It is good to be reminded of the gospel every day, 365 days, of every year of our lives. Why? Because the gospel isn’t merely the starting point of our faith; the gospel is the daily sustenance of our faith. As Christians, we need to remind ourselves of it everyday! What does the word “gospel” mean? It means “good news.” It’s the good news that God so loved us that He gave His Son Jesus to die for our sins that we might believe on Him and receive eternal life.
In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he saw it as of first importance to remind them of the Gospel. We can understand the importance of being reminded of the Gospel.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageGood morning, church! We are thankful for our family. We are thankful for our heritage of old fashioned singing and for the gospel, which is what we’re going to be talking about today.
We’re beginning a new, two-part series entitled, “Gospel 365,” because it’s good to be reminded of the gospel every day, 365 days a year. It never gets old. Why? Because, the gospel is not merely the starting point of our faith, but it’s the sustenance, the daily sustenance of our faith. As Christians, we need to preach the gospel and remind ourselves of the gospel every day.
What does the word, “gospel,” mean? It means “good news.” It’s the good news, that God so loved you and I. He so loved us that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we might receive eternal life. Some of you need to be reminded of the gospel today because you’ve never received it. Some of you, it’s because you’ve never rightly understood the facts of the gospel, don’t know what it is exactly. You can’t receive something you haven’t really heard. Today, you’ll hear it very clearly and I pray today that you will receive it.
Some have heard a version of the gospel that’s not accurate. You’ve heard a false gospel. Maybe you even brought up in the church, but instead of accepting Christianity, you’ve accepted something called “Churchianity,” where you think it’s about your performance. You think it’s about being a good person. The gospel comes out of saying this: No one is a good person except Jesus. He’s the only sinless one; we’re all sinners. The good news is He died for our sins. If you believe the gospel is about your performance, you’ve misunderstood the gospel.
Here’s what Tim Keller says about the gospel, “The gospel is good news, not good advice. Advice is counsel about what you must do. News is a report about what has already been done. Advice urges you to make something happen. News urges you to recognize something that has already happened and to respond to it. Advice Advice says it is all up to you to act. News says someone else has acted.”
The gospel is good news because God has already acted when he sent Jesus to die for our sins. Do you believe this? That’s what we’re talking about today. It’s not about following good advice; it’s about believing the gospel, the good news about Jesus.
The reason that we need to be reminded of it constantly is because the apostle Paul, we’ll be looking at one of his letters today, says it’s of first importance. He says it’s a priority. It’s never going to get old and we will never outgrow it. In his first letter, he saw the gospel as the first importance of something that we need to be reminded of and we can be reminded of the gospel today. As we look at the text, I think we’ll see three reasons why we constantly need to remind ourselves of the good news about Jesus. Are you ready to get your seatbelts on?
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (ESV) 1 “Now Iwould remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” This is God’s word. Amen. We’re looking for three reasons why we need to be regularly reminded of the gospel.
Why we need to be regularly reminded of the gospel: 1. To know and receive it.
Here’s the first reason: To know and receive it, to know and receive it. You can’t know about the news unless you watch it or read it. Does that make sense? You can’t know it and you can’t receive it, which is a synonym for believing it, until you’ve heard it and evaluated it. You have to decide. Have I heard the news?
Here’s what Paul says in verse one. He says, “Now, I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand.” And then, he has three “which you” statements.
“Which you received,” is the first one. “In which you stand” is the second one. “And by which you are being saved” is the third one. There are three “which you” statements; they are our three reasons.
What do I say all of the time when I’m preaching to you? “This is not rocket science; let the bible speak for itself.” My job is to get out of the way. I’m just the “newspaper boy.” Have I told you that? My job is to roll it up nice and neat, put a rubber band around it and throw it up on your front lawn. Your job is to open it and read it, hear it and believe it. I’m just “God’s newspaper boy.” I’m throwing the good news your way today.
We’re going to start with the first reason. It’s right there. “Which you received.” The good news, the good message which you received. It has the idea of “to receive it to yourself so that it comes inside of you.” This idea of “received” is not like you caught it in a football game as a receiver, but more like you took it into yourself.
The greek verb underneath that word, “received,” is this idea of taking it all the way in you. “Have received,” you’ll see that word twice in the text. You see it there in verse one, “which you have received.” And then, you see it again in verse three, when Paul is talking about how he received it, 3 “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 says that he received it and I received it from someone else. Now, you’ve received it from me. Here I am.I’m getting ready to throw it up on your porch.
