Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 1/28/2018
Main Point: Believing the gospel changes us.
We are looking again at the core values of this church family. These are the things we cherish. But, what does that mean?
Well, why did my lawn mower sleep in the garage while my suburban slept outside? Because I cherished the mower more than the Suburban. This is a statement of worth. That mower was worth twice as much as the Suburban. I cherished it because of its surpassing worth.
Why do I cherish my wedding ring? It’s not worth much. After I lost my expensive wedding ring, somewhere between Autozone, Lowes, and the attic overhead, I was given a replacement of lesser financial value. Though the ring is of little monetary value, the ring is cherished because it reminds me of something of great worth. This ring reminds me of my wife and the gift of marriage. My wedding ring reminds me of powerful truths, so it is significant. Significance makes this ring valuable and we cherish valuable things.
And why do I cherish my coffee maker? It’s not worth much and there are no meaningful memories attached to it. I cherish the coffee maker because it is useful. Every morning, like a team player, that coffee maker produces a hot beverage that I find tasty and useful. I cherish it because it is useful. We cherish what is valuable, significant, and useful.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 preaches the gospel and proves the worth of the gospel. The gospel is valuable, the gospel is significant, and the gospel is useful. Let me show you why we cherish the gospel
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
- To begin, We must define the gospel biblically (3-5)
- Jesus died for our sins and was buried
There was absolutely no doubt in the first century about the death of Jesus. Everyone in Jerusalem knew Jesus died. No Roman soldier, no Jewish leader, believed Jesus was merely hurt on the cross and then walked it off. The death of Jesus was an assumed fact. What was debated was the purpose of that death and if he actually rose again. Let’s talk purpose.
Why did Jesus die? Look at verse 3. This is of greatest importance. Jesus died for what reason? Jesus died for our sins. Jesus died because of our rebellion. Jesus died because we love and cherish the wrong things. Jesus died. Jesus died for our sins. If we take a step back, Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus paid our debt, but who did Jesus pay? Jesus paid the penalty we owe to God because we turn away from God. God built into the universe the principle that the wages of sin is death. When Jesus died, he paid the debt we owe to God.
Have you ever owed someone money? Have you ever gotten behind on the payment? It’s awkward being around that person when you owe but have not paid. One of the reasons worship, bible study, and prayer can be awkward is because we try to draw near to God without drawing near through Jesus. Without Jesus we should feel out of place. Our sin debt is paid only in and through him. We worship God through Jesus Christ. Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Let’s take another step back. Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, so we can enjoy reconciliation with God. Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, so that right now and for all eternity, we can enjoy God. Jesus’ death reconciles us to God by taking away all our sin. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. The gospel declares Jesus died for our sins and was buried then
- Jesus rose again and appeared to hundreds
Look back at 1 Corinthians 15:3. Jesus died for our sins according to God’s plan, according to the Scriptures. Jesus was then buried, but on the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. God the Father was not watching the death of Jesus freaking out wondering, “What are we going to do now?”. The Father and Spirit were loving the Son and telling all of creation, “Watch this.” On the third day, according to plan, Jesus rose from the grave. To prove the validity of his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples, more than 500 brothers, the apostles, and he even appeared to Paul. Jesus has conquered sin and the grave for all those who will believe in him. Let’s think about what we’ve seen.
- The gospel is individual and inconceivably vast
Think about someone cooking you a personal meal precisely suited to your every need. It is the perfect meal with the exact nutritional content you need, and it is pleasurable to eat. That’s the gospel. Jesus is so good. The gospel is a perfect fit for you. But also think about Jesus feeding 5,000 men plus women and children. That one little meal, pleasant and sufficient for you, is pleasant and sufficient for all. We must be biblical and balanced cherishing the individual and the corporate aspects of Jesus’ redeeming work.
Individually, the gospel is the good news that you can be restored to God through faith in the righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God that saves you.
Corporately, the gospel is the good news that God is forming his forever family, his church, through the person and work of His Son and Spirit. The gospel creates, unites, and empowers the church.
Holistically, the gospel is the good news that God will make all things new in heaven and on earth. This broken world with all its broken systems will one day be renewed and made perfect. We will be forever united as God’s glorious family. Our future is one of the unmediated presence of God, the fullness of joy, the fruitfulness of work, and the absence of sin and temptation. The gospel declares that you are being made new and the gospel declares all things will be made new. We believe an individual, corporate, and inconceivably vast gospel.
