I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Romans 1:14-16

January 8, 2023

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.     Introduction (Romans 1:14-16)


A.   As a preacher, I try my best to motivate people To do right, to follow Jesus, to preach this Bible, and to win souls! THAT is the work of the Gospel And THAT is my job!

B.   But I am up against a big enemy of the Gospel message…

C.   “Embarrassment”


1.    Christians are put off from speaking up, shining, testifying, warning people of coming judgment because of being so self-conscious, so concerned about THEIR image, instead of Christ’s!

2.    And many are so worried about having to be absolutely perfectly right about things


a.     So they barely come to church

b.    And barely raise their voice when singing

c.     Never say Amen

d.    Never hand out a Gospel tract to someone

e.     Never ask anyone where they think they will go when they die


3.    THAT is not Biblical Christianity! Biblical Christians affect the world around them


II.   Review (Romans 1:7-15)


A.   The Apostle Paul was Thankful to Hear About the Christians in Rome (Romans 1:7,8)


1.    Romans 1:7,8 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

2.    That they were saved

3.    That they were there – not just all huddled in Jerusalem, or some other single place!

4.    Thankful for their evident / public faith – not hiding away in a church building


B.   He wanted to travel to Rome of all places, to spend time with Christians there


1.    It was the capital of the brutal Roman Empire that stretched from Babylon to Scotland!

2.    Rome was a very pagan, anti-Christian city, Full of pagan gods and goddess worship

3.    But there were Christians in Rome, and he yearned to meet them and help them, to anchor them, and encourage them

4.    And to have fruit with them amongst the lost there – win souls, save marriages, …


C.   Wanted to See Them (Romans 1:9-13)


1.    Romans 1:9-13 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

2.    He wanted to be around other Christians - especially those that were not “closet” Christians!

3.    He prayed for people that he had never yet met! That tells you something about Paul’s Prayer Life!

4.    He was only waiting on God’s timing (His will) - Every Christian should know God’s clear will for their life!


D.   Wanted to ‘Establish’ Them (Romans 1:11)


1.    Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established

2.    Paul’s over-riding desire was to establish the Christians in Rome.

3.    He did not wait for Peter to do it - he knew it was HIS job!

4.    Paul knew the trials and troubles that all Christians go through

5.    And he knew how easily Christians can be deceived by slick talkers, and impressive youtubes, and fancy words!

6.    He knew how vulnerable new Christians are without doctrinal grounding

7.    So Paul sought to make them strong in their faith, and dependent ONLY upon God and His written word, the Scriptures! “What saith the Scriptures, instead of what saith the websites!”


E.    And, Paul was concerned for the souls of the lost there in Rome (Romans 1:13)


1.    Cared about more than just the Christians in Rome

2.    Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

3.    Paul never once cared about finances, or housing, but rather about people’s souls, and their eternal destiny!

4.    He only wanted to preach Jesus Christ, and to see people turn from worshipping dumb idols to serve the only living God


F.    But before he could travel there, he wrote this letter – this epistle – this book in the Bible called The Letter to the Romans – just in case he never made it there!

G.   He then mentions his Three I Am’s – three things that Paul IS… (Romans 1:14-16)


1.    I am saddened that most Christians do not know WHO they are, nor WHAT they should be doing with their lives!

2.    He knew exactly who and what he was and what he was supposed to be doing!


a.     He declares… “I am Debtor” (Romans 1:14) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

b.    “I am Ready” (Romans 1:15) So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

c.     And “I am NOT Ashamed”, but rather excited about the Gospel. (Romans 1:16) 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.


H.   These are three things every Christian needs to BE and DO in this generation! Whether we want to or not!


III.         Message


A.   “I am Debtor” - Paul’s Debt (Romans 1:14)


1.    Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

2.    Not a debt of sin – Paul used to to owe God for all his wrongs


a.     But Paul’s sin-debt before God was paid in full already by Jesus Christ!

b.    A born again believer has been made free – salvation!

c.     Yet, Paul now owes something different!


3.    But a debt / obligation to preach the Gospel


a.     A Christian, a Christ-follower owes this world, this generation, the Gospel!

b.    Since Christ died for all, Paul lived to preach Christ to all!

c.     Like a Garda is obligated to protect and serve

d.    Like a Doctor is obligated to save life

e.     A Christian is OBLIGATED to tell people about how to be born again – how to be saved from hell and from sin! How to trust a God they cannot see. How to love Him, and follow Him consistently!



1)    Someone rescuing someone else, and that person realizing what they owe them their lives! Sometimes, they start doing all sorts of things for them! Normal!

