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Is my belief reckless or real?

Let's be a Christ-centered Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Title: Is my belief reckless or real?

Text:

Series: Let's Be a Christ-centered Church

Introductory Thoughts:
Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying, “...Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s prayer in must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel. [The Essence of Separation, quoted in The Berean Call, July, 1992, p. 4]
Eccumenicalism
The question this morning is then not whether we should unify around the truth of the gospel but whether we deeply understand and believe the truth around which we should be unified.
“To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray, that they may be one, even as we are one”? (). A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless... Unite, unite!”
Illustration:
Recently, I was looking at a vehicle. In my estimation, it was in good shape. I was going to make a decision about purchasing the vehicle, but before I did, I wanted a mechanic to look at the vehicle. He pointed out things that needed to be addressed....Though we were talking about the same vehicle, we did not know or understand the vehicle in the same way…to make a purchase without really knowing what we are getting is at best foolish and at worst reckless.
The term the gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον), as Dunn argues in a recent extended consideration of the word, is predominantly Pauline (60 out of 76 occurrences in the New Testament)
Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s prayer in must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel.
Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 1184). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
Many Christians became believers because it was the common sense decision to make; but their understanding and application of the same saving gospel has been stunted since birth.
You hear their lack of compassion on social media
You see their lack of commitment in the assembly
You see them quitting what they’ve done for years
You see their lack of commitment to evangelism
You see them chasing their children to the soccer fields and even to college
What are we to make of all of this? We must conclude that either the gospel does NOT radically change lives or that they have a childish, incomplete understanding of the gospel.
Charles H. Spurgeon, The Essence of Separation, quoted in The Berean Call, July, 1992, p. 4

Proposition:

It is imperative that we not only sincerely believe the gospel but that we continue to grow to understand the same gospel!

1. Paul offers characteristics of the gospel (v. 1 - 2)

The term the gospel (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον), as Dunn argues in a recent extended consideration of the word, is predominantly Pauline (60 out of 76 occurrences in the New Testament)
Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 1184). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
which I preached unto you
“declare” - i make known to you, I reveal to you.
It is often understood as the word “remind
“preached” - proclaimed, same root at “gospel” - gospel-ized to you…why because it is “good news” and good news is to be proclaimed -
Isaiah 61:1 KJV 1900
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; Because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
See Also,
1 Corinthians 1:17 KJV 1900
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Galatians 1:11 KJV 1900
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
1 Corinthians 1:17 KJV 1900
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
which also ye have received
Not only a gospel to be transmitted but it is to be received.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The First Letter to the Corinthians A. Affirmation of the Central Role of the Resurrection of Christ in the Gospel Message, 15:1–11

the language of “receiving” was used for the transmission of traditional material. Just as the Corinthians had received the tradition of the Lord’s Supper from him, they had also received the gospel message and entered into their Christian identity through Paul’s ministry

Paul had received from Christ -
Galatians 1:12 KJV 1900
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
wherein ye stand
This means wherein they are established.
Their standing before God is in the gospel. -
Romans 5:2 KJV 1900
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Their standing before men must be clearly in the gospel.
By which also ye are saved
By which you are “being saved”
Past, Present, and Ongoing Future

Principle:

The gospel is the same message, though their understanding of the gospel needs to be matured.

Application:

The gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT just a destination fix!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT just some formula!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that was initially received and continues to nourish our growth to become more like Jesus.
Illustration: Our daughter has been using these small gelatin-like balls. You place them in water and they expand...
Once you’ve been placed in the gospel, it is the same substance that causes you to continue to grow.

2. Paul offers a conclusion with a qualification (v. 2)

if ye keep in memory what I preached
unless ye have believed in vain
Here Paul envisages the possibility of such a superficial or confused appropriation of the gospel in which no coherent grasp of its logical or practical entailments for eschatology or for practical discipleship had been reached. Incoherent belief is different from believing in vain.
Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 1186). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 1186). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

Principle:

If you have really understood the good news, then there will be a practical continuation in your life.

Application:

3. Paul is confronting confusion with the Corinthian Christians (v. 12, 35)

how say some
how are the dead raised up?
The Corinthians are not in open rebellion against the teaching of the Resurrection. They are confused because of some apparent Hellenistic beliefs. (, ).
But how did believers in Christ come by such a denial? Although several answers have been given to this question, the most likely is related to what has been argued right along, that it reflects the conflict between them and Paul over what it means to be pneumatikos (“a Spirit person”). In their view, by the reception of the Spirit, and especially the gift of tongues, they had already entered the true “spirituality” that is to be (4:8); already they had begun a form of angelic existence (13:1; cf. 4:9; 7:1–7) in which the body was unnecessary and unwanted, and would finally be discarded altogether.
Fee, G. D. (2014). The First Epistle to the Corinthians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Revised Edition, pp. 794–795). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
A false theology began to gain ground, rooted in a radical pneumatism that denied the value/significance of the body that was expressed by way of a somewhat “overrealized,” or “spiritualized,” eschatology.
Fee, G. D. (2014). The First Epistle to the Corinthians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Revised Edition, p. 796). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Principle:

The Resurrection of Jesus was a physical resurrection, and our resurrection will be physical too!

4. Paul's confrontation has contemporary significance

The gospel is the same though our understanding/belief of the gospel must continue to grow.
How we offer our bodies in this life reveals the sincerity of our belief in the bodily Resurrection of Jesus.
,

Principle:

The way we offer our bodies reveals how deeply we are understanding and believing the complete gospel.

Application:

Previous generations often lampooned certain kinds of Christians for being so heavenly-minded that they were no earthly good. It is doubtful if many such people under the age of fifty currently exist in our country. Instead, ours is a generation in which many Christians are so earthly minded that they are no heavenly good. Our society, and Christians often as much as anyone else in that society, has become preoccupied with physical health, dieting, recreation, and fitness, all at the expense of anything close to a comparable concern for spiritual health and salvation.
Blomberg, C. (1994). 1 Corinthians (p. 311). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
It is reckless to receive such a powerful gospel, and spend hours upon hours investing in the temporal.
Illustration:
It is reckless to receive such a powerful gospel, and to never spend any time in service to the Lord.
18 years ago, I pulled off of a major interstate in Ohio to a rural state route. The speed limit dropped substantially. I maintained my highway speed and was pulled over and cited. The citation was for a reckless driving.
It is reckless to receive such a powerful gospel, and to chase our children from event to event.
Couple of things to consider:
It is reckless to receive such a powerful gospel, and to not be involved in reaching the world.
(1) Either I was aware of the speed limit change, but I just did not care. This is the state of some Christians.
(2) Either I was unaware of the speed limit change, and was driving ignorantly. This too is the state of some Christians.
It is reckless to receive such a powerful gospel, and to never see it alter our physical life.
Either way, the world calls that reckless, but what would you call a Christian whose current physical life does not manifest signs of the life-altering, resurrection power? Reckless.
What would you call a Christian whose life is continually be offered daily as a living sacrifice? Real.
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