The Gospel is good news for a world that rejects Truth, knowledge and ethics. The Gospel is good news for the single mother with two kids. The Gospel is good news to the abused women living on the street. The Gospel is good news for the man addicted to pornography. The Gospel continues to move forward to the glory of God and for the advancement of the Kingdom of God; as people turn from spiritual blindness by meeting King Jesus who truly cares for them, and wants to change their live from the inside out.
The Jesus of the Bible is far more radical and compassionate to the hurting, abused and sick than He is portrayed in society today. On the Cross Jesus took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, and when He said, “It is finished” the veil separating man from God was torn in two; forever doing away with man-centered religion that bases itself on what man can do instead of what Jesus has done in dying and rising again. The death Christ disarmed Satan and the forces of darkness because man can be forgiven of sin no longer held in bondage to sin but freed to live and enjoy God’s presence. When someone believes in Christ he/she is no longer the object of God’s wrath because Christ’s death satisfied God’s wrath forever so man can have a relationship with Him. As a result of Christ rising again from the grave, man can live a new life in the power of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit indwells within those who believe upon King Jesus.
The implications of the Gospel in the Christian life; the importance of Gospel-Centered preaching; the role of the Gospel in relation to the Church; Ministry conducted consistently with Gospel principals; and equipping of believers for living a Gospel-Centered life are some of the chapters that this book will have.
Explanation of 1st Corinthians 15:1-11
1st Corinthians 15:1-11 describes the Truthfulness of the Traditions about Christ’s Resurrection. Paul first establishes the historical reliability of Jesus’ resurrection in order to lay a firm foundation to his argument that it was only the first step in the resurrection of all deceased Christians.
Paul is using commonly recognized language for handing on a body of information received from others (1 Corinthians 11:2, 23; Mark 7:13; Luke 1:2). Paul wants his readers to understand that he did not make up the Gospel but instead he received it (v.3) and then he proclaimed it. This is an often overlooked part of the Gospel. Paul teaches in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If one separates faith from hearing there is no Gospel because Paul makes it clear in Romans 10:17 that the Gospel produces faith as a result of the hearing of the Word. This also raises the point that both saints and sinners must hear the Word since Paul says this Gospel is the message he preached (v.1).
Paul teaches that the Gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1-2 is the message he preached and the message which the Corinthians stand in, and by which are being saved. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to hold fast or to persevere in the Gospel. Too often the Gospel is viewed as just a message for when one “gets saved” and not the message of the Bible. Paul makes it clear that this message is in accordance with the Scriptures. The Gospel is often treated as a secondary issue by Christians, Paul makes it clear that this Message is of “first importance” (v.3). This means that there is no deeper message in the Bible than the Gospel. Paul is rooting the message of the Gospel in the history of God’s Word. If the message of the Gospel is rooted in the Scriptures then the logical conclusion to this is that the message of the Bible is the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The Greek word Euaggelion is the word Paul uses for Gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1 and it means, “The glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of the Kingdom.” After the death of Christ, the term compromises the preaching of Jesus death and resurrection.”
When Paul said, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”, Paul is speaking with Isaiah 53:3-12 in mind, which describes the penal substitionary atonement and the vindication, after death of God’s servant. On the resurrection Paul has in mind Hosea 6.2, and Jonah 1:17; 2:1. Cephas is the Aramaic name for the apostle Peter (Galatians 2:8-9). He and John were the first of the men who followed Jesus to know that his tomb was empty (Luke 24:12; John 20:5-6; Mark 16:7). The twelve disciples included Judas’ replacement, Matthias (Acts 1:21-23, 26). These witnesses (The Apostles) were still alive and therefore able to give firsthand testimony to the truth of this tradition. Paul is careful not to exaggerate (7:10, 12, where he carefully distinguishes between his own words and Jesus’ words), and is evidence of the great care that early Christians took in their preservation of the historically accurate details about Jesus.
James was the brother of the Lord (Gal 1:19) and leader of the Jerusalem Church. The group of apostles is larger than “the “Twelve,” including, among others, James and Paul (1 Cor 15:8). One of the qualifications for apostleship was seeing the risen Lord (9:1). “Last of all” is sandwiched between vv.7 and 9, this suggests that Paul thought there would be no more apostles chosen after him. The fact that Jesus appeared also to Paul makes Paul an apostle (1st Corinthians 1:1). Paul was a persecutor of the Church (Acts 7:58, :1-3; 9:1-2, Gal. 1:13; Phil 3:6; 1 Tim 1:13). So Paul considered his conversion from “persecutor” to “Apostle to the Gentiles” to be a free ad wholly undeserved gift of God (Romans 15:15-16; Gal 1:15; 2:9; Eph 3:7-8; Phil 1:9; 1 Tim 1:14). God’s grace did not lead to passivity but rather it promoted hard work on Paul’s part. I or they shows that Paul does not care who gets the credit for the Gospel’s advancement only that it advances.
The Gospel and Culture
In many circles today there appears to be a growing tide of Gnosticism in the Church. Gnosticism to its core believes that there is something deeper than the revelation God has provided in His Word. It believes in a superiority of knowledge. Many have written on the decline of the Christianity in America and abroad but the reason for this is not often discussed. The reason for the decline of Christianity in mainline denominations and elsewhere is because a lack of understanding of the Gospel. Where the Gospel is minimized it is because of ignorance or willful rejection of the Gospel. When people have a low view of the Bible they will have a low view of the Gospel. The Gospel is the message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In Genesis man falls and God promises to send a solution to the problem of sin in Jesus (Genesis 3:15). At the end of Revelation sin is done away with, Satan is defeated and the saints will rejoice for all eternity forever worshipping the Lamb who was slain but who now sits on the Throne of King David.
