Christians are not supporters of a dying cause; the Lord has triumphed gloriously, therefore, they need not hang their heads like soldiers retreating in shame from defeat for they are more than conquerors through Him that loved them (Rom. 8:37). Their Captain has never lost a battle. Although He is now the Rejected One, He will reign supreme, and the thousands He has conquered by His love, will reign with Him. Let all of us who are Christians “Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 4:4), “Sing forth the honour of His Name” (Psa. 66:2), and fix our hope on Him (Heb. 6:18-19).
In the Epistle to the Romans, three reasons are given why the Christian should not be ashamed. Firstly, because he belongs to a wonderful Person; secondly, because he possesses a wonderful power; and finally, because he has a wonderful prospect.
The Wonderful Person
“Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 10:16). This verse is a quotation from Isa. 28: 16, where the spotlight of prophecy is focused on our Lord Jesus Christ as the Highly Exalted One, the Tried Stone, the Precious Corner Stone, the Sure Foundation.
Peter in his First Epistle (chapter 2:6-7) quotes this Scripture, and links it with another prophecy of our Lord in Psalm 118:22, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” When the Lord Jesus was rejected as the stone set at nought by the builders, Peter was ashamed to be associated with Him, and thrice denied that he was one of His (Mark 14:66-71). Nevertheless, fifty days later, in the very city in which he had denied the Lord, he fearlessly and fervently preached Him as the Risen One.
We might ask, “Peter, why are you not ashamed of Him now? Why do you even risk your life for His sake?” How thrilling and clear is his reply! “This Jesus hath God raised up… therefore let all … know assuredly, that God hath made Jesus, Whom ye crucified …, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32-36).
You and I, dear brother and sister, belong to this same highly-exalted and glory-crowned Prince of princes, Lord of lords, and King of kings, Who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Heb. 1:3); Who has spread out the heavens like a curtain, His almighty hand having flung the several planets and the myriad of stars into the courses in the heavens; Who has guided them with divine accuracy to fulfil His will; and, Who is our Redeemer (Isa. 47:4). He has bought our souls at Calvary with the currency of precious drops of blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Moreover, He is our Lord and our King Who is far above all principality and power, and might and dominion (Eph. 1:20-21). He is the One to Whom “all power is given … in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Psa. 145:13). Truly we belong to a wonderful person, our wonderful Lord Jesus.
A Wonderful Power
The Apostle Paul asserts, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). Like him, in a somewhat limited manner we can say, “The glorious gospel of the blessed God, was committed to my trust” (1 Tim. 1:11 and 1 Thess. 2:4).
Now, the gospel is a power that really works, for that is the meaning of Rom. 1:16; it produces results. No cases are too hard for it to soften, no life too vile for it to change, no one too far away for it to reach, and no one too asleep for it to awaken. None are too dead for it to quicken, nor are any too blind for it to enlighten.
To three thousand in the crowded streets of Jerusalem (Acts 2); to a lonely man riding through a desert (Acts 8:26:29); to a few gathered by a riverside (Acts 16:12-15); and to some of the throng on Mar’s Hill (Acts 17:22-34) the mighty message concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was given. Many of these believed, and were transformed by its mighty saving power.
Saul of Tarsus the proud Pharisee; Cornelius the praying centurion; Sergius Paulus the prudent deputy; the Philippian jailor, and certain members of Caesar’s household were moved and melted by the very same glorious evangel, and were likewise converted to the Lord.
Our own rebellious hearts, similarly, have been softened and subdued by the glad tidings. The fetters of ritualism and reformation could not reach us in our need, but the blessed gospel of Christ has triumphed, and we rejoice in an uttermost salvation. With delight, we now tell of the great things the Lord has done for us.
That gospel was the power of God unto salvation in the first century. It has been the dynamic of conviction and conversion down through the succeeding centuries, and today it still is the power of God unto salvation.
It conquered the hardened heart of Dick Lane the notorious Chicago gangster. One day from behind prison bars, he heard the story of redeeming love from the lips of a young convert who was giving out gospel tracts. Dick Lane’s response was one of hate. He feigned interest, and offered to shake hands with the gospel messenger. Taking the extended hand in his, he broke the Christian’s arm.
Tears moistened the young man’s eyes, and holding out his other arm he exclaimed, “I would give you this one to break too, if so doing would break your heart, and lead you to bow at the feet of my Saviour!” As the sufferer was led away from the cell, Dick heard him quote these words, “From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
These words pierced and penetrated the gangster’s soul, and he could not get rid of them until one night, years later, as lonely and weary he walked the streets of the great city a disheartened and dejected man, his ear suddenly caught the sound of singing. He entered the building from which it came, and sat down. When the speaker arose, these were the very words that he read from the Bible, “From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Gal. 6:17).
Dick Lane’s heart was pierced afresh. He remembered the gospel message spoken to him from the lips of the one whose arm he had broken. He was convicted of his life of sin; of the greatness of God’s love for one so unworthy as he, and that night, at the close of the service, he bowed his knees beside the chair and accepted Christ as his Saviour. His life was immediately changed, and until the day of his death he sought to win others for Christ.
Should we ever be ashamed of this sin-covering soul-saving message? Never! Let us spread the tidings near and far for we are in possession of a wonderful power, the power of the indwelling Spirit of God.
A Wonderful Prospect
We should not be ashamed because we have a wonderful hope, “Hope maketh not ashamed” (Rom. 5:5). Before the Saviour went back to heaven, He gave this promise, “I will come again” (John 14:3). The very first message from heaven after our Lord ascended on high was, “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Further more, the last message from the Lord Jesus before the Canon of Scripture closed was, “Surely, I come quickly.”
In March 1942, General MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to leave the Phillipines for Australia, where he was to prepare the Allied Armies for the return to the Phillipines and the recapture of all that has been lost to the Japanese. On his arrival, he gave reporters of The Press this message for those he had left behind, “I shall return.” These three words became the slogan and watchword of the guerilla movement. The simplicity and definiteness of this short clause imparted strength and determination to the forces of resistence. Although there were 87 different dialects in the Phillipines, these three English words were soon learned and understood. On every item sent to the people and to the guerillas, these words were printed, “I shall return.”
For over two years, this promise strengthened and encouraged the people in spite of the oppression of the enemy. Eventually, on Oct. 20, 1944, General MacArthur landed at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte. He walked along the beach to where a mobile broadcasting unit had been set up, and stepping to the microphone, said in a calm voice, “I have returned.”
Beloved Christians, soon He Who promised, “I will come again,” will call all His own saying, “Rise up My love, My fair one and come away.” The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
Truly, we have a wonderful prospect, for, “Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
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God Incarnate is the end of fear; the heart that realizes that He is in the midst, that takes heed to the assurance of His loving presence, will be quiet in the midst of alarm. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” Only be patient and be thou quiet.
F. B. Meyer
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The harvest is proportional to the sowing, but the sowing depends upon a studious application of the teacher’s mind and heart to the Word of God. Every exercised teacher might well make Paul’s instruction to Timothy the chief guide in his endeavours to sow more of the good seed: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).