2)    We expect people who all of a sudden become wealthy and have a load of money to be responsible with their money, and help others who are poor

3)    1Timothy 6:17,18 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate


4.    Paul was a Jew, who owed the Gospel to:


a.     Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

b.    Not just his own people, the Jews – they get our first efforts

c.     But to the Greeks as well – the civilized people

d.    And to the barbarians – the foreigners, and uncivilized

e.     To the wise – well educated, like Socrates and Aristotle and Plato

f.     And to the unwise – the uneducated, ignorant, low class

g.    NO ONE was to be overlooked, or ignored – NO ONE!


5.    I am ashamed of how Christians (even myself) divide the lost into two groups


a.     Those who are worthy of our time and effort, and should be reached, talked to, prayed for, sacrifice our lives for…


1)    Like our families, our children, our parents

2)    Our best friends, and the people we like, and are like us!


b.    And those who are unworthy, and different, and strange, and uninterested, and even enemies… well, evidently, those should be ignored! We should not waste our time on them – they are not interested, and unworthy!

c.     Is that Right? NO!


6.    We cannot see people as ever unworthy of hearing the Gospel… of knowing tht there is a way to be saved from their sin! No matter how they live, no matter how wrongly they treat US, and no matter how long they may fight us!


a.     Romans 10:13-14 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. [BUT] How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

b.    It doesn’t matter if they WANT to hear it, We owe it to the lost to keep preaching, and caring, and loving lost people enough to tell them the truth!

c.     We don’t tell the Gospel story out of arrogance, but out of love, debt to their need


B.   Secondly, “I Am Ready” (Romans 1:15)


1.    Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

2.    He was READY – with every fibre of my being – to go to Rome


a.     That means he was willing, yielded, agreeing to this calling, excited

b.    That’s why our feet should be SHOD (shoes on) with preparation of the Gospel!

c.     Like an airplane at start of a runway, engines running, waiting for clearance to go

d.    He was ready to go right then and there – even though he knew he would have to wait on God’s timing

e.     Paul had preached all over Asia-minor, and Greece, and knew he was now ready to press on further into Europe, all the way to ROME!

f.     Romans 15:20,21 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.


3.    He was prepared – all of Paul’s experiences had prepared him to go the next step!


a.     All the rejection, poverty, hardships, imprisonments, travels

b.    All of his relearning the Gospel

c.     All of it has prepared him for what was ahead in Rome


4.    Ready to work – and boy does the Gospel take work!

5.    Ready to do the will of God

6.    Ready to suffer


a.     Everyone is always ready for excitement and thrill, but not the suffering

b.    Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

c.     Now he was setting his sight on Rome!


7.    Examples:


a.     Like a boxer on the day of his fight, stands ready to face his opponent (at least he BETTER be) – chomping at the bit to get hit over and over!

b.    Like a soldier, on the day of battle, needs to be ready for what faces him on the other side of a hill. NEEDS TO BE READY!

c.     So must a Christian be ready to do the will of God, no matter the cost!


C.   Thirdly, “I Am Not Ashamed” (Romans 1:16)


1.    Romans 1:16 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.

2.    To be ashamed means:


a.    To be worried about how other people see you and think of you - embarrassed

b.    To be Unconfident in what you believe

c.     Hesitant, confused, confounded


3.    Paul was Unashamed of what?


a.     Paul concludes, “I am NOT ashamed of the gospel!” the events of the life of Christ


1)    The Gospel was absolute foolishness to people who heard it


a)    1Corinthians 1:17,18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

b)    1Corinthians 1:21-23 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

c)    Foolishness means it seems weird, outlandish


(i)   It is NOT what people expected to hear

(ii) People just want a little patching up, a little adjustment

(iii)        But the cross says we are so wicked and in trouble with God


2)    The Simplicity of the Gospel is way too simplistic for most people


a)    People want vestments, marble altars, high stained glass windows, incense, and long prayers, mysteries and catechisms, and on and on and on

b)    But child-like faith in a simple, humble, lowly Jewish teacher named Jesus of Nazareth, dying on a cross, is embarrassing to so many people


3)    Everything Paul put up with (all the shame) since getting saved on the Road to Damascus in Acts 9 was because of the Gospel, and was worth even one person’s soul!


a)    The Philippian jailor and all the prisoners in that jail were worth Paul and Silas being thrown into jail in Acts 16 – as shameful as it was

b)    The 276 souls on the doomed ship in the Mediterranean Sea were worth Paul and Luke enduring a hurricane, and being shipwrecked in Acts 27 and 28

c)    The beatings and court hearings were worth king Agrippa, Felix, Festus and hundreds of others hearing the Gospel in Acts 25, 26

d)    At no point was Paul ever embarrassed or shamed of what HE was having to endure, as long as souls were hearing the GOOD NEWS!


b.    Of the cross itself – such a shameful way to die – as a convicted criminal


1)    The gospel (the horrible death, burial, resurrection of Jesus for our sin) may be scorned at and mocked by the “refined” and “sensitive,” but to those of us who are saved it is the only hope for this world!

