Volume. XXXiii, No. 43
Sunday, 21 April 2019


From the Pastor’s Heart: The Gospel


Most of the Hopefuls are at the campsite today, while I am speaking at Colonel Light Gardens (CLG).  So I thought it might be good if I can write an article from my message for those who are at the camp.  I chose 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 to consider the topic of the gospel.  The passage reads as follows: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

 

As we have been studying the book of 1 Corinthians for some time through neighborhood Bible studies, we have learnt that the Corinthian church was a very active and vibrant church.  Probably, she is a good example of many other congregations and individuals who have used their positive characteristics in negative ways.  For example, they were enthusiastic to learn and follow the faithful servants of the Lord and their teachings.  Their misused enthusiasm led them to become sectarian and to be divisive.  They did not divide their church because of ill intent but good intent.  They were eager to share their practices and views of spiritual gifts, though they fell into wrong ideas.  They engaged themselves with lots of doctrinal controversies.  They made lots of mistakes in worship including women’s roles in church, prayer, public worship, spiritual gifts, or the observance of the Lord’s Supper.  The hind side is that they were interested in worship.  The Apostle Paul was very patient with them.  Having corrected their wrong spirits and misdemeanors as well as their misunderstanding of worship and spiritual gifts up until chapter 14, now Paul moves into a new topic in chapter 15.  The whole chapter is devoted to clarifying the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our future resurrections. 

 

To the spiritual but immature and misguided church, what was the punching message for Paul to help them out?  There are two ways he could have done it in my opinion.  The first way is to go into depth of all the issues mentioned in the epistle as much as he could.  Another way to deal with all the underlying problems is to go back to the root of Christian faith and religion.  Having exposed their problem of divisions in chapter 1, he concluded this chapter by exalting the name of Christ, and right after this, he said something with strong emphasis in 2:2 that we all must know and listen to.  2:1-2 says, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  What Paul was going to publicly proclaim was none other than the testimony of God, not man’s lofty speech or superior speech or man’s wisdom.  The reason was solely because of the knowledge that he was determined to know, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  We can find the centrality of Paul’s faith and theology, Christ – the focus of the gospel.

 

The gospel is the testimony of God (15:1-2).

First, the gospel is the message that Paul preached to them.  Paul discloses what message he had preached to the believers in verse 1.  Now we are going to learn from one of the apostolic messages.  (1) It is the gospel preached and made known.  While Paul speaks of his proclaiming the testimony of God in 2:1, what he declares in 15:1 is the gospel.  (2) The beneficiaries of the preaching of the gospel are believers.  Paul called them “brethren” in 15:1.  (3) The gospel cannot but be the testimony of God because it is a divine mystery (Ephesians 3:1-4).  (4) The apostolic message in the first century was the gospel message.  Second, the gospel was such an important message in Paul’s ministry.  (1) The gospel is the message that we must receive.  The word for “receive” has the idea of “to be taught” (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23).  (2) The gospel is also the message in which we stand.  The word for “stand” means “to set, confirm, establish, or fix.”  Then, it implies an idea that we must confirm the gospel truth in agreement and establish ourselves in it.  (3) The gospel is the message that saves us Acts 15:7-8; 20:24; Romans 1:1, 16; 1 Corinthians 1:17.  (4) The gospel is the message that must be continually remembered and believed (1 Corinthians 15:2).

 

The gospel is of Christ (15:3-4).

First, there are contents in the gospel, and it is more than invocating the name of Jesus Christ.  Christ is mentioned in verses 3-4, but what Paul preached was the gospel in verses 1-2, which means that the gospel message is more than mechanical repetition of calling the name of Jesus Christ (cf. Matthew 7:21a, 22-23).  Second, the gospel is always the same.  The message Paul delivered to the Corinthians was the message that Paul also had received.  Paul did not invent or discover it, but he had received it like all other believers (cf. Galatians 1:8). 

