Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message. Be specific in describing how the whole story of the Old Testament foreshadows the sacrifice of Jesus and finds fulfillment in Messiah Jesus.
- How did this message strengthen and/or correct your previous ideas about the gospel? If Paul were to write you a letter today, would he include this correction in his letter?
- Paul acknowledged he was undeserving to be an apostle, but for God’s grace. How does his story compare to your personal story? In what ways were you/are you undeserving of God’s grace? How has His grace changed your life?
- How does the gospel act as a protection for relationships and doctrine?
- What is one action step you need to take this week considering this week’s message on grace?
Take time to remember the gospel this week. Read 1 Corinthians 15 every day this week. Reflect on the gospel and journal your prayers. How is the Holy Spirit teaching you, convicting you, or encouraging you as your read the gospel message?
Are you able to share the gospel using Scripture? Take time this week to mark your Bible – highlight and tab verses you can use to share the gospel message. You can view Pastor Leroy’s training video titled Sharing the Gospel with Everyone on thechapel.com/chapelplus for further training on sharing the gospel.
I've often thought about, and what I mean often I actually have because in studying the scripture and reading the Apostle Paul, I've often wondered how Paul would view church in, you know, the United States in North America, how he would, how he would view all of this, what he might say. Now obviously if Paul was here presently, he would be working through the cultural language and the various differences there are between the culture that we live in and the culture that he came from, which was, you know, an imperial culture in Rome. And there would be some things that would be different here in terms of methods and language and all that stuff for sure. And I am positive that Paul would be the first one in line to rejoice when he found faithful preaching and he found heartfelt worship and heartfelt prayer and seeing people come to faith in Jesus and follow the Lord and believers' baptism. I am confident that Paul would be quick to rejoice with the church of our modern era in all of those things, but I'm also pretty sure that we'd get a letter. I don't know exactly what all would be in the letter specifically, I could guess at some things. Oh yeah, I could guess at a lot of things that might be in the letter, many of which when he wrote to the church at Corinth were contained in there. I know that we look and we kinda read the book of First Corinthians and we're like, they got a lot of problems, they? These are problems that we all have like that we're all facing, that we all have to deal with. This isn't just a they, let's read that and go, oh the poor Corinthians. Let's be reminded that these are probably things that Paul might have to address among us as well, among many other things in our modern context. But while I'm not positive exactly what Paul would write to us and what he would address, there are some things in First Corinthians that I think that Paul would say exactly the same way as he said them to them, that if he were here and he were addressing us or he was writing us a letter, he'd say exactly what he said to them. And in fact, when we get to First Corinthians chapter 15, which will be there today, I'm pretty confident that Paul would say, and I'm summarizing this and you'll see why in just a minute, I think Paul would simply say this, brothers and sisters, remember the gospel. I think Paul would say that exactly to us brothers and sisters, remember the gospel. You see, because there's been basically 14 chapters that Paul has worked through to this point. We haven't covered all of them. We've kind of walked through many of them, but we haven't covered them all. And in those 14 chapters, Paul is teaching us what it means to live as brothers and sisters. How do we live out this faith of Jesus Christ that we say that we believe and he's spent 14 chapters teaching us how to do that. And then in chapter 15, when he opens up in verses one and two, notice what Paul says. Now brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preach to you which you received and on which you have taken your stand, by this gospel, you are saved. If you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. Let me just say this to you. If Paul were writing a letter to the church today in kind of a modern context, I don't have any reason to believe that he would write anything different than what he just wrote in those first two sentences. I think that we would see it just like we saw it right there, that Paul is trying to make sure that we understand that the gospel is what he wants to reaffirm. Why is that? Well, because the gospel is bedrock to everything that we're talking about, right? The gospel is the bedrock of Paul's very ministry. The gospel is the bedrock of the church of Jesus Christ itself. Now the word gospel, if you're confused, if you're going, what are you saying when you say that? Are you referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that we call the gospels? Because I grew up and there was a gospel reading and then there was an Old Testament