Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 588 · 4 months ago

Let's Review the Gospel

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1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Oh Lord, we're so thankful for the salvation that we have. In Jesus Christ, you have turned our mourning into dancing, dancing, you've loosed the sackcloth and clothed us with gladness, and what a joy it is to enjoy these things and to praise you for them in the company of brothers and sisters who have likewise been brought out of their sin and misery and into your marvelous light. We ask that you, through the light of the word of God, through the Gospel and your spirit working that word in us, would help us to hear and to see and to believe and to stand in that truth. I'm even this morning, and we pray this now in Jesus name on them well, please remain standing if you're able, and let's turn our attention to first Corinthians, Chapter Fifteen. So First Corinthians Fifteen, I'll be reading verses one through eleven. All right, let's give our attention to God's word. Now. I would remind you, Brothers, of the Gospel I preach to you, which you received, in which you stand and by which you are being saved. If you hold fast to the word I preach to you, unless you believed in vain, for I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. That Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared deciphus, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me, for I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than all of them, or that any of them, though. It was not I, but the grace of God that is with me, whether then it was I or they. So we preach and so you believed. Amen, you may be seated. So have you ever been trying to get out of the house quickly and you know, you're looking around for your glasses, right, you're looking and you're looking. Where are my glasses? Where my glasses? They're on your head, honey, oh right. Or Your keys or your book or whatever are you had something in your hand right, and you set it down and you say, I just had this a moment ago and I can't find it. Well, why does this happen? Well, there's all kinds of reasons. One of them is we get distracted when there's too much information, too much going on, we're not paying attention. It's easy to stop and or to forget, let...

...things slide. Sometimes the reminders that we need. We're not forgotten just a moment ago, but we need the reminders of the of the depth of something. So, for example, you of course know that your friend loves you or your mom loves you or someone else in your life, and yet when they give you that present on your birthday, you're reminded of how much they love you. Right. There's a way in which there's we know things and then we come into a deeper knowledge of them or we remember them at a new level in a way that's very helpful to us. For whatever reason, this seems to be a need of ours. As a need of ours, we need reminders, and so much in the scriptures is a call to remember, over and over and over again. Even the Lord's Day itself as a day for remembering. It's a day for setting things aside, keeping it special, so that we can remember, especially the things that are of first importance. And that's what Paul does for us here in Chapter Fifteen of First Corinthians. Here, in these verses in particular, he begins and says, I would remind you, Brothers, of the Gospel I preach to you, which you received. Paul wants to remind them of the Gospel, and that's a good thing and it's something that we all need. There's not a point in our lives where we ever fully understand or appreciate the depth and the level of importance and and beauty and its effects of the of the Gospel. Paul wants to remind them of the Gospel. Now it's not that he hasn't been saying anything about it. It's not been absent from the chapters that have come before. When he was talking to the Corinthians about the divisions within the Church and the clamoring after this teacher and that teacher. He reminded them that all of them, all of the teachers, are ultimately speaking the word of the one word of the one Christ. He tells them in chapter three, you are God's workers, God's field, God's building. He grounds his instructions and his exhortations in the Gospel. Same thing in chapter four when he talks about ministry, in chapter five when he talks about sexual immorality, also in six and seven. Yes, he gives very practical instructions. He works US through all kinds of ethical, important ethical situations. But in the midst of it he's focusing on Christ sacrifice, who brings US purity and forgiveness and calls us to a certain calling. The lawsuits among believers, food sacrifice to idols, ministerial pay, clothes in church, all of these things, the Lord's supper, spiritual gifts, worship practices. He keeps connecting it and relating it to the Gospel. We are called to do these things because of what Jesus has already done for us. That's been there all along. It's come up in many ways, but now he wants to focus on that explicitly, to remind them of the Gospel in its in its particularities, and I'd like to focus on it this morning with you in three ways, thinking about its content, its effect and it's importance. So first, it's content. What does Paul say? The Gospel is Gospel, of course, is a word that means just good news. Right, you receive news throughout the day, throughout the week, hopefully not too much, but you received news, some of it's bad, some of its good. This is good news. It's news about something...

