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April 30, 2006 NOT ASHAMED of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST !

Good Morning from Garden Grove, California. It's a cool

morning here outside the Crystal Cathedral. And I just
returned from Washington DC, which I will tell you about in
today's message or pre-message. Now let's sing a song together:
Here's a song called “Give All”--isn't that a great title? And
shouldn't that be what we are all giving to God? Shouldn't we
be giving it our all?

Song: giveall.mid

Let's listen to a few more songs to get things going:

Song: glorybetothefather.mid

Song: GracebutAmazing.mid

That warms my heart and soul, and we are all products of

amazing grace, are we not? Praise the Lord!

Now let's turn to the Word of God (7:03 a.m pst) The reading
comes from the book of Romans.

Scripture: Romans 1: 16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the
power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the
Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of
God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just
shall live by faith." Rom 1:16-17 NKJV

Dear friends,

These words from Paul the Apostle are as true today as they
were then. By the way, this message is not necessarily in
conjunction with the ecclesiastical calendar. While Paul's
message was specific and contextual to the audience, it also is
applicable to our lives today. Back then Paul was writing to the
church in Rome (where he had friends and where there were
some problems) and was addressing some issues they were
experiencing then and there. I

N fact, some people contend that the book of Romans was

written before the 25th chapter of Acts because in Acts 25 Paul
is traveling to Rome, whereas the book of Romans appears to
be written before he's been to Rome and before he purportedly
began heading that way.

The book of Romans is known for being a book about

“justification by faith” which we will talk about more. And in
the above passage you may have noticed the repitition “of
God” (i.e. “power of God” and “righteousness of God” )
Romans (according to
http://because41.tripodcom/romans/rom1.html) repeats “of
God” more than any other book of the Bible. This is a
reminder of where our power comes from--it comes from God
because it is “of God.”

Paul repeatedly points to the creator rather than over-

emphasizing himself or the creation. Paul also mentions the
“Jew” and the “Greek” (or Gentile) . It was customary of Paul
to say “to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles.” That's a
missiological principal as well. Or perhaps-- “to those of the
law” first, and then “to those who do not know the law at all”

Both groups had their challenges in terms of reaching with the

Word of God, perhaps those “of the law” (in general, the
Jewish) were more difficult to reach than those who do not
know the law at al (in general, the Gentiles). Try teaching or
preaching the Spirit to those deceived by too much law and you
will know what I mean. Try teaching or preaching the Spirit to
those deceived by no law at all and you will also know what I

There's a balance “in the Spirit.” And this goes back to last
week's message about “Spiritual Equilibrium” which I did not
really complete. Now if you turn to other commentaries and
websites about the book of Romans you will find a lot of
different interpretations, and there's a lot to deal with. In fact,
it's difficult if not impossible to try to give a single message that
sums up the book of Romans. In seminary you might take an
entire year to analyze the book of Romans in depth.

And I'm not going to try to tell you how to understand the
book of Romans in general or for the particular context in
which it was written. I want to apply the above passage to
today's life, namely 1) not being ashamed of the Gospel of
Christ; and 2) justification by faith.

My friends, this week I was in our Nation's Capitol,

Washington D.C. ( ( in order to gain a better understanding of
our nation's heritage, or spiritual heritage I should say. For
several years I've been getting correspondence from a fellow
named David Barton, the founder of a group called
Wallbuilders (named after the book of Nehemiah). Barton has
researched and written extensively on the original intentions of
our founding fathers.

Their organization objects to the way our judiciary (i.e. the

courts and judges) have re-interpreted the intentions of the
founding fathers in contrast to what the founding fathers
originally intended. Barton has written many books on the
subject and they host a “briefing” periodically in Washington
D.C. to inform pastors and military chaplains about the
subject. This includes presentations by various congressman
and notable persons working for the federal government.

What does this have to do with not being ashamed of the

Gospel of Christ and justification by faith? Well, maybe some
of you have been “seduced” over the years by the notion that
our government is “secular” or is supposed to be “secular” and
that separation of church & state requires no mention of God
or Jesus Christ while around the “state” (i.e. government
buildings and gatherings). Barton & co (including Rick Green
who led our group on a tour through the capitol building on
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 around 6 pm) contend this is simply
not true.

Rick Green (a Texas Law School graduate) along with

Congressman Walter Jones pointed out, among many other
important spiritual aspects, on the “Spiritual Heritage Tour”
they provided for us through the rotunda of the Capitol
Building that our nation's capitol building was once used as a
place of worship !

