Today’s Scrip-Bit   16 December 2021 Romans 1:16a.

Romans 1:16a.     For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: 

It’s a cloudy and somewhat windy Thursday morning in my neighbourhood, but we have spring like temps, something like 13 degrees Celsius, and it’s expected to go higher, although there’s a weather advisory also in effect. But however you cut it, we can’t really complain about that kind of temperature in the middle of December in the northern climes. And with the Christmas season in full swing, the joy of Christ’s birth has thankfully lifted the spirits of many who were hitherto somewhat under the weather. 

And the amazing LOVE story of Christ will do that every time my people! Because that’s what He came to earth to share, the indisputable, unconditional, irreplaceable LOVE of the Father. A LOVE so strong and wonderful that the Good Book describes it thus: ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 8:5) 

Imagine that nuh mih bredrin…our heavenly Father sacrificed His one and only Son for us while we were still in bondage to the tyranny of sin! What sort of Father does that eh? Only one that’s very concerned about the people He created. As Jesus Himself summarily declared: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) What an amazing situation for our finite, puny minds to contemplate eh? 

Yes friends, while our hearts were still in chains to sin, the Father offered up His sinless Son for us. Now shouldn’t that make us so grateful that we just want to jump and shout for joy, to tell everybody, and praise the name of Jesus to the high heavens? It ought to, if we are truly grateful and free from the bondage of sin. That’s why Bruh Paul positively proclaimed to the church at Rome: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom. 1:16) 

Unfortunately though, many of Christ’s supposed followers are ashamed of sharing His gospel with those around them because it will put them in a bad light with those whose opinions they tend to value more than Christ’s. And sharing Christ’s gospel can get you ostracized as Bruh Paul found out by often being beaten, jailed and kicked out of town, as he explains in these excerpts from 2 Cor. 11:23-27. 

‘…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save (minus) one… In weariness and painfulness (toil), in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.’ (2 Cor. 11:23-27) And yuh better believe that it is still possible for the sharing of the gospel in some societies today to cause serious problems, problems like Bruh Paul’s, thankfully though, not in our society. 

But as one commentator, John Piper, puts it in his article on the subject on the website: ‘The gospel does two things: It brings out shaming behavior in those who will not believe it. And it gives freedom from shame to those who do believe it.’ Yes my people, when we fully believe Christ’s gospel it gives us the power and strength to resist all shame and possible consequences. And that’s partly why our world is going through the current throes of calamity; we supposed believers were, and still are not truly convinced of the power of the gospel and we fear displeasing men more than we fear displeasing God, our Creator and Controller. 

Now that doesn’t speak well of us, especially when Jesus said it quite plainly. ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ (Matt. 10:28) That’s Almighty God my brethren! But sadly, too many of us supposed Christians only talk a good talk about Christ with our Christian friends and family, but out there amongst the heathen, too often we clam up as though we are stricken dumb for fear of rejection and shaming. 

Christ wasn’t ashamed to be crucified naked on the cross of Calvary for us, but we want His salvation without suffering any sacrificial moments. It doesn’t work like that friends. Please remember these words of Jesus to the disciples: ‘If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? ’ (Matt. 16:24-26) 

Now that’s a very good question my fellow saints? What are we prepared to give up to save our souls eh? Jesus said if we want to be His followers, we must die to ourselves, to our will, and let His will take priority in our lives, even to the giving up of our mortal lives. And no, it’s not easy to do, or even to contemplate, because ‘discipleship demands sacrifice.’ However, the rewards of doing it His way are more plentiful and beneficial than embracing the only other option available, that of getting in league with the evil enemy, who only has the rewards of death, damnation and eternal separation from Almighty God to offer. 

And, in keeping with His generosity, the Lord has given us freedom of choice to make our own decision. So please, please, let’s take His advice as set out by Moses to the children of Israel so long ago. ‘I call heaven and earth to record (announce) this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.’ (Deut. 30:19) Yes friends, that’s the best advice in this whole wide world – to choose Jesus, who offers blessings and abundant life! 

And for those of us who have chosen Him and are sincerely trying to do His will, He’s given us numerous blessings that enable us to perform His earthly desires. We call them our Thursday Blessings and we delight in declaring (chuh!!!) them every Thursday. So, in loud and confident voice, let’s do just that nuh: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to, will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and every day! Amen!’ 

Now, it’s our bounden duty to go out and use those blessings to help others, just as generously as Christ shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…living for Christ…the ultimate sacrifice of life… 

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