Monday, March 30, 2015

The greatest chapter in all the Bible

1 Corinthians 15:1  "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand."

I could not help but begin this week with considering the most powerful chapter in the Bible. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything else Jesus achieved in His perfect life and death would had remained nothing more than another footnote in history. Because Jesus has risen from the dead, all history is a footnote to Him! Today I want us to consider in brief the amazing chapter of 1 Corinthians 15. It may seem presumptuous to claim 1 Corinthians 15 to be the greatest chapter in all the Bible. However, as Paul strenuously argues, if Jesus Christ be not risen from the dead, then we are among men most miserable and still lost in our sins. This chapter stands as the continental divide of the 1189 chapters of the Bible. 

The Living Gospel shines hope into a troubled church
As the Apostle Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians to the church at Corinth, he was writing to a church that was troubled.  The thunderclouds of judgment and discipline hung over this church.  After reading through the first 14 chapters of 1 Corinthians, judgment and God's discipline seem imminent.  Yet the rays of mercy and hope flood in to break up the clouds in 1 Corinthians 15.  The sunshine of God's Living Gospel pours into the otherwise bleak future for this church.  No chapter in God's word spells out the implications of Christ's resurrection any clearer than 1 Corinthians 15.

The main point of 1 Corinthians 15 - Unfolding the Living Gospel
When I began to study this chapter years ago, I was blown away at the breadth and depth that it covered.  Every major Bible doctrine, every conceivable means of persuasion is used by the Holy Spirit to convince the reader of the power of the living Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15.  Below is a thumbnail sketch of this remarkable chapter:

1. The Gospel's Living Message. 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

2. The Gospel's Living Christ.       
1 Corinthians 15:12-20

3. The Gospel's Living Doctrine    
1 Corinthians 15:21-28

4. The Gospel's Living Power      
1 Corinthians 15:29-49

5. The Gospel's Living Encouragements 
1 Corinthians 15:50-58

1 Corinthians 15 is the Bible's most powerful chapter.  Those five major divisions are like the five smooth stones that David had ready to put in His sling to defeat the Goliath of Unbelief.  1 Stone from this mighty brook is all that necessary to topple any giant you might be facing.  The Living Gospel is not only revealed in its power - but in it's robust splendor. 

The Living Gospel is the remedy for every spiritual ailment
The Great Physician Jesus Christ issues us the ultimate remedy to every spiritual ailment - The Living Gospel - which is all about Himself.  The Apostle Paul is like a pharmacist issuing a bottle that, when taken in full measure, heals the heart and revives the Christian, while bringing God's saving power to the lost soul.   

Why the Living Gospel centers on the Resurrected Christ
1 Corinthians  15 stands as the finest one-chapter summary anywhere in God's Word in demonstrating the significance of Christ's resurrection to the whole of scripture and the whole essence of Christianity.  A quick overview of the New Testament will reveal the priority of Christ's resurrection to Christianity:

All Four Gospels catalogue the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His various appearances to His disciples following that event.  The Book of Acts, the record of the early church, features nearly 20 sermons preached in the early church. The Apostles Peter and Paul preached all of them but one, and almost ten times we find the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be the central emphasis of their preaching.  Most if not all of Paul's letters, Peter Letters and most of the other New testament books make reference to Christ's resurrection.  The Book of Revelation presents the Post-resurrected Christ as ruling and reigning, worthy of all worship, due to the fact that He has over come death. Truly without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christian faith itself would be lifeless.  Thank the Lord for the Living Gospel - the heart of Living Living Christianity.  

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