reading and then that's kind of what I know as the gospel. Well, though certainly gospel, but they're not singularly the gospel. They are gospels. In other words, that word means good news or good tidings or good message. That's what the word gospel actually means. What the gospel is, is the gospel is not a command, the gospel is an announcement. You see, even in the Roman imperial times, they would have what they called the gospel. This wasn't new to us as believers. They would announce the new Caesar that was born and who would ultimately take the reins at one point and they would blare that news out in the streets. And it was the gospel. It was the good news that hey, we have a king. Well, that's exactly what we have. We have this gospel and it is very focused in on the king. It is very specific. And what Paul unfolds in the verses that follow verses one and two, particularly when you get to verses three through eight, I think that we're probably going to see some of the same language that we would see if he were writing to us. Because what Paul is going to do is he's gonna talk to us about the content of the gospel, what is in this good news, and he's gonna talk to us about the root of the gospel, what stands at kind of the the base of this. And he's gonna talk to us about the priority of the gospel. And I wanna just take each of those briefly in turn so that we can see it and see it unpacked in this way. Let's start with the content of the gospel, because the content of the gospel is Jesus. All right, I hope that's not a surprise to anyone, that the content of the good news is actually all about Jesus, what he's done. This is why when Paul goes through what he's going to go through in the next few verses, he's gonna remind us of, it's about Jesus. The gospel is actually about Jesus. The good news is actually about Jesus. And he'll start each of the phrases with the word that, and then he'll say that Christ, that he, that he, that he, he's reminding us that the content of the good news that we proclaim and that we have received is Jesus. Listen to verse number three, all the way to verse number eight, Paul says, for what I received, I passed on to you as a first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the 12 and after that he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all, he appeared to me also as to one abnormally born. See, this is the content of the gospel. The content of the gospel is in fact Jesus. And Paul is saying this, Paul is saying what I received, I passed on to you. Now, isn't that interesting that Paul says what I received, Paul got his gospel, he got his understanding of who Jesus is from Jesus. He didn't get it from the apostles, he got it by revelation through Jesus. But what Paul is saying here is he's talking about a formulation that was there before Paul even began to say it. In other words, just a really close to after Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. This was a gospel formulation that was used in the early church, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he was seen by Peter and the 12, this was something that was an early church formulation. And Paul says, what I received, I have now passed on this very same tradition to you. And notice the various facets of what he says. The first facet of what he says is that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. He actually breaks this up into four content categories when we talk about the content being about Jesus, Paul actually talks about it in four different ways and he introduces it with that he or that Christ, right? He says that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. Now, pause for just a second. When Paul is actually referring to Christ dying for our sins, according to the scriptures, what is he talking about? Because he can't be talking about the New Testament. It wasn't written. Paul is writing this letter to Corinth and he's talking about something that pre-existed. So in other words, he's talking about the Hebrew scriptures. He's talking about what we call the Old Testament, that Christ died for our sins according to the Hebrew scriptures. Now, some of you're going, now wait a minute, how's that possible? Because Jesus didn't show up until he showed up, right? And he wasn't around in the Old Testament. He wasn't, he was around in the beginning. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God from the beginning. And then the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of God, full of grace and truth. Jesus has always been around. He just showed up in human form at a very specific time and place in history. So Jesus has always been around. And the Old Testament gives us a picture of the fact, according to this gospel, the content of the gospel, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. Now in our minds, we kind of think to ourselves, well maybe we'll go grab a verse or two out of the Old Testament to prove that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures. Well, we can certainly do that and we can. But when Paul uses the phrase according to the scriptures, he's talking about the whole story. He's not just talking about pulling out one singular verse, he's talking about, this is actually the story. Think about it this way. The Old Testament is a story in search of