I have been pondering 1 Corinthians 15 for a while, and would love to work through some of it here in this wonderful forum. So I am taking a break from Matthew and going to poke around here in the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15 for a bit. Here goes:
Paul is going to define the gospel for us in this passage. This is actually to my knowledge the only place in the Bible where it comes right out and says, “This is the gospel.” For me, that is cause to sit up and take notice.
Before we get to the gospel itself, let’s look at the delivery method:
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
1) The gospel was preached
2) The gospel was received
3) Those who receive stand
4) Those who receive are saved
5) Those who receive hold fast
Let’s take each of these one by one.
The gospel preached
There are those who quote Francis of Assisi as having said:
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words. ~ Francis of Assisi
We love this. Friendship evangelism. And you know what? As groundwork, to earn the right to speak into people’s lives, it is often the right choice. We like to quote Jesus’ own words for this one:
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ John 13:35
Please notice here, however, Jesus did not say, “by this all will become my disciples,” but that they will know where you stand.
Our love for one another, and for the lost are integral parts of our Christian walk and testimony, but they do not replace the preaching of the gospel.
Consider Paul’s words in Romans 10.
“WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?
And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher? ~ Romans 10:13-15
Check this out:
it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:21
And of course from our passage today:
The gospel which I preached to you, ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1
This is what Jesus did, and what the taught the disciples to do.
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give. ~ Matthew 10:7-8
God has chosen preaching as the vehicle to deliver this wonderful commodity. It can not actually be caught rather than taught. As we will see in the next day or so, there are words involved in the gospel, so it cannot be passed on wordlessly.
What is Preaching?
There are actually two words for preach in the New Testament. The more common is the word “kēryssō,” which means to proclaim with authority. This is the word used when we are commissioned by Jesus at the end of Him ministry to:
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. ~ Mark 16:15
But that is not the word used here in 1 Corinthians 15. The funny thing is that the word for preach here, is virtually the same word as gospel.
The word for gospel or good news in the Greek is “euaggelion,” while the word for preached is “euaggelizō.” It is as though Paul good-newsed them with the gospel, if you get what I mean.
It is not unlike the way we use “evangelize” today.
The evangelicals evangelized those who had never heard the “eveangel” (gospel/good news)
Here this: None of the love and good deeds, kind words, smiles and random kindnesses are wasted, or go unrewarded. They are just not the gospel.
So here is the question for the day:
Have you good-newsed anyone lately?
[Please don't take this word as a condemnation of where you have been. I only ask that you open your spiritual antennae to the Holy Spirit today and look for divine appointments. Listen for the words which He will give you. That is the only basis on which we can preach - the words He puts in our mouth - deal?]
See you then,