Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on May 4, 2014
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Today will be the third week we look at this particular text. Some of you may be asking why? The reason is because it is saturated with piercing and convicting truth, and at the core of this passage is the Gospel, and there is no end to the unsearchable riches of the Gospel. Today we are looking at 1 Corinthians 15 with the lens of evangelism and missions. So let us read it, pray, and ask God to give us His vision.
The person who wrote this text is the Apostle Paul. I cannot think of anyone else in the Bible that is more Biblically radical than the Apostle Paul. You can get a sense of this in our text today. Look at verse ten.
The question then becoems why? Why was Paul the way he is? Why did he risk so much? Why was he so driven, so radical? Paul tells us why: God’s Grace.
But what does Paul mean when he says it was the grace of God that was within him? Is he simply waxing poetically? No. When you receive the gospel through believing the Gospel, something changes in you. Jesus calls it being born again. Paul calls it being a new creation or passing from death to life. In the moment of having faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God comes and lives in your heart. Let me say that again in case it didn't sink in. The Sovereign God of the Universe, who makes stars explode, comes and lives in your heart. Listen to these verses:
When we repent and believe in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, God comes into our lives in a way that flips our world upside down. We go from being a slave to our sinful passions and pleasures, to slaves of God. And yes, I truly mean slaves of God. We are His possession, we are his people.
With all this said, what did Paul do? What were his works? What was his primary purpose of his beatings, shipwrecks, and stoning? It was preaching the Gospel.
I am not trying to be mean, or polarizing with this comment, but how many places in the Bible have you read of Paul or any of the other disciples partaking in mission trips digging wells, or building schools? Perhaps they did, and it never made it into the Bible. Don't misunderstand what I am saying, those things are not bad. We should be good Samaritans, no doubt about that, but is that the main things, or the only thing we should be doing in this world? Is this what Jesus meant when he said go and make disciples, did he really mean go and make schools? Absolutely not! Remember what we talked about two weeks ago. What is the most important thing to every human on the planet, the Gospel.
This week, read through the book of Acts. The book of Acts is the story of the early Church and its significant growth in the first 30 years of existence. In the 28 chapters of Acts, you see one common and strategy for Church growth, preaching of the Gospel.
Perhaps you have heard it said that the book of Acts should be retitled the book of the Holy Spirit or the Acts of the Holy Spirit. This reason for this is because it is in the book of Acts you see for the first time the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers.
With that in mind, what you see in the book of Acts is not a book filled with speaking in tongues, or miracles in every chapter, or wells being dug, and schools being built. What you see all over the place is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this makes sense, because the Gospel is the Holy Spirit's favorite topic. Listen to what Jesus says in John 15:26.
I think it comes down to, do we trust the Gospel. Do we believe 1 Corinthians 15, do we believe Romans 1:16, do we believe the entire book of Acts, do we believe Jesus. Our King does not hide the ball from us. He tells us what our mission is. He tells us how to expand the borders of his Kingdom, it is not by digging wells, or building schools. It is by testifying about Jesus Christ and him crucified.
We must proclaim it in our homes, in our work places, in our neighborhoods, on facebook, in Kentucky, in India. If you are a Christian, this is the primary reason that God has left you here on this planet, to proclaim the Gospel.
However, in addition to your testimony, on your seats is what is called a tract. In my opinion, this tract is one of the simplest and perhaps best ways to explain the Gospel. It is simple, it is true and it is easily learned. Take this tract home and memorize it. Memorize every word of it, the scriptures, the pictures, and the explanations. Then practice. Practice in the mirror, practice with your brothers and sisters, practice with me. Then go and do it. Look for opportunities to weave threads of the Gospel in your conversations and see what stage God sets for you. I think you will be amazed how simple and how powerful it is.