Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to get us to reexamine our priorities to see if the gospel is really of first importance in our lives.

1 Corinthians

First Importance

1 Corinthians 15:1-19

July 13, 2003


A. Priorities…

1. [Woman Misses Husband’s Funeral to Attend Ballgame, Citation: Robert Russell, May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful]

Robert Russell tells this story:

There is a huge rivalry in college basketball between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.

The story is told that at one of the games between the two schools, an elderly woman was sitting alone with an empty seat next to her.

Someone approached her and said, "Ma’am, I have rarely seen an empty seat in Rupp Arena, let alone at a game between these two teams. Whose seat is this?"

The woman responded that she and her late husband had been season-ticket holders for 28 years, and the seat had belonged to him.

"Well, couldn’t you find a friend or relative to come to the game with you?" the observer asked.

"Are you kidding?" she replied. "They’re all at my husband’s funeral."

2. [Can It Wait? Citation: Tammy McBee, Normal, IL, Today’s Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."]

One Wednesday after our children’s club meeting, our family stopped at Dairy Queen.

It was a special evening because my 4-year-old daughter had just asked Jesus into her heart.

My husband, wondering how much she actually understood, asked her, "So you want to go to heaven to see Jesus?"

"Yes," she replied. "But can I finish my Dilly Bar first?"

3. [A Car, a Watch, and an Arm, Citation: Frank Pollard, "Do You Like Where You Live?" Preaching Today, Tape No. 104.]

A young man who was driving his BMW around a curve when he realized the car was out of control and about to plummet over a cliff. The young man jumped out, but his left arm was severed from his body. He stood there looking down at his burning BMW and said, "Oh, no! My car! My car!"

A man, who had stopped to help, said, "Mister, you have just lost your left arm, and you’re crying about your car?"

The young man looked down and said, "Oh no, my Rolex watch!"

4. [Everyone’s Thinking It, Citation: From a cartoon by David B. McGinnis and Scott Becker, Leadership, Vol. 12, no. 3.]

Parishioner to pastor: "All I’m trying to say is that certain people might think that 12:15 is a little late to be getting out of church, that a pastor doesn’t need three weeks of vacation, that your office is offensive, that a guy my age doesn’t need a guy your age telling me how to raise my kids, and that if it weren’t for your crazy Third World projects we could have repaved our parking lot by now. I’m not saying those are MY opinions, of course. I just thought you should know what others might be thinking."

B. Today in 1 Corinthians 15, I want to look at what the apostle Paul has to say about priorities…

I. By this Gospel you are saved

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NIV), Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

A. Define “Gospel”

1. “Good news”

2. Paul outlined that good news in these verses.

B. Christ died for our sins

C. Christ was buried

D. Christ was raised on the third day

E. Christ appeared to many

F. We are saved by THIS gospel.

II. If you hold firmly

1 Corinthians 15:9-11 (NIV), For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

A. Paul formerly believed in God, but he wasn’t saved until he believed THIS gospel!

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