Never Outgrow the Gospel Basics

Ds J Bruintjes
1 Korinthiërs 15:1-11
Preek Inhoud: 

Here you are, ready to stand before the church and God, and profess your faith publicly. A public declaration that the Triune God of your baptism is your God through Jesus Christ.

When we come to a day like today it is always good to condense it down to the irreducible facts. What is the core that gives life to all the rest. What is it that gets you up in the morning? What is it that you come to church to hear preached. What do you come to church to receive? What saves you? What gives meaning to this real flesh and blood life. What changes everything?

These questions are the questions that Paul answers here as he challenges the Corinthians church and shows the importance of how they are to live every day – because it was everyday life for which we were created. Life in the body is important and has eternal meaning – because Jesus has been raised!

There is a forever. There is a “happily ever after”. But only if Christ has been raised. Because that means his death was truly for you, his death is truly yours, so that his life might be yours today.

Never Outgrow the Gospel Basics

  1. The Gospel is of first importance.

  2. The Gospel is about Jesus Christ

  3. The Gospel changes you.

The Gospel is of First Importance

Now I would remind you, brothers of the gospel I preached to you! Let me remind you today, young men and women what is most important. The Gospel that has been preached to you. The gospel upon which you are saying amen today as you reach out and take Christ by faith.

It is this gospel which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved. You receive the good news first and then you stand in it – and through it you are saved and being saved. The gospel does not just declare you righteous, it also makes you holy.

The Gospel is the only place to stand in this world. the only place that will offer you absolute security. The only place that will offer you peace. The only place where the crashing waves will not overwhelm you. It is the only place where you will find salvation.

Why? because outside of this gospel there is sin, destruction, and death. There is striving hard to be someone, but never measuring up.

The gospel of social media tells you can be whoever you want to be – but in your heart you know it’s a lie, and a castle of cards.

The gospel of consumerism tells you if you make enough to buy enough and you get the car with the house, and a few holidays, then you will be satisfied. Its too bad people often need to  wait till they have it to realize the emptiness of believing that.

The gospel of the west is identity is deity. Whatever you think and say goes. Freedom is living according to you you are.  But this leads to broken relationships as you expect others to worship who you say you are.

Then there is the gospel of other world religions who say God will bless if you do this, but they leave you always wondering if it is enough. Salvation is found in how good you are. That is the gospel of the strong God, to those people who are strong.

What gospel are you standing in. There is only one that is truly good news. Only one that will change your life. Only one Gospel that makes sense for a broken humanity. There is only one gospel where we don’t come to God, but he comes to you. There is only one gospel that is worked out in real history in time. There is only one gospel that makes sense of all of life - that fits reality, and all of creation.

That is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – who became weak, despised, and crucified so that the weakest, most despised most desperate and broken might find their hope in Him. This is a gospel in which you can stand. Do you believe it? its true. Hold fast to it. Pursue him. Take him, hold onto to him.

As Paul says, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. Preaching takes place. This is not the word of men but of God. Do you come wanting to hold fast to it, do you leave holding fast. Holding it close. Like your most loved one. It is your life.

. The sinful nature, the world, and the prince of darkness will try to pry your fingers off Christ. Will try to may you less dependent on him, or at least let you believe that.

This is why it is so important that you continue to be reminded of this preached word. The preaching of the word centers around Christ, just as the sacraments are to remind you of him, and his work. What are you holding onto? Your own life, your kingdom, your future, your family. OR him – and in him having all things?

Listen to what C.S Lewi said,

“Your real self will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it…Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

And what are you supposed to be looking at, believing, and standing in? The gospel This is the center of the church, the center of your live, the center of all humanity, indeed the center of the universe. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. And what is it?

The Gospel is all about Jesus Christ

 Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. There you have it. From Genesis 3:15 to Isaiah 53, to Revelation 4-5 it is about the lamb that was slain from the Passover to the Lords Supper., the scriptures is full of the message of substitutionary atonement.

Or the fact that someone took our place. So many people will tell you Christ may have died a martyr – he was a good man, but in the end, it did not amount to much. But Christ death was not just a death of a good first century man. Christ death was no accident. Christ death was substitutionary. He was the lamb to which every lamb pointed. His death was unlike that of any Martyr.  Just consider for a moment his agony in gethsemane, when so many martyrs met their death with calmness, even a sense of joy. Not Christ.

As Edwards writes, “his sorrow and distress which his soul then suffered, arose from that lively, and full, and immediate view of that cup of wrath; God the Father set the cup down before him, for him to take it and drink it. ….The thing that Christ's mind was so full of at that time was, without doubt, the same with that which his mouth was so full of: it was the dread which his feeble human nature had of that dreadful cup, which was vastly more terrible than Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace. He had then a near view of that furnace of wrath, into which he was to be cast; he was brought to the mouth of the furnace that he might look into it, and stand and view its raging flames, and see the glowing of its heat, that he might know where he was going and what he was about to suffer. This was the thing that filled his soul with sorrow and darkness, this terrible sight as it were overwhelmed him. For what was that human nature of Christ to such mighty wrath as this? it was in itself, without the supports of God, but a feeble worm of the dust, a thing that was crushed before the moth, none of God's children ever had such a cup set before them, as this first being of every creature had. “

He was the only Son of God who would die for our sins. This is what the whole scripture is about – how can a sinful broken humanity find peace with God – through Jesus Christ who died for our sins according to scriptures.

