Question: How can we show that we are “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”?
Answer: While we certainly should not engage in debates around our beliefs, we should lovingly, but clearly, state our position as taught by the scriptures and especially through our living prophets. When we act boldly and courageously to defend the Church and our beliefs, we are also sharing the gospel in a very powerful way. All of us are invited to serve, love, and minister by sharing the gospel. We may do it proactively by talking to everyone who will listen to our message—but also by courageously correcting and clarifying misunderstandings about the restored gospel and the Church. (Elder Joni L. Koch, of the Quorum of the Seventy)
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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 (to the Gentiles).
17 For therein (in the gospel of Jesus Christ) is the righteousness (the standard for personal righteousness) of God revealed (made known) from faith to faith: as it is written, The just (the righteous) shall live by faith.
(JST “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed through faith on His name, as it is written, The just shall live faith.”)
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Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, Of the Seventy:
...If ever there was a time when the world needs disciples of Christ who can communicate the message of the gospel with clarity and from the heart, it is now...
Christ was certainly our best example. He always demonstrated courage to stand up for what was right. His words echo through the centuries as He invites us to remember to love God and our fellowman, to keep all of God’s commandments, and to live as lights to the world. He was not afraid to speak against the earthly powers or rulers of His day, even when such were opposing His mission given to Him by His Heavenly Father. His words were not designed to confuse but to move the hearts of men. He clearly knew His Father’s will in all He said and did.
I also love the example of Peter, who confronted the men of the world with courage and clarity on the day of Pentecost. On that day people were assembled from many countries criticizing the early Saints because they heard them speak in tongues and thought they were drunken. Peter, having the Spirit rise in his soul, stood up to defend the Church and the members. He testified with these words: “Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.”
He then quoted from the scriptures containing the prophecies of Christ and bore this straightforward testimony: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Many heard his words and felt the Spirit, and 3,000 souls joined the ranks of the early Church. This is powerful evidence that one man or woman who is willing to testify when the world seems to be going in the opposite direction can make a difference...
True disciples of Christ are not looking to make excuses for the doctrine when it doesn’t fit the world’s current concepts. Paul was another valiant disciple, boldly proclaiming that he was “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” True disciples represent the Lord when it may not be convenient to do so. True disciples desire to inspire the hearts of men, not just impress them.
Often it is not convenient or comfortable to stand up for Christ. I am sure that was the case with Paul when he was called before King Agrippa and was asked to justify himself and tell his story. Paul, without hesitating, proclaimed his belief with such power that this intimidating king admitted he was “almost” persuaded to be a Christian.
Paul’s response witnessed of his desire for people to understand absolutely what he had to say. He told King Agrippa that it was his desire that all who heard him would not “almost” be Christians but rather would “altogether” become disciples of Christ. Those who speak with clarity can bring this to pass.
Over the many years that I have studied the story of Lehi’s dream in the Book of Mormon, I have always thought of the great and spacious building as a place where only the most rebellious reside. The building was filled with people mocking and pointing at the faithful who had held on to the iron rod, which represents the word of God, and had made their way to the tree of life, which represents the love of God. Some could not bear up under the pressure of the people mocking them and wandered off. Others decided to join the mockers in the building. Did they not have the courage to speak boldly against the criticisms or messages of the world?
As I watch the current world moving away from God, I think this building is growing in size. Many find themselves today wandering the halls of the great and spacious building, not realizing that they are actually becoming part of its culture. They often succumb to the temptations and the messages. We eventually find them mocking or chiming in with those who criticize or mock.
For years I thought the mocking crowd was making fun of the way the faithful live their lives, but the voices from the building today have changed their tone and approach. Those who mock often try to drown out the simple message of the gospel by attacking some aspect of the Church’s history or offering pointed criticism of a prophet or other leader. They are also attacking the very heart of our doctrine and the laws of God, given since the Creation of the earth. We, as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of His Church, must never let go of that iron rod. We must let the clarion trumpet sound from our own souls...
It is time for us, as Latter-day Saints, to stand up and testify. It is time for the notes of the melody of the gospel to rise above the noise of the world. I add my testimony to the message of the Savior and Redeemer of this world. He lives! His gospel is restored, and the blessings of happiness and peace can be secured in this life by living His commandments and walking in His path. This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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Sources: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 124; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 2, Volume 3, by David J. Ridges, 86; Excerpts from General Conference, October 2015, “Let the Clarion Trumpet Sound,” by Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, Of the Seventy.