2)    The cross makes people upset and embarrassed to hear about


a)    That the whole world is so lost – not ever good enough

b)    That God would have to do something so harsh to save them

c)    That hell is full of good people, who thought they were good enough


3)    Even some Christians struggle with embarrassment, with the message of the cross, and of the Christian life, and suffering

4)    Of the tragedy cross – its strangeness to our civilised ears (1Corinthians 2:1-5)  And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.


c.     Of the Bible – the Old Testament especially


1)    People skim the internet to find some site that points to some supposed contradictions and confusing passages in order to discourage and embarrass Christians from actually believing and preaching the Bible

2)    Well, I will tell you, they are masterful critics, without substance

3)    When you actually take the time to look at all the evidences, the Bible stands and remains the greatest proof that God is its author and not man

4)    Never be ashamed of hell, of the exposing of sins, and whatever you may at first find confusing!


d.    Of how different Christians are compared to the world. We are different, right?

e.     Of the lowly Jesus of Nazareth

f.     STORY: A teenage girl was walking through her school and was laughing along with several of her friends as they passed by a woman mopping the hallway. The woman’s hair was a bit messy, and her clothes were drab. And the girls just passed right by her and went out the hallway door, never making eye contact with the cleaner. Well, that woman was that teenager’s MOM, and she was too embarrassed to go up to her and hug her and introduce her to her friends! Can you imagine how the mom felt?


4.    QUESTION: Are YOU ashamed of this Bible? Of the gospel message? Ashamed of Jesus? Paul was not ashamed of what saved his soul - are you?


a.     One of the biggest tests for me is when I decide to go into Cork city or any city for that matter Ballincollig, where is Killarney into just go up to somebody, anybody asked for try and ask them where were they go when they die.

b.    For so many people that is impossible to ever attempt.

c.     But we who have been given another chance at life, and given the greatest gift ever, owe it to a lost world, the opportunity to hear about the gift they too can have

d.    How do I convince you to see people around you as more important than you and your feelings?


D.   Nine Reasons Why People are Embarrassed of the Gospel


1.    So many are Unsound (confused) in the word – do not know doctrine


a.     Conspiracies dominate their mind instead of absolute truths in the Bible

b.    They have too many different ideas of what the Gospel is

c.     Only heard twisted Scriptures, confusion, never line upon line Scripture

d.    Psalm 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

e.     2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

f.     THAT is why being in church EVERY time we open the doors is important!

g.    That is why READING and studying your Bible yourself is most important


2.    Empty – never been born again themselves. If you do not get saved, the Bible way, and know what the Gospel is, you will be scooped up in a cult in no time!

3.    Ignorant - Unaware of God’s promises to believers (Romans 4:20,21) He [ABRAHAM] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

4.    Impatient with God – a big reason (Hebrews 10:36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

5.    Easily offended – pride

6.    Living VERY hypocritical lives

7.    Loving the world more than God – it’s hard to witness to something you idolize

8.    Afraid of suffering

9.    Afraid of saying something wrong


E.   WARNING: It is dangerous to be ashamed of Jesus and His words


1.    Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

2.    We are on the winning side, so why act like LOSERS?


F.    What is the Gospel, and Why is it So Special?


1.    Did you know that most Christians cannot answer this simple question!


a.     They will point to Matthew, mark, Luke and John

b.    They will say that God loves the world – and that is the Gospel

c.     Many will say the Gospel is caring about people, and especially about the poor

d.    Loving your neighbour, and so on and so on


2.    Its Definition - What is the Gospel?


a.     GodSpell - GodNews - Go…spel … Gospel … Good News

b.    GOSPEL means GOOD NEWS from God – straight from heaven

c.     Like a banner headline on every newspaper on May 7, 1945 that World War II in Europe was over!


3.    It is all about Jesus – the Gospel of Christ


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

b.    The Gospel is all about Him, not the Baptists, Catholics, Protestants, scientists, surgeons, politicians, bankers, or anybody else! (1Corinthians 15:1-4)


1)    All that He is, All that He did

2)    All that He is doing right now – if only people knew!

3)    THAT is all good news to a weary world that has no hope in itself!


4)    Listen to 1Corinthians 15:1,2 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

5)    1Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:


a)    Christ died for our sins - bore our punishment to pay our sin-debt to God!

b)   Christ was buried - He had to die, not just suffer (Romans 6:23a)

c)    Christ rose again the third day - He rose again victorious over death and hell, and is alive right now proving that ALL who trust HIM will live forever too!


c.     THAT’S GOOD NEWS! No baptism, church membership, stopping sinning, religious ceremonies… just the news about what JESUS did, to take away our sins!