 

Third, the gospel is of Christ who died for our sins.  (1) This truth testifies that all of us are sinners.  It is because Christ died for sins, and if we were not sinners, He did not have to die for us.  (2) It means that without preaching against sin, there is no gospel.  We must notice that the first message about Christ is that He died for our sins.  (3) It also implies that there must be a reason why Christ had to die for our sins.  The reason is none other than eternal damnation in hell, which is the consequence of sins.  (4) It indicates that Christ was in the flesh and blood.  Otherwise, He could not possibly taste the bitterness of death.  It speaks about the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  God became a man.  Or according to Paul’s description, we may say, Jesus Christ is “God in the flesh.”  (5) It teaches us that Christ was sinless.  If He were not a sinless Being, there is no special meaning to us that He died, because He could not die for ours sins.  (6) It shows us that Christ is our sin-bearer.  The cause of His death is our sins.  That is why the gospel says that Christ died for our sins.  (7) It convicts us that Jesus is the only Savior.  There is no one who is sinless and God in the flesh. 

 

Fourth, the gospel is of Christ who was buried.  (1) His burial teaches us at least two things: one, Christ actually died.  He did not faint on the cross to be resuscitated later.  Death is the wage of sin, and He died for our sins.  Two, Christ’s redemptive work is truly historical.  Christianity is not based on any story or legend.  (2) Christ’s burial testifies of the truthfulness of His death.  Joseph of Arimathaea who requested to collect His body from Pilate and wrapped His body in a clean linen cloth, and laid Him in his own tomb (Mathew 27:58-60).  Thus, there are eyewitnesses of His death and burial.  Fifth, the gospel is of Christ who rose from the dead.  It is the climax of the gospel presentation in Paul’s mind.  (1) The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes Christian faith and religion both unique and outstanding (15:12-19).  (2) The resurrection of Christ is the hope of His believers (15:19).  (a) The resurrection faith refers to a futuristic faith.  Our hope is not just in this life only.  (b) The resurrection faith refers to a blessed faith.  It is because if our hope is only in this life, then we are most miserable people, though we may claim the name of Christ. 

The gospel message for salvation has its contents, which are centered on Christ Jesus.  Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are integral parts of the gospel, which teach us about our sinfulness, the incarnation of Christ, and resurrection.  Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day, which gives us a blessed hope in Christ Jesus.  Hallelujah, He rose again!

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Wishing all worshippers a Blessed Resurrection Sunday!
  • Welcome & special thanks to Rev Kevin & Mrs Sandy Currell for ministering to us.
  • No Fellowship Lunch after Worship Service at CLG today.
  • Mother’s Day Picnic at Thorndon Park. All are welcome. Please see Sisters Natalie Ki or Sherilyn Wong for details.
  • RPG & Daily Manna devotionals for Apr-Jun (Adult & Junior) available at Sanctuary foyer. Donation: $1 per copy.
  • Please observe all parking signs when parking on council strips. Please DO NOT block the driveways of our neighbours & DO NOT park on the streets north & west of our church compound (Bedford Square).
  • Lunch Duty: Next week: Neighbourhood Groups.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Easter Family Bible Camp in Wellington.
  • Journey mercies: Rev Kevin & Mrs Sandy Currell; Campers (Wellington); & others who have travelled.

 

Prayer

  • Healing: Pastor Ki; and others in affliction.
  • Easter Family Bible Camp – Camp Speaker: Rev Kevin Currell; camp organisers & participants.
  • Missions: Rev & Mrs Choi (PhnomPenh); Rev & Mrs David Khoo (Sihanoukville); .
  • Australian Federal Election, 18 May – God’s guidance & wisdom to elect the right party to govern this nation.
  • Ministry at Ebenezer BPC (Melb) – Elder David Yeo.
  • Journey mercies: Rev Kevin & Mrs Sandy Currell (Melb); Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo; Campers (Adl); students & vacationers; & others who are travelling.

 

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063