...that has happened. And what has happened? What is the news that has been proclaimed, the news that has been preached? Well, Paul says it is this. In verse three, he begins. I delivered to you as a first importance, what I also received. That's as a reminder, by the way, that Paul is not just making something up, he's not telling stories, he's delivering the message. That's his job. And what is the message, Colan? That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. This is the first thing he says. So if somebody asks you, what is the Gospel, and he will say more. There's a lot of things we can add and ways we can fill out the news, but what's a headline right? What's the headline for the story? This would be a very good one to use. Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures. Christ died for our sins. In accordance with the Scriptures, Christ is a word that means anointed. It's a title that is applied to Jesus. It means the same thing as Messiah in the Old Testament. This anointed one is one who is anointed by God to fulfill a particular calling, which means when we think Christ, we think not just Jesus, we think of the Trinity, because he is anointed with the spirit by the father, as modern way to put it, among other ways, he is anointed for a particular task. And it also reminds us, what we'll think about at the end of this phrase, that this is an accordance with the scriptures, with a plan that has been coming and being revealed for a long time. The Messiah that we read about in the Old Testament is the Christ who is Jesus in the new. This hope, this expectation, this longing for years after years after years, generation after generation, and not a vein hope, not a vein expectation, but one that God himself had promised. It comes into fulfillment when Jesus comes into the world, when he takes on human flesh in order that he might die, and that's our second word. Jesus Christ, the anointed one. He died. The son of God came into the world to take on a body like yours and mine, so that he might be able to die as we do. Jesus died not because something, an accident, happened to him. He died not because he really didn't want to and he sort of fell into the situation. Jesus came into the world for that very purpose. That's why he took on flesh and blood, so that he might die the death that we deserved, so that he might be our sacrifice and do or be our mediator, a sacrifice for our sins and do what the next word says, or the next phrase, which is for our sins. His death had a purpose, and what is that purpose? It was to forgive our sins, to heal us from the effects of our sins, and we're going to get into this more as we look at the rest of the chapter. When he rose again from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, over death and and and everything that is attached to that. Our Fall in Adam was fixed, was solved, repaired and healed by our reserve action. In Christ, Jesus died for our sins. Our relationship,...

...therefore, to Jesus, is not one of equals or partners. It's not one that's temporary or, you know, just for a little bit while it's convenient. It's a permanent one that he himself establishes and by his own blood. When the Apostle Paul speaks to the elders in Ephesus and Acts Chapter Twenty, he tells them to a care for the Church of God, which Jesus obtained with his own blood. That's who we are. We are people whom Jesus cut a covenant for and not some animal representing what might happen to him. His own blood flowed and his own blood flowed not pointing to him, but it was him. He was the sacrifice that all the sacrifices pointed forward to. He was the solution, God's own solution in his own son for our sins. So Christ died for our sins. And finally, as I said, is the scriptures say accordance with the scriptures, Jesus came to fulfill what had promised before. It was not a surprise in some senses, is that Jesus came. Some people weren't surprised, although many were, but he came and did what he what God had promised to do, and you see that in his miracles, you see it in his birth, you see it in his death and in his resurrection. This is what we find his burial and resurrection, then, is what Paul speaks of next. So first we have the headline right, Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures. But then he goes on and he adds these things verse four, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures. The life and death are a part of the Gospel, and so is the burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Like to read a little bit to you from the Gospel of Luke. First from Luke Chapter Nine. After feeding the five thousand, in Luke Nine, verse Twenty One or verse twenty two, he says to his disciples the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised. That's what Jesus says to his disciples before all of that happens, and he's pretty clear about it, isn't he listen to what he says in the same chapter write a few versus later, he says in Verse Forty Four, let these words sink into your ears, the son of man is about to be delivered into the hands of men. But they did not understand this saying and it was concealed from them so they might not perceive it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. There are other places in the scriptures where Jesus repeats these things. He tells them what's going to happen, but they they have trouble understanding for various reasons. They don't believe for various reasons. But of course, exactly as Jesus predicted, he he was delivered over, he did die, he was buried. Any rose again. Turning over to Luke, Chapter Twenty Four, verses one through nine, let's read about his resurrection...

