Summary: Part 1 of 4 in a series covering the things of first importance as presented by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 15
INTRODUCTION: People, especially non- Christians often ask of the church “why is there such a single minded emphasis on the gospel?” Our response is simple yet profound… because it’s all about the gospel! As a church everything we do, everything that we say, everything we preach, and everything that we teach all comes back to the “gospel,” which means it all comes back to Jesus… without the core gospel message nothing that we do as the “body of Christ” means anything to anybody! The Gospel isn’t just what “gets us in” with Jesus it’s also what “keeps us,” and “grows us” into mature believers!
BACKGROUND: Our primary text find’s us in the City of Corinth, with Paul is nearing the end of his letter to this church in ancient “sin-city.” Instead of being a “light” in their world, they are more and more becoming of the world… Nearly every chapter of this letter finds Paul addressing some serious issues that that are killing the spirit of this church and totally negating its evangelistic effectiveness… issues about teachers, marriage, idolatry, adultery, lawsuits, communion, and so on… While there are many issues plaguing this church, the number of them isn’t the issue, the issue is that this is a letter to a sick church, a church that needs healing!
ADDRESSING THE ISSUES
• In addressing the issues Paul takes us in a direction that we wouldn’t necessarily expect after 14 chapters of admonition and correction
• Instead of playing Dr. Phil and offering some pseudo-psychological or philosophical answer to their issues, he takes them back to what is important, back to that which is of “first importance” (1st Corinthians 15:1-5)
• This passage is incredible for its content, its placement, and its directness…
• What Paul describes as of “first importance” is that which stresses priority, not time
• He gives us the basic answer for everything, the basic motivation for everything we do, and in the case of the Corinthian church what they should do and it’s is rooted in the Gospel…
• So what exactly is the Gospel? – the word “Gospel,” (euangelion), appears 75 times in the Bible and means “good news”
• The message of the Gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His triumph to all who will accept it
• In a day of depressing headlines and uncertainty, “good news” is indeed a welcome sight
• In our passage are summarized the core foundational truths of the gospel – the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. We now focus our attention on the first 2
CORE FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH # 1
• Jesus was Crucified by the Romans at the behest of the Jewish leaders, who felt threatened because Jesus challenged the status-quo, He challenged their power – an event recorded in all 4 Gospels