That's right, Green (as well as Barton) said that Thomas

Jefferson (purportedly one of the least “religious” founders)
actually gave instructions that the Capitol Building be set aside
for Sunday Worship and also ordered the Marine Band to play
for the Sunday Service back around the time Jefferson was

On our Spiritual Heritage Tour (through the Capitol Building

on Tuesday evening Green also pointed out that of the first four
(of eight or so) gigantic paintings which we observed in the
rotunda of the Capitol Building all four show the Founding
Fathers doing something “religious”--or, in other words, not
being ashamed at all about the Gospel of Christ.

And although he did not mention it--apparently the scene at

the top of the rotunda (on the inside of the dome) is supposed
to depict George Washington ascending to heaven. If that's not
spiritual, I don't know what is! Green also mentioned (and
showed a copy of the original) that not only did all the founders
sign their letters “in the year of our Lord...” but that Thomas
Jefferson (again, purportedly one of the least religious
founders) actually signed letters (or at least one letter) “in the
year of our Lord Christ”! But yet some secularists would have
us believe that Jefferson and other founders were not religious
at all, let alone Christian.

Green then took us in to the old Supreme Court Room (which

was in the Capitol Building then rather than a separate
building ) and told us that it was customary for the Supreme
Court to request a pastor to come in and pray for the jury (that
was when the U.S. Supreme Court still held jury trials) before
they went in to deliberate.

And Green gave an anecdote about John QuincyAdams (who

was adamantly anti-slavery) telling how he actually gave an
“altar call” to the justices of the Supreme Court (which was
predominatly pro-slavery at the time apparently) expressing
his wish that they all come to know Jesus Christ as Savior
before they die (sometime I'll tell you about my personal
experience in a civil matter where I also invited a judge to
accept Jesus Christ as Savior).

We ended the Spiritual Heritage Tour with a “prayer”--

actually a “song” (”God Bless America”) which we sang
together in the old Supreme Court room inside the Capitol
Building! It was really something! It was a blessing to be there
with pastors and military chaplains in the name of Christ!

This was actually my second tour of the Capitol Building that

day. Earlier, around 9 a.m, I had taken the tour provided by
the Capitol Building itself. That's a nice tour too but it does not
provide the more detailed narration about our founder's

The next day we had an all day “briefing” by various

congressman (and other involved persons around Washington
D.C. This included Randy Forbes (Virginia), Robert Aderholt
from Alabama, Todd Tiahrt from Kansas, Marilyn Musgrave
from Colorado, Walter Jones (again) from North Carolina,
Todd Aiken from Missouri, John Cain from South Dakota,
James Inhofe from Oklahoma, Tim Googlein from the White
House, and Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell gave a touching account of
his personal experience as a burn victim of the Sept 11, 2001
attack on the Pentagon.

It was a very impressive “briefing” and all of the persons

present gave their own personal testimony about their faith in
Christ and their convictions as they apply to practicing their
faith in the political arena. And I would give you more direct
quotes from some of these leaders but I left my 3-ring binder
(with all my notes) in room 385 of the Russel Building at the
end of the day and when I returned less than an hour later to
get it, it was not there. (I left an e-mail message for Callie
Fowler -who helps organize the briefing for Wallbuilders,
thinking she might have noticed it being the last to leave, but
she has not yet responded) .

Nonetheless, I left our Nation's Capitol the next day (after

passing by the White House for a picture) with a renewed hope
that our leaders are doing their “utmost for the Highest.” And
it was a breath of fresh air to hear some of these political
leaders profess their faith in Jesus Christ right there and then
as we sat listening.It was really something to behold--they were
not “too big” to profess their ultimate faith in Jesus Christ.

The entire day was devoted to testimony by our political

leaders or involved political persons about their own personal
faith and how that is translated into action in their political

Throughout the day Barton periodically took the podium

(between speakers) and gave us information and statistics
about faith-related topics such as prayer in the public schools
and keeping the words “under God” in the Plege of Allegiance.
He mentioned the discrepancy between what “the people”
across the nation want (according to polls) in contrast to what
some of the representatives are voting for (not the
representatives who spoke before us whom he contacted
specifically because of their faith-based committments but
other representatives).

