Summary: Salvation is not an event but a process, as such Paul calls upon us to hold fast to the hope of the ressurection. This holding fast includes - Recognizing the gospel message Receiving the gospel message Remaining in the gospel message
Hold Fast – The Resurrection
1 Cor. 15:1-10
I can remember as a kid being terrified of the water. I had almost drowned as a small child and did not recover from that fear until about 10 years later. I used to wear a life jacket and hold onto the side of the pool as tight as I could. My parents would pull on my legs trying to get me to swim and overcome my fear. My knuckles would be white as I held onto the side of that pool.
This picture is very similar to the picture Paul is presenting today as he commands us to – (v.2) “Hold fast the word which I preached to you.” We are called to have white knuckles as we hold fast to the gospel truth.
Salvation is a process not an event. As Paul states, salvation is for those who “hold fast the word which [Paul] preached” (v.2)
How can a person know if they are “holding fast” to the gospel message today?
Paul teaching can reveal (3) very clear means by which one can “holds fast” to the gospel message:
1. Recognize the Gospel Message– (v. 1,3-4)
a. Christ died for our sins – (v.3)
b. He was buried – (v.4)
c. He was raised on the third day – (v.4)
2. Receive the Gospel Message – (v. 1,5-10)
a. He appeared to Peter and then the twelve (v. 5)
b. He appeared to more than 500 (v.6)
c. He appeared to James and all the apostles (v.7)
d. He appeared to Paul (v.8)
3. Remain In The Gospel Message – (v. 1-2)
a. In which also you stand (v.1)
b. Unless you believed in vain – (v. 2)
Let’s begin by looking at…
I. RECOGNIZE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE – (v. 1,3-4)
(v. 1) “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you.”
Recognition Begins With Hearing
• Paul is about to elaborate on the message he had been preaching. Paul is calling on the people to receive his message and not be blind.
o See - 1 Cor. 4:3 “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
o In the first chapter of Romans Paul tells us that while the knowledge of God is available to us, humanity often suppresses that knowledge.
o See – Mt. 13 The same is true with the gospel message, this is what Jesus meant in the parable of the sower (Mt. 13). Our hearts can suppress the truth for a variety of reasons.
• The Resurrection:
o Christ died for our sins (v. 3)
o Christ was buried (v. 4)
o Christ was raised on the third day (v. 4)
• There can be confusion as to what the “gospel” is. Today, we are to recognize that the gospel message is the resurrection of Christ from the dead as promised in the scriptures.
• The gospel that Paul preached and is making known is the good news of Christ’s death burial and resurrection.
Recently I saw an old friend. He had lost most of his hair, grew a beard and aged. I did not recognize him although I knew him very well. The gospel can be like that, we know it so well and yet do not take the time to recognize it for what it really is.
• To “hold fast” firstly requires something to hold on to. That something is the resurrection of Christ from the dead!
• Paul tells us - A dead man got up and walked! This is where our faith begins and without it where hope ends.
II. RECEIVE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE – (v. 1-5,10)
“which you received” (v.1)
• Paul reminds the church in Corinth how they felt when he first preached the gospel and how well it was received.
o To receive literally means to accept. (Note: Not accepting the gospel message does not mean it is not true...)
• This does not mean they fully understood it, only that in their hearts they made a decision to receive rather than reject Paul’s teaching.
• Paul includes a list of those who witnessed the resurrection first hand to aid us in receiving this message:
i. He appeared to Peter and then the twelve (v. 5)
ii. He appeared to more than 500 (v.6)
iii. He appeared to James and all the apostles (v.7)
iv. He appeared to Paul (v.8)
• The understanding comes later by the power of the Holy Spirit, but the acceptance comes first as an act of the free will.