Just added, a new message for Christmas, preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie from Luke chapter 2:
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)
A new message, just added to our series on 1 Corinthians:
Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians by J Stewart Gillespie:
A new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 1 by J Stewart Gillespie:
Outline notes from this message:
We noticed last time that we considered 1 Co 13:10; ‘that which is perfect‘
We suggested that this was a reference to the completeness and perfection of Divine Revelation not presently in the Bible but in a future day at the return of Christ
We suggested 3 major reasons why ‘that which is perfect’ cannot be a reference to the completed canon of scripture:
We noted that in verses 8 and 9 that ‘prophecies’ fell into the category of the passing (verse 8) and the partial (v9). That is that prophecy by its nature is subject to a frame of time and moves through distinct phases of revelation, expectation and then fulfillment. Until that prophecy is fulfilled exactly what it means is the subject of interpretation, and until it is fulfilled its full meaning will remain unclear. Any revelation therefore dependent upon unfulfilled prophecy cannot be the ‘perfect’ or fullness of revelation. The Bible contains unfilled prophecy, it is in fact, ‘a more sure word of prophecy,’ and thus cannot be that complete revelation.
Perfect revelation requires perfect preparation of the individual to receive it (13:11); that perfect preparation is the ongoing work of God in us, transforming and conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), a work which will only be complete when we meet Christ (1 John 3:2), perfect revelation and comprehension, ‘to know even as I am known,’ must await that future day.
The imagery of 1 Co 13:12, in referring to seeing through the glass darkly uses the image of the Bible – the glass, used in 2 Corinthians chp 3:18 and James 1:23, that is the position of the present, the future position is, ‘face to face.’
That perhaps leaves us with something of a problem then, if I am saying that, ‘that which is perfect,’ lies in the future, am I then left with the continuance of sign gifts till then? Do I expect miracles, tongues, prophecy and wonders to continue until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ?
7 reasons for the cessation of sign gifts:
Specifically of ‘tongues’ verse 8, we are told that they shall ‘cease’ – middle tense, they are given for a purpose, discussed in 1 Corinthians chp 14 and then of their own accord will stop. They only appear 3 X in the Acts of the apostles, and then here in 1 Corinthians, when they are abused / misused.
The sign gifts were essentially signs of the apostles; Acts 5:12; 2:43; 2 Co 12:12; Heb 2:3-4. The apostles were those who saw the Lord in His death (11/12) and His resurrection (12/12) (Acts 1:22). If someone today claims to have the gift of miracles / prophecy / wonders then your first response can be; ‘you must be an awful lot older than you look.’
Prophecy was foundational to the church (1 Co 3:10-12; Eph 2:20) – we cannot go back after 2000 years and re-lay the foundation! Well that’s not entirely true, outside my house you can see 2 or 3 great foundation stones from the Arthur memorial church, layed over 100 years ago. You can change the foundation, but to do so, they had to first demolish the church. That is precisely what happens when we re-lay the foundations!
The faith which we hold and believe has been “once and for all” (Vincents Word Studies), delivered unto the saints; Jude 1:3 and is now to be passed on (2 Tim 2:1-2) rather than being freshly revealed (2 Tim 2:1-2). The passing of the baton.
Revelation 22:18-19 makes it clear that we cannot add to the NT scripture – no new revelation
The overall pattern of the Bible – supernatural signs and the gift of miracles were never normative; they occur during only 3 phases of history:
Moses and Aaron,
Elijah and Elisha
Christ and the Apostles
When we come to later epistles, the exhortation is not to prophesy but to expound scripture; read, study, and teach scripture: 1 Timothy 3:1-2; 4:6,13-16; 2 Tim 2:15; 3:14-17. Herein leis the real problem with the charismatic movement; not so much in the gifts which they think they have and do not possess but in dwelling on the fake and fraudulent they miss what God really does have for us.
The problem with all of that was not so much what he said – babbling in tongues; the problem lies more with what he did not say; all of the blessings which God has in His Word for us, were ignored.
‘Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts but rather that ye may prophesy’ (1 Corinthians 14:1)
So we might find at Corinth, brother Jim, he has the gift of prophecy, you may ask, well why does brother Jim prophecy? From 1 Corinthians 14:1 you could rightly say that brother Jim prophecies as a consequence of love. It is because he loves Gods people at Corinth that he prophecies. But you knew brother Jim from years ago; from when he worked and lived in Corinth, you may well scratch your head at that explanation and tell me, but I knew brother Jim years ago, when he bought and sold and lived in Corinth, all he was interested in was himself, in maximising his profit and pursuing his pleasures.
If brother Jim is now acting out of self sacrificial love, well that is something new! Where did he get that love from? You know the answer to that of course. Brother Jim got saved. Brother Jim was born again, he is a new creature in Christ, filled by His Spirit and the fruit of that Spirit which is; ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering…’
Let’s just bring all of that together then, all of that means that the exercise of brother Jim’s gift, that gift of prophecy is ultimately a product of Gods love for Jim and Gods love for His people through the ministry of Jim? Is that correct?
So if I ask the question, how do I know that God loves me? I can look back into the past and remember Calvary (John 3:16) but I can also look into the present and perceive His ongoing love and care for me in the provision of the ministry of His Word.
Sometimes you will hear Christians say some very ill thought out things and I wouldn’t like you to imbibe them! Statements such as:
I’m not so much interested in the Word of God, I’m more interested in the love of God
There really wasn’t enough love in that place, a lot of Bible teaching.
