Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Evangelistic tool - Salvation's Event and Experience

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:10 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed

Salvation was an event that must become a present experience in your life
1 Corinthians 15:1-10 details for us two most fundamental truths about salvation: That salvation is an event, and second that this event must become an experience in your life.  1 Corinthians 15:3-9 details the event of salvation, whereas 1 Corinthians 15:10-11 tells us how this event is made an experience.

Biblical Salvation was a Historical event
Whenever we speak of something being objective, we mean that it is true and real whether I agree with it or not.  It occured and exists independent of me.  Thus in 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 we see a summary of the event of salvation:

1. Christ died for our sins, acccording to thr scriptures. 15:3
2. Christ was buried. 15:4
3. Christ was Raised from the dead according to the scriptures. 15:4
4. The Risen Christ was witnessed by Peter and the Twelve. 15:5-6; Luke 24:36; John 20:19
5. The Risen Christ was witnessed by 500. 15:6
6. The Risen Christ was witnessed by James. 15:7
7. The Risen Christ was witnessed by Paul. 15:8-9

In short, we see Christ's death, burial, resurrection and eye-witness appearances.  This is the event of Biblical salvation.

Biblical Salvation went from an event to an experience in the lives listed in 1 Cor. 15
A quick run-through of the people listed here in 1 Corinthians 15 will reveal that the events of salvation went from the realm of facts to faith.  Paul and James, just to mention two examples, were both at one point unbeliever's and skeptics of Jesus Christ.  Yet by the early chapters of Acts, we see James (the Lord's own half-brother according to the flesh!) functioning as a leading figure in the early church.  The Apostle Paul has a dramatic conversion experience while on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. (Acts 9).

How did this series of events become an ongoing experience in the lives of these men?  Paul lays it out for us in 1 Corinthians 15:10-11 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.  It was by grace through faith that these men believed and began to experience biblical salvation. (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:23)  

Sharing the Gospel of salvation - Event and Experience
How would one go about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with these two main thoughts of salvation as event and experience?  By using 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (which is the short-list on the chief events), spell out to the person what and who the Gospel is about - an objective event that took place and is true whether that person believes it or not.  Then by using a passage like John 3:16, you can demonstrate how and why the person must take the event in by faith in order to make it an experience.  1 Corinthians 15 and other passages like John 3:16 gives you a simple two-fold approach to evangelism - Salvation the event must become an experience in a person's life by grace through faith.   

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