Here’s what you’ll have to decide: Are you going to open it? Are you going to take it in, receive it and believe it as true for you? Paul says this, 3 “For I delivered to you as of first importance.” The gospel is of first importance.
The greek word here is “πρῶτος, prōtos.” In other words, it comes in first. You can’t outgrow the gospel. Paul says itsfirst and we always need to be reminded of it because we need to apply it to our lives every day. We need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. We constantly need it. He says it’s of first importance. He says it’s something that we shouldn’t outgrow.
Jerry Bridges says in his book, “The Discipline of Grace, “The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history.” The gospel is the good news about Jesus.
So what is the gospel? Paul says that I’m going to remind you of it; here it comes. It’s got four facts: Fact number one is in verse three, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” This is the first fact. You see, news is supposed to be based on facts.
We all like different news channels. I won’t ask you to tell me which one you tune into, okay, because if you tell me which one you tune into, I would know your political party probably. Everybody likes a different flavor. Maybe, you don’t watch any of them. You only read “such and such” blogs; you only listen to “such and such” podcasts. Today, we have every flavor of news that you can imagine. The problem with most of it, it is all opinion. A lot of us grew up with only one or two choices. We either listened to Walter Cronkite on one channel or Huntley and Brinkley on the other. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, google it , okay, young people. The older people are agreeing that that’s what we listened to and they read the news. Somebody gave them facts. But today, it’s just opinion. You have to dig down into it and find out what’s true before you receive it.
The first fact is Christ died for our sins. Jesus Christ died for our sins. Just knowing it, though, does not have a saving effect. You haven’t received it yet. It has to move from your head to your heart. That’s how you receive it. You have to change the wording and say, Christ died for my sins. I’m a sinner. I’m not perfect. I’ve not been able to live up to God’s holiness. I need a Savior. It’s good news; Christ died for my sins. That’s fact number one: Christ died for our sins.
Romans 6:23 (ESV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That’s good news. As a sinner, I was headed for death. I was headed for a Christless hell for eternity, without God. So are you, my friend, if you haven’t received the gospel. If you say, “Christ died for my sins,” you’ve received the centerpiece of the whole gospel. You can stop right there; that’s the biggest chunk right there. That’s fact number one.
Fact number two that Paul gives supports fact number one. Fact number two is: He was buried; that’s in verse four. He was buried supports that He died. He didn’t “swoon;” he didn’t just “pass out.” The Romans were expert executioners. To make sure they knew He was dead, they stuck a spear into His side. They knew how to kill people. Jesus didn’t just “pass out” or “swoon.” Jesus was buried and put into a tomb. That’s the second fact; Christ was buried.
The third fact is very important; it says in verse four, He was raised on the third day. That’s the third fact; Christ defeated sin, death and the grave.
Fact four supports fact number three: He appeared. There’s a whole list of people that were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus. This news story is the most important important news story in all of history. Christ, when He came, it’s like God stuck His finger in human history. All of history was divided like this. What year is it? It’s the year 2021. It’s been 2021 years since Christ came. He was raised on the third day and He appeared and so there were many witnesses.Those are the facts of the gospel. If you’re going to have a good news story, you need facts and you need supporting eyewitnesses. And then, you need a reporter; that is Paul. Today, it happens to be me and it could be you. That’s what it takes to have a good news story. You have to have facts that are verifiable and you have to have witnesses.
Do you understand what’s happening? So , becoming a Christian is not a blind leap of faith. No, it’s placing your faith into the four facts that I have just listed and saying that I believe that this news story is the most important news story of all. I accept it. It’s placing your faith in the fact that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, He was raised from the grave and that He lives today. Many people have seen Him and if you’ll receive Him, He’ll save you too. It will change your whole life. It’s placing your faith into a fact called Christ.
Paul says, “in accordance with the scriptures.” Did you hear that? He said that He died for our sins according to the scriptures; He was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures. I’m curious, because the New Testament hadn’t been written yet when Paul was writing this. Paul is talking about the Old Testament. Paul is saying that the Old Testament was predicting that the Messiah Christ would come and do this. Do you understand what Paul is saying? He’s saying, not only do I have these facts, but it’s confirmed in the prophecies of the Old Testament that lead up to this.