1)    That He wants you, as sinful and wretched as you may be!

2)    That He DIED to pay off ALL MAN’S SINS – victory over sin’s grip on us

3)    Was BURIED, taking our sins away

4)    And ROSE AGAIN three days later, in victory over DEATH itself!


4.    It is the good news that all your and my sins can be forgiven, at the expense of Jesus


a.     Romans 1:16 …it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; ...

b.    Acts 13:38,39 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

c.     John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

d.    So, the Gospel is Good news that sinners can be SAVED, not wealthy, smarter, more handsome, or more popular! But SAVED from sin’s grip and penalty!


5.    Salvation, forgiving us is GOD’S PART – the impossible part

6.    “Believing” is our part - The only requirement to be saved is FAITH – easy part

7.    Available to all - evidently all of us need it - no distinction

8.    GOSPEL is the GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS BEING ABLE TO TAKE AWAY ALL YOUR SINS and make you fit for heaven for ever!


G.   Then Paul tells us that it is MORE than just Good News… (Romans 1:16,17)


1.    It is the POWER of God that anyone can experience (Romans 1:16)


a.     Romans 1:16 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.

b.    God is powerful


1)    God’s power was shown in the design and creation of all that there is - universe

2)    God’s power was shown in the world wide flood of Noah’s day - massive

3)    God’s power was shown when fire fell from heaven and burned up Sodom and Gomorrah – serious power

4)    God’s power was shown through every plague that fell on Egypt


c.     But none of that equals the power of God that can save a wretch like me!

d.    Hearing this good news has the power to give faith (Romans 1:17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

e.     Believing this Gospel has the power to


1)    Humble the proud – just by hearing it

2)    Convert the condition of a soul – from sinner to saint - when simply believed

3)    Secures the believer forever

4)    And gives rest to the worried believer, as he or she is held by Christ all the way home to heaven!


f.     The Gospel story works on anyone – Jew or Gentile – who simply BELIEVE!


1)    Not everyone can be baptized.

2)    Not everyone can pray a perfect prayer.

3)    Not everyone can join a church, or stop a bad habit.

4)    But ALL can believe that what Jesus did is enough to forgive them and save them from the wrath to come!


2.    It is the Righteousness of God (Romans 1:17)


a.     Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

b.    Man’s righteousness stinks


1)    Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

2)    Our works, our best efforts always fall short of God’s perfect righteousness

3)    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God


c.     So God became a Man, and did everything we could NOT do, perfectly, and then allowed sinful men to murder Him, and accepted that death in place of OUR punishment that we all deserve


1)    Jesus fulfilled all the righteous expectations of God as listed in the Law – 613 commandments (not just ten). Every last one of them!

2)    The entire life of Jesus the Messiah was perfect – righteous, in every way

3)    Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.


3.    And, It is available to anyone who asks in faith!


a.     Christ’s righteousness is all anyone needs to trust now

b.    Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

c.     Just live from faith to faith


1)    Saving faith – faith that can save anyone from sin

2)    Living faith – faith that allows anyone to live in freedom from sin


H.   Why Is All This Important?


1.    It is important to know and understand and believe because of the coming wrath of God, against all ungodliness (1:18-32). No one is exempt! That’s why people NEED the good news we have in our hands and heart! Trouble is coming!

2.    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness

3.    The gospel (horrible death, burial, resurrection for our sin) may be scorned at and mocked by the “refined” and “sensitive,” but to those of us who are saved, it is the only hope for this world!




A.   If you are saved, You are a Debtor – we have an obligation to preach the Gospel

B.   We OUGHT to be Ready with every fibre of our being to go and preach the Gospel to anyone on the spot. A fistful of tracts, and a personal testimony, and a question…

C.   And Lastly, we should not ever be Ashamed of the Gospel, of the cross, or the Bible


1.    I am NOT Ashamed of what Jesus did for me

2.    I am not ashamed of how much He has put up with in ME

3.    I can put up with people’s rejection – they are not rejecting ME, they are rejecting Jesus unfortunately, so I don’t take it personally!


D.   Do you know what the Gospel is?


1.    It is all about Jesus – the Gospel of Christ

2.    Christ died for our sins - bore our punishment to pay our sin-debt to God!

3.    Christ was buried - He had to die, not just suffer (Romans 6:23a)

4.    Christ rose again the third day - He rose again victorious over death and hell, and is alive right now proving that ALL who trust HIM will live forever too!

5.    It is powerful enough to save anyone, if they would only believe it

6.    It is the Righteousness of God, proving He can forgive wicked men and women, by punishing His own Son in their place, so that they can start all over, brand new!


E.   Are YOU ready to believe it?

F.    And are you ready to live it?


1.    Ready to preach and teach and do the work of the Gospel, somewhere?

2.    Ready to suffer as a believer?