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The Gospel According to Easter

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A man named Jones took his car to the mechanic for repairs. Jones ignored the signs posted in the garage that told customers to keep out of the working area. He kept looking over the mechanic’s shoulder, getting in the way. The mechanic had had a rough day, and he was getting frustrated. Finally he took Jones by the shoulder and led him out of the working area. He said, “Let’s play a game.” He drew a circle on the floor with a piece of chalk and said, “The rules of the game are that you stay inside this circle while I fix your car. I’ll bet you can’t do it!” “It’s a deal,” said Jones.
The mechanic went back to the car, but before he went back to work, he glanced up at Jones, Who had a silly grin on his face. The mechanic thought, “I’ve had it with this dumb yokel.” He felt like he had to relieve his tension. So he picked up a sledgehammer and smashed it into the fender of Jones’ car. He looked over at Jones, who was cracking up with laughter, still inside the circle.
That made the mechanic angrier yet. He smashed the car two more times with the hammer, and looked over again at Jones. Jones was doubled over with laughter, but still inside the circle. The mechanic was furious with rage. He started smashing Jones’ car all over with the hammer. Jones was rolling on the floor and holding his sides from laughter, but still inside the circle. The mechanic couldn’t believe it. He went over to Jones and said, “Why are you laughing while I’m smashing your car?” Jones got control of his laughter long enough to reply, “While you weren’t looking, I stepped outside the circle three times!”
You say, “Jones was crazy!” You’re right. Jones was crazy. He was taking seriously something meant to be taken lightly, and he taking lightly something that was rather serious. But many who would laugh at Jones and call him crazy are doing the same thing on a far more serious matter.
This morning is Easter. It is Resurrection Sunday. What is the big deal? Why does it matter? Why is the Church trying to take my family day and the fun of Easter? The answer to all of that lies in the centrality of the Easter to the Gospel.

I. The Foundational Truth

In our text verses Paul reveals the very foundation of the Gospel. In a few, short statements, he beautifully sums up the Gospel. While it is not complicated, we must understand each element involved to properly receive, respond, and live according to the Gospel. The first element of truth is:

A. The Identification (3)

(Jesus Christ)
1 Corinthians 15:3 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
Paul emphatically declared that Christ died. Understandably, one must believe that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of the living God. He is the central figure for all of time and humanity. His life upon the earth cannot be disputed. Biblical and historical records affirm without question that Jesus Christ lived and died upon the earth. For the Gospel to have any significance, leading to a complete transformation, one must believe that Jesus Christ was more than a man. You must see Him as more than a great teacher, prophet, or miracle worker. You must agree and believe by faith that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.
But we sometomes try to justify our creating and recreating Jesus into our image of Jesus.
• There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
• There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart and for reducing our carbon footprint.
• There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations and drives a hybrid.
• There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
• There's the Gentle Jesus, the Hippie Jesus, Yuppie Jesus, the Spirituality Jesus, the Platitude Jesus, the Protest Jesus, the Guru Jesus, and the Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his sweet love.
And then, there's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God… the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. (Kevin DeYoung, "Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog, posted 6-10-09)
If you reject the truth that Jesus was the Son of God, deity incarnate in flesh, then you have denied a foundational truth of the Gospel and will be unable to receive salvation. Many passages affirm this, and one of my favorites is from John’s gospel.
John 1:1–2 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
John 1:14 ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
,
• There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.
• There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart and for reducing our carbon footprint.
• There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations and drives a hybrid.
• There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
• There's the Gentle Jesus, the Hippie Jesus, Yuppie Jesus, the Spirituality Jesus, the Platitude Jesus, the Protest Jesus, the Guru Jesus, and the Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his sweet love.
And then, there's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God… the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. (Kevin DeYoung, "Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog, posted 6-10-09)

B. The Crucifixion (3)

(died)
1 Corinthians 15:3 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
Once you have accepted the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, come to earth as a man, you are ready to embrace the second truth of the Gospel –Jesus died upon the cross. Following a ministry of some three and half years, Jesus Christ was betrayed by one of His own, and sold for thirty pieces of silver. He was arrested, tried, and condemned to death upon a Roman cross. He lived a sinless life, never once disobeying His heavenly Father or having a need to repent of sin. He was condemned because of the hatred of sinful men. They denied that Jesus was in fact the Christ, and accused Him of blasphemy because of His claim of being the Son of God. Blasphemy was punishable by death. Since these believed Jesus was a blasphemer, they called for His immediate death on the cross. Jesus was crucified on the cross, where He willingly laid down His life.
Luke 23:33 ESV
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
– And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. You cannot embrace the Gospel apart from the death of Christ upon the cross.
You cannot embrace the Gospel apart from the death of Christ upon the cross.

