THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 3-29-09
LESSON TITLE: "THE GOSPEL OF GOD:" MORE THAN THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION!
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our God. Won’t you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to God, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let’s begin our offering to God with a prayer!
All of us in this life get use to having our own way. We are brought up in a society that says this is possible and so we very quickly have bought into this concept. However, the Bible tells us that someone else is supposed to be in command of our lives. You guessed it - Jesus! This morning we are going to begin with a song that tells us to turn things over to Christ as our one and only guide. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “He Leadeth Me.”
(SONG # 1)
The Bible talks a lot about division and how we are to be those who are unified in the things of Christ. At the same time the Bible tells us that we are to be willing to give up anything for the sake of Christ. One such verse is in the words of Christ Himself, found in Luke 12:51-53. There we read, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” What on earth is Jesus talking about here? Why are we to be willing to give up these things? On the other hand we read verses like Luke 9:56, where Jesus said, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them.” So what is the point Jesus is trying to make in these verses? The real question is what are we willing to give up for Christ? Not that we will have to give them up or put them aside, but are we willing to if need be? What is it that truly comes first and foremost in our lives? Do we really put God first? Will we follow Him at any cost?
No doubt this is why Jesus commanded us to, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God has always been a jealous God and expects His followers to put Him first in all things, even if it means giving up things of this life for His sake. Just what are we willing to give up for Jesus?
Ultimately, Jesus came with the message proclaimed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:33. There we read, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” God does want His followers to have a good and peaceful life, but not at any cost! In the end, we are to be those who are willing to do whatever it takes to serve our God, even if it means giving our very lives for His cause. So, just how far are you willing to go in your service to God?
Today we will be continuing our discussion of “The Gospel Of God.” Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, “More Than The Death, Burial, and Resurrection.” So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of the hymn, “He Lives.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 beginning in verse 1 the Bible says, “Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preach to you.” Certainly Paul speaks here about a gospel that he presents to those who want to hear about Jesus Christ. What else do we learn about that gospel? Verse 2 says, “By which also you are saved.” We find here that the gospel leads to salvation. What is the part of man? Well God offers the gospel that man might be saved and then in verse 2 he goes on to say, “If you hold fast that Word which I preach to you.” Paul says, “I preach to you the gospel. The gospel is that which saves you and if you hold fast to that gospel, then you will be saved. It’s that same gospel that I preached that I myself,” verse 3 of 1 Corinthians 15, “that I myself received, that’s what I delivered to you.”
What did Paul receive that pertains to the gospel? Read with me the final part of verse 3 and 4. “That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.” We find here the gospel, the heart, the foundation of the gospel. Why? Because it centers around Jesus Christ Himself. Without Christ and without the act that we read about here that lies again at the very center or foundation of the gospel, then everything else would be for naught because it is this act that God spoke of even before creation, that God prophesied throughout the Old Testament and that God now brought to fulfillment in the accounts we read, the gospel accounts. And so certainly we know here that the gospel of God entails the death, the burial and the resurrection.
The problem that we have however today in the religious world as well as in many different types of religions is that there has begun to be a belief that the gospel is only that which pertains to the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is that what Paul said? Is that what he was dealing with? Certainly not because even Paul here acknowledged the fact that for Jesus to die, He first had to what? Live! How could He have died without first living and who amongst us would know anything about Christ without being able to read in the gospel accounts, the “Life of Christ”? And how fitting and interesting that the “Life of Christ” and those accounts are often referred to in and of themselves, “The Gospel.” The what? The gospel, the good news, the message pertaining to Jesus Christ.
There in the same text in 1 Corinthians 15 he goes on now to say, “And speak of a Jesus,” verse 12, “that has been raised from the dead.” And what does he say about that? Not just that He was raised, but that people saw Him alive after He had died, was buried and put in the grave and rose. People saw Him living. So again the idea of life.
In verse 20, the idea again of life. In verse 20 it says, “But now Christ is risen from the dead.”