an ending and where it finds its ending, where it finds its fulfillment, where it finds its completion is in Jesus. You see, this is the good news that Israel's been hanging onto for so long and longing for this coming Messiah, this coming king who is going to fulfill the law, who was going to deliver his people, who was going to die for their sins. This has been the story of the Old Testament, and they knew that God would have to initiate it. See, if you go all the way back to Genesis three and you find a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, who have rebelled against God, who have sinned against God, God is the one who rectifies that situation by sacrificing an animal and covering their nakedness with the animal's skin. What was that a picture of? It was a picture of what was to come, right? And then you fast forward into Genesis chapter 22 and you see Abraham and Isaac and God tells him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Mariah. And this is different for Abraham because he's like, I'm gonna trust God 'cause I, you know, but this doesn't sound like God. This sounds like all the pagan gods around us with this sacrifice. But God's intent was for his own glory. And ultimately he provided a ram that was in the thicket so that that could be sacrificed instead, picturing this idea of substitutionary atonement that was going to remind us about what was going to happen with Jesus. Or we walk into the Book of Exodus and we see the people of God who were in the of Egypt at that time, and now the plagues are coming on the Egyptians. And now there is one that is coming where the firstborn are going to die. And God says to Israel, if you take a blemishless lamb, a spotless lamb, and you'll allow that lamb to live with you for a period of time, then you will sacrifice that lamb and you will take the blood of that lamb and you will put it on your doorposts. And for every place where the angel of death comes through and sees the blood of a spotless lamb on the doorpost, I will pass over you in judgment. You will not face this judgment but will be be rescued, you will be passed over, you will be saved, why? Because you did what I said to do and put the blood of a spotless lamb over the doorpost. What was this picturing? This was picturing what Jesus was going to do in dying for us and in dying for our sins. And then you get to Leviticus and you see the Levitical laws and the sacrificial system of the offering of bulls and goats and rams as a sin offering, as an offering of atonement. And it's picturing something that is going to come. And you get to the book of Isaiah in chapter 53 and you hear Isaiah talking very clearly about there is one coming, a suffering servant who is going to come and he is going to bear in his body our sins and he is going to forgive our sins and he is going to take upon himself our transgressions and our iniquities upon himself. And Jesus even understood this was talking about him because when he was at the last supper, he said, this is the covenant of my blood shed for the forgiveness of sins of many. He knew, why? Because the Old Testament testifies that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. You see, this is the content of the gospel and we need to understand that, that this is a part of what Paul is unpacking. He says that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture. Then he says this, that he was buried. That's the second piece of this, that he was buried. Now you're saying, well yeah, why are we talking about that? That seems like the forgotten place and the forgotten piece. Why do we even talk about that? And he was buried. We kind of just go, oh, okay, whatever. Paul was making sure that the Corinthians understood this. Here's why, because the Corinthians needed to make sure that they weren't confused about what just transpired. Some of them had gone off the rails a little bit and how they viewed stuff, some of them thought they would never die. Some of them had an idea of some kind of ethereal afterlife that was just kind of disembodied and all of that. Paul says, uhuh, this is a real Jesus who really lived a real time, a real place, really died, was really buried. And the reason that he came hard about his burial is because in first Corinthians 15, he's talking about a resurrection from an empty tomb. And without the burial, he doesn't make the argument about the empty tomb. And this was imperative for the content ultimately of the gospel, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures that he was buried then next, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. See, this is all about Jesus. The content of the gospel is all about Jesus. And remember, the Old Testament is looking forward to its fulfillment in the Messiah, in the King. And if Jesus is dead, he's no different than the preceding teachers or would-be messiahs that have come before him. But if he's not dead, it's a reminder, a reminder that the inbreaking of the kingdom of God has come to earth. See, how did Jesus teach us to pray? Father, the one who's in the heavens, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And Jesus is demonstrably showing that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth have now come together in his death and resurrection and the inbreaking of the kingdom, something