#681. THE GOSPEL IS RECEIVED (1/11/22)
This week, in our series on 1 Corinthians we begin looking at Paul's teaching on the gospel from chapter 15.
Summary: The gospel message- the message of salvation through Christ - is given by God and is personally received by the Spirit.
THE GOSPEL IS RECEIVED FROM GOD
The message of the gospel is inspired by God. It’s a message about God’s plan of salvation. Nothing about the gospel is of human invention. It’s a message about what He has done to save us in Christ. This message was not invented by a Jewish sect that went off-piste. This is God’s message and we have received it from Him.
‘For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : 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 15:3-4)
‘I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.’ (Galatians 1:11-12 )
THE GOSPEL IS PERSONALLY RECEIVED BY GRACE
If you are a Christian, it’s proof of the immense grace of God on you. All of us are far from God in our sin before His holiness. If you are a Christian, it’s because the gospel message has come to you in some way and the Holy Spirit gave you the ability to put your faith in this message.
‘Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 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: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…’ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3)
Like Paul, you’ve received the gospel message that is authored by God; and, like Paul, you received this message because God, by His grace, knocked sense into you!
‘As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’ (Acts 9:3-6)
Paul wrote about the transformation of our attitude to the gospel that the Spirit gives:
‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ (1 Corinthians 1:18)
It’s easy to start to think that we received the gospel and continue in faith because we are wiser, more righteous, stronger… than others. This gospel is ‘received’ by grace. It’s a message from God and it’s received personally by the work of the Spirit. Our response should be to thank God for His work in us and others. A response should also be to pray for those we know who need to receive this gospel and be prepared and available so that God can speak His Good News through us.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
TAKE YOUR STAND, HOLD FIRMLY TO THE GOSPEL
Please read 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
On Sunday we began looking at chapter 15. This section is about the gospel with a focus on the reality of Jesus' resurrection.
In 15:1-9, Paul gives an outline of the gospel message that some of them, it seems, were in danger of rejecting. Paul is urging them to continue to take a stand and hold firmly to the gospel that they had received.
WE MUST NOT BECOME COMPLACENT
This chapter, and many similar sections in the Bible, make it clear that we all need to be reminded to take care to hold onto our faith. Although we believe that a true Christian will never be lost, the Bible never uses this doctrine (the doctrine of The Perseverance of the Saints) as a basis not to fight the fight of faith and take care to hold on to what we believe.
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
If we are to take our stand and hold tight to the gospel, we need to know what it is. Here Paul summarises it:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: 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 15:3-4)
Summary: The gospel is what God has done, through Christ, to save us.
CHRIST IS OUR SUBSTITUTE
A very important term to be aware of is 'substitutionary atonement'. This is at the heart of the gospel. As Paul says:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins…”
Jesus was our substitute. He was sinless and yet He died for our sin. We deserved judgment but He took this in our place.
BRIDGE TO LIFE
A really helpful illustration to familiarise ourselves with is The Bridge to life.
i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii) How would you summarise the gospel message?
iii) Perhaps you might like to try explaining the gospel using the 'Bridge to life' illustration above?
iii) What are the alternative 'gospels' that the world offers?
iii. What are the various things that can help us to take a stand and hold firmly to the gospel?
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?
SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?
SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.