Shame, Shame, Shame!

Bible Book: 1 Peter  2 : 6
Subject: Testimony; Witness; Shame; Unfaithfulness; Boldness

Shame, Shame, Shame

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, editor, www.pastorlife.com

1 Peter 2:6

“Behold, I lay in Zion

A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,

And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

Tonight I want to speak briefly to you about a subject that is seldom addressed. We need to think about the fact that Christians are often shamed into silence when it comes to sharing our faith or taking a true stand for our Lord before the world. Our scripture speaks of never being put to shame and it is an interesting passage to be sure. But, what does it mean? Isn’t it true that everyone who serves Jesus faithfully, and who stands upon His Word completely, faces the bitterness of the world? In other words, we are “shamed” by the world because of our faith and faithfulness to the Lord. So, what does 1 Peter 2:6 mean when it states that those of us who believe in the Chief Cornerstone (Jesus), will never be put to shame? Well, it certainly doesn't mean that we can live for Jesus in this world without facing the shame the world will heap upon us. Actually, this passage is stating that we will eventually be victorious and will not be ashamed when we stand before our Lord at the Beam Seat Judgment - at the judgment of Christians in a day to come.

If we truly serve Jesus and live for Him we can be assured that the world will not like us very much. Jesus knew it would be a challenge for us to be true to Him and to His teachings in a hateful world, so He said to His followers these words found in Mark 8:38: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Clearly, Jesus was informing every person who follows Him that the world will do its best to put you to shame. Furthermore, Jesus stated that there will be a shame to face in His presence one day for those are ashamed of Him in this world.

We can, however, use the shame that is passed on to us from the world as a means of elevating our lives. In other words, we can share in the shame our Lord bore for us at Calvary and can do so in a way that lifts our lives and helps us reach the world with the gospel. It is truly interesting to note that part of God's plan for bringing people to saving faith is that of using the shame placed upon His followers. It is as if the more the world shames us, the more our Lord elevates us. The more the world seeks to silence us, the more our Lord amplifies our voices and our testimonies.

Some years ago I was at a resort with my wife and I went out to play a round of golf on the beautiful golf course there. Since my wife doesn’t play golf, I was placed with another player who also signed up to play alone. He was not happy with a lot of his shots and he made it plain by the language he used. He paid a lot of money to stay at the resort and to play golf, and he didn’t ask to play golf with me, so I decided to wait till our round of golf was over to speak to Him about Jesus. At the end of the round I said, “Sir, may I have word with you before we part?” He said, “Sure,” though he looked a little nervous. I said, “I could not help but hear your language today, and I noticed of a few occasions that you took the Lord’ name in vain. I take it that you are not a Christian and I’d really like to share with you about Jesus.” He got red in face, his neck swelled up, and he said a few things to me that I will not repeat. I replied, as he picked up his clubs to leave, “I just wanted to share how wonderful it is to know the One you spoke of several times today.” He cursed some more as he turned his back and walked away lugging his clubs.

I picked up my clubs as well, and I walked away knowing that he looked down on me as one of those Christian “fanatics”. In a way, I felt shamed by that man, though he likely felt the same about me. Just then, the Lord spoke to my heart a warm and encouraging word. “Don’t you worry about that man, I will make him toss and turn in his bed tonight thinking about what he did, and I’m not going to let me get much sleep” the Lord said to me. A smile came over my face as I realized that God uses the hateful attitude of people towards Christians as a means of actually bringing many of them to conviction. Who knows, maybe that word I shared with a smile and with kindness actually brought that man to Christ at some later date.

Let’s think today of the way that the shame the world seeks to heap on us can actually lift us up and bless our lives.

I. The Shame that ought to Elevate

The shame passed on to Christians for trusting and knowing Christ can be a means of elevating our lives. Listen to what Paul wrote to Timothy. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8) When we stand with a loving testimony for Christ, we are sharing in the sufferings of all those who have stood before us and stand with us today for the cause of Christ. When we share our faith with a proper attitude and motivation, we walk with the Lord, with the apostles and with all faithful beievers who have come before us. We tread in the high places of those who have actually been beaten, imprisoned and even put to death for their faith and their witness.

Paul also added these words, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) We belong to Christ and whatever dissing we experience because of our faith is only going to lead to a greater blessing for us when we meet our Lord one day in the future. Paul was certain that all he was enduring for the sake of Jesus and the gospel was bound to bring forth fruit unto the day of Christ's return. When we stand for Jesus in this world, we are committing to Him with trust and faith that He will bless our witness in time and eternity.