Let me just give you a “taste” of what we are talking about here. We don’t have time to read the whole old testament, but let me just give you a couple of facts, a couple of prophecies. Here’s one from Psalm 22:1, 14-18 (ESV) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? …I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint… a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.“ This is David’s writing, centuries before Christ. Christ says these very words from the cross. Here’s David; the Holy Spirit gets hold of David, and he catches a glimpse of the Messiah coming, centuries into the future. Here hangs Jesus on the cross and he says, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” For the first time in eternity, Jesus experienced separation from His Father, because all the sins of the world fell upon Him. The Father turned His back on the Son. Jesus took our condition of separation. Here’s what sin does, if you sin against your brother or sister or against your spouse, it creates separation until you have reconciliation. That makes sense, right? If you do something wrong against someone, it creates a break of fellowship.
We have sinned against God, every one of us; it creates a brokenness between us and God. Jesus took our sins; He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” He took our separation so that we could have His Sonship.
David is still writing, “…I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint… a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones.” David had never seen a crucifixion. It was a Roman invention of torture. But yet, he catches a glimpse of it through the Spirit. This is a description of crucifixion, “I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and they cast lots.” This is in the Old Testament, you understand. Paul says, “according to the scriptures.” This happened according to the scriptures.
The prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:3-5 (ESV) “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah saw it. Paul says, “according to the scriptures.” He was the Long Expected One and He comes confirming all of these prophecies.
You see, the first step of receiving the gospel is hearing it. It’s what Paul writes in Romans 10:17 (NKJV) “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Do you have ears to hear right now? Are you listening? It’s going into your head now; you’re processing it now. You have to decide. Do I believe it? If you believe it, it moves from head to heart because now you’re receiving it as fact, it’s true and you want it. It’s the most important news story ever. And it’s new every day.
It’s like a relay runner. Paul says, “what I received, I have passed on to you as of first importance.” Paul gets the revelation, he gets the gospel. He writes in the book of Galatians that he got it by revelation from Jesus because Jesus interrupted his walk to Damascus. Paul was on the road to Damascus and Jesus appeared to him. Paul gets to Damascus and a fellow named Ananias disciples him and tells him more about it. So here, he gets the baton .
We just watched the summer olympics a few weeks ago; we watched the races. Paul was in the relay race with the baton of the Gospel. He took it, ran with it and he said, “And then I gave it to you, church of Corinth.” The baton is passed throughout the ages, from person to person. They run with the gospel.
Somewhere back here (because I have my family reunion this weekend and my family can confirm this if you want to interview with them later) I am kind of like Timothy. In 1 & 2 Timothy, Paul talks about how he was taught the scriptures and taught the gospel from his mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice. Lois and Eunice could have lived right down the road from us, couldn’t they? I was taught the scriptures and the gospel from my mom and grandmother, except their names were Ettie and Wilda. They handed me the gospel baton. My mom and grandmother were firm about it . They put it in my hand and placed my fingers around it. You had better take it, this is the best thing ever. I didn’t always want to take it. I was a little rebellious. But, I took it and here I come, here I come and here you go. All I can do is hand it to you; you’ve got to decide.
You see, the bible says, “For by grace through faith.” Grace is the gospel. It’s the good news. It’s a free gift and it has the saving power, but faith is the hand that receives the Gospel. That’s up to you. The bible says, “You are saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” You’ve got to reach out and take it in. It’s not enough just to have a head knowledge of the gospel. Head knowledge will not save you. You have to receive it. You have to believe it.
I met my wife in 1978. She was a pretty little girl named Robin. There weren’t many dates before I had head knowledge that I really think she’s the one. I mean, I interviewed her. I was asking all the important questions. You ask her. She’ll tell you. I scared a lot of girls off with those interviews, but Robin endured it. And so, I got the facts. Then, I began to feel emotional. I felt a little “pitter patter” in my heart. I loved her. So, I had the head knowledge that I think she’s the right one. I did my research. I spent time with her. I got the facts and then I had a heart that was fluttering. Did that make me married? Nope. That didn’t make me married. What made me married? I had to ask, “Will you marry me?” And she had to say, “Yes.” We stood in front of a church before God, a preacher and a room full of witnesses. Both of us said, “I do.” It was an act of the will.