Now that we have a little more clarity on the content and scope of the gospel, let’s look at what God wants us to do with the gospel.
- We must use the gospel faithfully (1-2)
Now we’re looking at 1 Corinthians 15:1&2
- The gospel must be preached
The good news of Christ’s death for sins and resurrection from the grave must be proclaimed. Verse 1, Paul is reminding the church of the gospel he had previously preached to them. Verse 2, Paul is exhorting them to keep believing the gospel he preached to them. Verse 3, Paul delivered to them the message of Christ’s righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return. Literally, Paul gospeled them with the gospel.
We are being faithful with the gospel when we are preaching it, sharing it, explaining it, and defending it. The gospel is a set message. The gospel message was promised by God, lived out through Jesus, delivered to the apostles, and preserved in the Scriptures. We don’t get to define the gospel. We preach the ancient and apostolic gospel of Jesus Christ. But that’s not enough
- The gospel must be received and believed
Verse 1, Paul preached the gospel and they received it. The end of verse 2 tells us the church believed the gospel. Remember the progress of salvation in Romans 10:14-15. God sends a preacher. The preacher preaches the gospel of Christ crucified for sins. A person hears the gospel, believes the gospel, and then cries out to Jesus for salvation. Receiving and believing the gospel are nothing less than understanding what Jesus has done and calling out for salvation from God’s wrath. Jesus save me!
Have you done that? Have you cried out to Jesus to save you from the wrath of God for your sins? Are you doing that? Are you depending constantly on Christ? Do it now. Trust Him.
A Christian is a person who feels the wrath of God for sin and calls out to Jesus for salvation from God’s wrath.
A Christian is a person who wants to be with God and trusts Jesus alone to get there.
A Christian is a person who trusts in the righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ.
This belief defines saving faith, but it also defines what it looks like to stay in the faith. We keep believing. Hear this,
- The gospel must be held on to
Look with me at 1 Corinthians 15:1. The gospel is preached, received, and stood in. Stood in? Christians stand in the gospel; it’s a current everyday practice. Gospel standing. Paul asks them, “Hey watcha doing?” and the church replies, “You know, standing in the gospel.” What does that look like? Verse 2. Standing in the gospel goes with being saved by the gospel and being saved by the gospel goes with holding fast to the gospel and all this works together to make faith fruitful and not empty.
The gospel is to Christianity what oxygen is to the human body. If you stop breathing, if you decide you’ve found a better way to survive, if you stumble across something more glorious than breathing, well, you’ll stop breathing and die. Your previous breathing will be in vain if you stop breathing.
Standing in the gospel, believing the gospel, and holding onto the gospel is the only way of life for Christians. Just as a body cannot survive without constant breathing, so the Christian cannot survive without holding onto the gospel.
If you seek your identity in something other than the gospel, if you depend on something or someone other than Jesus for life, then you will die. If you let go of Jesus and grab onto something else to feel right or be right, then you will die.
Joy and life come through Christ alone. Salvation is nothing less than an enduring union with Christ. Hold fast to the one you believe in! He is infinitely glorious and sufficient! Praise God he is holding onto us!
Now, what does this look like? We must define the gospel biblically, we must use the gospel faithfully, and
- We must constantly work out the implications of the gospel
Do you remember the time when the apostle Paul reproved the apostle Peter? The story is in Galatians 2. Peter was not walking in step with the gospel. Peter’s conduct was contradicting Peter’s doctrine. He believed one thing and did the opposite. What Peter believed about the Gentiles and the way Peter treated the Gentiles did not match. Specifically, the way Peter ate dinner contradicted the gospel and he needed to be corrected. God used the apostle Paul to correct Peter’s application of the gospel and the Spirit preserved the story so we can learn from Peter’s mistake. We must walk in step with the gospel.
What I want to do now is take each of those things we do with the gospel and try to show you how they work. I want to help you walk out these truths in your mind, your house, and in your work.
