#322 – OF FIRST IMPORTANCE (6/4/21)
What, out of all the things in your life would you say is of first importance to you? Our lives are like a building. We have many rooms and we have the choice on how to decorate and keep things maintained across the many aspects that make up our lives. Of ‘first importance’ in any building are the foundations. Without correct footings, we are like the proverbial house built on sand.
God has established Jesus to be the correct foundation for your life; the gospel, therefore is to be of ‘first importance’. Paul wrote,
‘By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.’ (1 Corinthians 15:2-4)
‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.’ (Romans 1:16)
God wants us to understand that the gospel message is always to be the foundation of our lives and of first importance to us.
Firstly, ‘by this gospel you are saved’. Faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus for our sin, saves us and transforms us. By faith we are justified; God acquits us of all guilt by believing in the substitutionary death fo Jesus for us. However, the gospel also imparts resurrection life in us so that we live a new life for God’s glory. No matter what is going on in our lives, being right with God through the gospel is always the most important thing.
However, we are warned to ‘hold firmly to the word’. It’s not automatic that we will keep what is most important as the most important thing. A church or an individual Christian need to consider the gospel message and its implications as a lifestyle. Foundations, for the Christian, are not laid only to be forgotten about. We are urged to keep building our lives with active reference to the gospel,
‘For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)
The gospel is to be of ‘first importance’ to us. J.I. Packer wrote,
“We never move on from the gospel; we move on in the gospel.”
How are you actively building on the ‘foundation stone’ of Jesus each day? How would you answer the question, how does the gospel transform how you relate to God, to others, to your ambitions?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TAKE HOLD OF THE ROCK
On Sunday we celebrated Easter Sunday - the resurrection of Jesus.
Like those first disciples, there are so many things that stop us from remembering the resurrection as we need to. We may well believe that Jesus is alive but are we taking hold of it as we could? Those first disciples did not listen and so did expect the resurrection as Jesus had promised.
Take a moment to read through Matthew's account of that first Easter Sunday from Matthew 28: 1-15.
There are many things that could be said, but here are three things that Jesus wants us to know as a result of the resurrection:
i) Jesus is alive
Christians don’t follow a dead guru, hero, example, prophet… We don’t just remember Jesus, we meet with Jesus in the Spirit!
ii) He's truthful
Jesus was not mad, bad, psychotic, super-spiritual… He was telling the truth. All of Jesus’ words can be trusted
iii) He gives life
Those who come to Jesus will receive new life now. We also receive the promise of future resurrection.
1. How often do you think about the resurrection?
2. How does the truth of the resurrection affect your daily life?
3. Why do you think that the first disciples failed to expect Jesus' resurrection as He had promised?
4. In what ways could you let God fill your heart and mind with the hope of the resurrection?
Serving, Investing and inviting
Jesus' resurrection gives us a vision for the future that we want others to enjoy. Let's take a moment to share and pray about how we are serving, investing and inviting into our community.
1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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