It’s a three-part thing if you think about it. You have to have the facts. You have to hear it. You have to hear the gospel. There needs to be a stirring, an emotional something. I don’t know how else to describe it, but there’s a “pitter patter” of your heart that says, “I want this.” And then, there’s an act of the will that says, “I do.” “I do to Jesus.” Have you ever done that? All three are very important. Christ died , for your sins.
2. To continually stand in it.
You’ve got to stand on the gospel. Well, no, that’s a little bit too literal. Here’s what Paul means; take your stand in it and after standing, keep on standing. Don’t try to stand somewhere else. Now the gospel is the entry point of becoming a christian, but not only that, it’s the sustaining point. Paul says to keep on standing in it.
Here’s our tendency; here’s the human default performance. We always think it’s about what we can do. Some of us think, Okay, I’m good enough. I don’t need that . I don’t need Jesus to die for me. I think my performance is good enough. Some of us are all about self control. We think we’re in control. If 2020 didn’t break you of the illusion that you’re under control, you’re not. But, God is; He’s in control. Maybe you’re there and you believe the Gospel. You think, Okay, I know I needed somebody to save me. But now I need to be good. I need to perform. You’ve misunderstood the gospel. You need to keep applying it to yourself. It sustains us. We need to stand in the Word. It has the idea of continually standing in, not on your own strength, but according to the gospel of grace.
Paul continues in verse 5, where he goes through the witnesses. Let’s cover those verses. Verse 5, “and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” Cephas is an Aramaic name; it means “rock.” Who could this be , who is he talking about? Who’s Cephas? It’s Peter. The Greek word for Peter is “petros;” it means rock. It’s the same name, just in a different language. He’s using Aramaic right there. He’s talking about Peter. Peter was an eyewitness of the resurrected Jesus. “Then to the twelve;” that’s the disciples. Jesus appeared to them. Paul is going through the eyewitnesses here. This is Paul “footnoting” his news. He’s making a case for the gospel being the true news about Jesus.
In verse 6, Paul continues, “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” Jesus appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time that doesn’t include sisters and kids. So, that was a big old meeting where Jesus appeared, the resurrected Jesus. And then, he says (I think he says it’s because he wants you to be able to go check with him) “most of them are still alive.” I was there. That was Jesus. I know He was crucified. I saw the tomb; it was empty and then I saw Him. You could touch Him, you could talk to Him, it was Him. He says, “most of them are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” Some of them have already gone on. That’s how Paul always talked about death for the christian. He never said “death” when he was dealing with christians; christians would just close their eyes in this world and open them in the next. It’s like going to sleep and waking up in a new place. “I have a new body, I have a new life, praise the Lord.”
Verse 7 says this, “Then he appeared to James.” Why is he naming James separately? It’s because he’s already said the 12 disciples; we have James the elder and James the lesser. There’s two James in the 12 so it can’t be those two guys. This is a different James, this is the half brother of Jesus. They shared Mary as their mother, but James had Joseph as his father. Jesus had the heavenly Father as his father. This is James who wrote the book of James in your bible.
Verse 7 and 8 continues, “then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” This is Paul talking about the fact that he caught a vision of Him on the road to Damascus. It was later than everybody, It was untimely. It was different. And then, he says, “as one untimely born,he appeared also to me.” He goes on to say that he was the least of all the apostles. That’s what Paul says. So, there’s your list of people who have seen Him. Knowing that there are witnesses helps you take a firmer stand. It wasn’t just hearsay, they saw Him. It helps you firm up that stand.
If that’s not good enough, hang around some believers for a little while until you hear and catch the gospel from them. You’ll believe because of them and then when you receive the Lord for yourself, you’ll be able to take a stand in it because there’s no other explanation for you now, because God has changed your life. The starting point, though, is to recognize that this is true and that there are witnesses. So it’s not only the entry point that we continue to stand in. It sustains us.
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV) 1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” So, we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace and we are still standing in grace. Don’t start getting judgmental; stay in the freedom of grace. Some of us are so perfectionistic that we judge others and we judge ourselves probably more harshly than we do others. You have no business being in the seat of judgment. That is Christ’s job. You are under the Gospel of grace, so cut yourself some slack, enjoy the freedom and the grace of Jesus.
