Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If You Are Ashamed of Jesus, You Do Not Have Jesus

Today we are continuing in our series on examining the reality of our faiths.  I hope that all of us took the time yesterday to examine yourself and begin the process of repenting of any unforgiveness that you hold onto in your hearts.  I also hope that we all understand that the forgiveness required of us is true forgiveness and not in word only.  Today we will be addressing another hard teaching of Jesus. Today we will be discussing the subject of being ashamed of Jesus. 
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:26 NKJV
Do you want Jesus to be ashamed of you?  The only reason Jesus would ever be ashamed of you is if you are not saved.  Jesus makes this even more clear later on in His ministry.
Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.  Luke 12:8-9 NKJV
Is this to say that we are saved by proclaiming our faith before men?  I am not, that would be salvation by works.  That said, we should have a desire to share our faith if we are truly saved.  If Jesus is really effecting our lives, if we truly believe that Jesus is the way to Heaven, how can we not share that hope?  I do not believe that you can truly be saved and not have a desire to share that faith with others.  This is a hard saying.  Jesus explicitly says that if you deny Him before men, He will deny you before the Father.  In other words, if you are ashamed of your so-called faith and do not desire to share the hope that is in you, you have no hope.  Jesus will deny before the Father those who deny Him in this life. 

Am I saying that if you do not share the Gospel then you are not saved?  Not exactly, but it does show a serious problem with your faith.  (Yes, this should sound very familiar to yesterday's post.)  If you have that desire to share, but are shy or afraid of rejection, you really need to give that to God and get past yourself.   What is it you fear, especially in America?  All you have to lose is that worldly image you sinfully cling to so tightly.  Rejection and persecution should be part of your life as a Christian.  We should not run from the promises of Jesus (and persecution is a promise), but trust in Jesus when he says that we will be blessed through those persecutions.  It is really a measure of faith.  Do you believe the words of Jesus when He said "Blessed are the persecuted."?  Jesus was beaten and insulted, had a crown of thorns pressed into His skull, was whipped beyond recognition, and nailed naked to a cross for all the world to watch die.  Jesus knows persecution beyond anything you can imagine yet He still said "Blessed are the persecuted."   Take this fear you have to God, He will give you the strength to stand for Jesus and the words to share His message of hope.  Repent of your fear and lack of faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. 

It is not always a matter of persecution.  Sometimes, I think it is our desire to live sinfully rather than righteously.  I say that because I see so many who have no problem being persecuted for proclaiming their favorite sports team but unless you happened to see them in church you may never even know they were Christian let alone ever hear the Gospel from them.  Those are the ones I worry most about.  The have no desire to preach the Gospel nor do they have the desire to give up their worldly image.  I feel that for these there is a real danger of not being saved to begin with.  It is not only the lack of fruit, but they even lack the desire to produce it.  Sure they show up to church and say they believe Jesus to other believers, but once they are in the world they seem to forget who they are and they are more likely to give the finger to someone who cuts them off on the road then they are to share the love of Jesus with someone who needs Him.

All the excuses in the world do not account for the fact that when we come to Jesus, it is our nature to desire to share that love of Jesus.  If you have not the desire, you have not the nature of a Christian.  Let us look at what Jesus says.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV
When we come to Christ, we are the light and salt of the earth.  Jesus does not say we should strive to be, we should desire to be, we should become, or act like it, He says we are the light and salt of the earth.  That is who you are in Christ.  It becomes your nature, inseparable from who you are in Christ.  We can try to hide our lights and we can lose our saltiness by being a poor witness, but it is who we are.  That is why having the desire to share Jesus is tied to our salvation.  A Christian is light and salt. Someone who is not a Christian is not light and salt.  You can not be a Christian and not be light and salt.  If you are in Christ, you will not be ashamed of the Lord and you will proclaim Him before men.  That is why Jesus can say that if you are ashamed of him and deny Him before men, that He will be ashamed of you and deny you before His Father.  It is not a work to be saved, but a sign of being saved. 

There are two kinds of people I addressed in this post.  First, there are those who hide their light and lose their saltiness.  They deny their light by hiding it under the cloak of fear, worldliness, false machismo, or sin.  They lose their saltiness by living as worldly Christians, ruining any witness of the effects of Christ in their lives.  If you are in this category, you need to repent.  You need to come to God and allow him to give you the courage to share His love with others.  You need to pray for His strength to repent of the sin that hides your light.  You need to give up that worldly cover of the light that shines through you for all the world to see.  You should pray to begin that long road of rebuilding your witness ruined by sin in your life. 

If you fall into the category of having no light to share.  If you have no desire to share the love that is in you.  If you feel that sin is more important that the salvation of others.  If you feel your worldly identity is more important than any identity you can have in Christ.  If any or all of those be true, you need to examine yourself to know if you are truly even saved.  Do not let your pride become Christ's shame before His Father.  Your eternity is not worth whatever image you think you need to maintain on earth.  You can work to maintain that damnable worldly image that never truly brings you joy or you can give up yourself to God and allow Him to give you the image of Christ.

Be who you are in Christ.  Share the love and hope you have in Him.  Share the Good News of forgiveness through His sacrifice and eternal life through His resurrection.  
So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 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.For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."  Romans 1:15-17 NKJV

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