1 Corinthians 15.1-11

Title: The Gospel: An Old Rugged Cross and An Empty Tomb

Text: 1 Corinthians 15.1-11

CIT: Paul reminds the Corinthians of the great salvation they have in Christ and just how they got it!

CIS: to remind the church of the gospel story.

Introduction: Ps 119.18;

In the life of politics, we see some wins and we see some losses. I saw one report that 8 of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are now out of office. Liz Cheney was the most recent casualty.

As Christians, I firmly believe that we should be involved with politics. But here’s the problem with putting our hope in politics: We can’t legislate morality into a people. Morality will only be the practice of Americans when God’s Word takes root in the hearts of people. The only hope we have is a sweeping Great Awakening in the US.

So where is the hope? Is our hope in clean, fair, transparent elections? Is our hope in who governs us? Is our hope for a conservative Supreme Court? What hope do we have to share with a lost and dying world? Is it in the field of politics?

No, our hope is found only in the transformation of the hearts of individuals. It is the power of the Gospel transforming lives. Transformed people will vote a moral agenda into place. Only then will life be valued. Only then will we see less government oversight in our lives. Only then will people begin to care for the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner in the land – and stop expecting the government to do everything for us.

Point blank: it is the power of the Gospel… at work in the lives of people.

Paul reminds us of this hope we have through the Power of the Gospel in 1 Cor 15.1-11:

  • The Process by which these people were saved
  • The Proclamation that brings this salvation to them
  • The Proof of Christ’s resurrection through eyewitnesses
  • The Product of a saved soul…

Transition: let’s look 1st at…

I. The Process by which these people were saved (1-2)

exp.: rd v 1-2; They are reminded of how they came to Christ; Look at these very clear steps:

  1. The Word of God is Preached; Ladies & Gentlemen, we must communicate the Gospel with Words! The days of just being good have failed! We must now speak, too. I’ll never forget Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. Saying: You can’t live good enough to save yourself, what makes you think you can live good enough to save others? Actions only validate words; actions can’t replace words. Romans 10.14 – 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10.17: Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. The Gospel was designed to be communicated through words.
  2. The Word of God is Received; rd v 1; The Gospel is heard and has its effect! It is received by faith! I’ve been criticized for not offering an invitation every week. We’ve grown accustomed to people getting saved only here and only by me. No! People come to Christ the same way they have for 2000 years – when you tell them, and you invite them to receive Christ. They make that public – just as Richard did last Sunday!

Once that is done, a person begins to live a life worthy of this Gospel! Rd v1c; in which you stand…v2 … hold fast

  • The Word of God is Established, and we see how one stands in v 2; rd v 2;
    • Perseverance: and by which you are being saved;
    • Evidence: if you hold fast to the Word I preached to you; top & the tail (v1&v58)

ill.: There is an interesting article that came out this week in the Baptist Press: 10-year-old new believer helps mission team lead dozens of others to Christ; FBC, Jonesboro, Ga. Traveled to Montana to serve at an Indian Reservation. There is a yearly ‘Pow-Wow’ – a gathering of some sort, where thousands of Native Americans converge at this particular place. Anyway, this 10-year-old saw an Evangelcube on the table, heard the gospel, and got saved. He spent the week with this team. He would go and find some children and bring them back to the table to hear the gospel. He did this over and over. He heard the gospel presentation so many times, that he was then able to share with others – and did so.

The week came to an end and the people all had to go back to Georgia. This is a major downside to short-term mission trips. This little boy was so sad to watch them leave. I asked myself – who is going to disciple this little boy – or any of the other 28 children and 4 adults who got saved?

We preach the gospel to bring Salvation, and then, too often, we never disciple those we’ve evangelized.

I know what some of you are thinking, because it is what I’ve been taught, too. If this kid is truly saved, then we can trust the Lord to disciple him (and the others). That has been our biggest problem in Evangelism in the last 70 years. We make fishers of men who catch lots of fish and then leave them up on the shore without cleaning them! Leaving them there to die.

When you catch a fish, the job isn’t done. And it is the same when you are a fisher of men! When someone surrenders to Christ, the job is just beginning. That’s why in the vision I presented last week, evangelism isn’t in a circle all its own. It is encompassed in discipleship.

app.: Now, maybe, just maybe, there is a ministry there at the Reservation, and this child will be assimilated into a local church. The Word of God is preached and received, but it must also be established!

t.s.: 1st, The Process: God’s Word is preached, received, and established; 2ndly, the Proclamation… the 2nd reminder:

II. The Proclamation of this Gospel which makes salvation possible (3-4)

exp.: Sure, there are supernatural stories where people got saved without someone telling them. They picked up a Gideon Bible in a hotel room. I have a friend who started reading Galatians and saw that Scripture went against the Cult he was in. He arrived early to pick up his girlfriend and her roommate. He sat at the table and just opened up the Bible and started reading. When the girls were ready, he asked them to listen and he re-read the passage in Galatians. So, yes, there are really cool stories where God’s Word did its thing. Or a Muslim overseas had a supernatural vision of Jesus. But those are rare. The main pathway to salvation for many is that they hear the Gospel proclaimed. They all were able to receive Christ because of what he did.

