Don’t Laugh at Me!

“It’s not always easy to tell someone about Jesus, but it’s always easy to tell someone about a radio station”.  That’s a helpful phrase a lot of us in CCM radio say, do and believe.  Even for ‘professional religious people’ like us, having confidence in telling someone about Jesus in an intimate, personal, one-on-one way is hard.

Why is that?  Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”.  Does that mean Paul thinks there’s a problem with embarrassment among Christ-followers when it comes to sharing?  Maybe.  But I think it also might be something completely different.

The Apostle Paul was a highly educated Pharisee—one who could probably run rings around those he debated regarding the claims of Christ.  He generally was the smartest kid in the room.  The late Martin Lloyd Jones helped me with this new understanding by writing in a message on this very topic, “because a man is not yet perfect, he does not like being laughed at, especially when he can talk philosophy with the man laughing at him.”  He was referring specifically to Paul.  Paul was singular in mission.  Everywhere he met, he preached Christ crucified.  To the Pharisees, he preached Christ crucified. To the philosophers in Athens he preached Christ crucified.  To King Agrippa, from whom he might receive a ‘get out of jail free’ card if he gave a pleasing message, he preached Christ crucified.

What was the general response?  Many in the crowd held no punches in stating boldly that Paul was unequivocally out of his mind.  Full stop.

Now think for a moment…what would you feel if the loudest in the crowds called you a lunatic?  Is there any reason to think Paul would feel any different?  I think it hurt him.  He understood the truth and valued his own intellect like any of us would.  But, he laid that aside and was willing to be viewed a fool for his beliefs.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:10, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.”  Doesn’t everyone want to be liked?  I think Paul did, too.  But, the laughter of the audience would have to have stung, don’t you think?

The Gospel is not a philosophy.  It is not really a religion.  It’s not about power.  Clearly, it’s none of those things.  It’s the power of God for salvation, and those outside of the Kingdom won’t understand it.  In fact, unless God opens their eyes, they can’t understand it.  1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

Paul went on to write in verse 18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”.  When we embrace that, the world will look at us like we are an experiment in artificial stupidity.  Paul overcame his fear of being hated by his knowledge of eternal life in Jesus as the only lasting thing he could offer to a lost and confused world.  Doesn’t that sound just like today?

Sharing the Gospel exposes us to ridicule.  And despite what your mother said, words can wound us deeply.  I don’t really think any of us are embarrassed by Christ.  Instead, it’s our personal concern about being marginalized that’s the barrier.  But, it’s not about us.  Paul understood that and allowed his rightful reputation as a scholar and wise person to be dragged through the mud for the sake of Christ.  Yes, let’s absolutely tell others about the message of Jesus found every day on our stations.  But, let’s also be willing to be labeled a fool for Christ.  After all, we’re in good company!

Matt Austin
General Manager & VP of Operations, KCBI 90.9 FM
maustin@kcbi.org

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