“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? (Pt. 2)” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
INTRO – Abby Irwin video
In WWII when the Marines captured the island of Saipan, the Japanese ordered the inhabitants to kill themselves by jumping off a cliff. Hundreds of feet below were the rocks and waters of the beach. American translators yelled through bullhorns that if the inhabitants would come to the US side, they would be spared. A few did, but most of them jumped.
Many people respond in the same way to the gospel today. The offer of the Good News of the Gospel is made to them, inviting them to come to the Lord’s side for salvation. And yet, so many choose to turn down the offer & go on & live in their sin all the way to their death. How tragic! How sad!
Billy Graham was buried this past Friday. He lived 99 years & spent the bulk of those years inviting lost people to come to Christ & receive the gift of eternal life. I’m 53 years old. I don’t know if the Lord is going to allow me to live another 46 years to 99. I don’t know if He’s going to allow me to live another 46 days, or 46 hours, minutes, or even seconds. But no matter how long He lets me stay here on this earth, I want to spend the bulk of the time I have left sharing the Gospel, the Good News, inviting lost people to come to Jesus Christ & be saved! Who else here today wants to do that, too?
Friends, our time is so limited! Even if we DO live to the ripe old age of 99, that’s still such a short time when compared to eternity.
- 1 Peter 1:24 – “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.” (NLT)
- James 4:14 – “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.” (CEV)
We said it last week & we need to say it again today: The Gospel is Good News! It is! It’s the Good News about:
What Jesus did – v. 3-4 – This is the foundation of the Gospel message:
- Christ died
- Christ was buried
- Christ rose again
I love what Paul said there at the beginning of v. 3 – “For I delivered to you AS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE what I also received…” – This is the most important thing that Paul or anyone else could deliver to anyone! This Good News is of utmost priority b/c it’s the utmost promise ever made. It’s not an afterthought or an addendum added onto our message. It’s not some casual everyday headline that we might see, or an “Oh yeah” or a “By the way” kind of statement: “Oh yeah, I meant to tell you something…” or “By the way, there’s something I wanted to tell you…” NO! This is “of first importance”. The NLT says, “I passed on to you what was most important.” God’s Word translation says, “I passed on to you the most important points of doctrine that I had received.” It’s the Good News that through the Gospel, God works to take people from death to life. I love what John Piper said: “The gospel is the good news that the everlasting and ever-increasing joy of the never-boring, ever-satisfying Christ is ours freely and eternally by faith in the sin-forgiving death and hope-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (“What Is the Christian Gospel?” on desiringgod.org)
What we are – “for our sins” (v. 3) – For us to truly understand the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel, we need to start with the bad news. Here it is: We are sinners & can’t save ourselves. We’re not just pretty good people who make mistakes every now & then. No, we are sinners. R.C. Sproul: “The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well-being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.”
What Jesus does – v. 5-8 are important verses b/c they establish the fact that Jesus really did rise from the dead. There were multiple eyewitnesses to this event & Paul wanted to emphasize that fact in these verses.
It’s important for us today to know what Jesus does for us as we continue to live in this world.
- He intercedes for us – We know that after Jesus appeared to all of these people, He ascended back to heaven (Acts 1) where He is now interceding for you & me – “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25) Paul said in Rom 8:34 – “…Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
- He convicts us & draws us – We know that He sent the Holy Spirit to come to us to convict us, to draw us to the Father. And when we respond to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, Jesus applies His blood to our lives & washes away all of our sin. 1 John 1:7 – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
- He replaces our filthy righteousness w/ His perfect righteousness. Isa. 64:6 tells us that all of our righteous acts are as “filthy rags.” We can’t be good enough or righteousness enough to earn our salvation. So the Lord Jesus come to us as replaces our empty, filthy, self-righteousness w/ His perfect righteousness. He takes up residence in our hearts & lives. He doesn’t just come in as a guest, but He becomes the owner. He doesn’t just stop by for a visit, but He moves in & takes over. 2 Cor. 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”
- He cleans us up & cleans us out – Rev. 1:5 tells us that Jesus loved us & washed us from our sins w/ His own blood. He seals the deal by stamping His ownership seal on our hearts. Eph. 1:13 – “In [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
- He has started working on our home in heaven – That’s where we will spend eternity when our life here is done. John 14:1-6.
- He empowers us to do the work of spreading the Gospel & making disciples of all nations – The Gospel itself gives us power.
- 1 Cor. 1:18 – “For the word of the cross [the Gospel] is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
- Paul prayed for the Christ-followers at Colossae in Col. 1:11 that they would be “strengthened w/ all power, according to [the Lord’s] glorious might,” so they could honor the Christ w/ their lives & bear fruit for Him.
- We also find OT evidence that tells us that the Lord gives us the power we need to live for Him & serve Him. Isa. 40:29 – “He gives power to the faint, & to him who has no might He increases strength.”
So what do we do w/ this power that He gives to us? That brings us to our final point:
What we are to do – v. 11 – “…we preach & so you believed.” This Greek word is different from what Paul said in v. 1. This word means “to tell, to announce publicly.” Paul said it didn’t matter if it was him preaching the Gospel or some of the other apostles. The important thing was that the Gospel was preached & the people believed.
The same is true for us.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s the Baptists preaching the Gospel or the Methodists or Presbyterians or the Charismatics.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s the Calvinists or the Arminians or the Traditionalists.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s the white folks or the black folks or the Hispanic or Asian folks.
- It doesn’t matter if it’s those of us who make our living as pastors & ministers in the church or those who make their living outside the church.
- The important thing is that the Gospel is preached & lost people believe it & are saved! It’s EVERY Christian’s job to preach the Gospel so the lost can believe & be saved!
I love what Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, said at his funeral: “I pledge to you, Daddy, that in view of His appearing, and in front of all these witnesses, I will preach the Word! I will do the work of an evangelist and I will share the Gospel and I will run my race and live my life so that five minutes before I see Jesus I have no regrets. I will live my life to glorify and exalt the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
What about you & me? Maybe it’s time we make that same commitment of our lives today!
- Read just this week that there are approx. 269 million lost people in the North America.
- What are we going to do about that 269 million? What are YOU going to do about that 269 million? Contained w/in that 269 million are several thousand who are in the 15-minute driving radius of this church. So I’m not talking about going to other side of the world, or even the other side of the country. I’m talking about going across town or across the street – maybe even across the house.
- FAITH starts w/ an organizational & training meeting on Sunday, April 8. Then go out & make evangelistic visits for next 6 weeks on Monday nights.
- Magnolia Bluff outreach
- “Days of Hope” in Sept. & Oct.
- Country Oaks Mission
- Apartment complexes down Raymond Road.
- If you come to me during invitation today & tell me that you want to do an evangelistic block party in your neighborhood, the church will fully support that & provide the funds you need to do so. I have all the BGEA “My Hope” videos that you can use. We will buy an inflatable outdoor screen for you to use.
It’s TIME to step up! Christ died – Christ was buried – Christ rose again – Let’s go share this GOOD NEWS!