Remember the Gospel

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11, ESV

1. Truth of the Resurrection

2. Consequences of the Resurrection

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We begin Paul’s last great topic of this letter. First Corinthians 15, beginning of verse one, but before we go to the Lord, and hear His Word, and the Word preached, let’s go to Him in prayer and ask for his blessing upon the preaching, and the hearing of that word. Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father, are eternal and merciful God whose word is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path, we ask that indeed you would open and illuminate our minds that we would rightly understand your word, and that our lives would be conformed according to it, and that nothing we do would be displeasing to you. Grant to us your spirit, that the Pure Light of resurrection morning might shine within our lives. Make us children of light. We pray in the name of Jesus our Lord, the light of the world. Amen.

Please give your full attention: this is the Word of God.

1 Corinthians 15.1-11…

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our Lord endures forever.

I wonder how many of you have seen in movies or in television shows that have to do with people who die and come back to life? This seems to be a common trend. There are really many of them. And it seems strange to me that a culture that is so set against traditional Christianity would be so enamored with this this core aspect of Christianity, life from the dead. And every time they can, the secular media trots out so-called scholars who want to tell us that the resurrection is an old story that used to be believed, but that we are more advanced now. And you can make sense of things without believing that anymore. Don’t worry, they’ll tell us politely. Give some concession to the Christian, you can still believe the Easter story, even though it didn’t really happen.

We can clearly see from this passage this morning that the early Christians thought no such thing about the resurrection. The apostle Paul had a very different belief regarding the resurrection than these modern scholars of today. And that’s because Paul got his information about the resurrection from the resurrected Lord Jesus, himself, and the teachings of the other apostles. These doctrines are not self derived. They didn’t come from Paul. And this morning, we’ll see as an outline of our text, we’ll see the truth of the resurrection, and then the consequences of the resurrection. Because the resurrection most certainly happened, and it most certainly matters.

There is nothing of greater importance to believe, embrace, or trust than that Jesus secured victory for your life by His resurrection, and his victory over death. The resurrection is at the very heart of the Gospel: Jesus rose. The resurrection is not optional, as First Corinthians goes on to tell us.

And so as we move on again to this last section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we will look at the truth and consequences of the resurrection.

Truth of the Resurrection

First, the resurrection really happened. 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that it really matters only because it really happened. It’s only significant because it actually took place. And he’ll go on to elaborate gloriously on the significance and the impact of the resurrection in the remainder of chapter 15.

But before that, and verses 1to 11. Paul gives us the truth of the resurrection. Why is that? It’s because rejecting or denying the resurrection isn’t just a modern thing. Even in Paul’s day, there were those who rejected they denied that the resurrection happened. I think of the teaching of the resurrection in the Bible and the rejection. And the reaction to that teaching.

When we look at the New Testament, the first encounter that we have with the word resurrection, we see that the first time it occurs is when Jesus is talking, in Matthew 22, with a group of Jewish priests called Sadducees. There we learned that the Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection. And they try to stumble him by asking him questions to tie him and knots. And so there were Jews who didn’t believe in the resurrection.

If someone asks you what the gospel is, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is a great summary. Keep this in your mind for when you share your faith with others.

And if you turn your Bibles back to Acts 17, we see also Paul is preaching to the gospel to the Greeks in Athens. And in Acts 17:18, when Paul is in Athens, it says, “some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. That is Paul. Some said What does this babbler wish to say? Other say? He seems to be a preacher a foreign divinities, because he Paul was preaching Jesus, and the resurrection.”

And if you go over to verse 32, “Now when they had heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, but others said, we will hear you again about this.”

So there’s some who mocked Paul for preaching the resurrection. There were others who denied it altogether and tried to trip Jesus up. And even in earlier times, there were some who had strange views about the doctrine of the resurrection. And in 2 Timothy 2, Paul tells Timothy to watch out for those who are upsetting the faith of some because they have swerved from the truth, saying the resurrection had already happened, therefore denying the resurrection of the body.

And then in our text this morning, Paul is warning some of the Corinthian church, some people there within that fellowship who don’t believe in the resurrection of the body. This indeed is the zenith. It’s the high point of Paul’s argument in his discussion in this letter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And he’s talking about the resurrection again, because some of them were rejecting the truth and the significance of that resurrection. So Paul had to deal with people who struggle with this doctrine. And that rejection, and that misunderstanding and that struggle is not a modern thing. And so we can thank God that he’s given us His Word to respond to various types of errors and objections to this very thing.

