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Preaching The Gospel

by Steve Pater

StevePater(Message delivered at Kentuckiana Christian Fellowship on July 29, 2015)

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Preaching the gospel has unfortunately become lost in most churches today.  Let me clarify that statement.  The true gospel has been removed from most churches today.  We can look around and see the apostasy of the church, we see people following false gospels and false doctrines, following what their itching ears want to hear and not what they truly need to hear.

My wife and I eat a pretty strict diet, we pretty much only eat organic food or at the very least food with ingredients that are Non-GMO.  Most food today is only food in the sense that we’re eating it but in reality it’s made up of synthetic ingredients, it may contain some real ingredients but much of it are fake ingredients to try to imitate real food.  The same is true of many gospels that are out there today, they contain some of the real ingredients, the good stuff but its also loaded with a lot of fillers to replace much of the truth.  For the same reason that fake ingredients are added to our food the same is true of these gospels, it’s just easier to give people fillers.  See these fake ingredients are easier because there made in laboratories instead of being grown naturally.  It’s what man has created and not God.  See organic food is food as God created it, nothing fake or an imitation, just real honest wholesome food.  But man in his quest to be God wants to create the better apple or orange, needs to be bigger or grow faster.

The food that God provides for us is the food that is healthy for us, the food we need.  The food that man has created, that has harmful ingredients that will eventually kill us.  This is true of the gospel; the true gospel is the only gospel that can save us.  Satan has created false gospels and false doctrines and these very doctrines and gospels have found their way into the church.

We are living in a pivotal time in history, if we look around we can see the prophecies of the bible playing out and it's crucial that the true gospel be proclaimed.  As I mentioned there are many counterfeit gospels out there but there is one and only one true gospel. So let us walk through the texts.

In the first 4 verses Paul is gets right into the gospel, the gospel for which he preached unto to them, the gospel they received and continue in and the gospel they believed.

The gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Jesus had defeated death and was resurrected.  Jesus had now shown that death could no longer have a hold on us, that we can live after we fall asleep as it is stated in scripture.  How does Paul go on to prove this?  First he uses the scriptures in verses 3 and 4 to lay the foundation, the scriptures being the authority unto which they followed but it didn't stop with just the scriptures he goes on in verses 5 through 8 showing the witnesses that had seen this happen.  Jesus was seen by Cephus and the twelve, after that more then 500 brethren at once shown him, and many of those 500 were still alive and could testify to this.

Then he mentions James then all of the apostles and lastly he himself.  Paul is making a case here; much like a lawyer might make a case in court today.  He uses the scriptures to show the prophecies that speak of Christ, the scriptures (the law); just as a lawyer would show the laws before the court as the foundation for the case.  If there are no laws there would be no point in arguing because there's no foundation, in law that's what is called a case "falling on its face".  The scriptures and Jesus is the foundation.

Now that he's established the background, the foundation of this he moves to witnesses.  See a lawyer could show all the laws that a person may have violated but there's no way to PROVE that someone violated a law without first hand knowledge, without witnesses.  Paul speaks of the witnesses, and he shows plenty of witnesses.  See a first hand testimony of someone with first hand knowledge is a powerful testimony in court just as it is in spiritual matters.  We Christians are witnesses to Christ, we didn’t have to see Him resurrected to be witnesses, we can be witnesses by living our lives as living testimonies to our Lord and Savior.  As we move on we see Paul give his testimony, his first hand knowledge of the resurrection of Christ, that Christ is alive.  In verse 8 he says last of all he was seen by me.  He's not telling the Corinthians that someone told him of this; he saw it for himself and is sharing this with them.   He has first hand knowledge. (Read Acts 9:1-6).  Then in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 Paul shows the power of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the gospel.  (READ verses 9-10).  He says he's the least of the apostles, he's doesn't find himself worthy of being an apostle.  Why?  He persecuted the church; he was relentless in his persecution of the church.  But God redeemed him.  (Read Acts 9:17-20).  Verse 20; straightaway he preached Christ, that he was the Son of God.  Paul himself didn't feel worthy to be an apostle because of what he had done and yet God did, and by what means?  Grace.

In 1 Corinthians verse 10 he says "but by the grace of God I am that I am.  It's by the grace of God he's an apostle.  He continues to show the power of the Holy Spirit when he says that he labored more abundantly then the other apostles, but it wasn't him, it wasn't of himself for which he could take credit, it was the grace of God that responsible for this, His Holy Spirit at work.  God's grace is overwhelming, in a good way of course, but an amazing thing to witness.  I don't know everyone's testimony but I do know mine, and I sit and think many of the same things, what am I doing here, what am I doing here today speaking?  Before I surrendered and gave myself to the Lord, I was a wicked person, I didn't go around persecuting Christians but I sure seemed like I was on mission to break every single commandment God had given.  Much of that was do to my upbringing, my mother WAS roman catholic and I emphasize was, she has now given herself to Christ and was actually the first person I baptized.  I was raised in the episcopal church till I was about 10 when my parents divorced, we pretty much stopped going after that.

But I was raised that you came to church and receive the sacraments and you were saved, there was no real repentance of sin, just works.  I proceeded to live a life full of sin, unrepentant sin and in fact had the attitude that even though I shouldn't sin I'm a sinner and can't help it.  See no one had ever told me the true gospel, 10 years in a church and never heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ, never was told about being born again.  But after seeing my wife become born again and reading her bible I thought I would to.  All those years I had a bible, most of the time next to the bed but never bothered to read it.  When I finally did I felt God’s conviction and surrendered to Him.

My wife and myself received that organic food, the true gospel; she was raised roman catholic and for the first time heard the true gospel.  I started reading my bible everyday; I couldn’t get enough of God’s word.    This is the power of the gospel, we have all felt the power of the gospel and this is the power to which Paul preached to the Corinthians.  We finish in verse 11 as Paul tells them that whether it was he or any of the other apostles it's the same gospel for which they believed.  It didn't have to come from Paul; it could've come from one of the others because it's the same gospel. They all maintained the same truth, story, doctrine and backed it up by the same evidence.  To this day we have the same gospel, unfortunately it’s not always getting preached.

Everyone was in agreement that Jesus is the Christ, he was crucified and slain, and then was resurrected from the dead and is the very foundation of our faith, of Christianity and all that true Christians believe.  It is by this faith we live and it is in this faith we die.  8 For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast himself.  Ephesians 2:8-9.   We are saved through faith, faith in the gospel, faith in Jesus Christ.

How powerful is the gospel?  It defeats death.  To the disappointment of the secular science and medical community that's still trying to figure that out, still trying to figure out how to defeat death.  As a matter of fact people have spent millions of dollars freezing themselves in the hope that one day man will figure out how to live forever.  And when man figures this out they’ll be able to unfreeze these bodies and bring those people back to life.  We know the answer.  The gospel of Jesus Christ, the only name in which we can be saved.

Steve Pater preaches at the Mackville Church of Christ, Mackville, KY.

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33