C. The Substitution (3)

(for you)
1 Corinthians 15:3 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
Following your acceptance of Christ’s death upon the cross, you must embrace the reason for His death. Many will agree that Christ died upon the cross, but they refuse to accept the reason for His death. Paul wants to highlight not merely the historical fact that Jesus died. He is much more specific. “Christ died for our sins” This is the language of atonement. We have been looking briefly into atonement in our study of Leviticus and we will be looking at it even more in the coming weeks when we get to the day of atonement.
But for now what is atonement?
Reconciliation; sin has alienated humanity from God and provoked God’s anger. God has responded by providing the means of restoring this broken relationship, bringing both sides to a place where they are at one again (“at-one-ment”).
Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).
With the idea of atonement also comes the idea of propitiation.
1 John 2:2 ESV
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John Now I know that these are not words that we use everyday so I will help us define them.
Now I know that these are not words that we use everyday so I will help us define them. Propitiation is a theological word
...that speaks of appeasement. Specifically it speaks of the satisfaction of divine justice. or to say the same thing differently, a “propitiation is a sacrifice or offering that placates the wrath of God against sinners.
John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Paul (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2017) pg. 12
...Paul’s point in is not that Christ died because of our sins. Pal isn’t suggesting that Christ’s death had some vague, mystical, ethereal connection to human fallenness - as if he died merely because wicked people in a mindless frenzy made Him a martyr. The point is that Jesus voluntarily “died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. He is the fulfillment of everything the Old Testament sacrificial system illustrated. He is the answer to the conundrum of how a truly righteous God can forgive the unrighteousness of ungodly sinners. A right understanding of Christ’s death - its true significance and full meaning - can be clearly seen in only that light.
John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Paul (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2017) pg. 12
Jesus was God in flesh. He was the eternal God-Man. He was wholly God and wholly man. He lived a life without sin. Christ died on the cross, but He did not die because He had committed deeds worthy of death. Jesus died on the cross in our place. He died for our sin. Jesus Christ offered Himself the atoning sacrifice for sin. He embraced the death of the cross, and the righteous judgment of the Father so we could escape death and judgment. The Righteous died so the sinful could possess eternal life! He fully and eternally satisfied the righteous demands of God, fully atoning for our sin. Jesus died for you and me!
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
– But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Hebrews 9:28 ESV
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
– So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
– Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Christ willingly died in the place of those that he saves. He is their Substitute - and unlike all the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, he is the perfect atonement and propitiation. In Him there is finally a sufficient sacrifice.

D. The Burial (4)

(he was buried)
1 Corinthians 15:4 ESV
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
You may be surprised to find this statement in Paul’s short list of Gospel essentials. But it is a very important part of the Gospel. It is essential enough that many of the early church creeds such as the Nicene and the Apostle's Creeds include this phrase.
Why is it important? Because very simply it furnishes undeniable proof that Christ was truly dead. The cross was no pretense. Jesus was not still alive and quietly spirited off to some secret location and nursed back to health.
The fact that Christ was buried affirms His death on the cross. Had Christ not died, sin would not have been atoned. Had sin not been atoned through His death, we would yet be in our sin and without hope before God. They removed the lifeless body of Christ from the cross and placed Him in a borrowed tomb. A stone was placed in front of the door, weighing several tons, and guards were ordered to watch the grave to ensure no one came to steal His body. There can be no doubt that Christ died upon the cross. He did not pass out and later revive as some speculate; Christ gave His life on the cross for our sin!
Mark 15:44–46 ESV
Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
– And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. [45] And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. [46] And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