Let’s look at verses 1 to 11, and we’ll see what we can glean from this passage. There we find that the resurrection is a truth that really happened, and therefore we have reasons for believing it. This is a good text and a good summary of the gospel, verses 1-4. If someone asks you what the gospel is and you get stumbled in your mind, you can go to 1 Corinthians 15, where the first four verses give us a great summary of what the gospel is.

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

The first thing we see is that Paul says, it is the gospel that he preached and that the Corinthians received. He’s going to go into a long discussion about the resurrection of the body, the resurrection of Christ. But he first says, “This is the gospel that I’ve already preached to you. I’ve already preached it to you and as the gospel, which you’ve already received. It is the very gospel that saves your souls from judgment and punishment and everlasting destruction. It is not unimportant. It is not a joke. It is not trivial, is all-important.”

And so he’s beginning a discussion about the resurrection. But he first talks about the gospel. Remember, brothers, the gospel that I preached to you. If you didn’t talk about the resurrection, why does he start with the gospel? It’s because the resurrection is at the core at the heart of the gospel. And you can’t talk about the gospel without talking about the resurrection. The one entails the other.

If there’s no resurrection, dear Christian, there is no gospel, there is no good news. The Gospel—the good news—is not good, if there is no resurrection. If you reject the gospel, you reject salvation, you reject the resurrection. And he rejected the gospel that’s so closely connected they are.

And Paul wants these Corinthian Christians to remember he wants to make known to them how vitally important what he is talking about is the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the heart of the good news that Jesus preached. And so that’s the first thing we see here. The resurrection is at the core of the gospel.

And then secondly, we see that these essential elements of the gospel, we see them in verses three and four, the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“For I delivered to you as a first importance. What I also received the Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures that he was buried. He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

Notice how Paul says that he received this teaching. He’s saying, “it didn’t originate from me. I received it.” See, it says you received. And then it says in verse three, I also receive any stressing that he didn’t invent this teaching this doctrine wasn’t originated– did not come from Paul. He received this doctrine. The apostles are teaching this doctrine. It is the Christian teaching, and it is of utmost first importance.

As you are aware, the apostle Paul wrote a large chunk of the New Testament, two thirds of it indeed, these books are very early. These books are written before the Gospels. And so even when Paul is writing to the Corinthians, he speaks of the resurrection as something that is established, it is received truth. It is that very truth that Paul himself received. Paul didn’t make it up; he received it. And it had been in place and believed and known and taught and preached before Paul became the Apostle Paul.

And notice, look at verse three. We see there that Christ, we see his death for sin is at the very heart of the gospel. Christ’s death for sin is substitutionary. Christ died for our sins, it is a substitutionary atonement. And this is at the core of the gospel. It cannot be eliminated from the Gospel.

There are many today who would claim to be Christian, in Christ’s Church, that would like to remove the substitutionary atonement aspect, from the core of Christianity. One of the theological papers we had to write in seminary, were required to write paper that interacted with some of these people who object to the substitutionary atonement, the gospel. We had to choose one of these writing partners as you will one of these people who were objecting to the substitutionary tone and defend that teaching, the teaching of God’s word against that anti biblical view.

And it can be shocking how many people have jet to that very thing the atonement in general. But the idea of a substitutionary atonement is very off-putting for many.

But what does Paul say? He’s telling us that this is the gospel. And part of it is that Jesus died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. It is a core and unalterable element of the gospel, the meaning of the death of Christ, to deny that to deny the gospel, in theaters to destroy the gospel. But all of this, Paul says, is in accordance with the Scriptures. All of these the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ, are in accordance with the Scriptures.

The phrase is used twice there in verse three, and then in verse four. And indeed, if we look at the whole canon of our Bible, all of our scriptures, are organized in that way. There’s the Old Testament is the preparatory word and then there was the word in flesh comes and accomplishes. He brings the kingdom of God. And then the rest of the New Testament is explanatory word was preparatory word, the actual word, the events themselves, and then the explanatory word. All of this is in accordance to the Scripture.

And so Paul in this passage shows us the core elements of the gospel, and he shows us that the resurrection is one of those core elements. He says that if you reject the resurrection, you reject the gospel itself.