You see God continues to express His love for us, in the care that He shows for us in the teaching and ministry of His Word.
Disregard for that, prioritising other things before that is really a disregard for the love of God and that has costs and consequences.
I’ve noticed it over the years, a particular Word of ministry, Word in the Gospel, that would have been particularly helpful to some of Gods people, but they had absented themselves that evening for other things. God’s love had been extended and rejected. They were the poorer for it.
Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians :
1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 8: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’
Reminded of Derek Binghams introduction to Daniel when he observed that God does not give prophesy simply to satisfy our intellectual curiosity about the future, but with prophetic revelation God has moral and spiritual goals in mind.
1 John 3:1ff : ‘and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifiers himself even as he is pure’
2 Peter 3:11 – Edward Blum, ‘Peter makes the impending disintegration of the universe the ground for a personal challenge to his readers.’
Christ is coming back
Gods wrath is about to be poured out on a Christ rejecting world
The heaven and earth will be dissolved
A new heaven and earth are to be ushered in
So what does all of this mean?
Be careful what you are watching on the Tele
Be wary of what you are browsing on the Internet
This truth seems to come to the fore here in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, in a negative sense, namely a wrong understanding of future events results in wrong behaviour.
The Corinthians appear to be suffering from a wrong view of the kingdom.
1. Problem of the Kingdom (4:6)
2. Proof of the Kingdom (4:7-14)
3. Power of the Kingdom (4:15-21)
1. Problem of the Kingdom
Problems seem to have arisen due to a wrong appreciation of the Kingdom of God.
That now is the time to reign and rule; ‘now ye are full, now ye are rich’ (4:8)
How did this problem arise?
We will discover in chapter 15 that they also have a wrong view of the Resurrection, that there are some among them who deny the resurrection.
It may well be that these 2 issues are not disconnected.
The OT spoke very clearly of a coming Kingdom when Messiah will reign physically and visibly upon the earth with His administrative centre at Jerusalem
Psalm 2:1ff, 6
With Christ we have Messiah, God’s anointed one; We recall from our studies in Hebrews for example that Christ is; ‘King of Righteousness’ and ‘King of Peace’ (Heb 7:1-2, 15-23).
So if we have the King, do we not then have the Kingdom.
Again in Hebrews chp 1:8
Rev 19:16 “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”
The Lord and the apostles certainly speak of the spiritual or mystery aspect to the presence of His Kingdom on earth; that is that:
all who are saved enter into this Kingdom (John 3:5)
The Kingdom of God is ‘within you’ (Luke 17:21)
“The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17)
So all who bow to the rule of Christ in their lives are part of His spiritual Kingdom.
This is however a most unsatisfactory fulfilment of those literal OT prophecies and hardly does justice to Christs titles of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” ; that His Kingdom reigns over a world which is on the most part in a state of outward rebellion.
So there will be a future, literal outward Kingdom which will fulfil those OT prophecies and NT expectations.
When will that be?
Does the present age of Church testimony and world rebellion just merge imperceptibly with the future Kingdom or is there a specific event or set of events which divide this present time from the future Kingdom?
If you were to ask me for those specific events which trigger the beginning of that transition I would identify 3 concurrent events:
1 – The return of Christ
2 – The Resurrection of the dead in Christ
3 – The removal, by rapture of the believers form the world.
It is these 3 events which pave the way for the pouring out of Gods wrath on a world which rejects His Son, His Spirit and His Gospel.
These 3 events separate this present time from the future day of tribulation and wrath which paves the way for the binding of Satan for 1000 years and the establishment of Gods Kingdom under Christ.
What is interesting is that when you come to 1 Corinthians we find that there is a group of believers who deny this resurrection (1 Co15:12ff).
More than this in 1 Co 15:23ff Paul makes the connection between:
1 – The Resurrection of believers (15:18-23)
2 – The Return of Christ (15:23)
3 – The Rule of the Kingdom (15:24ff)
These believers then in denying the physical bodily resurrection of believers not only undermine the fundamentals of the Gospel (1Co15:17ff) but it also fundamentally alters their view of the Kingdom; for them there is no transition the present merges imperceptibly into the future.
This all may sound a bit complicated, a bit tenuous, but in fact it has been a not infrequent teaching over the years; so much so, it even has a name: ‘post millenialism’.
Satisfaction : “full” : ‘korenmoi’ : to have enough (4:8)
Prosperity: “rich” : ‘plouteo’ : to be rich (4:8)
Authority: “reign as kings” : ‘basileuo’ : to reign, rule, be king (4:8)
They were as a consequence accustomed to:
Fighting for their rights (6:1ff)
Self confidence in their new found knowledge (8:1ff)
Standing on a few toes / breaking a few eggs to get what they wanted (8:11ff)
Playing a prominent part in Corinthian society (8:10; 10:19-21)
Awareness of place, position and status (1 Co 11:21ff)
Using their gifts and abilities to claim position and place (1 Co12:15-18)
Used to being heard and making their views known (14:26-32)
They were reigning as Kings in their own Kingdom!
This was a gospel for winners!
This was a gospel with prosperity!
But this was not the Kingdom of God (4:20)
So long as I am doing alright
So long as my fellowship is doing alright then all is ok!
Proof of the Kingdom
But here is a different view of being a king (4:9ff) – A King in Gods Kingdom.
compare Matthew chp 5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 4: