Rediscovering The Gospel

For The Gospel, For The Church, For The Glory Of God

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Milton Vincent has written a book entitled, ‘A Gospel Primer For Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love.’ In his book, Vincent comments on First Corinthians 15:1, “To the Corinthians Christians who had already believed and been saved by the gospel, Paul says, ‘I make known to you the gospel, which you have believed ….’ He then restates the historical facts of the gospel before showing them how those gospel facts apply to their beliefs about the afterlife. This is actually Paul’s approach to various other issues throughout the book of I Corinthians.” In all of his writings, Paul likes to expand on the truths of the gospel in order to help Christians to see a glimpse of the depth, the height, the length, the breadth, and the fullness of the gospel (Ephesians 3:18-19Ephesians 3:18-19
English: Contemporary English Version (1999) - CEV

18 . I pray that you and all of God's people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. h what is called wide or long or high or deep: This may refer to the heavenly Jerusalem or to God's love or wisdom or to the meaning of the cross. 19 I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.

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In our quest to dive deeper into the essence of the Christian gospel, we should begin with Paul’ statement in his first letter to the Corinthians (First Corinthians 15:1-11). This statement is one of the clearest and most succinct summaries of the Christian gospel in all of Holy Scripture. Paul declares that ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (vv. 3-4).’ This is the centerpiece of all that is stated in First Corinthians 15:1-11. But before we expound on the centerpiece, we must examine the context beginning with verses 1-2. ‘Brothers, I make known to you the gospel I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand (v. 1).’ The Corinthians are addressed as ‘brothers,’ which indicates a certain kinship that exists because of their agreement with Paul about the gospel. In other words, they were brothers (and sisters) with Paul in the gospel. Paul”s statement, ‘I make known to you,’ may appear to be slightly odd since we would assume that they already know the gospel. However, it seems that Paul is making the gospel known to them again, in the sense of reminding them (see NIV translation). Obviously, this is not the first time the Corinthians have heard the gospel, but they need to hear it again because of the problems they have encountered as a congregation of Christian believers. The problems that plagued the Church at Corinth are well-documented in chapters 1-14 of First Corinthians. Paul proceeds in verse 1 by referring to ‘the gospel I preached to you.’ This statement is significant because Paul seems to be emphasizing his version of the gospel as contrasted with others who were preaching distorted versions of the gospel. These were distortions of the gospel from which Paul wanted to protect the Corinthian Christians. It was the gospel that Paul preached that the Corinthian Christians needed to rediscover. Not only did the Corinthians need to rediscover the gospel that Paul preached but so do we need to rediscover that same gospel today. There is so much more to the gospel and the deeper we explore it the more we grow as Christians. 

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If you were given a pop quiz asking you to define the Gospel how would you answer the question? Would you answer with a personal testimony about how you became of Christian? Would you write about how long you have been a member of your local church? Would you need a bit more clarification on what the question means? This is a question that many Christians tend to stumble over because they are unaccustomed to being asked in this manner. If someone asks them about salvation, they might respond more quickly. If someone asks, “how did you come to Jesus?,” they might feel more comfortable answering the question. But when asked to explain the Gospel, many Christians struggle, in part because they are not accustomed to this approach. For those who could readily give some answer to the question, “What is the Christian Gospel?” they often can only recite that Jesus died and rose again. This answer is correct, but there is so much more that could be said about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, and many Christians simply do not know much more to say. Yet, there is much more to say about the Gospel and we should spend our lives seeking to learn it. There is so much more to the Gospel and the way to learn is through the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. This is a invitation to dive deep into the depths of the Christian Gospel. First Corinthians 15:1-11 is an excellent place to begin.

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