I’ve recently be leading our church through the book of Romans. It is an incredible book that proclaims the gospel with incredible clarity and power. Above is the video of the sermon from Romans 1:1-17. One of the most popular verses in the entire book is of course Romans 1:16. As we know though most believers are declaring the gospel with the passion and urgency of Apostle Paul. In fact, all too often we are silent when we should be speaking. If you look at the Romans 1:14-16 we can see Paul’s urgency and we can discern three ways that we cultivate gospel silence in our lives instead of gospel sharing.
Romans 1:14-16-14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians,[a] both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
How do we cultivate a life of gospel silence?
1. Avoiding Responsibility
Paul felt OBLIGATED. God called him and he had an obligation to obey. The people needed it so he had an obligation so share. Could it be the reason we don’t share our faith more is because we refuse to take responsibility for both God’s command to make disciples and for our neighbor?
At some point we each have to take responsibility for what God has called us today. We have to realize loving our neighbor means more than being polite. It means we must care about their soul, their eternity. We must take responsibility for our call to share the gospel and our call to love our neighbor.
2. Tolerating Apathy
Paul was EAGER to share the gospel. There was no apathy about the things of God, the Gospel of Christ, present in Paul.Apathy kills passion, it kills urgency… and apathy can creep into the life of any believer.
If we are honest some of us are drowning in apathy. No one is apathetic about everything. We are eager to be entertained, to retire, to vacation. Eager to advance in our career. We eager to make more money. What we need is a re-orienting of our passions and the same gospel we are to share is the same powerful message that can re-orient our passions.
We must kill apathy. How? Soak in God’s Word, meditate on the gospel, spend time with God’s people, pray… and DO SOMETHING with the gospel!
3. Fearing Man
Paul says he’s UNASHAMED. – Why would someone even be tempted to be ashamed? To the Jews the cross was a stumbling block. To the Gentiles it was foolishness. – Do you think people didn’t mock what believers believed in the first century? They called them cannibals. In Rome in the years ahead they’d be falsely blamed for burning the city under Nero. Both Jews and Gentiles had issues with them.
Some people today mock. They mock believers for what we believe about marriage, sexuality, abortion. We are accused of being stuck in the past, on the wrong side of history. Yet we have the power of God unto salvation on our lips.Those people that mock us need us to love them. They need us to love them enough to respond in kindness. They need us to love them enough to share Jesus with them in love, with kindness and sincerity.
What about you? Which of these three tends to be your struggle? Do you struggle more with taking responsibility, tolerating apathy in your life, or fearing man? Any one of these can sideline us in the mission of God. It’s to our own detriment when we sit on the sideline instead of getting on mission. We never fill more fully alive spiritually than we are sharing Jesus and serving other in His name.