E. The Resurrection (4)

(rose again on the third day)
1 Corinthians 15:4 ESV
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
1 Cor 15:
Finally we come to the last, and arguably most vital truth of the Gospel – the resurrection. Jesus died upon the cross to atone for our sin and was buried. However, the grave could not hold Him. After three days within the tomb, Jesus came forth in triumphant, resurrection life. He conquered sin, death, and hell, gaining the victory for all who believe.
the Resurrection is the central point around which all biblical truth revolves. It represents the culmination and triumph of every righteous expectation that proceeded it, starting with
Job 19:25–27 ESV
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
It is the basis for the apostles unshakable faith and the pivotal point in the message that they proclaimed. It is the living guarantee of every divine promise from the beginning to the end of scripture. Every other miracle described in Scripture - including creation - pales in significance by comparison.
John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Paul (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2017) pg. 12
It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of the resurrection. Granted, had Jesus not died, there would have been no atonement for sin. But, had He not risen again, the curse of death, the penalty for sin would not have been broken. Had Christ not risen, He would have been like all other men who came before Him. The plan of redemption for humanity was fulfilled as Christ rose, triumphant from the grave. Because He lives, we have the promise of life beyond the grave and eternal life with Him in heaven. You cannot embrace the Gospel and deny the resurrection!
1 Corinthians 15:17 ESV
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
– And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. – Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Romans 4:25 ESV
who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
– Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

II. The Providential Truth

(according to the Scriptures)
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Twice in these verses Paul said: according to the scriptures. We must understand that the events involved in the Gospel were no accident. Jesus did not die because the religious leadership among the Jews and the powers that be consented to His death. He died according to the providential plan of God. Jesus came to earth with purpose – to die for our sin and rise again for our justification. While it saddens me to consider all that Jesus endured on my behalf, I rejoice in the cross of Christ. He willingly submitted to God’s plan of redemption to save us from sin and reconcile us to God. The prophecies within the Scriptures were fulfilled through His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection!
Twice in these verses Paul said: according to the scriptures. We must understand that the events involved in the Gospel were no accident. Jesus did not die because the religious leadership among the Jews and the powers that be consented to His death. He died according to the providential plan of God. Jesus came to earth with purpose – to die for our sin and rise again for our justification. While it saddens me to consider all that Jesus endured on my behalf, I rejoice in the cross of Christ. He willingly submitted to God’s plan of redemption to save us from sin and reconcile us to God. The prophecies within the Scriptures were fulfilled through His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection!

III. The Transformational Truth (1-3)

1 Corinthians 15:1–3 ESV
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

A. The Reception

(Paul delivers what he recieved)
Paul shared what he had received. He publicly professed his belief in the Gospel, revealing he had personally received it by faith. He identified with the crucified and risen Savior. Paul knew Christ as his Lord.
Once presented and understood, the Gospel demands a response. Such a response is personal in nature. I cannot receive the Gospel for you. I am secure in Christ, but my salvation through Him is non-transferable. As I received Christ by faith, my life was completely and eternally transformed. The old man of sin died and I was resurrected a new creation in Christ. One cannot receive the Gospel and remain as they were. The Gospel always brings transformation!

B. The Declaration

(Paul was compelled to share with others)
Having received salvation, Paul was compelled to share it with others. He did not keep the good news of the Gospel to himself. He delivered the message of the Gospel to all who would hear. Paul was faithful to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
As believers, being transformed by the power of the Gospel, we have an obligation to proclaim the good news to those who have yet to receive it. This is not optional; it is expected of everyone who has received salvation in Christ. We must be willing to share the good news with others!
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
– Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
– But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Conclusion:
This morning, if you are not saved, if you have not come to Jesus to be your propitiation, your atonement, know that the Bible tells us that he is the only way to make us right with God. There is no other means of Salvation. He is asking that you believe in Him as your only hope of righteousness, and that he is sufficient, and repent of your sins, that is, turn away from living a life enslaved to sin and seek to follow Him in obedience. This isn’t a call to instantly be perfect. The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin and enable You to submit and walk in obedience to God. If this is you today, I would love nothing better than to talk to you after service.
If you are already saved, We have a tendency to think that the Gospel is something I have already responded to and now I need to move on to other things. But that is not true. The Gospel needs to be central in our life. I love how Paul opens this chapter:
pray the Gospel will be central in your life and you will share the good news! What do I mean
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
We need to hold fast to the Gospel. we don’t move on from it, one of the greatest things we can do as believers is to remind ourselves daily of the Gospel.
In His letter to the Philippians Paul tells us:
pray the Gospel will be central in your life and you will share the good news! What do I mean
Philippians 3:7–14 ESV
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Not only are we to remind ourselves, but we are to share this gospel, that is, this good news with others.
I pray the Gospel will be central in your life and you will share the good news! What do I mean
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