A new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie from 1 Corinthians chapter 15:
outline notes are available for this message:
1 Corinthians chp 15 begins with
1. The Presentation of the Gospel (v1)
2. The Problem of the Gospel (v1-2)
3. The Power of the Gospel (v3)
4. The Proof of the Gospel (v3-11)
1. The Presentation of the Gospel
A clear declaration of the good news :
‘declared ‘ and’ preached ‘
The Gospel is not points for discussion or debate
We are speaking as though God were our equal
These are Gods demands upon us
‘ God now commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. ‘
2. Problem with the Gospel :
Paul has to declare what he has already preached
The Gospel is at risk of being :
Chiseled away / eroded away
Sometimes erosion can happen just with that one steady drip
It is little short of miraculous that we still have the gospel in our hands
The constant steady attempts at erosion of this message down through the centuries
Not just the Big attacks and the major heresies, but the slow and steady drip, drip, drip of one small error after another, each taking its toll over the years :
‘what about the resurrection body of the believer – it doesn’t really need to be a literal body, does it? ‘
And so drip, drip, drip
Here a little, there a little
You know what is really amazing about grace?
It’s amazing that we have any grace left.
Pilate tried to crucify grace
Nero tried to burn it
Communists persecuted it
Fascists attacked it
Kings tried to control it
Western democracy have tried to silence it
Muslim nations ban it
Darwin tried to disprove it
Atheists mock it
Cults confuse it
Yet the Gospel remains
Because I have in my hand a bible.
Because the apostle took the time to : ‘declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you’
We have written down for us the most precious message ever recorded
Here is the word which not only presents the words of eternal life but prevents us from forgetting the Divine truth (v2)
Without knowing this book you are only as sound as the last error you met
3. The Power of the Gospel
‘ye are saved ‘
Need to be saved
We are lost
We don’t start off saved
We didn’t drift into being saved
We need to be saved
That salvation only came by’ receiving the gospel ‘ (V1)
The Gospel :
i. The Person of Christ
ii. The Power of His death
iii. The Proof :
Text of scripture (v3-4)
Triumph of Resurrection
Testimony of Eye Witnesses
Transformed Life of Paul
The Testimony of Eyewitnesses (v5-8)
How significant is this?
(1) Paul sees the necessity of providing evidence for the resurrection!
Paul is not thinking in terms of:
But sees and presents the resurrection as real historical fact and gives it a real historical setting!
If you talk to spiritists, mystics, pagans about their religion, the last thing they will talk about is historical evidence!
You don’t need concrete historical proof to start a religion!
You do need concrete historical proof for Christianity.
The apostle intends for the Gospel and the resurrection to be taken literally.
This is no myth.
(2) They prove the historical reality of the resurrection
‘these appearances … cannot prove more than that after the crucifixion certain persons believed that they had seen Jesus again…’ (CK Barrett)
They prove far more than that of course!
They didn’t think they saw Jesus or ‘believe’ they saw Jesus, if 12 or 500 hundred saw Him at the same time, then they did see Christ.
(3) Paul takes risks
Paul not only claims witnesses, but Paul names witnesses
More than that Paul names witnesses that they know:
We can be confident from the NT, historical references in the Acts and the history from the church fathers, that Paul is writing in the 1st Century AD.
If Paul is not telling the truth he is making a great blunder in naming his sources.
(4) When Great men sleep
‘but some are fallen asleep’ (v6)
This is no academic piece of literature
Saul depends on it!
Including Paul and those other witnesses, they would also die, they would be put to death and in that experience, their hope is the same as the hope which they share with us; ‘fallen asleep’ (v6)