“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
I Corinthians 15:1-8 NKJV
We are living in hyper religious times. The pride of humanity has crept into every spiritual realm, as there is an effort to make something simple, complex, and only decipherable by the most intellectual. When I think back to the times before Jesus, I think of the Pharisees, who had take the simplicity of God’s law and turned it into a vast rabbinic system, inaccessible for the common, and a place of ruling for those in the know.
Even today, there are teachers and preachers, who twist the Scriptures to pull personal interpretations that are not easily understood. They are modern day gnostics, controlling the their truth of what God said, expounding on their “hidden knowledge”, but knowing nothing of the actual truth in the Scriptures.
J. Vernon McGee used to advise bible teachers to always “put the cookies on the lowest shelf.” Many, place the word on high pedestals dedicated to self elevation, all the while preaching false doctrine crunched in complex sentences, and cheered by thoughtless congregants who know nothing.
They lead others into damnation, as followers never hear the saving message of the Gospel.
Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
I think it is fitting that Paul reiterated the simplicity of the message for the Corinthians, as they had brought in much false teaching, and misinterpretation. These teachings had inevitably led to bad practices. In many ways, that church was very much a forerunner for the church of today, seeker sensitive, driven by the values of the world around it, and not focused on the word of God.
Paul was trying to reestablish some order to a disorderly church.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—”
Ephesians 4:11-15 NKJV
The Gospel is a simple message for those of us who are simply sinful. There is not intellectualism needed to understand that if one dies without being forgiven of sins, they are going to hell. It is only by way of Jesus, that we can go to heaven and come to the Father.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6 NKJV
You might be one who has never heard what Jesus has done for you. You might even be a person who feels sufficiently good of your own accord. I was like that once. Know this: you are a sinner.
“As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;”
Romans 3:10 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 3:23 NKJV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 NKJV
Here is the Good News! Jesus did all of this for you. You have to do nothing, but accept His gift. He offers forgiveness for your sins, just ask.
I went through much of my life thinking I needed to clean up my act, to behave right before I came to Christ. I felt so lost in my sin, and the way was littered with broken dreams, and impure thoughts. Even way back then, I could feel the pull of the Holy Spirit as He was drawing me. I didn’t feel good enough.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NKJV
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9 NKJV
God began to put people in my life to tell about Jesus, until one Sunday in 1998 I darkened the doorway of a church, meaning to worship, for the first time in 27 years.
It was the simple message of sin forgiven, and life renewed that saved my soul. It was the simple, fundamental teaching of the Scriptures that broke through all the stoniness of my heart and opened me to the Holy Spirit.
Brothers and sisters, let us go out and share that simple message of the Good News. Let us tell others our stories, of how Jesus met us and made us new. The times are dire, and the evil one is working hard to make the message hard to hear…even in the churches today.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!