Faith Before Shame
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Faith Before Shame
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This comes from Hebrews 11:1. The faith of Abraham has been a mystery to me for some time. His time took place after the Tower of Babel and I would say most people did not know or worship the Lord. There was definitely pagan and idol worship within the world. However, God speaks to Abraham and Abraham listens. It is not like Abraham has ever heard God before. Why should he listen to what God has to say? How can Abraham trust that what God says is true? How can he be sure that this is not just a voice in his head? He has faith to believe and he displays this faith through obedience.
God made a covenant promise with Abraham that he would be made into a great nation. The sign of that covenant was circumcision. Abraham and all his male family and servants had to pay a price of themselves to be part of this covenant. His wife and his nephew and all his servants could have thought of him as completely nuts but they trusted and obeyed. Abraham was not ashamed of the Lord and he continued to believe that God was going to fulfill his promise through a Child from his wife Sarah. All seemed impossible and even so to Sarah as she laughed at the thought of finally having a child at her old age. However, for Abraham his faith came first and his faith was not put to shame. God proved himself true by keeping his promise.
In Mark 8 starting in verse 31 Jesus begins to tell his disciples about all the things he must suffer. He tells them so that they might understand and not fall to fear. However, they want nothing of this. Peter is focused solely on protecting Jesus and keeping him from ever going through this suffering. Peter’s actions and desires are based on his love for the Son of God. However, Jesus calls him Satan as he is bringing temptation to forfeit all that he came to do. Then Jesus proceeds to explain to the crowd all that will be required of them for their faith. They too will suffer and be beaten and be put out of the synagogues. They too may suffer death and pain. For those who want to save their lives they will have to lose their lives as their lives will not be their own but they belong to the one who gave them life. Jesus says that whoever loses his life for the sake of the gospel will save his life eternally. Jesus is asking for faith from all of those who may believe. He is asking for a shameless faith. Jesus says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Jesus is requesting believers to have faith before shame. For if we have faith and are unashamed of this faith then we will also speak out against those who would destroy us for our faith. We have been privileged in this nation to be free from harm for our practice of worship. We do not have to worry about being arrested or executed for declaring Jesus as Lord. However, in these times in our history there are those who would have that change.
I believe it is important for us all to understand what is going on in our nation and how we should respond. At this moment there is a legislation that may be passed by the house called the Equality Act. This is a dangerous piece of legislation to businesses and all ministries of faith. I want to share with you some of the things that this legislation will do. It will designate schools, churches, and healthcare organizations as “public accommodations.” Which means that schools, churches, and hospitals could be forced to accept the government’s beliefs and mandates about sexual orientation and gender identity. This will also threaten everyday speech where people can be fined or lose their jobs for using the wrong name or pronouns. This means if you “mistakenly” called someone a he when they identify themselves as a she then you could lose your job or pay a fine for doing so or even lose your job.
This legislation will allow boys in girls’ sports, boys in girls’ locker rooms, men in women’s shelters, and men in women’s prisons. It will force teachers and students to publicly pretend that a biological male is a female or visa versa. Schools will be instructed or maybe even mandated to instruct elementary school students that they can choose to be a boy or a girl, or neither, or both, making biology and science a thing of the past.
This legislation will use the force of law across all 50 states to strip Christian and other religious ministries of their right to hire people of shared faith to pursue a shared mission. Christian organizations will be forced to hire people hostile to its beliefs or who have no passion for its beliefs or mission.
This legislation will strip healthcare professionals of their rights of conscience by forcing doctors who long to do no harm to engage in gender transition treatments such as hormone-blocking, cross-sex hormones, or surgery. This means that a Catholic or other faith-based hospital will be forced to provide and perform such services that go against their beliefs.
This legislation will be used as a tool for the government to deny or threaten accreditation to religious colleges and universities if they do not satisfy the demands of the secular world to apply sexual orientation and gender identity to dorms, sports, places of privacy, and even teaching lessons. This act could be used to threaten the availability of federal student loans and grants to students at certain “disfavored” religious schools.
This equality does not bring equality to all but only brings rights to one group of people while stripping the rights of another. All those who oppose this legislation are bullied and called hate mongers. The secular world is very zealous to make this legislation pass. It would be more accurate to say that Satan is very zealous to make this legislation pass. For this legislation strips Christians of their rights to identify what God calls sin to be sinful and strips Christians of their rights to lovingly speak the truth so that the souls of these people might be saved. Jesus said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” This is exactly what this legislation is asking of us to do unless we can be zealous enough to share the truth.
Our world and our churches seem to be following this same trend and direction towards “gender equality” however we are called to still speak the truth of the Word of God. We must not become ashamed of this Word. Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation (and it is), the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
I normally would not be so blatant about a political issue going on in our country however, this issue is not really about democrats and republicans or liberals and conservatives. This is the trend of the entire world. This is the trend of sin to make us feel ashamed of our gospel message and to silence us from sharing the life giving and saving truth. Make no mistake that there may be a day that I will not be allowed to speak the truth of scripture to you without the threat of imprisonment. However, I stand here unashamed of the Gospel of Christ. I do not want my God to be ashamed of me when my time comes to an end or when this world comes to an end. We must speak the truth always even if the law of man tries to silence us. My question for you today is whether you are going to have faith before shame.