Apply the gospel to your life afresh today: I’m forgiven. I’m free. I have a new page to write on. I have a “get out of jail free” card; I have a whole stack of them because of the Gospel. I don’t have to live under judgment.
Romans 8:1 (ESV) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” How much condemnation is on you after you receive the gospel? There is no condemnation. So, why are you condemning yourself? Why are you condemning other people? Walk in grace; stand in it. Let it wash you day by day and cleanse you so you can live free with no condemnation.
If you’ve never received the gospel, you’re not in Christ; you’re outside. “In Christ” reminds me of how Noah and his family, after they built the ark, God said, “Go in.” When they went in, God closed the door. The reign of judgment fell on the earth, but Noah and his family were safe inside. Christ is our ark. If you’re in Christ, the condemnation, wrath and judgment of God fell upon Christ on the cross. He took our death. He took our separation. He took our sin so that we could have His eternal life. We could have His Sonship and we could receive His righteousness. He’s the ark of God.
I told you that the old testament scriptures point to Jesus. You can just about turn to any page and find Him there. He took all of the wrath, He took all the condemnation . There’s none left for you. You can walk in grace.
The gospel, continually applied, strips us of our human tendency to focus on our own performance. Have you ever had a bad day? You start telling yourself, I’m having a bad day. Have you ever had a day that “gets ahead” of you? Do you know what I mean? You forgot to set your alarm or you overslept; it went off and you didn’t hear it, for some reason. Now, the day is “ahead of you.” You go running out of the house. Normally, you pray a little bit and might even read a few scriptures, but on this day, you ran and got in the car, tucking your shirt in, maybe still shaving. Ladies, you may be still trying to put makeup on as you were stopping at the stop sign. Then, you remember and ask, “Lord help me.” That was your prayer. Then, as the day goes on, it seems like everything goes wrong. Have you ever had a day like that?
And then, sometime that afternoon, somebody in the next cubicle, somebody at work, somebody in your neighborhood, somebody at school, they say something to you that reveals a need in their life. They’re not a Christian. They’re far from God. For some reason, they ask you a question; it’s one of those “divine appointments,” where you’re supposed to tell them about the gospel, but you don’t feel worthy because you think it’s about your performance. So, you don’t say anything to them because you’re having a bad day.
Do you know why you are continuing to wallow in that bad day, and now, you’re not taking your divine opportunity? It’s because you forgot to apply the gospel. You forgot to let the gospel wash everything clean again, continually standing in His grace. Bad days will reveal that, but you know, good days are just as problematic. Imagine that you went to church on Sunday; you sang a song and you even put one hand up. You are feeling pretty good about yourself; you started the week off right. You might have even put an offering in the offering bucket down front. You are doing good and feeling pretty good. You get up tomorrow and you’re supposed to have a quiet time. You actually read some scripture and pray. You’re still thinking it’s about performance. You still think it’s about performance. What will happen is, watch out, “pride goeth before the fall.” It’s not about how good you’ve been. It’s not about how many times you went to church, or how many attendance buttons you got going to Sunday school. It doesn’t matter. It’s about Jesus; it’s about the gospel. It’s not about good days and bad days. It’s about being able to look in the mirror and apply the gospel to your hurts and and say, Jesus, help me every day.
The people who are having a good day may say to themselves, Surely, God must be pleased with me today, as if you could please God. The only way to please God is if He looks at you and He sees Jesus in you. That’s the only thing that pleases Him. Faith alone.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” If you want to please God, believe and receive the gospel.
Here is what Jerry Bridges says in his book, “The Discipline of Grace,” “Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.” It’s not about performance. Standing in the gospel, we can be brutally honest with ourselves and with God and the assurance of His total forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ. I’m totally forgiven means I don’t have to make excuses for my sin. I don’t try to make it lesser ; I made a mistake. Now, I can say, “I know that offended You, Father. Help me. Wash it clean.” You can name the sin.
If you’re not a believer, if you haven’t received Jesus, you don’t want to do that because that’s an admission of guilt. And so, you make excuses for it, or you say, I’ve always been that way. That’s my identity. You make your sin your identity instead of recognizing that God made you for Himself.
If you believe the gospel and you apply it to your heart continually, you can reveal your heart to God. He reveals to you that you offended Him when you had that thought. It grieves the Holy Spirit when you yell at your spouse, you weren’t patient and understanding. He is pointing it out because He wants to help you with it.
