“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” – 1Corinthians 15:1-2.
The power of the Gospel is the risen Christ. It is also the proof of our faith in this world. This is the Gospel in which anyone who received it may confidently stand and can be saved.
The power of every Christian is the risen Christ. In it we have received the power to live a new life.
But I’ll like us to consider the four fold stages described by Saint Paul in which the power of the risen Christ can generate much impact in the world, in order to experience the reality of its effect. As we discuss here, I want us to trust God for the dimension the Holy Spirit will lead us. The crucial thing we want to see here is the four ways given by Paul, the apostle on how the Gospel can transform the world through the church.
1. The Gospel which I preached to You
It is very important we understand that only the Gospel of risen Christ can save the dying world. Gospel is the Greek word translated “good news or glad tidings.” But the Gospel as a literary word cannot stand alone; it must be a Gospel of something.
What I’m saying is that; if I come to you and say, “I have good news for you”, the next thing you will ask me is “good news about what?” I hope you understand me now?
In other words, “good news” can be about many things.
Hear the declaration of Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16-17TLB describing the Gospel he preached.
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ – It is God’s powerful method of bringing all who believe it to heaven. This message was preached first to the Jews alone, but now everyone is invited to come to God in this same way. This Good News tells us that God makes us ready for heaven – makes us right in God’s sight – when we put our faith and trust in Christ to save us. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scripture says it, “The man who finds life will find it through trusting God.”
But in the world today, the church is preaching different kinds of gospel. I believe this is one major problem of the church in our time.
We are preaching to the world all kinds of gospel that cannot save the world. Some of them are gospel of social activities, economy, democracy, success and all manners of intellectual and educating gospel.
Now, these are not bad if only we make them secondary. It is true that the church should teach these things for orderliness in the society – but the lost world can never understand such gospel except we first preach to them the original Gospel of the risen Christ.
Let’s return to the words of Apostle Paul. He said, “I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you.” The declaration of the Apostle here is the Gospel he has preached to the Corinthian church. Then what Gospel has he preached?
“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… Then last of all he was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” – 1Corinthians 15:3-8.
So the Gospel Paul preached is that Jesus died for our sins, buried, rose again and was seen by the disciples, according to the Scriptures.
This is the Gospel Paul delivered which he had first of all received. He had met with Christ while he was still a persecutor on his way to Damascus, and he is now a completely transformed person (See Acts 9).
It is one Gospel. There’s no any other gospel that can save anyone except this Gospel Paul first received and preached. It is only the Gospel with full package of man’s redemption from condemnation to restoration. In the death of Christ our sins are forgiven, in His burial, the nature of sin in us is buried, and we die to sin, and in His resurrection we received a new a new life – His life and we are raised with Him above principalities and powers of darkness.
We are born again through His resurrection power, and because of this, we have hope that we will live forever.