Gospel Importance Pt.2: Content

In the last post we talked about the importance of Gospel Clarity, or what the Gospel is and is not. Now I want to look at the content of the true Gospel. You could ask the same question: “What is the Gospel?” Or more clearly: “What is this news and what makes it so good?” What is it that makes this the best news anyone could ever hear? What is it about this news that has the power to create spiritual life from death?

It is important that we understand the Gospel rightly and communicate it clearly. I’m not implying that one must communicate the Gospel eloquently or that you have to be a skilled theologian in order to see someone saved. The message contains the power, not the messenger and his delivery of it.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, ESV)

The Text we’ve been looking at for Gospel Importance is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

[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. [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, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ESV)

We see that Paul is reminding them of a very specific gospel-his gospel, or the one he preached. The one he received from Jesus Himself (Acts 9; Gal. 1:11-12).

[1]… of the gospel I preached to you… [2]… if you hold fast to the word I preached to you…

He tells us that if we leave the true Gospel, our faith is in vain. He gives us a reason for this in Galatians where he says that other “gospels” can’t save you because they have no power because they aren’t really gospels at all–they are not good news!

[6] I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—[7] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9, ESV)

There were many false gospels in Paul’s time in the early church. Some trying to add things to the gospel, some trying to take parts out of it. I believe this is one of the reasons Paul wrote about the Gospel so much–to clarify it.

This is very applicable to us, seeing as there are many false gospels and their prophets promulgating their lies in our culture today. We have everything from the gospel minimalists, (claiming that even if some parts of the Gospel aren’t true living the way of Jesus is still the best way to live), to the witchcraft of the prosperity gospel, to everything in between.  I believe it is vital that we spend some time rightly understanding the Gospel Paul preached, lest we believe in vain.

What is the gospel? What is this news we believe and preach?

[3]…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

…that Christ…
God the Son–2nd member of the eternal God-head. Sinless. Perfect. God. The One through whom, by whom, and for whom the world was created. This was no mere man, though He was a man. Christ is the title given to Him, not part of His name. It means anointed One, Messiah. So much more time could be spent here (as on all the other points), but we’re just getting a brief overview.

…Christ died…
He literally, physically died. None of this swoon theory stuff. A trained Roman executioner made sure he was dead by thrusting a spear under His rib cage, bursting His pericardial sac. He was dead! He chose to die. He didn’t have to die. That’s one of the advantages of being God; you don’t have to die if you don’t want to.

…for our sins…
He didn’t die for our prosperity, health, self esteem, etc. He took care of our greatest need. He took the Father’s wrath that we earned and deserved. He gave his life for His enemies so that we could become His children.

…that He was raised on the third day…
All of our hope hinges on the resurrection! If Christ was not raised our hope in His atoning death on the cross is in vain. The resurrection proves He is God and that He has the power to do what He said He would–give eternal life to those who believe (John 3:16-17). It proves that His payment for our sins was sufficient. If Christ is raised, we have confidence that we too will be raised to be with Him forever!

…in accordance with the Scriptures.
God had a plan from the beginning that He alluded to throughout the Old Testament. The Old Testament is full of prophecies about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled completely. This also means that it is the Scriptures which define what the gospel is, not you, me, the church, or our culture.

This is the News that is the power of God. This is the Good News that brings life to its believers. This is the Message God has used to create and sustain disciples for centuries. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever… and so is His message.

Gospel Importance Pt. 3: Centrality

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