The Gospel has always been under attack either from within the Church by false teachers or outside the Church by those who deny the Gospel, and wish to discredit Christianity. The Gospel is reduced by a culture that says it believes in tolerance and uses tolerance as a means to silence Christians from the public square. Popular culture appeals to its feelings for proof of its arguments. Feelings have never won, and never will any argument. Yet, this is the attitude of popular culture which makes everything according to “how I feel about this” or that. This is the attitude of relativism which minimizes Truth and cuts it down to one’s knees. In this system of knowledge truth is relegated to how someone feels about something. This system of knowledge fails because feelings have never been a basis to know Truth or to examine evidence. In this system of knowledge someone could come in the office one day and examine evidence to prosecute a criminal who was guilty of murder, and the next day exonerate the criminal because the examiner of the evidence didn’t “feel” like the person murdered someone. This example is hopelessly fictious but it serves to highlight the point that when people basis their ideas on the foundation of feelings it fails to substantiate the argument, and in fact hinders their argument. The philosophy of relativism is shaking the fabric of America by providing no moral ground on which decisions can be based since religion has been done away with, and privatized. The philosophy of pluralism has further done damage by saying that all religions lead to the same god, same heaven, and the same path. Both relativism and pluralism have no biblical basis, and are logically inconsistent to the core. Both systems of philosophy attempt to dismiss the Gospel of Christ through an appeal to the emotions of the person but feelings cannot substantiate an argument no matter how good the argument.
Then there is secularism which rejects religion and religious considerations, which in today’s culture is best expressed in the religion of self. The dismissal of religion is the epidemy of foolishness. Every person regardless of if he/she is an atheist or not is a religious person. Religion has beliefs, and theology. Every person has beliefs and theology. Secularism is a fraud because while it attempts to reject religion it itself sets itself up as a religion. The “religion of self” is the biggest religion in the world because it states that people need to do good works in order to be saved. All of the world’s religions except, Christianity emphasize that a man must to do something in order to be saved. Only Christianity says that in Jesus Christ man can be saved from the sin that separates him/her from God. Christianity not only addresses the root problem of man, and society but it also offers the solution in the bloody death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The attitude of society today is best expressed in the philosophy of humanism which states that it is people’s duty to promote human welfare. The only way that non-believers can do “good” towards society is out of a sense of duty. The only problem is having a sense of duty towards something isn’t really an answer to the problem of sin. Furthermore does having a sense of duty mean that you’re a good person? People today want to think they are good but how do you measure good? Do you measure goodness by helping others, joining a cause or being involved in politics to further an agenda? All of these things have an agenda in mind, and most agenda driven people have a goal, or plan in mind. There’s nothing wrong with having a plan or a goal, but generally the motivation for people is power and control not genuine service towards their fellow man. The reason for this motivation is because of sin which drives to the core of man’s work ethic. The only plausible solution is not to do good towards others which reduces the Gospel to something one does but to believe the Gospel and then go out and live the Gospel.
Paul makes it clear in 1st Corinthians 15:1-11, and Romans 10:17, that the Gospel is first something that is preached. Paul makes it clear in Romans 10:8-10 that when the Gospel is preached people are to respond by believing in one’s heart and confessing with one’s mouth that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again from the grave. As a result of this the person is made right with God having their sin washed as far as the east is to the west, and can go out with the Gospel to the nations. The lie of secularism, pluralism, relativism, and humanism pervade society and the Church today. There is only way one to God and that is through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Only through His sacrifice can man be made right with God, which is his deepest need. Man’s deepest need is not to be driven by politics, concern for the environment, climate control or even economic concerns both individually and nationally but by the Gospel which saves people from sin and calls them to live on mission for Jesus. All of the externals of life while they have their place are not as important as mans’ deepest need to be born again. According to Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:1-11 the only way to be saved is to believe the Gospel message Christ died for and confess it with one’s mouth (Romans 10:8-10). The Gospel is not primarily a social engine to change society, but is an engine to change man’s heart.
The Gospel For All of Life
Change is a word that is thrown around far too often in society. The change man needs is found in the Gospel not in a politician’s words. The Gospel offers man change that is lasting while the world offers change that is temporary and fleeting. The Gospel is the message of God’s Word, and it is upon that foundation that the Church is to proclaim to the world the best news ever which is that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again from the grave. The philosophy of the world leads people straight to the pit of hell which is where people who reject Christ will experience unending and unrelenting punishment for rejecting Christ. Pastors in their ministry contexts must proclaim in word and deed the truthfulness of the Gospel, so the congregation can see the Gospel is true, and that Jesus is alive. Many believers, by the way they live their lives, practically deny the Gospel by not making disciples or even evangelizing the lost. When believers live out the truth of the Gospel; neighborhoods, cities and nations once bowing their knee to Satan will be transformed by King Jesus.
The Gospel is still the best news the world has ever heard because Jesus is still Triumphant, the Devil is still a liar and Jesus is alive. As believers grow in confidence in the work of the Gospel they will live out the truthfulness of the Gospel to those in their spheres of influence. As believers live out the truth of the Gospel- the Gospel will go forward; people will be saved and sent out to make disciples to the glory of God, and for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.