Of course, this is why Paul goes on to say later in this chapter, that of Christ has not been raised. If the resurrection indeed did not happen, our faith is futile. And we are still in our sins and the dead along with Christ simply perish. And our hope is in this life alone, we are among all people he goes on to say, to be pitied. It is a core element of the gospel. And if it did not happen, nothing else matters. Nothing else matters. Our faith is hopeless.

If the resurrection is not true, it says, Don’t let anyone brothers and sisters try to tell you that the resurrection did not happen. And don’t let anyone try to tell you that it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters more than the truth, the veracity of the resurrection.

Our very lives depend on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You cannot stand before God, by your own righteousness, because you have none. We are horribly, desperately flawed. We cannot be rewarded and claim reward based on our own merit. We have only deficit before the Lord. It is Christ who earned the glory for us. It is Christ who secured your life by his perfect life, death and resurrection. His resurrection is your life. If you trust in Him, you rest in him if you live for from Him and for Him.

And then thirdly, look at verses five to nine. There we read of the extensive witness to the reality of Christ’s resurrection. He begins with Peter (Cephas) and then to the 12. And then the more than 500 Brothers, some of whom he says are still living when Paul is writing this letter to the Corinthian church. And he mentions James and then lastly himself as one untimely born.

Paul gives this extensive witness list to show us that many people could substantiate the resurrection of Christ Jesus. And let’s remember, God’s word is self-authenticating. It doesn’t need our approval. It authenticates itself. It is its own authority above which nothing else stands. It is supreme and is our most properly basic belief. It is our starting point.

We begin with the Bible’s veracity. Why is that? It’s because if we plays place anything else is our starting point. We place that thing above God’s word. We put that word in judgment of that thing. Rather that thing in the judgment of God’s word is backwards. And if we don’t affirm at the outset the truthfulness of God’s word we destroy reason. We have no ground to stand on regarding anything else. So we read, and we believe God’s word when it tells us of all the witnesses to the verifications of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And remember, our true and holy faith is not a faith. That is a once upon a time, kind of thing. Right? We don’t find that in the scriptures. It’s not a fairy tale. It is grounded in history is rooted in history. It isn’t radically historical. And the resurrection emphasizes the certainty of this historic event.

And also remember, remember what we see when we consider these things, that there were many people in the time that this was written who could have and would have loved to contradict the resurrection, were it not true.

Paul is talking about the historic, factual event that was commonly known. It wasn’t a secret thing done in the dark, the public event that changed the world. Paul wasn’t simply making up stories and telling fables, he could have been simply refuted by these people who were alive at the time.

And then fourth and finally, in verse 11, Paul goes on to tell us what he is saying. It is not something specific to Paul, I alluded to this earlier. It’s what the apostles are teaching. It’s in fact, the common faith to the Church of Christ. Again, look at verse 11. Paul says, “whether then it was I or they, so we preach they so we preach, and so you believe, the gospel goes forth and the spirit goes with it, and lives are changed, and the dead are given life in Christ.”

and the veracity and the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a doctrine. It is a truth that every Christian must embrace, gladly gloriously. It is not optional to the Christian faith. It is definitive of the Christian faith until we see from this passage, truths regarding the resurrection, it really happened. It truly happened. It is truth and we can believe it because it is the core of the gospel. It is according to the Scriptures, the Word of God teaches that it is corroborated, corroborated by witnesses, and it is the common teaching of the Church. It is history, it is the apostolic deposit. Remember, Paul tells Timothy, this is what you teach. I’m handing this down to you, Timothy. That which is handed down, because it’s ultimately from Christ Himself.

And that’s even what we see when we go to the Gospels. It’s what Jesus taught the disciples before His resurrection ever took place. The call of the gospel isn’t a call to commit ourselves to a fairy tale. It’s what Jesus taught the disciples before His resurrection ever took place. It doesn’t call you to place your faith in a myth.

And even so with Paul, he is emphatic. He’s not calling the Corinthians to base their lives on something that is make believe that doesn’t matter. He’s not asking them to rest their lives on a sentimental crutch, and an old world teaching or something to help them feel better. Something that doesn’t matter, as if it’s not true. It’s true or not. That would be a wicked thing to do. Brothers and sisters, and even today, it is a wicked thing to do.

We see this in so many mainline churches that have abandoned the gospel, the authority of scriptures. It is all important. Because if it didn’t happen, it doesn’t matter. Eat, drink and be merry, right? Sex, drugs and rock and roll. If it didn’t happen, it doesn’t matter.