How many of your sins have been forgiven if you have received Christ? Has He forgiven your past sins? Yes. What about the ones today, because some of you got in a lot of trouble before you came to church today. Some of you had a fight in the car on the way here. Don’t raise your hands, but I know you did. Yes, He forgives those sins. Some of us are going to struggle tomorrow. Yes, He forgives those sins. He forgives all; past, present and future sins.
When we come to Him, we come and we say, “I’m already forgiven, but I still sin. So what do I need to do? I need help with that. I need for You to wash it clean.”When you look at 1 John 1:9 (ESV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The word, “confess,” is the greek word, ομολογώ omologó. So, if you look at a sin, you name it the same thing. God does. Don’t call it a bad habit; don’t say, It was a little white lie. No. It was a lie. I lied. It was wrong. In other words, “confession” means agreeing with God, I’m a sinner. I know You’ve already forgiven me past, present, future, but I need You to clean me up. I need You to cleanse me.
When I was a little boy, I would play outside. Back in the day, little kids played outside. There were no ipads; can you believe it? It was a terrible world; no, it was awesome. I played outside and I would come in the house and my mom would say, “You need to get a bath.” I would take a bath and then she would check me. I don’t know if your mom checked you. My mom would check me to see if I was clean and she would look at my neck and she would say things about my neck. She would say, “Your neck is ‘rusty’.” Then, she would say, “You have “granny beads” around your neck.” Have you ever heard of this? I didn’t wash my neck well. You didn’t want my mom washing your neck. She would practically rub your skin off. She was going to get that dirt off because I was her child. She cleaned me up. She wasn’t trying to hurt me. She loved me. There were parts I couldn’t see to wash, plus I was young and I didn’t know very much yet. She could get to those parts I couldn’t see.
God loves you. He loves you; just agree with Him. Stop fighting. If you believe the gospel, it doesn’t matter what your addictions are. It doesn’t matter what your hurts, your habits or your hang ups are. He just wants to clean that up for you. You can stand in the gospel. You can stand in it. You can be made clean. Will you do it?
3. To experience its saving power.
Here’s the third reason why we need the gospel applied every day. To experience its saving power. Notice those three “whiches” I was telling you about. It says, “which you receive” in verse one, “in which you stand” in verse one. Now, in verse two, “and by which you are being saved.” This last one has an unusual language . He doesn’t say, “by which you have been saved.” No, it’s in the present tense; it’s happening right now. In Greek, it means “perfect.” We don’t have an equivalent to that in the English language. If you remember math, it’s like a ray. A ray has a dot with a line and an arrow on the end. It’s something that happened at a particular point in time and has continuous effect on into the future to infinity. That’s the Greek verb right there, meaning “perfect.”
This has this idea of having been saved, being saved and will be saved. It’s happening right now. He saved you by grace. He’s keeping you by grace and he will deliver you to the Father by grace. He’s the One doing it. Here’s what helps us to experience this continually: We remind ourselves of the gospel continually . I have been saved. I am being saved. I will be saved.
This helps us in two ways. One is that it gives us assurance. It’s not based on my ability, my ingenuity or my performance. The fact that I’m the pastor of a church does not make me more or less safer than any of you. God is not more pleased with me or less pleased with me about my performance. God is pleased with us, based on us receiving the gospel that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, He was raised on the third day and many people saw him.
Have you believed it? That’s what pleases God. When He saves you, it gives you an assurance because you believe the gospel. You can lay your head on your pillow at night and don’t have to worry because you didn’t have a good day and if something were to happen to you, you wouldn’t go to heaven. Jesus did everything and the only part I did was receive it. Even so, He gave me the ability to do so. It’s all about Jesus. Now, you can have assurance when you lay your head on your pillow at night. I’m not perfect, but Jesus is and He saved me.
Because of this assurance, it doesn’t give us an excuse to keep on sinning. It should be a motivation to say, He did everything for me. There’s not too much for me to give up for Him. We are being saved; it gives us assurance.
It also has a sanctifying effect. In other words, it’s making us holy. I’ve said so many times, “I need to have a T-shirt that says “I’m under construction.” A few months ago, one of our church members made me a T-shirt that says, “I’m under construction,” with the verse underneath that says, “I am God’s workmanship.”
