December 5, 2017

04: Three Gospel Truths that Propel Us into Ministry

1 Corinthians 15:1-6

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached 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 to Cephas, 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.

This passage is such an excellent summary of the gospel. Paul points out three main components that are of first importance. Christ died, Christ was buried and Christ rose again. Let’s think about these three for a minute and then we’ll see how they fit into our daily lives.

First, Christ died. Remember, Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” This means that our sin and rebellion against God has brought upon us the penalty of death. We are sentenced to die because of our evil deeds. So, we understand that the penalty of death had to be paid. It is the only just thing to do and since God is a God of justice, the sentence must be carried out. First Corinthians 15:3 says that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures. God sent Jesus to come and die in our place, to pay the penalty for us. Oh, how we should thankfully meditate on this truth more often.

Secondly, Christ was buried. The fact that Christ was buried points us to the historicity and the physicality of what was taking place. Jesus was a human. Jesus actually bled and died and was actually placed in a grave after his heart stopped beating, after his lungs stopped breathing and after his brain stopped functioning. There was an actual grave that Jesus was placed in. There were Roman soldiers who witnessed this burial and then guarded the tomb, so that no one would be able to mess with the body.

Thirdly, Jesus rose from the dead. Again, we go back to the historicity and physicality of Jesus’ resurrection. The dead body of Jesus was now raised to life, not just as a spirit but in physical form. The passage we just read points to eyewitnesses to this miracle. If you lived back then, you could go to Cephas and the twelve, you could go to the other 500 people and ask them to their face if they saw Jesus physically alive after they had witnessed his death and burial.

And of course, the passage says that all of this happened according to the Scriptures. There was prophecy after prophecy throughout the Old Testament and even as Jesus taught before He died that these things would take place.

Here’s how this impacts you today…

God loves you enough to send His Son to die for you. You may not have many friends, you may be in a bad way with the people around you, you may not feel very loved today by the world. But all of that gets trumped by the love of God found in Jesus. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, He is crazy about you and wants to spend all day with you. Walking through everything that you have to do today. He wants to influence your mind and heart and challenge you to love others unconditionally as He has loved you.

These foundational truths of the gospel will allow you to stand firm today. These truths should strengthen your faith in Jesus, who conquered death. Think about that for a moment. Your greatest enemy today would be death. Death of yourself, or death of a loved one. But Jesus has conquered death. Even if you die, you win because you get to be with Jesus face to face.

I want you to live out this gospel of grace today. Believe it and receive it, just like the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Those eyewitnesses were emboldened to live lives of radical obedience to Jesus, and unfettered love toward a hurting world. You have nothing to lose by giving yourself away today, allow the power of the risen Christ to work in and through you, for the glory of God.

Go and see for yourself how the gospel changes everything!