But I’m telling you something this morning, dear Christian, as Paul told them something that is more more real something that is most real. Something is not merely history, but something that is necessary to all of reasoning and all of thought. Paul says that there is no more real, no more certain thing than the resurrection.

It is truth and it has consequences. It is foundational truth. Brothers and sisters, believe in the resurrection. Trust that the Savior is the one who gave his life and rose again from the dead, to give you life, despite with the world around us tells us.

Scripture says, let God be true though every man a liar. And we trust Him, trust the Word of God and flee from everything that contradicts it. The resurrection is true. Praise God that it is true. And because it is true, it has its effects. There are results and consequences to the resurrection. Because it really happened, it really matters.

Consequences of the Resurrection

And so we go into the second part, the second point in the sermon this morning, that is, again, the consequences of the resurrection. The resurrection really happen, and the resurrection really matters. There are consequences to the resurrection. And Paul goes on to the remainder of this passage, and we will see in the future in the weeks to come. He talks about the consequences of the resurrection. But we’ll look briefly at another of Paul’s letters to discuss the consequences of the resurrection.

We’ll look briefly at these four consequences. And there are four reasons why it really matters. We’ll look at these four passages from the letter to the Romans. And so if you turn with me to Romans, we’ll look at, we’re going to be looking at chapters 1, 4, 6, and 8. Romans chapter one, we see that the resurrection proves Christ deity. That’s the first thing of the second big point in the sermon, we see that the resurrection proves Christ deity. Paul says in Romans chapter one, verse four. He says there that Christ Jesus was declared the Son of God in power, by the resurrection from the dead. Right We see that the resurrection testifies to Christ special role as the Messiah. The Greater Son of David, in Christ exaltation and ultimately of His deity. We know that he is who He said He is, by His resurrection the Son of God. We say that he was the son of God by His resurrection. We read in First Timothy 3.16, that Jesus was vindicated in the spirits, right? When was he vindicated in the spirit? When he was raised by the spirit from the dead, God gave an irrefutable testimony that his son was divine, the divine living Son of God by the resurrection. And so that’s the first point. The resurrection proves Christ deity.

And then secondly, we see the resurrection provides our justification. The resurrection provides our justification turned to Romans chapter four. Romans chapter 4, verse 25, we see there that Paul emphasizes the resurrection is a testimony to the certainty of our justification, right? The resurrection is a testimony to the certainty of our justification. Our redemption rests upon the truth of Jesus resurrection. And so look at what Paul says in Romans 4:25. Romans 4:25. Says he who was delivered up, I’m sorry, he was delivered up for our trespasses, right? Jesus was delivered over, betrayed, betrayed into the hands of his enemies in order that he would suffer in our place for our transgressions. That’s the first half of verse 25. He was delivered up for our trespasses. Paul goes on to say and was raised for our justification. And he was raised for the sake of our justification for the purpose that we would be justified. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is that which gets for us our justification by grace. Is that what gets you that which gets us forgiveness of our sins? Is that which gains forgiveness of our sins for us and gains redemption for us. And so Christ’s resurrection assures us of our salvation. The resurrection is not an afterthought. It is absolutely essential to our salvation, that we will be saved. It is essential. And so the resurrection proves the deity of Christ, but it also provides for our justification.

And then thirdly, the resurrection. Jesus Christ, not only points us forward to the resurrection at the last day, it does do that. But it’s something that helps us day by day, by day. Why? Because Paul teaches that the resurrection is the source of the new life that we live now. Not just in glory, but now as believers, the resurrection powers our new life, it powers our new life even now. So look at Romans 6 chapter 4, chapter six, verse four. Paul says this, Romans six, four. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we to my walk in newness of life. Not nearly It doesn’t say as he was raised, you’ll be raised. But it says, What as he was raised, you might walk in newness of life. as Christ was raised by the glory of the Father, we too, might walk in newness of life. And what is he saying? What’s the differential distinction there? He’s saying that our union with Christ by faith in resurrection provides us the source, the energy, the power of the grace to live the Christian life right now. It is glory brought for power for us to live and walk in newness of life Even now, your Christian This is one of the greatest distinctive aspects of the New Testament teaching about the Christian life, that we don’t do it in our own strength. But we do it in the power of the grace of the living God. Where do you get that power from? comes from your unions, Jesus Christ, your union with your Savior, in his resurrection. And it’s the same power that raised Christ from the dead, is now at work in you is working now. The same power? That’s a staggering truth if we think about the power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in you who believe in him. It’s staggering. Do you believe that? Do you trust that to be true? That’s something to meditate upon this remainder of this Lord’s Day, indeed for the remainder of our life. If you don’t really believe in the resurrection of Christ, or what the scripture says about that power, then you can’t understand or believe that it’s that same power that is at work in Christ, people. This is the what Paul is saying. You embrace this truth. The truth has consequences, dear friends, and if you’ve not done so already. I plead with you even now trust in this powerful Savior, trust in him for your life for this life and the next taste and see that the Lord is good. He’s good and true and loving and merciful and tender and holy. The resurrection power is our new life.

