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The Most Important Massage You Ever Heard



PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH

1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-1110 SEPTEMBER 2023



In your mind, what is the most important message or document ever recorded in the history of the world? What message or document has stood alone as an eternally saving message? What message or document has been universally - that is all over the world – shared ?


Well, by now you have surely guessed that I am speaking of the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ contained in the Bible.


Let’s go back to your high school history class for a moment. George Washington was a man who was very well respected and honored. Can you guess what was one of the reasons he was chosen to be the first commander-in-chief and the first president of this nation in its infancy?


George Washington was a man known to be one who knew how to keep first things first. And as the Commander in Chief and the President of these United States, he was first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.


Now, let’s bring this thought of keeping first things first to the life of the church. Doing that in any part of life has never been as important as it is in the life of the church.


The church has been given one mission. That mission must always be the first priority that we, as the church of Jesus Christ, must always be carrying out.


What is that one mission? That is fulfilling the Great Commission – making disciples in our local environment as well as helping to make disciples across the whole world – in all nations.


When we compare the church to any other institution or endeavor in the world, we find that the church is unique. There is no other organization or body like it on earth.


The church is unique in the fact that the mission of the church is actually determined and defined by the message of the church.


In the church of Jesus Christ, one thing must be placed above all else. And that is the proclamation of the message of the church. And that message is the Gospel.


The proclaiming of the Gospel is the first and most important message of the Bible and of the church.


The Apostle Paul wrote 13 of the letters contained in what we know as the New Testament. His main theme in all of those letters dwelt on the matter of proclaiming the message of the Gospel and its importance in the life of the church.


Another matter to consider also, is this: The primary reason Jesus came to this earth is so that we would have this Gospel message to guide our lives and so that each of us would learn to proclaim this Gospel in our own everyday life, sharing the message with others who have not begun to obey the Gospel message.


Sadly, what is happening in so many churches today is that preachers and teachers of the Word are putting less and less emphasis on the Gospel.


This, of course, should not be. And why is it? Simply because those who put less emphasis on the Gospel are trying to avoid being accused of judging others. They don’t want to upset anyone. They don’t want to be bold enough to call sin what it is -SIN.


What should be, of course, is that the Gospel should always be heard in every congregation, spoken with the conviction that it is true – that is the only way to salvation. The Gospel is powerful enough to prick the hardest heart anyone could ever imagine.


So, the Gospel should be heard and heard clearly explained so that those who hear, will have an opportunity to respond to that Gospel.


So, all that said, let’s go to the Word, written by the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.


READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11


WE MUST BE SURE THAT THE GOSPEL RECEIVES FIRST PRIORITY


Paul begins this section of his writing by wanting to make clear what his message is to them. He wants to be sure they understand the message. Now, they obviously, or maybe hopefully, they had understood because they, at one time had accepted the message and obeyed it and now were Christians.


But Paul wanted to make absolutely certain that they knew the true significance of the Gospel. This Gospel was new in those days – something no one had ever experienced. The church needed a continual clarification of the heart of the Gospel.


The main focus of Paul’s message to which every congregation he wrote to was always that the importance of the Gospel is that it is how anyone can be saved. Paul preached that the Gospel is how people come to know God through their faith in Jesus Christ. How would they know that and how can they respond to that unless they hear and respond to the Gospel message?


In verse 3, Paul says the most important message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That is the one message, the most important message that should always be the focal point in our preaching and teaching.


As we have looked at the Corinthian church before, we know that Paul dealt with many and a wide variety of subjects in his messages to the church there. He had to address sexual behavior, incest, spiritual gifts, marriage, non-marriage (life as a single), temptations, proper observance of the Lord’s Supper, and speaking in tongues. This congregation had some great lessons to be learned.


But, through it all, Paul’s message to the church was always that the Gospel is the priority because it represents and presents the fundamentals of the Christian faith.


It is no different for the church today. The Gospel is still the priority message. It is the only message by which people can be saved.


WE MUST BE SURE WE RECOGNIZE THE MEANING OF THE GOSPEL


Paul, in his teaching in the church at Corinth, tells them that he is passing on to them what he has already received. He is establishing there the fact that he is qualified to talk about the Gospel. The way he spoke it is in a powerful, very personal way. It relates to how great an impact the Gospel has had on his life.


In 15:23 he says: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you, do this in remembrance of Me.”


The Gospel is the most important message in the Bible. Why is that? Why is the Gospel the most important message for the Christian? For anyone?


Paul answers those questions in the letter he wrote to the church in Rome. In Romans 1:16 he writes about the Gospel: “It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” It is by this Gospel you are being saved.


The first truth about the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (15:3). Jesus died because of the sins of the world. He died as our substitute.


We hear much about Jesus dying for us through the agony of the cross. Crucifixion on the day of Jesus was a very usual happening. During the time of the Roman occupation of Israel, 30,000 Jews were crucified.


But Jesus’ crucifixion was different than all those thousands of crucifixions. It was different in that He died concerning or because of, our sins.


The Gospel is the only message that has the power to take anyone from sin to salvation, from hell to heaven, from death to life, and from darkness to light. He died, but He also rose again – and He will never die again.


Another important part of the crucifixion event is that Jesus was buried. That fact was obviously important to Paul as he says in verse 4 – “and He was buried…”


His burial, as a necessary part of the Gospel, was actually a fulfillment of biblical prophecy spoken and recorded in Isaiah 53:9 750 years before the crucifixion of Christ happened.: “His grave was assigned with wicked men…” This 53rd Chapter of Isaiah is prophecy about Jesus Christ.


Paul was very likely anticipating some objections to his teaching of the resurrection of Christ. After all, if you reject or deny the resurrection, you have to either deny that He was raised from the dead, or you have to deny that He ever lived or died at all.


There are those, of course, who believe that Jesus didn’t die, but somehow revived from His experience on the cross and broke out of the tomb on His own.


The Gospel emphasizes three parts:


1. Jesus literally died

2. Jesus was actually buried

3. Jesus was physically raised to be our Resurrected Lord


If that third part – that Jesus was physically raised is not true, then it doesn’t matter if the other two are true or not.


There is only one way to know that His death for our sins was real or true. And that way is the resurrection.


Someone has said it like this: “In modern-day financial terms, the resurrection is God’s receipt to us that our sins have been paid in full. Christ’s death is the payment for those sins.


Paul goes further in his teaching, and he names the names of those who witnessed the risen Lord – verses 5-8 – He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. He appeared to more than 5000 at one time. He appeared to James, and then finally to Paul.


Paul has the authority to speak in such a way due to his experience of being taken from sin to salvation, from death to life, from darkness to light, by his conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He is an example of the saving power of the Gospel.


The Gospel is the only message that has the power to take anyone from the clutches of sin and death and bring them from darkness into the light.


Paul points to himself as a supreme example of the power of the Gospel – vs 9 – he speaks about his persecution of the church before his miraculous conversion.


He considers himself the least of all the apostles. He had, of course, been a persecutor of the Church. But the resurrected Lord saved Paul, changed him, and empowered him to do the work God had called him to.


Every one of us who are in Christ, every true child of God, can say the same thing about ourselves.


We can freely admit that we are the least of all Christians, preachers, elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, women’s, and men’s ministry leaders. Whatever our role in the church is – we can say – I, too, have broken God’s heart, I have fallen short of God’s glory, I have failed in doing God’s will.


Yet, we are not doomed. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, we can say, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain,”

We’ve gone full circle here, so we know that without a doubt, the most important message we have available to us is the Gospel. Only one message can bring eternal salvation, and that is the Gospel.



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