HAVE YOU HEARD THE TRUE GOSPEL? by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson
Sincerity means nothing. Truth is everything. Let me illustrate in a way that will connect the best at this time of the year when people are changing their screen savers to some beach scene from the Caribbean. You can put on your tropical shirts; you can spray your house with Ocean surf scent; you can even buy some tropical fruits; but unless you save up some money, make your reservations, get on that plane and fly there, you’re only daydreaming. Oh by the way, God forbid if you did save some money but bought the wrong ticket.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 1Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Overall Background: The passage we just read comes from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church. Paul founded the church in Corinth. He stayed there 18 months and had a powerful impact – rulers, aristocrats, and the wealthy got saved; middle class, working class, and poor got saved; people with horrible lifestyles got saved – adulterers, drug abusers, alcoholics, thieves, hoodlums, and roughnecks got saved. Then Paul moved on to Ephesus. While there, he began to hear that things were not going well among the Corinthian believers. They were slipping back into their old sinful lifestyles; there were sharp disagreements between people in the church; they were confused about certain important doctrines; but, most importantly, they had forgotten the gospel – the very thing that had saved them. Paul wrote this letter to bring them back to the fundamentals.
Listen to verse 1 – “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel…”
Background: What is this word “gospel?” It comes from two English words “good” and “spell.” We know “good” but the word “spell” is the old Anglo-Saxon word that meant “news.” So good spell = good news. For some odd reason, the translators did not translate the Greek word euanggelion into “good news” but left it as “Gospel.” It should be the Good News of Matthew, the Good News of Mark, and so on.
What does this Good News do? Listen again to verse 1 – “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,” 2by which also you are saved. The Good News is what saves you.
Application: This morning only you and God truly know where you are. The Holy Spirit has brought you to this place so you can hear the Good News. If you have never made the decision to receive Jesus as your Savior, you are lost. You need to be saved. If you are truly saved, then this message will help you appreciate the Good News and you can share it with others.
So what is this True Gospel?
I. IT WAS NOT CREATED BY HUMAN BEINGS.
3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:
Background: Paul understood the gospel very well. Paul used the word “gospel,” in its various forms, 84 times in his letters. He preached the gospel everywhere he went. But he acknowledged right from the start that he did not create the gospel. He was just a recipient of the gospel.
Whom did he receive it from? Now someone might say – Oh Paul must have received it from Jesus’s disciples. Listen to what he said to the Galatians in 1:11-12 “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Meaning: Jesus Himself gave him the Good News.
For e.g. People often say to me, “I guess that’s what Baptists believe.” It’s not about Baptists or Methodists or Pentecostals or Presbyterians or Episcopalians or Catholics or Orthodox. There is only one Gospel and it transcends all denominations and churches.
II. IT BEGINS WITH THE BAD NEWS FIRST.
Listen again to verse 3 “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” There is the Bad News – Two words: “our sins.” What is sin? Sin is going against God. It is our tendency towards evil. No matter how much we try to be good, we do what is bad and displease God.1. It was not created by human beings.
Where did we get this nature? Listen to Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” Meaning:Sin was passed down by Adam to everybody in the race. It is hereditary.We are all infected by the same germ of sin. We came into this world defective.
For e.g. You can see the evidence of that in a toddler. No matter how nice the parents are and how wonderful is their surroundings, let another toddler go after their toys and they will leave whatever they are playing and snatch it away and scream “mine.”
Because of our sin nature we do sinful things. Even the best people lie, cheat, get angry, get envious, jealous and on and on.
What is the outcome of being a sinner? Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death” Meaning:Because of Sin, every human is born spiritually dead. We cannot connect with God. Then one day physical death comes which brings with it eternal death. Now we are forever separated from God. We are headed to a place of punishment for sins and eternal separation from God. It’s called Hell.
Why doesn’t God just pardon everybody? Because that would lead Him to compromise His holiness. If He did that, there will be no more perfection. For God to be god, He has to be perfect.
Application: If you are a human being, then you are spiritually dead. One day you will be physically dead and then you will be eternally dead in a place of punishment and separation from God.
III. IT IS GOD KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO SAVE US.
Listen again to verse 3 onwards – that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 1. It was not created by human beings. 2. It begins with the bad news first.
