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Sermon Notes: The Core Value Of The Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-9)

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Sermon Notes: The Core Value Of The Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-9)
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  “The Core Value of the Gospel” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-9   October 26, 2014 ~ New City Church of Calgary ~ Pastor John Ferguson   Intro: Pop Quiz! Q: How confident are you in answering the question, “What is the gospel?”   For many people, both within and outside the church, ‘the gospel’ is one of those fuzzy terms (like ‘grace’) whose precise definition is often elusive. I became a Christian when I was 16 years old. I became a reader and read everything I could get my hands on written by Christian authors. I listened to as many sermons as I could get my hands on at the time, and I attended conferences as I had opportunity, and yet, I distinctly remember sitting in a church in Pensacola, Fl, listening to the pastor speak about the power of the gospel for personal change, and I remember almost blurting out loud, “But what is the gospel?” Christian: If a co-worker, neighbor, or family member asked you the question, “I always hear Christians talking about ‘the gospel.’ Tell me, what exactly is the gospel?” Exploring: You hear Jesus telling his disciples to “preach the gospel’? Do you know what that was about? Could you articulate the content of the gospel?   Today, we’re going to look at a passage from a letter written by an early preacher of gospel to the early followers of Jesus living in a city named Corinth. The author was a one time persecutor of the early church and was converted in a quite stunning way when he met in person the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we’re launching a three part series on the core values that we embrace here at New City Church. Since our launch, we have articulated our core values in 5 points—5 sentences that we wanted to become a part of the DNA from the beginning. This summer the elders had a discussion about consolidating these 5 sentences into 3 words that could be easily remembered and embraced by everyone. Those three words—   three core values—are gospel , community , & mission .   When a person becomes a Christian, s/he is given all three of these gifts, but often times the Christian fails to grasp the significance of each one. So in a sense, each disciple must be converted to all three. So over the next three weeks, we’re going to look at each one of these core values and see what each has to say to us a church and to each one of us as individuals. 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 1.Paul wants to remind his audience of something vital, bedrock, foundational. 2.That reminder is about the gospel = good news (not good advice, not good suggestions, not good tips).   ãNews has content, as such it can be bad news and there can be good news   15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…., 1.Paul says the news he delivered was of first importance; i.e., the most important thing he shared with them, the thing that mattered the most, was the “goodest” news of all. There are 3 parts to this gospel:   Page of 13  2. Part 1:   There was an execution: Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture. a.The historical fact of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth   ãTacitus (Roman historian: 55-120AD): “Christus…suffered the extreme penalty [i.e., crucifxion] during the reign of Tiberius at the hand sod one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate…” ( The Annals of Imperial Rome  )   ãJosephus (Jewish historian for Romans: 37/38-97AD): “At this time there was a wise man called Jesus…Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die” ( Antiquities XVIII  )   ãJohn Dominic Crossan: “Jesus’ death by execution under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can be.”   ãBart Ehrman, agnostic prof at Emory,”One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate.”   b. But why did Jesus die? ãRC Sproul, The Holiness of God  , “The slightest sin is an act of defiance against cosmic   authority. It is a revolutionary act, a rebellious act where we are setting ourselves in opposition to the One to whom we owe everything.” 3.Implications: ãWe are learning that we are more deeply flawed, broken, and sinful than we have the courage to admit, yet we can experience in Christ more deeply love, accepted, and forgiven than we ever dared dream. ãWe focus on the person and work of Jesus Christ b/c we believe the gospel can change anyone.   15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 1. Part 2: There was an empty tomb! ã   All 4 gospels record that Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Mt. 27:57; Mk 15:43;   Lk 23:50; Jn 19:38). ãA member of the Sanhedrin “who had not consented to their decision” to crucify Jesus (cf. Lk 23:51)   2.The early Christians would not make this up? Why? Bc too easy to disprove. You don’t make up a story that Jesus was buried in the tomb of a member of the Supreme Court of Israel if it’s not true.   3. Part 3: There were eyewitnesses. 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.   1.   Peter in Acts 2:32, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses.”   ã   Peter is preaching this in Jerusalem 50 days after the resurrection to Jews who had traveled from all over the known world to attend the Feast of Pentecost. 3,000 became followers. 2.James, the brother of Jesus. Paul had personally met with James (Gal. 1:19).   Page of 23  ã   Originally James did not believe his brother was the Messiah (cf. Jn. 7:5) thinking that he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21); but something happened to change his mind. He eventually became the leader of the church in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15).   3.More than 500 brothers at one time   ã   Most of whom are still living! = living eyewitness. You don’t tell people to go verify the resurrection by interviewing the eyewitnesses unless the eyewitnesses actually did see the resurrected Christ.   4.Paul himself   ã   Vs. 9, he tells us he was unworthy to be called an apostle b/c he persecuted the church ã   Acts 9 tells us he was threatening to murder Christians and on his way to Damascus had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus and he was converted.   Main Idea: We value the Gospel because it is the life-changing Good News of what Jesus did for us. Application: 1.Let the gospel define you. a.   At NCC, we want to take sin seriously bc God takes it seriously. We don’t want to deny it, but at the same time, the good news of the Gospel tells us that our sin doesn't have to define us. b.1 Cor. 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will enter the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were  justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”   c.When you become a Christian, your sin no longer defines you. Rather Jesus does. 2. See the gospel as public truth.   ãThe Gospel is at odds with our culture. The culture defines the gospel as a private truth that may be true for you, but it’s not true for everyone since it’s your own personal opinion. The gospel is true whether or not anyone believes it because it is a historical fact independent of personal views. ãNT Wright: “…the gospel is not merely a private truth about how I feel or about my own personal knowledge of God. The gospel is something which is true about the way that the world is because of the resurrection of Jesus. The world is a different place as a result of the resurrection.”   Conclusion : So you can see why the gospel is so important—of first importance—b/c it centers us on the good news about Jesus of Nazareth. Have you believed the good news? That’s our first core value: the gospel. It’s of first importance. But there are two more things of vast importance as well; two more gifts that come with Christ in the gospel….   Upcoming : When we join with Jesus, we join his family and his mission. The gospel forms a people for a mission. Page of 33
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