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Sunday, March 25, 2018 pm

 In Nothing Ashamed

 In Philippians 1:19-20 Paul expresses confidence that he will be delivered.  His expectation and hope is that “in nothing I shall be ashamed”.   To be ashamed means to be disgraced or dishonored because of something that brings regret in its doing, or failure to do. 

In this world there are many things that bring shame, and many others that OUGHT to bring shame.  There are also things the world views as shameful which God views with great delight.  As Christians, we should always seek to be pleasing to God rather than men.  And that means that we should NOT be ashamed of that which God is not ashamed of.   In our lesson tonight, we want to notice some things about which we should NOT be ashamed.

 I.                     Jesus – Mark 8:38

a.       For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Jesus is here calling for a commitment to Him.  He warns that if we are ashamed of Him in this life, He will be ashamed of us when He returns for judgment. 

b.       Jesus lived a life that cause many to follow and love Him.  But it also caused others to despise Him and His followers.   That He would be rejected was foretold – Isiah 53:3; 8:14 where He is described as “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (cf. Romans 9:33, 1 Peter 2:8).
As we examine His life we see that rejection – from the accusations made against Him, to His betrayal and crucifixion. 

c.        The animosity was so great, that to follow Him came with a tremendous price.   There were threats to the people IF they chose to follow Him.  John 12:42 tells us that even among the rulers there were believers, but they were ashamed to confess Him.  Sadly, some of His failed at times – Judas betrayed and Peter denied Him 3 times. 
We continue to see the animosity in the book of Acts and alluded to in various epistles (including Philippians).

d.       BUT we also see faithful disciples who were willing to pay the price and profess Jesus.  Acts 4:19-20 says, But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

e.       Jesus is NOT ashamed of those who follow Him.  Our text - He will confess us before the Father. 
Hebrews 11:16 notes of those who died in faith that God is not ashamed to be called their God, because He has prepared a city for us 
Hebrews 2:11 tells us that He is not ashamed to call us brethren. 

f.         Friends, we must not be ashamed of Jesus.  NOR should we be ashamed to call ourselves followers of Him.  To profess Him today may come with a price.  It may mean being ridiculed or even mistreated.  If trends continue, the cost could become exponentially higher. 
BUT we must still heed the words of our Lord in our text.  If we stand up for Him, He will stand up for us on that day of judgment when it matters.

 II.                   The gospel – Romans 1:16-17

a.       As Paul begins this letter, he hopes to come to Rome and we know that he does, in chains.  Because he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Preaching this gospel took a great physical toll on him – he lost so much materially.  But he didn’t care BECAUSE He is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…

b.       The gospel simply stated is the “good news” told of the life of Jesus.  Paul summarized it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.  We need to be boldly proclaiming that gospel message with any who will hear.
OUR text here notes that it IS the power of God unto salvation – within its pages we find all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  It cuts to the heart – Hebrews 4:12, cf. Acts 2:37, and changes lives for better.

c.        But the gospel message is not always popular, especially in this day, where Christianity has been villainized in so many ways.  Not only is it attacked by skeptics and those who outright reject it, but it has also been watered down by many professed followers. 
They don’t want to face the difficult teachings and demands that come with being a TRUE disciple of Christ.  Others don’t want to acknowledge its exclusive nature (excluding those who do not obey – Matthew 7:21-23), so they question it or rewrite it or reinterpret it to fit their whims. 

d.       When we stand up boldly for the whole counsel of God, it comes with a cost.  We are often maligned and ridiculed.  But we must continue to stand for truth. 

e.       2 Timothy 1:8 Paul told Timothy, “do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner. 

f.         Are we willing to speak up and defend the Lord?  Will we boldly proclaim the whole counsel of God?

 III.                 To suffer as a Christian – 1 Peter 4:14-16

a.       Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

b.       From the beginning, following Jesus has come with a cost.  Jesus Himself warned that it would happen.  Mark 13:12-13, betrayed by family and hated by all for His name. 
Even in the beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake…” (Matthew 5:10-12).   John 15:18-21 – Jesus warns His apostles that this will be happening. .

c.        Enduring in the face of suffering and tribulations is the theme of Peter’s first letter.  1 Peter 1:6-7 he begins by noting how they are grieved by various trials.
1 Peter 2:18-24 – Peter addresses servants suffering at the hands of their masters.  In vs. 20 he notes if you do good and suffer this is commendable to God.  He also reminds us that Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example to follow. 
1 Peter 3:13-17 – if you are followers of what is good, who is he who will harm you?  If you suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed…. We are told to make ourselves ready to give a defense for our hope.
1 Peter 4:12-19 – our context.  Do not think it strange that you suffer for Him.  Instead rejoice that you can partake in the sufferings of Christ.  Those willing to endure these things will be blessed in the end.  THEREFORE commit yourselves to doing good.

d.       We should not be ashamed to face humiliation and even abuse, IF it is for the cause of Christ.  God knows and will reward you abundantly if you endure. 
But one of my concerns is how we associate our self-inflicted sufferings with following Him.  Just know that such is not the same thing as suffering for Christ.  NOR should we in such circumstances play the martyr.

 IV.                 Our brethren – 2 Timothy 1:8, 16

a.       In a previously noted text, Paul as a prisoner encourages Timothy to not be ashamed of him in his chains.  In vs. 16 he commends for having the proper attitude toward Paul (and those suffering for Christ). 

b.       How many today are ashamed of their brethren as they endure trials and persecutions for the faith?  Would we stand behind them in their sufferings (as the Philippians did with Paul), or do we distance ourselves lest we face the same fate?

c.        BUT, there is another consideration as to being ashamed of our brethren.  How many let the externals – one’s ethnicity, nationality, culture, social awkwardness or financial differences cause us to act with shame toward them?  We are a DIVERSE family and we should still stand behind each other, knowing that we each have a part in His body (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

 V.                   2 Timothy 2:15 – as a worker

a.       In a familiar passage we are called upon to diligently work to make ourselves approved to God.  It involves our devotion to His word and other matters.  But notice how Paul notes we work to be approved of God as “a worker who does not need to be ashamed…”

b.       Perhaps the greater emphasis of this text has to do with how we are to be busy at being Christians.  That busyness ought to be evident as others observe us – both our society and our brethren.   And it will make itself manifest as time goes on.

c.        Thus we are perceived as that worker who does not need to be ashamed. 
What would cause a workman to be ashamed?  If he failed to do his work (think the one talent servant), or he did shoddy (inferior or of poor quality) work. 

d.       An example of this would be in the way we handle God’s word accurately.  Our spiritual growth ought to be evident to our brethren and manifested in the way we handle His word.  Do we properly interpret scripture?  Paul reminded Timothy of this more than once – 1 Timothy 4:15 – that your progress may be evident to all.

e.       Let us be busy, and work in such a way that we will not be ashamed.

 

And thus we have noticed some things we should NOT be ashamed of. In the process there are things we have mentioned that ought to shameful to us.   But in this lesson our goal is encourage us to live by the gospel and stand with those who are living thereby, even in their difficult time.  In conclude with 1 John 2:28And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.   If we are not ashamed of some the things we have mentioned, when He returns, we will NOT be ashamed to stand before Him.  What about you?  will we be ashamed when He returns?   Think about it!