- Preaching the gospel looks like explaining the biblical gospel
Jonah is a bad example of preaching the gospel. It looks like all Jonah said was “Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4). Explaining the gospel looks like the book of Romans. Romans is a letter in which a missionary is explaining his gospel in order to secure the support of the gospel believing church. Are you explaining the gospel in your home? Are you explaining the gospel at work? We must do better than Jonah. We must make the gospel clear.
4 good resources- The Bible by God, The Gospel by Ray Ortlund, What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert, and The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. Dig down deep into the gospel. It gets sweeter and stronger the further you go.
Make sure you are speaking the gospel and that your preaching is biblical and understandable. Next,
- Receiving the gospel looks like repentance and faith
Christians are sorry people. We see our sin, we see the atoning work of Christ, and we say, “I’m sorry.” We say, “I’m sorry” to God and we say, “I’m sorry” to one another. Receiving and believing the gospel looks like faith in Christ crucified and raised, which leads to repentance. If you can’t say, “I’m sorry,” you’re probably not a Christian. If you aren’t regularly saying, “I’m sorry,” you’re probably not a growing Christian. Repent and believe. Keep repenting and keep believing. Receiving the gospel looks like repentance and faith
- Standing in the gospel looks like constantly touching the gospel-base
When you play tag it is important to determine two things: first, who is it? And second, what is base? When you are a soldier it is important to know where base is because base is safety, family, and provisions.
Think about it from another angle. What do you constantly check on? What base do you constantly check to make sure you are ok? Do you constantly check your text messages, Facebook, or Instagram to make sure you are being liked and not missing out? I have to check. I have to touch base. Do you constantly check the news, your physical health, or your progress at work? I have to check. I have to know where I am. Or, do you constantly touch the gospel-base? This is who I am- a redeemed and loved child of God.
Stand in the gospel. Hold fast to the gospel. Keep believing the gospel.
- Being saved by the gospel looks like gradual transformation
Christianity is a glorious cycle of looking at a situation asking, “What do God and the gospel have to do with this?” and then living life based on God and the gospel. I wish initial faith led immediately to perfection but it’s not the case. Saving faith connects us to Christ who justifies us perfectly in that instance and immediately begins to sanctify us.
Our response is to look to God for direction and depend on God to empower change. In singleness, marriage, and parenting it looks like, “God I can’t do this, but you said do this, so I will depend on you to do this.” That every day every moment of the day gospel dependence fuels change. Knowing what to do and having the strength to do it are both glorious gospel miracles.
Will God take it away and make it better? Yes, in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, the trumpet will sound, Jesus will return, and all things will be made new. Until that day, the saved will keep trusting the gospel for gradual transformation. Being saved by the gospel looks like gradual transformation and
- Being reminded of the gospel looks like push notifications
Push notifications are the bells, alarms, and alerts that come from smart phones. A more accurate name is pushy notifications. A pushy person is always telling you what to do. Push notifications are pushy- do this! read this! reply to this! Push notifications break into our routines and redirect us towards what is important. At least that should be the case. Instead of Instagram push notifications, we need gospel push notifications. We need to be reminded constantly that we are loved by God, we are justified by Christ, we are empowered by the Spirit, and we have a glorious future. The world is pulling us away. We have to push back.
We need every day push notifications from the Word and from our brothers and sisters (Heb 3:13). Every week we need a push notification from the church (Heb 10:24-25). We gather to remind one another- this is the triune God, this is the gospel, this is who we are. You are forgiven and loved. Keep going. Keep believing. Keep holding fast to the gospel.
Look around this room. These brothers and sisters are having a hard time loving their families and their neighbors. You need to stir them up. These brothers and sisters are ready to quit. You need to stir them up to keep doing good works. Christians connect every day and every week. Why? Jesus is coming soon. The day of his return is drawing near.
Maybe you should set a reminder on your phone, a reminder that goes off every now and again, that simply says, “Jesus is coming.” Start texting your friends and family, “Jesus is coming.” Remind the sufferer, Jesus is coming. Remind those who rejoice, Jesus is coming. Text your pastors, “Jesus is coming.”
Because of all this, repent and believe the gospel. The good news is that Jesus is ready to take you in or take you back. Right now, by faith, with all your junk. Jesus will restore you. Let’s believe the gospel, let’s cherish the gospel, together.