And fourthly, and lastly, go to Romans chapter eight. Paul tells us that Christ’s resurrection is the promise of our resurrection. His resurrection is the promise of our resurrection. The resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our resurrection. Look at chapter eight verse 11. Romans 8.11, the apostle emphasizes this glorious truth. He says that the spirit of him raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you. He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Right, the Spirit of Jesus dwells in you. And he is the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. So he will also raise your mortal bodies from the dead, glorious promises. His resurrection is the promise of our resurrection. And so in all of these ways, Paul points to the importance, the significance, the imperative nature of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for us as believers.

In summary, the resurrection really matters. It has consequences. Because the resurrection proves Christ deity. It provides our justification. It powers our new life, and the resurrection promises our resurrection. Believe it even now this morning. If you have believed that, embrace it again afresh is a glorious truth, because again the truth and the radical ramifications of the glorious gospel for our lives. Be assured in your hearts, be comforted in your soul, delight in your Savior. Many people would say that this doctrine is simply pie in the sky, just wishful thinking. You may have heard that. But if God has granted you to believe, you know how far from the truth that is, is not pie in the sky rather than being pie in the sky for the future.

Notice that much of what Paul says about the resurrection is about this life that we are living right now. We live the heavenly ethic, or true home even in this pilgrim land and important part of this to be sure is the future to come. But much of what he says about the resurrection is about right now. We are struggle. We struggle in sin and pain and in death and brokenness in our bodies, brokenness in our relationships and our families are broken people in a broken world, a dead and dying hostile world. They’re going to have pains and strains, things are not as they ought to be. Sin has devastated God’s good creation and bad things happen to us, our loved ones, God’s children suffer. But if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, none of it matters. None of that matters. None of it makes any sense. It was all for nothing.

But Praise be to God. Christ did rise from the dead. His crucified body was dead and laid in the tomb and the pattern of his life, right, suffering and then glory, that will be the pattern of his people’s lives, suffering and then glory. Praise God that he did rise from the dead to put things right To put an end to suffering and death and dying and sin and mourning, for that glorious promise from the end of our Bibles that says, “and then the sea was no more and there was no more mourning or crying or death.” What a glorious promise! We can lay hold with sure confidence, the promises of this truth, only because Jesus Christ rose on the third day, that resurrection morning.

It’s the most true thing that you could ever imagine. And therefore because it is true, all of life is changed. Embrace the one who was raised on that day. Dear friends, embrace this truth for your life. That Jesus rose from the dead from the grave on the third day. We are so slow to believe and weak and broken. But he is strong, and he is mighty and he is powerful. And he is tender to receive all those to come to that come to him in faith, and He will never cast you out. And in Him alone there is life. There’s no life outside of trusting and embracing this Risen Christ. The resurrection is the essence of the gospel. It’s what God’s word teaches. And that is witnessed then and is even witness now every time the Lord gives life to a dead sinner. It is definitive of what we are as God’s people. And may God grant you that change of life through the gospel. May we continue to praise him, for his work for our lives, and for the grace and strength to continue to embrace him by faith again, and again and even now. For Christ is risen, is risen indeed. Amen.

Let’s pray. Father, we ask that you would give us hearts that would believe in fact, Lord, we ask that you would strengthen our faith you’ve created In our heart, continue to strengthen, increase that faith, keep praying. Help us to rejoice and delight in the lives that you have given us. Help us to hope and even to thrive, as your people as those united to Jesus, or help us to believe was to understand the significance and importance of this truth and that all of our life is based on it. for His glory, we pray, Amen.