Unafraid And Unashamed
Text: Luke 12:4-12 | Listen to Message
Standing For Christ In A Culture That Doesn’t
Many American Christians will live and die without ever leading a single person to faith in Christ. Many will never even try. They are content to go to heaven … alone. Evangelism, soul-winning, sharing the Gospel, even simple invitations to church – these are best left to the experts and the extroverts, right?
The Christian who doesn’t share Christ needs to hear Jesus’ sobering warning in Luke 12: If you don’t acknowledge me before men, neither will I acknowledge you in heaven. In other words, there’s no such thing as a true follower of Jesus who can continue on, month after month, year after year, without sharing him – and his amazing grace – with others.
So why don’t we share Jesus? Why don’t we instinctively overflow with the forgiveness, the freedom, the satisfaction, the hope, the life, the joy, we’ve found in him?
The biggest reason is FEAR.
But fear’s a giant topic, so let’s be more specific. Who do we fear? Why do we fear them? And what, exactly, are we afraid of?
The reality is most of us fear men more than we fear God. We are far more aware of what people think of us than what God thinks. And we give ultimate weight, not to God’s opinion, but to the opinions of our peers. How could we live with ourselves if our coworkers and neighbors didn’t, you know, like us?
We’re afraid to share the Good News of Jesus for many reasons, but it all comes down to this: we’re people pleasers. We want to be respected. We want to be popular. We want to be accepted. We want to be liked. And God forbid anyone perceive us to be awkward. Or off-putting. Or weird. We’re the cool, relevant kind of Christian; we’re not like those Bible-thumping Jesus freaks.
And here’s another underlying problem: the temporal – what we see with our physical eyes – is more real to us than the eternal. We spend our whole lives obsessing over what we want and how we feel right here and now, and we give barely two seconds thought to the everlasting realities of heaven and hell.
Again, what are we really that afraid of? Jesus assumes we might be killed for acknowledging him. Are we really so afraid of a little scorn? A little rejection? A little awkwardness in a relationship? A little discomfort if we don’t know the answer to something and merely have to admit, “I’m not sure, I’ll have to get back with you about that”? Are we really so afraid of losing a friendship that we’re willing to lose that friend … forever?
Something’s got to change and change now. In you. In me. In us. In the Church. We’ve got to start fearing God so much that we never fear the face of man. We’ve got to see that there’s eternal life with God to be gained or lost. We’ve got to know that Christ stands up for those who stand up for him. And we’ve got to believe that the Holy Spirit is present with infinite wisdom and power to help us in our witness.
We’ve got to do what scares us until it doesn’t. God, help us.