Not Ashamed of Jesus
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.
What has this wonderful declaration got to do with preparation for Christmas in this time of Advent?  Normally we have themes of Hope, Peace, Love, Joy. Another less common one is: Watch, Prepare, Witness, Rejoice and there are various others.
But actually all those themes mean nothing unless we recognise that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that the coming of Christ was for a purpose and that we believe that Gospel and God’s purpose and we are not ashamed to announce it.
Last Sunday we heard Mark Harwood telling us about how to be in possession of information which refutes the claims of atheistic claims of evolution with the truth of the biblical creation story. He reminded us that we need to believe the Bible in its entirety, or else when we are selective in our believing we are in essence ashamed of part of it, and if we are ashamed of part, then we are ashamed of the whole.
Last Sunday night Eastside Invasion went to Central Baptist to a service run by the Christian Motorcycle Association who have members from around the country (and the world) who had come down to attend the Burt Munro weekend.  These guys are not wannabe bikers riding scooters, but big bike people, togged out in all the gear – real bikers.. They are missionaries to an unreached people group, that is the black leather and helmeted bike riders of NZ.  These Christian missionaries wear patches on their back. Their distinctive Christian patches (known as colours) give them opportunity to speak about Jesus to other bikers, because they proudly proclaim to whom they have allegiance. Their keynote speaker Ben reminded us that we also wear colours. We wear the blood of Jesus, and that it should be no less obvious than the patches that they wear. 
And that we too should be ready to speak about Jesus, particularly in this season of Christ-mass. 
Our Eastside Invasion t shirts have this verse on the back: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel”.  Perhaps we should redo our ordinary Eastside t shirts to include the same graphic so every time we wear them we proclaim the good news of Jesus.

If we do wear that slogan, then we also need to be prepared to share our testimony and to live lives reflective of that claim. We need to be living our truth of our t shirt.
Simon our drummer has a Christian fish symbol on the fleshy part of  right hand by his thumb, clearly visible when he shakes people’s hands.  David has Christian words tattooed on his face. Tai, Ree’s daughter has an entire scripture from 1 Thessalonians across her back. It’s hard to be ashamed of the gospel when you proudly wear it on your skin.  
The word translated “ashamed” means “disgraced” or “personally humiliated.” A person “ashamed” is like someone identified for misplacing his confidence—someone who trusted in something, and that something let him down. 
The word “ashamed” can refer to being dishonoured because of forming the wrong alliances. So, when Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel, he is saying his confidence in the gospel is not misplaced. There is no disgrace in declaring it.  He is saying that he trusted in the Gospel of Jesus and it had not let him down.
Paul had given his life to proclaiming the truths that Jesus Himself had revealed to him. 
Just as Paul placed his confidence in the gospel of Christ, so do we. We can proclaim with boldness the truths that God has revealed in His Word, with no fear that our confidence is misplaced. “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame” Romans 10:11).  Our lives are testimony to the truth of the Gospel. We have been set free, we are redeemed, we are forgiven, we are transformed, and we are being made righteous.
We know because we know because we know that the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of Scripture never changes. It says so in 2 Peter 1:21, Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8. What was true thousands of years ago is still true. We know that from our personal experience. What was promised in the Bible, is a promise for us. The offer of salvation that was presented to people of the first century is ours
The claim that we are not ashamed of the gospel not only means we proclaim it, but it also means we apply it to our lives and show the world that we believe it. Paul’s life choices supported his message. He did not preach one thing and live another. Our lives are to be a testimony of the message that we speak.
Let’s look at what it would look like if we were ashamed
We are “ashamed of the gospel” when we allow sin in our lives to go unchecked. Matthew 3:8 says: Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. (NLT).  If we act the same as our non Christian mates in their company, we are denying the change the Gospel has wrought in our lives, and we are saying we are ashamed.
When we indulge in worldly desires or blatantly disobey scriptural standards, we indicate that we lack confidence in our own message, even if our tattoo message or our Christian clothing logos say otherwise; (1 Peter 2:11). Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. When we know how God wants us to act, and do the opposite, we are making a lie of our faith and we are indicating we are ashamed.
When we “walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the path of sinners, and sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1), we are being ashamed of the gospel. We are not allowing its truth to penetrate our lives so that others see its changing power. That was the point that Mark Harwood was making last Sunday. We cannot take some of the scripture and say “yes I agree with that” and then sit with the evolutionists who say that there is no God. We either accept the whole of the Gospel or none of it. We cannot sit in the seat of scoffers and still claim to be a follower of Jesus.
To live unashamed of the gospel means that we, like Paul, allow it to dominate our lives to the extent that everyone within our sphere of influence can see that we have “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Do you believe in Jesus? Then show that you are not ashamed of that belief.
Romans 10:9-10 if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
Perhaps another definition fits you better: A follower of the person of Jesus Christ who chooses to follow the His teachings but does not feel compelled (or fears) to share his personal faith among others. The other name for this type of Christian is a closet Christian – a person who does not want the world to know that he is a Christian and pretends not to be in the presence of others.. I hope that that definition is not yours because Jesus has harsh words about such a person: Matthew 10:32-33
Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.
I know that you do not want to be denying Christ in your life.  But it does happen: think of Peter, the closest of disciples to Jesus, denying him 3 times when push came to shove. Think of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane running away when Jesus was arrested. Think of  the Pharisee Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night rather than speaking up for him in the mock trials Jesus faced.  
All of these men fell at the hurdle, but God did not leave them there. He helped them up and brushed them off and restored their relationship with Jesus.
So much so, that all the disciples died of unnatural deaths at the hands of those who denied Christ. Peter founded the church in Rome and was crucified upside down.
In the end, he could say: I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.
You too, however many times you have denied your faith in Jesus in your workplace or school or football club, can be restored and you too can stand proudly and say: I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.
Ask God to give you the strength to stand up and be counted for your faith.