The Core of the Gospel
Easter looked a little different than normal this year. A day normally filled with a packed church house saw an empty building. The building where we worship normally may have been empty that morning, but so was the tomb some 2000 years ago.
Last Friday, Pastor Jackson had us reflect on the final moments of Jesus on earth before He died. That day shows us that something of cosmic importance was happening. On Sunday, we celebrated that event. The death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s. The gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul gives us an explanation of the gospel.
1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
In verse 1, Paul mildly rebukes the knowledgeable and spiritual Christians at the church in Corinth. I think we can be like the church of Corinth. We hear the word gospel so much that we become numb to it. We think yea, yea, I know the gospel, I have heard it before. And Paul is writing to that person saying, you’ve missed it, let me remind you what the gospel is.
Paul tells us that the gospel is something taught and received. The gospel is a word, a message. And on that message, we stand. What is so cool here is that in Greek this word is in a tense we call perfect. The perfect tense describes something that happened but still has an ongoing effect. By using this cool word in Greek, Paul wants us to know that the gospel is not just a one-time thing we receive, it’s the very foundation of our entire life.
In verse two, we see that we are being saved by the gospel. The gospel is what saves us! There is also a warning, Paul tells us, hold on to the gospel. Don’t let it go. Later, in his letter to Timothy, Paul tells him to guard the gospel, calling it treasure (2 Tim 1:14). So, if the gospel is the thing that saves us and is the most valuable thing we have, what is it?
In verses 3-4, Paul gives us the core of the gospel.
3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
You’ll see that Paul says according to the Scriptures twice. The gospel isn’t a random thing that just happened. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was God’s plan, the entire Bible leads us to that moment. The gospel is God’s plan to save humanity and reconcile us back to Him. So, what is the essence of the gospel? 1) Jesus died to pay for our sins. 2) He was buried in the tomb. Why? Because He was dead. These are both facts. 3) He was raised to life on the third day. The last point I want to make is about the word raised. Again, we have a word in Greek in the perfect tense. Paul is telling us it is a fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, but also that He is still raised from the dead. It is why we say Jesus is alive!
The ending of the gospel message is found in verses 5-8. People saw the resurrected Jesus. And to this day we see the resurrected Jesus because He is still alive. He is still raising people to life. What is your resurrection story? When did you receive the gospel? When did you have an encounter with the resurrected Jesus? If you have had that moment, share it! Share it with your family and friends today. If you haven’t had that moment, we would love to talk to you. Give us a call or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For His Glory,