He also addressed the notion by some that think homosexual

marriages are okay as long as they don't bother me. Barton
showed that in societies where non-traditional “marriages” are
accepted social problems are much higher and taxation,
therefore, is also much higher.And in regard to abortion the
group was told that studies show unborn fetuses do experience
pain, maybe more so than the born child.
IT was very provocative. I had been reading also about some of
the founders including George Washington and at one point
asked Barton about Washington's association with the
Freemason and Barton said that Washington's involvement
with the Freemasons was strategic--because back then the
Freemasons were mostly British and for him to hobknob with
the British and get information from them he had to join the
Freemasons. Barton said the Freemasons were not, then, what
they are today, and suggested that Washington's involvement
with Freemasonry was not for ideological purposes but for
practical purposes (i.e. to gain information). If so, it's ironic
that the Freemasons, today, would claim Washington to be one
of their own and dedicate a gigantic monument to him in
Washington DC.

And I could go on and on excitedly about what I saw and

heard, but without my notes I am limited. And I am limited in
time for now. But what I can say, without notes, is that the
Spirit of the Lord is alive in the hearts and minds of some of
our legislators! Praise God! And praise God for the dedication
of David Barton and his group for keeping us aware of the
original intentions of our founders and the spiritual heritage of
our country. It is a reminder we need to regularly be told.

So pray for David Barton & his group (the name Wallbuilders
is probably not the best in terms of the negative connotations it
may evoke in some, but it ultimately is about building a “wall
of prayer” --evoking a spiritual power and force for our
country and world. They really are for unification in Christ,
not total separation from the world. I get the feeling that they
are in accord with the ”in but not of the world” we have heard
so much of in Calvinism.

They also gave each of us a book entitled Faith of a Soldier by

Stephen Mansfield which I would recommend as well. I read it
on the airplane leaving Washington D.C. and found it to be
very insightful, whether you agree with the war or not.

And make no doubt about it--Barton's group is very pointed in

it's ideological/political stance. They, and most, if not all, of the
speakers invited by Barton, are of a particular political
persuasion, without apology. I may have been perceived or
misperceived by some of them because I was the only one
without a tie (coming from California I didn't even think about
it) and the only one with a beard (which doesn't mean anything
ideologically to me) but what I appear as externally is not
necessarily who I am internally (can't always judge a book by
its cover). However, in contrast to some of the simpler-minded
military chaplains (and not all of the military chaplains are the
same either) who think of the current president as their
commander-in-chief who cannot be criticized I do think

While I'm not 100% positive about the current administration,

that's not to say I am 100% negatively critical of our president
or the administration either, but that there are things that
could be different or improved, most particularly the oil
situation and why our oil companies are recording record
profits at a time when gas is at its highest price ever?!

Notwithstanding, there are good things that our president is

doing and the war may be one of them (time will tell). One of
Barton's speakers, Tim Googlein, from the White House gave
us a ominous reminder of how dangerous the times currently
are. He mentioned Iran's growing potential nuclear capability
as well as their friendship with Sudan.

And Mansfield's book reminded me of the difficulty for our

nation's soldiers (or “warriors” as he calls them) to fight an
actual war which is as much or more so an ideological war, but
yet the soldiers are not equipped with much, if any, sound
ideology to help inspire them; and our country is not
necessarily helping them all too much in that regard (which
goes back, in part, to our apparent ambiguity--or the conflict
between judiciary and the nation itself, about whether we are a
“secular” or “spiritual” nation)

And on and on. I'll be talking more about some of this in times
to come, but let's praise the Lord for freedom of speech and the
Founders of our Country! And let's remember in prayer our
military and the commanders making decisions. Let us pray
for God's will to be done, nor ours. Let us remember that the
Body of Christ is not one nation but all nations.

And let us be wholeheartedly proud of the Gospel of Christ

and apply it to our lives everywhere, in America and beyond,
lifting up the Sword of the Spirit as much as, if not more so,
than the actual sword itself, with our ultimate goal being the
conversion of others to Christ, rather than the elimination of
those with whom we disagree or who disagree with us, God

Nonetheless, let us proudly and willingly put our lives on the

line if necessary. And if the War in Iraq is God's will, so be it. I
don't know enough at this time to say affirmatively yes or no.
I'm not convinced by those who say it is all about oil and I am
optimistic that it will ultimately change a nation (Iraq) for the
better which will help change our world for the better.

Finally, pray for our nation's military chaplains--a job and

profession that is rarely recognized. Pray for them to have the
courage and strength to make the right decisions and have the
right discernment to contend with all the different factors that
make their job so difficult so that they may become true
leaders holding up the Sword of the Spirit despite not always
being given acknowledgement and recognition by those who
hold up the actual sword itself.

Song: godwillmakeaway.mid

Let's trust in God to make the way, and He will.

Thanks for listening. God bless you all. See you next week.

J.P. Kok
Pastor Kok III, vanderKOK