Summary: The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the person and work of Christ to sinful humanity.
On Sundays we will be going through a sermon series from the book of Colossians that will consist of 23 messages (Lord willing) starting with next Sunday and ending this November.
Over the next 24 Thursdays I have planned the Lord has given me 16 messages leaving just 8 Thursdays open for whatever the Lord directs later.
If you don’t already have a copy of the schedules you can get one later. Having a schedule of sermon may be different for you but it may serve you in the following ways:
1. It will be known in advance what we’ll address and when
2. You may read, study texts ahead of time to help you prepare
3. It may aid you in memorizing and meditating upon large texts one part at a time
So, with that introduction to our vision, mission and preaching ministry aside, let us move to this evening’s message. Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 15. We’ll be concentrating on verses 3-4 this morning but we’ll read verses 1-5 for context. So let’s do that and then I will pray.
READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-5
The apostle Paul wrote many things to the churches in his letters. He taught on many doctrinal matters and on many matters of practical Christian living. But of all that he wrote, he only called one thing “of first importance.” The gospel. “I would remind you brothers, of the gospel I preached to you …I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received.” And so the gospel is of first importance for all believers, and so it is of first importance to Warrior Gospel Chapel.
What is the gospel? We can describe it this way:
The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the person and work of Christ.
We’re going to talk about that saving activity this morning.
It has been said of God’s word, and I believe it applies to the gospel as well, that it is like the ocean: so deep that no one can fully dive to its depths, and yet shallow enough that even a child can wade in it.
If God’s saving activity through Christ were to be explained in its full ocean depths, we would have to say what the apostle John said of Jesus’ works in John 21:25, “Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” No one can really get to the end of explaining all that God has done through Jesus Christ.
And yet the gospel, the saving activity of God in Jesus Christ has been written down for us. We have 4 versions of it in our Bibles that we call the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. They contain a record of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and the promise of his coming return. That is all part of the gospel, part of the good news of the saving activity of God.
But those versions of the gospel are many chapters long, too long for us to cover in one message. Can we condense the essence of the gospel down to a shorter description?
Well Paul condensed the ocean of God’s saving activity down to one sentence in our text. The gospel is that “Christ died for our sins …he was buried … he was raised on the third day.” That’s of first importance.
And in that summary of the gospel, there is one phrase that is the very center. It’s those five words, Christ died for our sins. We know that’s the very center of the center, because Paul called the gospel “the word of the cross” in 1 Corinthians 1:18 is the power of God. Not the word of the resurrection, though that is part of the good news, but the word of the cross. The cross of Christ is the center of the saving activity of God.
So our focus this morning is on the phrase Christ died for our sins. That’s the gospel ocean distilled down to a phrase that even a child can wade in and be saved by.
Here’s how we’ll proceed. First we’re going to look at the bad news that the gospel addresses. And then we’ll look at the good news of the gospel itself. We’ll answer two question each for the good and the bad.
So let’s begin with…
THE BAD NEWS
The first part of the bad news is that…
1. The problem is our sins
Christ died for our sins. Our sins are the problem and the occasion for the saving activity of God. Without an understanding of our sin, there is no understanding the cross.
J.C. Ryle wrote in his book Holiness, that “A right knowledge of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity. …If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.”