Remember last week’s sermon, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” So we walk in the gospel of love and grace and it cleanses us. It gives us the ability to say, “I am experiencing God’s grace that both convicts me of sin and empowers me to die to it at the same time. Because I can say this, I can ask the Lord, “Lord examine me. If there’s any sinful way in me, show me.” He will clean me up from it. I don’t have to hide from it. I don’t have to run from it. I don’t have to experience shame because Jesus took my sin and He also took my shame.
Who’s who’s sitting under a pile of shame here this morning? Come on, give that to the cross, leave that at the cross. He took my shame and He’s making me holy.
Paul, then, says something that could be troubling until we dig in. He says, “by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believe in vain.” Now, what’s that about? “If you hold fast to the word I preached to you;” in other words, if you received the gospel: He died, He was buried, He was raised on the third day and He appeared to many witnesses. If you receive that, you’re saved and you’re being saved unless you believe in another kind of gospel . If you did that, you believed in vain. In other words, it’s empty. It has no power.
What are some other kinds of gospel? I opened up by talking about that. By being a good person, I think that will please God. Or, maybe it’s the gospel of prosperity. Or, this idea that, if you’re struggling today with your marriage, or with your finances, or you’ve got bad news at the doctor, you’re thinking if I came to church today and got me a little Jesus, it would fix my marriage. I need some Jesus to heal me. I’m not saying that Jesus won’t do those things, but if that’s your motivation, you’ve heard the wrong gospel. Trying to get Christ to fix it outwardly won’t work. If you say that you need Christ to fix your marriage and then you don’t need any more Christ, it won’t work because it didn’t change either of your hearts. You must come to the cross and say I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. It’s not coming to the cross to get something; that’s the gospel of prosperity that says it will make me healthy, wealthy and wise. It will make me rich. The motivation must be that we need salvation from Christ.
Romans 1:16 (ESV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The gospel is where the power is. How do you receive it? How do you move it from head to heart ?
Here it comes: Romans 10:9 (ESV “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I want You to be the Master of my life. I believe in You, Jesus. I’m putting You in charge. I want You to be my Savior and Lord. So, if you believe the gospel, maybe you’ll be saved, right? If you join the church, will you be saved? If you get baptized, will you be saved? If you are a good person, you’ll be saved? No, no, no. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” That is too easy. No, it isn’t. It was extremely hard for Him and it’s free to you. It’s free to you because He paid for it.
Have you received Jesus ? Have you received Him as your Lord and Savior? Do you believe that He was crucified and raised from the dead? We must always keep focused on the gospel because it’s the nature of the gospel that shows us that we need a Savior and frees us to look at our sin nature and be sanctified. We need it day by day. It reminds us that we are assured and sanctified simultaneously.
Will you apply it to your life today? Will you apply the gospel to your life today? Have you received it? I threw it up in your lawn. Now, you need to take the rubber band off and open the news, read it and decide to believe it and stand in it every day and then be assured by it and be sanctified.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You for Your word today. Thank You for the good news that Jesus saves. Lord, I pray first of all for that person that’s here this morning that’s never received You. Right in your seat, right now, today, your whole life could change by a singular decision. You’ve heard the gospel. Now, you have no excuse. You’ve heard it. You’ve heard the facts of the gospel that Christ died for your sins, He was buried, He was raised on the third day and that other people have witnessed Him alive. This is true. Will you confess right now that you believe it, right in your seat. Let me help you. Pray with me. Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I believe You died on the cross for my sins. I believe You were raised from the grave and that You live today. I invite You, right now, to come into my life and live in me as my Lord and Savior. I want to be a christian. I want to be a child of God. Would You adopt me into your family? I call You now my Savior and Lord. if you’re praying that prayer right now, believing, He will save you, right where you are. Others are here and you have received Jesus and you’re a Christ follower, but you’ve been performance driven, You’re struggling with guilt and shame. You’ve fallen short of your own performance and you think it’s about that. Would you confess it right now and say, Lord help me apply the gospel afresh. Cleanse me. Just name it whatever it is. Are you struggling with a certain sin area? Maybe it’s an addiction to a drug or to alcohol, Maybe it’s an addiction to pornography. Maybe it’s a problem with anger. Maybe it’s a relationship that you’ve sinned against someone, You name it to the Lord right now. You don’t have to be afraid. He loves you. Let Him wash it away. Then, you can say, Lord, thank You for cleansing me and making me whole. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.