...on the first day of the week. But early dawn they went to the tomb taking the spices they had prepared, and they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were pupat perplexed about this, behold two men stood by them and dazzling apparel, and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of Sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. And they remembered his words. Remember my point earlier about remembering. They remembered his words and, returning to the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. So there are these these two angels right saying Jesus has risen from the dead. He's no longer he's no longer dead, he's alive. Do you remember what he told you, that this is exactly what would happen? And at that moment they remembered. They remembered, they were reminded of the Gospel and they heard it and they believe and they went and started telling others, exactly as we should do. So this good news is that Jesus died for our sins, that he did so accord to the scriptures that he wrote, was buried and he rose again from the dead. Now, continuing on in Verse Five, Paul then says he and that he appeared to Siphast, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, last of all, as to one untimely born. He also appeared to me. This is a really fascinating passage for all kinds of reasons. One of them is it does remind us that these things that we're talking about happened in a particular place at a particular time, and people saw it alive. People all saw it. As Paul writes this, he says you can go talk to them right now, some of these people who witnessed these things. Not so much time has passed that you can go at Corinthians. He saying to the Corinthians, you can go and get an eyewitness testimony to this fact that this person saw Jesus and not one person, not the story of somebody, of somebody, of somebody. He says he appeared to all these people and an over to two, over five hundred brothers at one time. This is amazing, right. Not only was though, all of this work testified to in the scriptures, proven by the fact that it happened, and then there were all of these witnesses as well. On top of all of that, and we'll get this to this in a moment, as we moved to the effect of the Gospel. It it made this powerful change in these people's lives. Paul uses himself as an example. I was persecuting the church, he says, but then I saw Jesus and now I'm willing to die for the church. What an amazing, amazing thing. It's a reminder that the Church of God, the people that Jesus raises, for the people that Jesus reveals himself to, is not an unnecessary thing on the side, not related to the Gospel. The Work of God for the Church, which he obtained by his blood,...

...acts twenty. The Work of God for the Church and which he cans, converting men like Paul the Work of God for the Church and where he is causing like the women at the Tomb to remember the Gospel. It's for real people. It didn't just happen there in history and then we can kind of read about it. It happened in history for the world and then ripple effects continue to go out and affect even us. Well now I think I'm firmly in point two, so we'll just keep going. Paul says, what are the effects of this Gospel? He says several things. One in verse one, he says, in which you stand. It's a truth that we don't just hear. It's a truth we stand on, a truth, we depend on a truth we live out of. He also says of the Gospel it is the word by which you are being saying the word of God has its effect and causing us to be born again to new life, but it also helps us in our continuing growth in that life. The perfecting of the saints is a work of God and he does it through the Gospel. In other words, we don't just hear the Gospel once and say, okay, I understand that Jesus died and now I get to work doing my obeying part. We, of course, are called to obey. The law. Is Good like honey to our lips. It's what we were made to do, to live and light of. But the law doesn't empower us in the way that the Gospel does. The Gospel and the Work of God, He Paul says in another place, is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe. That's why, in my preaching and in our worship services and in our Bible Studies and fellowships, we're always talking about this over and over and over again. The Gospel, the work of Christ, for us, is of first importance. It's the thing that saves us, it's the thing that continues to save us, it's the thing that will bring salvation to completion. And of course it's not just a thing. It is the word of God. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ and the work of the spirit in us. In the same way in which God created the world and wrought it into being and sustains it by the word of his power, he is bringing new life and new creation into being and sustaining it by the word of his power, and that word is the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again. So that brings us finally to the importance of this message. We see it in a number of ways, most easily when Paul says at first three I delivered, for I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. When we are focused on other things, that's when we lose our glasses. When we're focused on other things, that's when we lose we get distracted and we begin forgetting one of the things that the word of God does for us, one of the things that we enjoy on the Lord's Day as a resetting and a recalibrating and a reminding of who we are, of what God has done, and that this is of first importance. It's at the core of who we are in our life and our families and our communities, in our church. It's the thing that is saving us. It is the thing by which we understand all other things. It's also important in this negative sense. All says, unless you believed in vain, which is...

