Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Power of the Gospel


1 Corinthians 15
1  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.
3  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
5  and that He was seen … by Cephas, then by the twelve.
6  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.
7  After that He was seen … by James, then by all the apostles.
8  Then last of all He was seen … by me also, as by one born out of due time.
*(Note: Last of all denotes the last up until that time, not the last of all forever.)

Paul said that he had declared and preached the Gospel so that those who believed the Gospel might have something on which to stand.
·        We who have received the Gospel have not believed in vain.
·        We must hold fast to the Gospel of Christ Jesus
·        What is this Gospel? The Gospel
1.   Christ died for our sins
2.   He was buried with our sins
3.   He rose from the dead on the third day victorious over sin, death, hell and the grave.
4.   He is coming again to grant us incorruptible immortality.

This is the Gospel – the “Glad Tidings” and the “Good News” spoken of throughout the scriptures. The promise and fulfillment of the Gospel makes power available to every believer in Jesus as Messiah.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

This morning I want to encourage you to stand in the power of the Gospel, especially concerning the coming of the Lord. It is a fact that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. However, those facts are history … powerful history … but nonetheless past events which occurred according to the Holy Scriptures.

As Believers we have been instructed to look forward to the one event of the Gospel which is yet to happen, that is His coming again. The second coming of Christ is “Good News”, and we are admonished to publish these “Glad Tidings” throughout the world. This coming of the Lord at the end of this age is the only Gospel event left on God’s calendar yet to be seen.

Jesus taught us from:
Matthew 24
36  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37  But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39  and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
44  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Life is more, much more, than just having a good time. Eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, all of these are a normal part of life. While God expects us to carry on with normal life and enjoy the benefits of our labor on earth, He also expects for us to hold fast to the truths of the Gospel which reach far beyond what this world has to offer.

So many of the dilemmas of life cannot be solved by following the collective wisdom of worldly counsel. Individuals, families, Churches, communities and nations all encounter problems which can only be solved by God. There is no substitute for being filled with the Holy Spirit.

I am not talking about having had some single spiritual experience which, although powerful and valid for the Believer, cannot take the place of being continually full of the divine leadership and grace of God. Without respect as to how good or how bad your present situation is, you have a need to be continually full of the Holy Spirit, ever pressing into Christ with a mind to please Him above all else in life.

The world walks in darkness unaware of the Gospel and the eminent return of Christ. My dear saints of God, we ought not blindly walk alongside them as though we had no hope or expectation of that glorious day.

Death will put our problems in perspective … just like it did in Noah’s day.

The only difference between Noah and the rest of the world is that Noah and his family were saved from death. Why walk according to the counsel of this world when they cannot deliver from death. Only Jesus has the power over death and the Good News is that He has made provision for us.

As Jesus continued to teach His followers concerning the day of His coming He said:

Matthew 28
1  “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
4  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6  And at midnight a cry was heard: ’Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
7  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8  And the foolish said to the wise, ’Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9  But the wise answered, saying, ’No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ’Lord, Lord, open to us!’
12  But he answered and said, ’Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

The Gospel is a “Watch and Pray” Gospel. And, as we watch and pray, we must also be prepared!

It’s a mindset; It’s a certain faith in believing that God has a bigger plan than just what kind of car I drive, where I work or if I get my way or not.

Life is not always all about us.

God has a much bigger plan and our challenge is to keep our life in perspective to His plan. We must have faith in Him and see each day as opportunity to fill ourselves with His Spirit. We do not know when something extraordinary may be required of us but we do know that if we are full of the Spirit of God, we can handle anything that comes our way.

What can we do in these times? Without respect as to whether things in life are going great or are the pits, we need to be continually full of the Spirit of God. We must keep in mind that the next event on God’s calendar is the coming of the Lord and the rapture of the Church. (Now that’s gonna stop some parties and change some plans …) We are admonished to keep in mind that the Lord is coming … and even pray that He would hurry.

We need to spiritually, mentally, and emotionally accept and embrace the facts that neither our life nor this world is going to last forever and begin preparing oil for our eternal lamps. This oil is an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me ask:
·        Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?
·        Or are you too focused on your current, temporary situations?
·        Embrace the Gospel and let it change your perspective.
·        Determine those things which are most important and do them now.
·        The Lord will come suddenly, as a thief in the night, in a day we do not expect.
·        I pray you have oil in your lamp.
·        Be filled with the Spirit of God.
·        It is the Gospel of Christ and therefore the power of God.