We read of the early Christians and how they viewed the shame that was connected to their faithful stand for Christ. In Acts 6:41 we read, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” These early Christians were not just shunned or criticized, but were beaten, imprisoned and sometimes put to death. How wonderful that those who survived those beatings and mistreatments could walked away rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for His name. They did not hang their heads in shame or feel defeated. They rejoiced! They felt elevated by the shame the world placed on them due to their stand for and love for Jesus.

So, you see that facing shame for serving the Savior can actually increase your joy and bless your life. Now think of another way that shame can help us in serving the Lord.

II. The Shame that ought to Aggravate

Being shamed for the Lord can elevate us, but to think of being ashamed when we meet Jesus ought to aggravate us. To stand in shame before Jesus one day because we were not willing to serve and present Him faithfully in our lives ought to irritate, infuriate, exasperate and aggravate us!

As I read earlier in this message, Mark records the word of Jesus in His gospel (8:38): “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” What a horrible thought it is to think of being ashamed before Jesus in the world to come because we lived ashamed of Jesus in this world today.

Daniel wrote in Daniel 12:2 these words, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

You need to be certain that your shame in regard to Christ is not evidence that you are actually not a Christian at all. Some people are ashamed of Him because they do not belong to Him. Have you trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior? If speaking of Him or sharing Him with others makes you uneasy, take a look at your salvation. Those of us who are saved ought never to be ashamed of Christ. Now, don't get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that a bit of hesitancy in speaking about Christ is a sure sign that you are not saved, for Satan works on all of us to keep us silent. I, like you, have felt tentative and undecided about speaking up for the Lord in some situations. You can be sure that every Christian has dealt with this issue. In fact, one reason our Lord mentions being ashamed before the world is because there is a naturally indecisiveness about standing for Christ which is created by the world. But, if cannot bear the contempt of the world in regard to our salvation, perhaps we are going to be raised to face a judgment of “shame and everlasting contempt,” just as Daniel said. It is wise today to simply ask your own heart if you are truly are a child of God. If are not sure about your salvation, you need to settle it today.

Now, let me share …

III. The Shame that ought to Motivate

Knowing that our Lord was shamed by the world ought to motivate us to be faithful to Him. How terribly they treated Him, but He remained true to His cause for your sake and mine.

In Hebrews 12:2-4 we read:

"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin."

Did you note in this passage that Jesus despised the shame of the cross. That is a very interesting statement. It means that Jesus thought very little of the shame he endured for my salvation and yours. He was beaten, stripped naked, spat upon, mocked, cursed and lifted up on a cross mercilessly in order to save us. He thought nothing of it! The Greek word used in this passage means to "think against." He thought so much of you and me that He thought nothing of facing that howling mob in agony in order that we might be saved. Oh, how this ought to motivate us to stand faithfully for Him in this world.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 these words: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

We ought never to be ashamed of the gospel, for in that very gospel is the power of God to bring people to faith and everlasting life. Just think of what that verse says. When we are willing to humbly and faithfully share Christ with others, that sharing contains within it the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” Wow! That is wonderful. We can know that in our witness for Christ there resides a power great enough to change a soul from death to life. This, indeed, ought to motivate us to reject the shame of the world and openly share the gospel with others.

How can we be more steady, fearless and confident in sharing Christ? Trust in God’s Word and His Holy Spirit to do the work that He promised. 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The Spirit of God in us is not producing fear, but rather offers power, love and a sound mind. The fear comes from the enemy who wishes to keep us silent.

Conclusion

Do we share out faith as we ought to share it? Do we speak of Jesus to others? This is a great need and of extreme importance to the Lord. In fact, in Revelation 21:8 tells us that the cowardly and fearful people will be lined up with the the sexually immoral, the sorcerers and liars when the judgment takes place. Now that is pretty strong language, but it is in the God’s Word.

Why is shame so important?

Jesus suffered shame for us.

We are told that we will suffer shame for Him, if indeed we are saved and faithful.

We are told that sharing our faith in Christ contains power, a power that helps others come to faith and salvation.

Lastly, we are told that if we are ashamed of Jesus on this earth, He will be ashamed of us when we meet Him.

How about it? Do you need to renew our commitment to Christ? Or, is there someone here who has yet placed your full faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now is the time to make those decisions – unashamedly, openly, publicly, immediately - now.