Look with me at the Three Aspects of the Gospel proclaimed in v 3-4:

  1. Christ Died
    1. For our sins: God is holy and we are not; We could never remove our sins from before God; So, God acted on our behalf.
    2. According to the Scriptures
      1. By what the law prescribed
      2. By what the law foretold!
      3. I’m sometimes asked how people in the OT were saved. Answer: the same way we are saved – the only difference is they looked forward to the Cross in faith.
  2. Christ was Buried; In a Borrowed Tomb: In the belly of the earth; he would borrow it because he didn’t need it for long; his body wouldn’t see corruption.  
  3. Christ was Raised
    1. Time: on the third day; the timing is important because of what the Jews believed;
    2. Prophecy: According to Scripture; Jesus also predicted this about himself; Hebrews 11 points to Gen 22.4; Jonah, in the belly of the fish (Mt 12.39f); Luke 22.46; three days is a prominent theme of activity in the OT. I mean, it is repeated over and over again.

Ill.: in our Bible Study on Revelation, I taught about numbers and what they mean. Does anyone remember what the #3 represents? The significance of the numbers:

  • 1 is uniqueness
  • 2 is unity, disciples, animals on the ark
  • 3 is power, on the 3rd day – Jonah, Resurrection, trinity, a cord of three strands.
  • 4 symbolized the whole of creation: 4 corners, 4 winds

Three days were so important – three days declared someone to be dead – really dead. For Jesus to be raised on the 3rd day meant that he had Power over Death.

app.: The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death – the payment due to us for our rebellion against God is death. We could never pay the penalty because we’re ineligible. We needed a sinless sacrifice for us. And so Christ died for sins, once for all. That’s what we proclaim when we proclaim the Gospel.

t.s.: But there is more here from Paul. The third element adding to the Power of the Gospel…

III. The Proof of the gospel was established through eyewitnesses (5-8)

exp.: rd v 5-8; after rising from the dead, Christ Appeared to many. The women aren’t mentioned here, but they were amongst the first to witness Christ’s resurrection.

  1. Cephas; rd v 5;
  2. The Twelve; ill.: 100 years war (116 years); Sue’s Piano; rd v 6;
  3. 500; most of who are still alive; Tell me if you know this story: on an LA Freeway, there was a white bronco being chased by Law Enforcement. Do any of you remember that?
  4. His brother, James, is the senior pastor at the Church in Jerusalem.
  5. All the apostles (Mt 28); There are more than 12 Apostles, by the way – Paul being one of them; Barnabas, etc.
  6. Paul

ill.: Quote from Charles Colson; You can read this for yourself in the book Loving God by Chuck Colson, chapter 6, starting on page 61: “Watergate & the Resurrection”. I’ve been asked by young men over the past 20 years or so, what books had the greatest influence on my life. To this day, Loving God remains in my top 5. (Loving God, Amazing Grace, 24/6, Charles Spurgeon, Dangerous Call, Growing up to God, The Deliberate Church, Amillennialism)read the blog post

app.: The resurrection is an amazing story, validated by those who were willing to die for what they knew to be true.

t.s.: We see this in the Result in their lives, and in the lives of people today. That’s #4;

IV. The Power of the Gospel Produces very specific Results in a saved soul (58)

exp.: just what is this product? We see it in v 58;

  1. The hope of our resurrection! v 12-57
  2. They are reminded of their life in Christ.
  3. Be Steadfast (1 other time in 1 Cor.; 7.37, in ref. to marriage); most of us know what this means: standing fast in your place or standing your ground in the faith, showing strength in the face of adversity.
  4. Be Immoveable (only time here); άμετακίνεητος΄ – α -without; κινέω – eng.: kinetic – motion, to move away; without movement.
  5. Always Abounding in the Work: you might say ‘at all times’; abounding in the work of the Lord.
  6. Knowing this work is not empty! Κενός, Kenosis is the process of emptying out something completely. This is the word used to describe Christ in Philippians 2, where he left heaven and ‘emptied’ himself of his divine qualities, becoming a man.

app.: your work should be abounding (this is what gives credibility to your proclamation), but also filled with the knowledge that all you do isn’t in vain – it’s not empty! There is a good return for your work, even if you don’t see it now.

Conclusion: Invitation to come to Christ

  1. Will you receive this gospel? You’ve heard the preaching of the Word today.
    1. Christ was killed
    2. He was buried
    3. He was raised
    4. He was seen
  1. Will you become established in it? Deeply rooted, growing up in Him? This is your opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by.

Pray & we’ll be dismissed.

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17May the power of the Cross and the Victory of the Empty Tomb fill your lives this week as you live out your life for Christ’s Glory!


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Filed under 1 Corinthians, Evangelism, Scripture, The Gospel

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