Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. (John 12:42-43)
The words in bold above are thirteen of the most haunting words of Scripture, in my opinion. These men refused to do what they knew was right because they wanted to maintain high status at their local congregation. Sometimes we ourselves are tempted to allow worldly values to corrupt the purity of the gospel; other times we fail to defend the bride of Christ when people slander her; still other times we fail to speak up in the name of Jesus when we know what we ought to say. This we do because we are ashamed. We put stock in the opinions of other people, and we are afraid we will lose rank in their eyes if we express our faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we do not confess what we know to be the truth. God have mercy upon us!
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
God, help those of us with genuine faith in Jesus Christ to find ways as often as possible to share the gospel, defend the Lord’s church, and resist the devil’s attempts to water down her doctrine with ungodly cultural values. We care not what man thinks of us–only You, our God.