You see, the point I am trying to begin to help us to understand this morning and that we’ll continue to look at is that the gospel encompasses much more than that which lies at the heart of it which is the death, the burial and the resurrection of Christ. For to understand the gospel and to accept the gospel and to know the gospel, we must know who He was. He was born, that He lived, that He died, that He was buried, that He resurrected, and that He lived again and that there were eyewitnesses that proved the resurrection and the life. Jesus says, “I’m not the death.” Jesus says, “I am the Life, the Way, the Truth and the Light.” Jesus and what Jesus brought and revealed was about the living, not the dead. And so we must understand and comprehend what all the good news means to us, and the reason this is so important is because many then use this concept of the gospel only being the death, the burial and the resurrection as that which determines salvation, that which determines fellowship, that which determines all and everything that God requires or wants of someone else. Certainly that is ridiculous if we read the Bible! Because what does the Bible teach us?
Let’s quickly look at some verses and make some references to scriptures that show us that the gospel was far more than only the death, the burial, and the resurrection.
We mentioned several weeks ago Matthew chapter 4. In verse 23, even before Jesus died, it tells us there in the great “Sermon on the Mount” guess what He was doing? Verse 23 says, “And Jesus went there and preached the gospel.” What? Jesus was preaching the gospel even before the death, burial and resurrection. What does that tell us brethren and friends? It tells us the gospel encompasses far more. We must know far more about the good news, the message pertaining to Christ to understand who Christ is, what He was all about, and how He saves man. Jesus was preaching the gospel! And I want you to notice what it says about the gospel that He preached. It says there, again Matthew chapter 4 verse 23, “He was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.” Now how interesting again that He was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. That shows us the good news of God also then pertains not only to what I would add, the light, the heart of the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection. Again I would add the life after His resurrection, but now we learn that the kingdom of God. Well what was it that they were preaching in the New Testament? They were preaching the gospel. The entirety, who Jesus was, and what it meant.
There are many places that we can see this. For instance, I love several examples found in the book of Acts. There in chapter 8 we read about Philip going to a Eunuch and I want you to notice what it says that he preaches to him when he opens the scriptures at the book of Isaiah. It says, “He preaches Jesus to him.” And after he hears about Jesus, we later know that the Eunuch sees water and he says, “Here is water, what hinders me to be baptized?” So we know that in preaching Jesus he knew enough to know what? About the death, burial and resurrection, about the life of Christ, about how that he should live, about the kingdom, and we know that even more because Philip earlier in the same text was going about and preaching the gospel and I want you to notice with me there in verse 13 what it says that the gospel included. To Simon, that’s Simon the Sorcerer or the one who later wanted to buy the powers from Peter and the other apostles. But here in verse 13, backing up actually to verse 12, we learn that it says, “And Philip preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” What was Philip preaching? He was preaching the name of Jesus, the life of Jesus, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and as we read here, it says, “The Kingdom of God.” Why? Because the Kingdom of God had just been established in Acts chapter 8 or Acts chapter 2 and we read there in verse 47 of Acts chapter 2 that, “Those that day that were saved were added to the church or the kingdom of God itself.” Exactly as we learn there in Colossians chapter 1:13. It says that, “Those who are saved have been taken out of darkness and put into the Kingdom, the Church of the dear Son of His love, that is Jesus Christ. And so we find then I believe clearly a great example that the gospel, the good news that was being preached include the knowledge of the kingdom.
We also find there that as they were preaching the gospel, the disciples were sent out to preach that gospel to all of mankind and that as they preached the gospel, there certainly was a need to understand what God wanted all men to do. In other words, when we think about Jesus and we think about becoming a child of God, we understand that in our confession, in our repentance which means an acknowledgement of an old sinful man and a change to a Christ-like man, as well as our baptism and our commitment then through faith to be saved. We realize that there is a way of life. Where do we learn about that? Where do we learn about that Kingdom again, about that? We learn about it from the life of Christ, the good news or the message of Jesus Christ that was given to all men that we might not only know how to live, but how to live physically and spiritually in this life. So therefore, in Romans 1:16 he says, “I am not ashamed to declare the (what?) gospel of Christ. It is the power unto salvation.” How interesting that again the gospel is tied to salvation and the ability to save one because what that tells me is that not only must I tell someone, guess what. The gospel tells you about the death, burial and the resurrection, but about salvation. If it does not include salvation, then how can we preach about it as a part of the gospel? If it does not include the Kingdom, how can we preach about it as a part of the gospel? And so on and so on we could go. You see the point being is that the gospel and the many facets of Christ and understanding Christ and understanding even the very purpose and point of the prophesied and accomplished life, death, burial and resurrection is all caught up in who we are, what we are supposed to do, and how we are to live for God.
