THE GOSPEL 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 April 20, 2014

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1 THE GOSPEL 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 April 20, 2014 INTRODUCTION: The Gospel is the most important message that the church ever proclaims. At the heart of the gospel is the resurrection of Christ. No other religion is based upon the historical fact of a bodily resurrection. The resurrection is the focal point of every other truth Christ taught. Jesus taught His disciples: Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Note: Mark 9:9, 31 John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. The first 2 sermons preached after the birth of the church (Pentecost) both focused on the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:14, 3:12). 1

2 The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truth would much matter. The Gospel defined: The God of Creation clothed Himself in flesh, came into the world virgin born, lived a sinless life, went to the cross dying a substitutionary death on behalf of sinners in order to receive the judgment we deserved and to offer to sinners forgiveness and His righteousness. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul uses 58 verses to speak of Christ s resurrection and our resurrection. Belief in the resurrection, the truth that this life is only a prelude to the life to come for those who trust in Jesus Christ could not be obliterated by ridicule, prison, torture or even death. No fear or dread in this life can quench the hope and joy of an assured life to come. I. THE GOSPEL PREACHED 1-2 To preach the gospel is to declare Christ s death, burial and resurrection. The middle voice emphasizes the subject s participation in the action. In this way Paul stressed his own participation in the gospel he had preached. This gave the message life, passion and heart. 2

3 A. Gospel Received The first testimony is not stated explicitly but is implied. The very fact that the Corinthians believers themselves had received the gospel and believed in Jesus Christ and had miraculously been changed, was in itself a strong evidence of the power of the gospel, which power is in the resurrection of Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 3

4 Three lives that were changed by the gospel are mentioned here in 1 Corinthians 15: Cephas-Peter V5 A fisherman that became a mighty preacher of the gospel. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 2. James V7 Half- brother of the Lord Jesus John 7:5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Before this appearance, James was embarrassed by Jesus. Afterward, James was willing to die for Jesus. Josephus the Jewish historian reports, James was stoned to death illegally by the Sanhedrin sometime after 60 AD for his faith in Christ. 4

5 Question: What would it take for a person to die willingly for the belief that one of his family members is God? Answer: In James case the only reasonable explanation is that Jesus appeared to him alive from the dead. 3. Paul V8 Himself a persecutor of Jesus s followers that now is used by God to write most of the New Testament books. Later, he dies for the gospel that changed him. B. The Gospel Cherished 1. The Power of the Gospel 2 by which also you are saved delivered (rescued) from sin s power and condemnation. The wages of sin is death Romans 6:23 It s the gospel that is saving me; indicating continual action; speaks of the perseverance of salvation. Hebrews 7:25 He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him 5

6 uttermost completely or forever 2. The Possibility with the Gospel 2 if you holdfast that word which I preached to you, unless you believe in vain a warning against a non-saving faith. Some of the Corinthians apparently had intellectually and/or outwardly acknowledged Jesus lordship, saviorhood, and resurrection, but had not trusted in Him or committed themselves to Him. Obedience and continuous faithfulness marks the saved. They believed to no purpose, or in vain; an empty faith. We believe to the point of believing Him to save and change us forever. Plummer and A. T. Robertson say in vain translates without consideration, heedlessly or rashly. The verse in no sense allows for the possibility of the loss of salvation but rather declares the possibility of a hasty commitment to Christ which is less than saving faith. The commitment represented in seed which fell on rocky ground and sprang up immediately but withered when the heat of the sun 6

7 scorched it. The reason given for the failure of the seed is that it had no root in itself. Matthew 13:5-6 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. Speaks of a worthless faith; to believe without effect. They did not experience a genuine salvation. The Corinthians holding fast (grasping), (holding down) to what Paul had preached, namely the gospel, was the result of and an evidence of their genuine salvation. Some of them lacked true saving faith and therefore did not continue to obey the word of God. Our salvation is kept by Christ s holding us fast, not primarily by our holding Him fast. Our holding onto Him is evidence that He is holding unto us. 7

8 Listen Clearly A professing Christian who holds to biblical teaching and living and then fully rejects it proves that his salvation was never real. He is able to let go of the things of God because he is doing the holding. He does not belong to God and therefore God s power cannot keep him. Such a person does not hold fast the word because his faith is in vain. It was never real! He cannot hold fast because he is not held fast. Matthew 7:20-23 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Many people make positive responses of one sort or another to the gospel, but only genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in salvation. Those who forsake 8

9 Christ and His church prove that they never really belonged to Him or to His true body. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. in which you stand speaks of an action accomplished in the past, true consequences of which continue infinitely into the future. This truth emphasizes the permanency of the salvation bestowed upon us by the Lord. II. THE GOSPEL S PRIORITY 3-4 I delivered I received These first matters I am speaking to you out of the experience of having myself received the witness about Christ. A. Death For Our Sins Was Vicarious 3 Christ s death was necessitated due to the sins of the people. Jesus paid the ransom with reference to our sins. His death was the 9

10 satisfaction of the just demands of the righteousness of God against sin. according to the scriptures Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. B. Resurrection For Our Sins Was Victorious Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, 10

11 And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. 11

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