milquetoast Christians who spend all of their time trying to fit in rather than come out – hide in their houses, polish the wood, afraid to show the love of Christ because someone might laugh at them.
Time is running out, one day maybe soon either we will hear about your funeral or we will hear the trumpet call of God, but soon and very soon, we are going to see the King! For some that will be a glorious day, for others a day to dread!
There are two roads we can choose. One leads to destruction and damnation, the other leads to life in this life and eternal life in heaven!
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
Ever single human being is on one or the other of these two paths. One leads to death, destruction, darkness, eternal misery, pain and suffering, separation from God and those we love forever in a boiling lake of liquid fire.
The other leads to glory, an eternal life in the presence of God, a mansion to dwell in, surrounded by all the saints from ages past, loved ones who are there, and angels everywhere.
Jesus made it clear that the choice is ours, which path to follow, where we will spend eternity, and how to get there. Which choice do you make?
It is time to ask yourself where you really stand with the Lord. Would He be ashamed of you if He were to come back right now, or would He be proud to call you one of His own.
The time is coming and maybe soon when the question will not be, “What am I going to do with Jesus?” The question will be, “What is Jesus going to do with me?”
Romans 14:10-12: “…for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”