Another great, I think, fact that shows us this same idea, to me, is found in the purpose of the death. How could I preach the death, the burial and the resurrection, the good news without telling them what that good news is? Jesus shed His blood, and when He shed His blood (Acts 20:28) tells us He purchased the church and when He purchased the church, we know that those who are saved are added to what? The church which is God’s kingdom. And so why don’t you tell me if it is important for someone to know about not only the death, burial, and the resurrection, but the church which was purchased with the bloodshed on the cross, and what about the Kingdom which is the same. Which what? Was purchased with that same blood. And as well the example of the Kingdom and life and really those things pertaining to the Christian example, the daily walk that Jesus left that we might look to it.
Isn’t that why then in Galatians chapter 1 that Paul warned them there about a different gospel. Do you notice in Galatians chapter 1 that he is writing to a church? Do you notice there that he is also writing to those who have already obeyed the gospel, the death, the burial and the resurrection including the other parts? He is already writing to people who have been baptized and saved, so it’s passed that. But do you know what he says? He says to, “Beware of those that bring a different gospel.” To Christians, what does that tell us? It tells us that the gospel that was being brought was more than simply knowing of or hearing of a death, a burial and a resurrection. It was more because it included the life of Christ, the works of Christ. It included the Kingdom of God that was coming and now has come that we have been added to and it includes the life that we are to live and the preaching that we are to do if we are to be seen as those who are faithful to God.
In that same text there in Galatians chapter 1, I also want you to notice another point with me about the gospel that it says was being preached and was being preached unto salvation. Galatians and verse 23 it says, “But they were hearing only he who formerly persecuted us now preaches us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” What was Paul preaching? The faith. Why was he preaching the faith if it’s not the gospel? What was the faith? Do you remember what also Jude said there in Jude chapter 1 verses 3-4, that “the faith was once delivered for all man”? What is faith? “Faith,” Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is something we have got to have or we cannot be pleasing to God. How could I preach someone Jesus, the gospel, the Kingdom and not mention what faith is? Because as soon as someone has obeyed Christ, are they not required to be faithful to God? Certainly they are.
You see the point that we are trying to bring out, what we are trying to exercise and understand through the gospel of Christ today is that the good news encompasses the Word of God as a whole. It encompasses not only knowing about Christ, but all that pertains to Christ and what He did and why He did it and what it accomplished such as the Kingdom and the Church and the forgiveness of sins and the many, many wondrous and glorious things that we find are present throughout the scripture. When they were preaching these things, there were results. What results? Baptism. And I really like there again as we read earlier in the book of Acts chapter 8 when we had said that Philip was preaching the Kingdom. Do you know what happened after he preached the Kingdom? It doesn’t say anything about the death, burial and the resurrection, although I think he preached that. That was a part of the gospel. After he preached the Kingdom, the next verse goes on to say that, “He baptized them.” Later in the same text, what did he do to the Eunuch after he preached Jesus, the death, burial and the resurrection? He baptized him.
So we need to understand and accept and be excited about the Word of God as a whole and realize that the good news, the saving message that helps me from point A all the way to point Z, which is eternal life, is the entirety of the gospel, including the faith, the love that is the greatest of all things, the blessed life of Christ, the death, the burial and the resurrection, the fact that He lived and was seen and proven to be seen by many hundreds of people after He rose from the grave.
You see these things all pertain to the gospel of God. Do you believe it? Do you follow it? Do you accept it? And have you done what God has asked that you might respond to that gospel so that you will receive not only the blessings of life today, but also the great reward of eternal life to live with God forever.
(SONG # 3 - “A Wonderful Savior!”)
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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How wondrous it is to know that our God has given us everything we need in His Precious Gospel. As Peter said, “All things pertaining to life and godliness!” Are you obeying the Gospel of God?