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The Gospel in a Nutshell--1 Corinthians 15:1-11

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INTRODUCTION:

1. Paul understood the need for the Gospel.

Romans 1:16 NKJV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

A. He began his religious walk as a Pharisee.

Acts 23:6 NKJV
6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

1. As a Pharisee, he was very zealous.

Philippians 3:1–6 NKJV
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Philippians 3:1–5 NKJV
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
Phil

2. In Saul was in the process of being a zealous Pharisee.

Phil 3.1-6
Acts 9:1–2 NKJV
1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Acts 22.4
Acts 9:1
Acts 22:4–5 NKJV
4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

A. Saul of Tarsus was breathing threats and murder; his purpose was to bring Christians in chains to Jerusalem.

3. In , Saul would even consent to the outright murder of Stephen.

Acts 7:58–8:1 NKJV
58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Acts 7:58-

4. On that road to Damascus, Saul would be confronted by Jesus.

Acts 9:3–5 NKJV
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Acts 9.3-
Acts 22.
Acts 22:6–8 NKJV
6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’
Acts 22:6–7 NKJV
6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’
Acts 22.
Acts 22.6-7

A. This would cause Saul to ask “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

B. Jesus would answer him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9:6 NKJV
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 22.
Acts 22:10 NKJV
10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’
Acts 9
1. Notice, Jesus did not save him on the road to Damascus; He gave him instructions to continue into Damasus where he would be told what he must do.
2. This verse in shows that the power of the message is what saves.

5. Saul would then arise, find he was blind, and be led into Damascus where he would be praying, awaiting Ananias.

Acts 9.7-
Acts 9:7–12 NKJV
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
Acts 22:11–15 NKJV
11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. 12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.
Acts 22.

6. Ananias would then go to Saul and tell him what he must do.

Acts 22:16 NKJV
16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

A. Ananias told Saul what he must do to have his sins washed away.

B. Paul, like us, had a lot of sin in his life, and he understood the preciousness of the Gospel preached.

C. This leads us to and Paul’s presentation of the Gospel.

BODY:

INTRODUCTION:

1. THE GOSPEL (SCRIPTURE) IS OUR GUIDE.

1 Corinthians 15:1–2 NKJV
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

A. It is a road map that leads to salvation.

2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

1. Everyone is on this road at different places.

Romans 12:3 NKJV
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

2. Each person on this road is heading in one of two ways.

Matthew 7:13–14 NKJV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matt 7.

A. Toward heaven.

John 14:6 NKJV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 140.6

B. Or away from heaven.

Galatians 5:19–21 NKJV
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5.19-

3. The bad news is—being on the right path does not guarantee one will stay on the right path.

Galatians 6:1 NKJV
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

A. The path to heaven requires remaining faithful.

Revelation 2:10 NKJV
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

4. The good news is—being on the wrong path does not guarantee one will stay on the wrong path.

2 Corinthians 7:9–11 NKJV
9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
2 Cor. 7.9-1

A. To get off the path to hell, one must turn (repent) from sin.

Luke 13:3 NKJV
3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Acts 17:30–31 NKJV
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

2. THE GOSPEL IS THE CORE OF SCRIPTURE.

1 Corinthians 15:3–8 NKJV
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

A. The word “Gospel” is used in two ways in the Scriptures.

1. In the word “Gospel” is used to speak of the Scriptures in general.

Romans 1:16–18 NKJV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

A. This is the same usage of the word in .

1. Paul urged the Corinthians to keep everything that he had taught them in memory, because he preached the entire counsel of God.
Acts 20:26–27 NKJV
26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

B. The second usage of the word “Gospel” refers to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

1. This is what Paul points to as being the core of the message.

1 Corinthians 15:3–4 NKJV
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Cor 15.3

A. Without Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, Paul says his preaching and our faith is empty.

1 Corinthians 15:12–19 NKJV
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
1 Corinthians 15:13–14 NKJV
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

2. Paul says there is proof that the Gospel really happened.

1 Cor 15
1 Corinthians 15:5–8 NKJV
5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
1 Cor 15.5-

A. Eyewitnesses prove that the Gospel is true.

B. You can believe the Gospel, because it does have the power to save you.

3. I AM NOT WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL.

A. Paul ends this section by saying ‘I am not worthy.’

1 Corinthians 15:9 NKJV
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Corinthians 15:9–11 NKJV
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

1. Before Paul became a Christian, he was proud to be a persecutor of Christians.

1 Cor
Phil 3.4-
Philippians 3:4–6 NKJV
4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

2. It was not until he counted everything rubbish that he gained Christ and understood the power of His resurrection.

Phil 47-11
Philippians 4:7–11 NKJV
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

3. We are not worthy of the Gospel, and it should cause us to have the same response as Paul had.

1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Cor 15.10

CONCLUSION:

1. Jesus has won the victory over death and sin.

1 Corinthians 15:50–57 NKJV
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 15.

A. He is willing to share this victory, if we will abound in His work.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

B. In order to be saved by the Gospel…we must:

1. Keep it in memory.

2. Realize the power that is in the Gospel.

3. Allow that power to work in our lives by being steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work.

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