“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
INTRO – Title of sermon today: “What is the Gospel?” I love this cartoon that my friend, Joe McKeever, sent to me this past week when he found out the title of my message for today. Seems that sometimes, we pastors can forget that the Gospel is Good News! The quick answer is that the Gospel is Good News! Can’t ever say that without thinking about my preaching prof, Don Wilton – “Jon, my brother, who are you mad at? The Gospel is Good News, my brother!” (Don will be preaching here Oct. 22 – “Days of Hope”) The Gospel is Good News! It’s the message of God’s saving work in Christ & ONLY in Christ! It’s the foundation of our lives, the foundation of the Church, the foundation of our all we do in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is Good News! There’s also no way we can say that without thinking about Billy Graham, who passed away this past Wednesday at the age of 99. Billy Graham spent his life living out the Gospel & preaching the Gospel. He once said, “The message I preach hasn’t changed. Circumstances have changed. Problems have changed, but deep inside man has not changed, and the gospel hasn’t changed.”
Also said, “The cross shows us the seriousness of our sin—but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God.”
Billy Graham’s life was all about the Gospel, & the same should be true of all of us who are Christ-followers. Our lives should also be all about the Gospel. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “…I have nothing else to rely upon but the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived, died, was buried, rose again, went to heaven, and still lives and pleads for sinners at the right hand of God.”
The Gospel is Good News! It gives us meaning & purpose in life. People attempt to rely on so many other things to find purpose & meaning in life.
- Right living
Not only do they rely on these things for purpose & meaning in this life, they also rely on these things to give them some hope for their future life – the afterlife. But it’s a false hope b/c hope is found in no one else other than Jesus Christ alone. He’s our only hope in this life & in the life to come. Only He can give us eternal life, & He WILL give eternal life to ANY person who will call out to Him in faith & receive Him as their personal Savior & Lord.
- I love what Kathie Lee Gifford said this week during an interview w/ Megyn Kelly: “Everyone who dies in Christ goes immediately into the arms of Jesus for all eternity. That is the hope of the Christian faith!…If you had the cure for cancer, would you keep it quiet? Would you hold it & keep it a secret? I have the cure for the malignancy of the soul, & He has a name, & it’s Jesus.”
The Gospel is Good News! Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth here in the 1st century to help them understand this crucial foundational truth. He’s already dealt w/ all sorts of problems & struggles this church was having in the areas of worship, & spiritual gifts, & immorality in the church, & disputes & problems between people in the church.
But when he gets to ch. 15, he zeroed in on the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Why did he do this? As John MacArthur said, “Just as the heart pumps life-giving blood to every part of the body, so the truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns & without which none of the other turths would much matter. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy & religious speculation.” (The MacArthur NT Commentary: 1 Corinthians, p. 398)
- The teachings of Buddhism are not Good News b/c their leader is dead & gone.
- The teachings of Islam are not Good News b/c their leader is dead & gone.
But for those of us who are Christians – TRUE Christians who have been truly born again – our Leader, our Savior, our Redeemer is alive today b/c of the resurrection! We celebrate it every Easter! We celebrate it every Sunday! We celebrate it every time we see someone baptized as we did today! That’s why we baptize by immersion, b/c that immersion represents the immersion of Jesus into the tomb. And we come out of that water, we see a picture of the Gospel of the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead! He’s alive today! John Gill: “…were [the resurrection] out of the Gospel, it would not be Gospel, or good news; it would be an idle story, faith would be a vain thing, and hoping and believing Christians of all the most miserable.” (https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/1-corinthians-15-1.html)
Hallelujah! The Gospel is Good News!
v. 1a – That’s why Paul said that he “preached” the Gospel – Greek word for “gospel” is euangelion. Greek word for “preach” is euangelizo. When you are preaching, you are telling the Good News. If you’re not telling the Good News, then you ain’t preaching!
v. 1b – When the Gospel is preached, then it has to be “received.” You hear it. You learn it. You understand it. You believe it.
v. 1c – When you’ve “received” it, then you “stand” in it. You don’t waver in it, or wander from it. You don’t step away from it, or stray from it. You STAND in it w/ your feet firmly planted there. “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
v. 2 – When you receive it & stand in it, you “being saved by it.” The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ is the one & only Savior of the world. When you place your faith in Him, eternal salvation is the gift that He gives to you. That means:
- You have been saved – Regeneration
- You are being saved – Sanctification
- You will one day be completely saved – Glorification
v. 2b – When are saved by the Gospel, you “hold fast” to it. You see, the Gospel is not about just praying a prayer one day & then going about your life as if nothing has changed. If nothing has changed, then you’re not saved. That’s what Paul means when he says, “if you hold fast to the word I preached to you” (v. 2b). He’s not saying that your salvation is dependent upon YOUR holding on to it. He’s making it clear that when you are truly saved, you WILL hold fast to the Gospel. It will be one of the evidences of your salvation. As MacArthur says, “Our holding onto Him is evidence that He is holding on to us” (p. 399).
THE GOSPEL IS GOOD NEWS! Has your life been changed by this Good News?