Background: Did you notice that twice it says – “according to Scriptures.”? What Paul is saying is that the plan of salvation was God’s idea, promised, initiated, executed and completed by Him.
First, Jesus died as God promised in His Word.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin,
According to God’s promise, Jesus was to become an offering for our sin. The only way God’s wrath against sin could be satisfied is the soul that sinned would die. Someone might say – “that’s too harsh.” Then, you don’t understand how holy God is. Holiness cannot tolerate even a speck of sin. Every sin is worthy of death. But God knew that we couldn’t die for our own sins. Our body, soul, and spirit cannot handle it. The only one capable of taking this death upon Him is God Himself. Hence, Jesus Christ became my substitute.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus took my penalty of sin by shedding His blood to satisfy God’s wrath.
What happened next? Jesus was buried but He came alive on the third day, as God promised in His Word.
Psalm 16:9-10 “…My flesh also will rest in hope. 10For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
Why did Jesus have to come back to life? Listen to Peter describing Jesus’ resurrection in Acts 2:24 “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
#1. Jesus was Holy. #2. Jesus was and is God.
DEATH TRIED TO HOLD DOWN JESUS FOR THREE DAYS. IT GAVE UP. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO HOLD DOWN THE PRINCE OF LIFE.
If Jesus remained dead, history would define His life in just 2 words: HE TRIED. Jesus was a Nice Guy, Great Guy, a Well-meaning Guy, but a Dead Guy. Same thing that will one day kill us, killed Him. Thanks for trying.
He rose again and as He was leaving the grave – “By the way, Death – that sting belongs to me.” Revelation 1:18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
The Gospel –
- It’s NOT the Bible. The Bible contains the Gospel but the Gospel is more specific.
- It’s NOT the 10 commandments or the Beatitudes or the Golden Rule.
- It’s NOT going to Church, getting baptized, and feeling sorry for all the bad you’ve ever done.
- It’s NOT trying to be a better person, better husband, better wife, better neighbor, better citizen, better worker, and giving your time/money to help others.
- It’s NOT giving all your problems to God and trusting Him and praying to Him to help you.
- It’s NOT believing in God, Angels, and Satan.
The Gospel is Jesus Died on the Cross for my sins. He was buried and rose again on the third day to give me victory over death.
Application: Which gospel are you trusting in?
IV. IT HAS TO BE BELIEVED TO BE EFFECTIVE.
5and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.1. It was not created by human beings. 2. It begins with the bad news first. 3. It is God keeping His promise to save us.
Why did Paul give this list of witnesses? Were these the only ones who heard that Jesus was alive? These were the only ones who believed that He died for their sins, was buried, and rose again to bring eternal life.
The gospel demands a decision. Listen to Paul’s answer to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30-31 30And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Some people say:
– I need to be a better person – NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU.
– I need to turn everything over to God – NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU.
– I need to read the Bible and pray every day – NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU.
– I need to give up all my bad habits – NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU. (You can’t change without the Holy Spirit.)
– I need to repent of all my sins; feel sorry for all the bad I have done – NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU. Nothing wrong in feeling bad for what you’ve done but that’s not going to save you.
SALVATION IS A GIFT THAT HAS TO BE RECEIVED BY FAITH.
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”
Application: There are people sitting here this morning who are trying to work for this gift. You are in for a rude awakening on the other side because you are trusting in your own self to save you. Satan has you fooled. You are lost. You are trying to give up your bad habits, turn over your life, make Jesus your Lord – none of that will work because it is you doing the work. All that comes after you get saved. The Holy Spirit helps you.
Listen again to Romans 10:9-10 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
YOU WANT TO BE SAVED? BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS DONE WORK OF SALVATION. ALL YOU CAN DO IS RECEIVE THIS GIFT BY FAITH.
Don’t I need to repent for my sins? Doesn’t Peter say in Acts 2:38 38Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”Both the OT and NT meaning of the word “repentance” is “to change one’s mind.” Peter is telling the Jewish people that they had just crucified their Messiah and they needed to repent – change their mind about Jesus Christ. They had just crucified the King of Kings.
All of us have some idea about who Jesus is. When you come to Christ – you have to change your mind about Him and accept Him as YOUR GOD AND SAVIOR.