How to Not be Ashamed of the Gospel in Evangelism
The fact that so many of us are afraid to share the Gospel means that we need to learn how to not be ashamed of the Gospel. The early Apostles shared the Gospel everywhere they went! And they weren’t afraid, because they weren’t ashamed. As Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel” (Romans 1:16).
Fear to speak isn’t unique to evangelism. People have a lot of things that they want to say, yet they’re afraid to speak up and just say them. Many people are terrified of having to speak in pubic. And a lot of people have ideas or art that they’d love to share with the world, yet they never do. Why? Because they’re afraid.
But why are we so afraid to speak? And why are we afraid to share the things we make?
Why We’re So Afraid
It’s because we’re ashamed that what we have to give isn’t good enough.
Think about it: if someone is afraid to speak, what is he saying about his message? He’s saying that it isn’t good, it isn’t worth hearing, that it won’t actually entertain, educate, or edify anyone. Or with those who make music, but are afraid to share it with anyone: the reason they’re afraid to “go public” with their art is because they are ashamed of it in some way.
Or to pick a more extreme example: think of parents who refuse to bring up their own children in conversation. Perhaps their child made a life decision they disagree with. And now they’re ashamed to remind people of how their child is living.
The principle should be clear by now:
When we are ashamed about something, we don’t talk about it. And every time someone is afraid to talk about it, it’s because they are ashamed of it at some level.
Ashamed of the Gospel?
You might protest at this point: “But I’m not ashamed of the Gospel! I’m just afraid to talk about it for some other reason.” I respect and understand that. You’re not entirely ashamed of the Gospel. There is a part of you that genuinely loves the Gospel and is eager to share it.
We are not dealing with a hatred of the Gospel. We are dealing with an inner conflict. On the one hand, you are eager to share the Gospel. But if you’re simultaneously afraid to do so, it is likely because there is some part of you that is ashamed of the Gospel; you don’t think it’s truly Good News; you don’t think it’s truly worth hearing.
Perhaps a part of you thinks that sharing the Gospel isn’t kind to your friends and family, because they respond negatively to it. Or maybe a part of you is wondering whether the whole story even makes sense! Maybe some days you don’t fully feel like you believe it yourself.
And that’s okay to admit to God. Don’t pretend you’re unashamed when there is some shame. Begin by honestly telling God how you feel.
Done? Good. Now, let’s overcome this sense of shame.
How to Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel
So if the problem is an inner conflict, the best thing we can do is resolve that conflict. How do we do that? By reminding ourselves of truth. But which truths? Thankfully, we have a shortcut: Paul has already told us which truths in particular inspired him to never be ashamed of the Gospel message. Let’s look at the full passage of Romans 1, which we quoted in part earlier:
14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Logical Outline of this Passage
Notice how this passage is laid out:
- Paul begins by stating he is under obligation to everyone, to preach the Gospel to them.
- He then says “so I am eager to preach the Gospel.” His eagerness came from his sense of obligation. We’ll come back to this in a moment.
- He then states that he is not ashamed of the Gospel.
- And then he explains why: “for it is the power of God for salvation… for in it the righteousness of God is revealed.“
So there are two main reasons why Paul is unashamed of the Gospel. It’s because he has drilled into his mind and heart these two truths:
- He has an obligation.
- The Gospel has power to save.
How to Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel: Obligation
So when you’re afraid to share the Gospel, Paul is telling us to stop asking the question “Am I qualified to share this message?” or “Does the message really make sense?” or any of the other questions we might ask. Instead, he gives us a better question: “Do I have a responsibility to speak about Jesus’ death and resurrection?” And the answer is yes. We do.
So case closed! There is something remarkably simplifying in just taking orders. I love to understand the why behind everything. But it’s exhausting. God gave us commands so that we wouldn’t have to second guess ourselves.
There’s a part of me that understands the concerns of “But am I being annoying by bringing up the Gospel again?” I really do get that! And then I begin my inner arguments: “No, it really is good, because of X, Y, and Z.” But then my skeptical mind asks another question. And then I respond again. And before I know it, the opportunity to speak up has vanished!
This kind of procrastination wouldn’t ever happen if I just embraced the fact that I am a foot soldier, not a general. I obey Jesus, because I trust His wisdom about how I should live my life far more than I trust my own.
How to Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel: Power
When it comes to not being ashamed of the Gospel, Paul urges us not to ask questions like “Does the Gospel make sense?” (We can ask these questions other times, as he encourages us to do.) Instead, we should focus on a very pragmatic question: “Does the Gospel have power?” And the very clear answer is “yes!”
I want you to take just a second and think about the people you know whose lives have been transformed by the power of the Gospel, including your own. Form an image in your mind of how they (or you) were before, and how they (or you) are now. And think of what the Gospel did to transform them.
The Gospel is incredibly impressive. As Paul said, it is God’s very own righteousness (perfection) given to us! “In it the righteousness of God is revealed.”
So in conclusion, if you want to be unashamed of the Gospel, I would strongly urge you to do four things:
- Focus on the fact that you are a humble foot soldier. You don’t know how all the pieces fit together. All you know is that your commanding officer has told you to speak the Good News of the Gospel. And you know you trust this Jesus guy a whole lot. So you just do it.
- And focus on the fact that the Gospel has tremendous, explosive, life-changing power. Remember what it has done in your own life. Even if you have questions, concerns, or worries, choose to focus on the fact that every time you speak the Gospel, the very righteousness of God could be granted to the person you’re talking to.
Now go out there and share the Gospel with joy, humility, and love!