Weldon E. Warnock
Moundsville, West Virginia
Paul wrote, ". . . that in nothing I shall be ashamed. . ." (Phil 1:20). Shame (aischune) is "a debasing emotion arising from a consciousness of impropriety, offense, injured reputation, hurt pride, or guilt" (Zondervan Pictorial Encylopedia of the Bible, Vol. 5, p. 373). Paul's desire and expectation was that he would do nothing of which to be ashamed – like denying the Savior or compromising the principles of truth. This resolve should be in the heart of every Christian. Let us notice of what we should not be ashamed.
Not Be Ashamed of Jesus
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38; cf. Luke 9:26). Lenski says this verse means "to deny Jesus, to prefer the world, to turn from him …. He and his words belong together and cannot possibly be separated . . . . They are the medium through which Jesus comes to our hearts, enables our hearts to receive him and to obtain all heavenly blessings" (St. Mark's Gospel, p. 353). Hence, because one fears of becoming an object of contempt in the world by accepting the Christ, he refused to confess the Lord and live by His will.
Jesus is not ashamed of His disciples. Why should they be ashamed of Him. ". . . for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Heb. 2:11; cf. Heb. 11:16). Peter learned with tears of remorse the consequences of being ashamed of Jesus (Matt. 26:31-35, 69-75).
Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel
In stating the theme of the Roman letter, Paul wrote: "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; cf. 2 Tim. 1:8).
Paul had suffered many indignities because he preached the gospel. He was cast off by his own countrymen, stoned at Lystra, mocked at Mars Hill in Athens and imprisoned at Philippi, but he was not ashamed of the gospel.
I have always appreciated what R.L. Whiteseide said about Rom. 1:16: "But why should anyone be ashamed of the gospel? It has God as its source, Jesus Christ and his plan of salvation its subject matter, the Holy Spirit as its Revelator, the highest ideals as its philosophy of life and heaven as its ultimate goal. To be ashamed of the gospel is to be ashamed of God, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit" (Paul's Letter to the Saints at Rome, p. 15).
Let none of us be ashamed to preach the gospel. Do not be ashamed of its exclusiveness. There is only one gospel and it is the power of God unto salvation. If a man preach any other gospel the curse of heaven rests upon him (Gal. 1:8-9).
Do not be ashamed of its simplicity. Jesus prayed, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Matt. 11:25). The simple things of the gospel are deemed by the world as foolish, weak and base (1 Cor. 1:27-28), but they are the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).
Not Be Ashamed of Suffering
"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (1 Pet. 4:16). A child of God should be ashamed if he suffers as a "murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters" (v. 15), but if he suffers as a Christian (living for Christ), then there should be no shame.
Consequences of being a Christian may entail poverty (Rev. 2:9), boycott (Rev. 13:17), ostracism (John 16:2), public beatings (2 Cor. 11:24), imprisonment (Rev. 2:10) and even martyrdom (John 16:2). Whatever form the sufferings come to the believer, if he suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed" (2 Tim. 1:12).
Not Be Ashamed of Others
Listen to Paul: "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner …. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain" (2 Tim. 1:8, 16). Paul is saying, "Don't be ashamed of me, although I am being treated like a criminal." Paul's chain did not deter Onesiphorus and neither should unfortunate circumstances of a fellow-Christian keep us from ministering unto him.
Sometimes social, racial, intellectual, culture and financial differences cause some to be ashamed of others. The "refined" and "socially elite" do not want to be found in the company of the underprivileged or less cultured, even though all claim Jesus as Lord. This attittzde should not be. All should respect and esteem one another as fellow-heirs of the grace of God and members of the same body.
Not He Ashamed As A Workman
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that ne edeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). This verse is to "be understood in the sense of a Christian teacher who can unblushingly submit his work for God's approval, like the men in the parable of the talents who had gained other talents. This unashamedness is achieved by rightly dividing the word of truth . . . ." (Tyndale Bible Commentaries, The Pastoral Epistles, Vol. 14, pp. 147-148).
There is going to be a lot of "red-faced" people in the day of judgment, many of then members of the church, because they catered to the approval of men rather than the approval of God, having wrested, twisted, perverted, spoke lies in hypocrisy or just kept silent. Many of these preachers and college professors have changed their positions which ever way the favorable wind was blowing. There is nothing dishonorable with changing positions if changing is necessary for God's approvable, but to change for personal advantages and convenience sake is traitorous to the cause of Christ, to put it mildly.
Hasten the day that God's people will join their voices together in unified refrain and say in all sincere fervor:
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,
Nor to defend His cause;
Maintain the honors of His word,
The glory of His cross.