But the gospel does not end there – he did not just take our sin away – but in doing so he died our death so as to defeat death from within! Verse 4, he was buried. Yes, he was buried in a tomb not his own – because he walked into your grave. So that when you go to the grave it will be his life which you enjoy in fulness. Death is not the end. It will be a fork in road of life – because your life is Christ life.

These things are central. Life Changing. It is these things that are of first importance. How so? You don’t need to pretend, but you can be confess you sin, you don’t life in light of death – saving all for retirement, you live in light of eternity, doing all you can to lay up treasure in heaven. You know a billion years on a new heavens and new earth will not be long enough to drink in the magnificence of Gods love on a new heaven and new earth. It will be but a breath. So, this life you will begin that journey, of experiencing that love through his word, his people and his creation. And let that love flow into all around you.

 It is here that the gospel is proclaimed. And what is that gospel? It is not just freedom of sin, but eternal life. Real flesh and blood, new creation life.

…he was raised on the third day pin accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. What does that mean? It means that the resurrection was the reason for everything, He died, so that he could be raised and we with him. If the resurrection is not true, nothing is true. There is no real future, no real life. But if the resurrection is real, then creation will be renewed, justice will be done. All things will be set right. Suffering and pain have meaning. Then the new creation has started – and there sits in heaven now the beginning of that new creation in the real-life person of the first century Jew from Nazareth – our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

This is real life, this is history – this is your history. Human history he is talking about. He is saying don’t take a blind leap of faith. That is not what you should do, and hopefully this profession is not a blind leap of faith. No, this profession must be made based on real facts. Historical facts. Like the facts of the Roman empire, or World war two, or this day,.

 Paul tells the people of his time, if you don’t believe, then go and talk to them. As he says, “6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. All of world history, the entire cosmos centers around the life death, resurrection of this person, whose lordship you confess today. Paul says by all means go and talk to them!

And we are reading the Words this morning of someone who had personal met Him. the risen Lord and Savior. As we read, 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. This me, is the Apostle Paul himself. Who wrote this book. And the gospel and this person had so dramatically changed him, that he was hardly recognizable from the person he was before.

The Gospel changes You!

Paul recognizes who he was before he met the Lord Jesus Christ, 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. He was running a 100 km/h in the wrong direction. Opposite of all that he is now. Never ever say that someone is too far gone to save. Because the moment you say that you betray something about yourself – that you think you are not too far gone to save. Understanding the gospel brings immense humility. A spirit of being the least. An understanding that if not for grace I would ne nothing. Its grace and grace alone that you stand here today. And if you understand that it changes you. You become amazed; you want more. You want to tell others.

As Paul says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” Sovereign grace does something to us. It changes us. The more and the deeper we grow in this grace, the more we change. You see you don’t need to change to receive this grace, you receive this grace to change. How have you changed the most? Has it not been through love filled relationships. Think of how your parents, or your friends have impacted you, or for parents, your spouse. You did not change to have a relationship with them, you changed because you had a relationship with them. This is how God changes you. You don’t change to get a relationship with him, you change because you are in relationship with him.

 This is why living holy is not of first importance,  but the gospel – which guaranteed 100% will lead to holy live. How can you not changes if Christ is your life? Every day. Hour by hour. In your thoughts, your walk, your talk. Christ dominates – his love overwhelms, his grace convicts.. Paul has not spoken about anything about what he has done up to this point, it is all what God in Christ has done.

This doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax and enjoy the ride! NO way –  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

You stand here because of his grace, because of his promise. Never ever lose sight of this. And never stop standing in the way of the river of this grace! This river of grace is the preaching of the gospel, the word of God which you received and in which you stand. Come and place yourself in the way of Gods word, of his preached word every week again. Study it alone and with the church. Teach it to others and share it.

And live it out! Show the world just how great the grace of God is in your life! Give your life, hold nothing back! Because it is this word that is preached, and this word that is believed. As he says, 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

I end with the lyrics of a beautiful hymn.

There is one Gospel where hope is found
The empty tomb still speaks
For death could not keep my Saviour down
He lives and I am free
Now on my Saviour, I fix my eyes
My life is His and His hope is mine!
For He has promised I, too, will rise
I stand in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

And in this Gospel the church is one
We do not walk alone
We have His Spirit as we press on
To lead us safely home
And when in glory still I will sing
Of this old story that rescued me
Praise to my Saviour, the King of life
I stand in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

And when in glory still I will sing
Of this old story that rescued me
Praise to my Saviour, the King of life
I stand in the Gospel of Jesus Christ