Christocentrism #3 – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Jesus Christ is the Center of the Gospel

Free files for fellow youth pastors…
It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life! After putting the gas nozzle into my tank, I stepped inside the gas station to use their always-lustrous bathroom and then to buy a drink. I came back out to my car, got in, started it up, and drove away. I heard a loud “POP” and realized something had just hit my car. I looked back and saw that I had driven off with the nozzle still in my tank. The nozzle had been ripped from the gas pump. When I went back into the store to confess my stupidity, all the attendant could muster from her mouth was, “Whaaaat were you thinking?” The problem was that I wasn’t thinking at all. I was performing the same fill-up routine I had done for the last 12 years of my driving life.

I’m afraid that we as Christians often fall into a routine when it comes to the gospel. We thoughtlessly live our Christian lives without much thought of what the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ is accomplishing through us. We don’t really think much about the importance of continuing to repent of our sin. Paul wrote to a church about this same problem.

Paul writes to remind this church of the gospel that he preached to them while he was in their city, and that they had received it (1 Cor 15:1a). Before they clearly received the Gospel, Paul had previously preached in the city-synagogue, but was rejected there (Acts 18). He then went to the house next door to the synagogue; and many people got saved including the ruler of the synagogue. Paul knew that the ruler truly received Christ because his life had completely changed. True salvation is a real reception of the gospel (1 Cor 15:3-4), a bona fide belief, a lifestyle of following Jesus Christ as one’s Lord (Acts 16:31). We must RECEIVE the Gospel. The Gospel of the life, death, and resurrected LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ isn’t just something to merely know or grasp. It must be received. Receive Christ as your Lord and Savior by turning from your sinful lifestyle and toward following Him personally.

Paul also wrote the church to encourage them to stand in the gospel (1 Cor 15:1b). Back in those days, to “stand” in something meant to remain in a condition or state of life. The Gospel is often spoken of as something we believe at salvation and then leave behind in order to grow, as if it is merely a hoop to jump through or a ticket for a ride. Here Paul says that the Gospel is something that we remain in to grow from for the rest of our lives. If we learn something spiritually new with depth, it is connected to and grounded in the Gospel. There was a time this Alabama boy (me) lived in Michigan and was taken on a sled ride which was pulled by a snow mobile. Since my so-called friend was driving me through the woods as fast as 50mph, I was afraid to fall off for the sake of my limbs and my life. To his shock and frustration, I didn’t fall off for the two entire runs he took me around his property. I remained on the toboggan for my life! Likewise, we must REMAIN in the Gospel. Remain in the Gospel by living a LIFE that flows out of the Gospel: continuously repenting of sin and following after Jesus Christ.

Lastly, Paul wrote to the church to challenge them to hold fast to the Gospel (1 Cor 15:2). Biblically, to “hold fast” means to keep your mind in that way of thinking. Notice Paul says that we are being saved IF we hold fast. Honestly, I don’t much care for the phrase “once saved, always saved” anymore. I think it gives too many lost sinners a false assurance of salvation just because they said a “salvation prayer” in the past, and their pastor told them to not doubt it. Paul is saying that we know we truly have been saved if we currently are being saved, and we know that we currently are being saved if we are holding fast to the Gospel through repentance of sin and faithfully following Jesus Christ. I prefer the phrase: IF saved, ALWAYS saved. We must REMEMBER the Gospel. Endeavor to remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily by reading the Scriptures filled with the Gospel, PRAYING the Gospel from your salvation, and faithfully gathering with the church to worship Christ with the hope of the Gospel.

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