...a reminder that it is possible to have a kind of false faith, a vain faith, a faith that isn't really faith. It's possible to believe in vain, not in the sense that you have true belief that doesn't achieve its end. Because what does Jesus say? He says faith is small as a mustard seed, or faith is as little as, or even mixed with, unbelief, is still capable of moving mountains. Right. He's not saying you have to believe at levels seventy five at least in order to in order for it to not be in vain. And then we sort of measure that anything that's faith and anything that receives Jesus is not in vain. There is, however, a false kind of faith, right. Jesus talks about this in one of his parables, a sort of seed that gets planted in the ground and then sport of springs up, the sun comes, it withers away and it dies. It's not really grounded, as we say, it's not really rooted. Right. Not True, and that's a warning to us. If you look at your life and and you test your heart by the standards of scripture and you say, you know, I don't really believe this. I'm not here this morning because I'm here to worship God. I'm here this morning because I'm trying to impress someone or make a point, or I'm here because I think that God will someholp be pleased by my actions and then save me. Anything like this, this is this is not faith. Anything that starts with you, know, I and me. These things are likely heading us in the wrong direction. So we should ask ourselves, who do I belong to? Am I like the thief on the Cross, or the people on the road, or the people in the desolate places needing to be fed? My like these people who Jesus encountered and said, I need you, Lord, help me, Lord, or are we like the other people who, when they spoke to the Lord and he told them things? You, they said Nah, not for me. Who are who walked away? We said the sacrifice is or I don't care that much, or you're a liar and I'm going to kill you. These were the various reactions of people who did not have faith, who did not believe. It's worth our asking the question, because this Gospel, this faith that we have in Jesus Christ, this faith in this word, is of first importance because, apart from faith in Jesus, this Jesus that we hear about in this news, we remain in our sins. Because why? Well, that's why Jesus died for our sins, to forgive us our sins. And if we reject him, then no one has died for your sins. You remain in your sins, you remain separated from God. Our faith must be in him, and the Scriptures promise that when we put our faith in him, no matter how small it is, no matter how beginning, no matter how mixed, he answers it. He gives freely, even more than we ask, and when he does, it has this effect that Paul's talking about. Instead of being bought in bondage...

...to slavery and death, to fear and guilt and shame, he opens up our lives and he allows us to feel freedom for the first time. He allows us to stand, he allows us to not be living anymore in vain but with purpose and with meaning, and he promises that what he begins in us, he he willing to completion. That is the message that they've received, that is the message that we have received. Let's stand in it, let's believe it and let's always remember him. Let's pray our heavenly father, we thank you for giving your word to us, your son, and thank you also for the gift of Your Spirit by which we might perceive these things. As we see with the Lord's disciples and those very early days, even they who were with him could not perceive and understand until the spirit opened up their minds and their lives. Lord, we ask that, in the places where we are dull of hearing, where we cannot perceive, where we don't understand, we asked that you would help us, that you would humble us, that we might really know and believe that this good news is of first importance and that we might not believe a news of our own making, that we might believe the true news, the news of Jesus, his death and his resurrection, his victory over sins and his promise to heal us. Lord Jesus, we thank you for your work in the world. We thank you for your revelation to us that we might no longer remain in darkness but be brought into the light. We asked that you would help us to believe, that you would stir in us a hunger and a desire to know you, and that you would increase this day after day, that we with the Apostle Paul, might be willing to give up everything, even our own lives, that we might follow after you. Let us give up, of course, our sins, but also our possessions, our relationships, of whatever it takes that we might know you and follow you. This is a first importance. Help us to believe that and to live in light of it. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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