brand new has now come into the world and it is the king declaring his kingdom and his kingdom is an eternal one, which means not death but life. That's why Jesus is raised on the third day overcoming sin and hell and judgment demonstrating the sufficiency of his sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God and to show the inbreaking of the kingdom that has come on the earth. Are there hints of this third day resurrection in the Old Testament? Of course there are, but again, that's the story. Jesus rose on the third day according to the scriptures. I mean if you go back to page one, in the beginning, God created the heavens in the earth, right? Earth was formless and empty. Darkness cover the surface of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And then God said, let there be light. And he separated the light from the darkness, right? You know the story. I said that fast, didn't I, I'm sorry. Day one of creation, God separated the light from the darkness. Day two of creation, God separated the waters from the waters or the water from the sky. Day three of creation is when new stuff started to grow. Right there, embedded in the story, we see hints of what God is going to do. Or we could obviously fast forward a bit if we wanted to into the book of Exodus chapter 15, and we could see that Moses has led the people out of the bondage of Egypt and now they're in the wilderness and they're in the desert of Shur, S H U R, the desert of Shur. And they come upon the waters of Mira. Mira means bitter and the water is bitter. And there they are on the third day. And God says to Moses, there's a piece of wood over there. I want you to take that wood and I want you to throw it into the water. And when he does, the water becomes sweet and drinkable. It's a great reminder for us that even though we live in the bitterness of the world that we live in, that God has chosen to plant a wood cross in the midst of the bitterness so that it could become sweet through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we could be reconciled to God in no new life. This is embedded in the context of the scripture, or we could maybe even have as one of the greatest opportunities to see that is the book of Jonah. Jonah goes into the mouth of the fish in chapter number one, and then he's in there for a couple of days, not in chapter number one, but in day number one. And he's in there for a few days and on day three, he ultimately is spit out by the fish and it's like going from death to life, right? Jesus actually references his own resurrection in the picture of Jonah. So we've got it all in the Old Testament. The story itself is painting the picture for us that this is what is going to happen. That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures that he was buried, that he rose on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, that's Peter. And then to the 12, what are we saying when we say that? What is Paul actually doing? He wants to make sure that people understand that the death and resurrection of Jesus was physical, it was bodily and it was witnessed, Peter saw it, the 12, it was actually just 11 at that time because Judas Iscariot was gone, right? But the 12 is what they were referred to, those original disciples of Jesus. The 12 saw it in different times, one time without Thomas, and then another time with Thomas, right? So the 12 saw it, and then Paul goes on to say, by the way, 500 people at the same time saw it. This was likely when they went back to Galilee. That was likely when that occurred. 500 people at the same time. And then Paul throws in, by the way, a couple of 'em have died, but most of 'em are still alive. You feel free to give 'em a buzz, text them, they'll know they were there, 500 of them. He says, oh, oh yeah. By the way, James, he also saw him, his half-brother, who didn't believe in him until after the resurrection. Imagine you grow up with somebody, they're your brother. You're kinda like, ah, you say you're the Messiah, okay, whatever. Like, I mean, we grew up, I was faster than you, you know? I, whatever, I won some games against you. I don't know, like son of God, Messiah always been around or whatever. I mean, you're definitely different and you know, mom likes you a lot, but then he gets up from the dead and James is like, okay, okay, I'm in. I'm in a hundred percent right? And then James becomes kind of the lead elder at the Jerusalem church. And the apostles altogether had the opportunity to see him. And then Paul says, by the way, so did I, as like one abnormally born. I'm a different kind of apostle. I wasn't there walking around with him. It's like it happened differently for me, yet it happened like one abnormally born. But I saw him. So this is what Paul is trying to establish. This is the content of the gospel. It's Jesus, it's all about Jesus and it shapes everything. Let me remind you again of what verse two says. When we're in first Corinthians 15 by this gospel, you are saved. If we looked at that in the Greek language right here, we would see the word you are being saved because it's in what we call a futuristic present right there, by this gospel you are being saved if you hold firmly to the word I preach to you. In other words, what Paul is trying to convey here is this is this gospel which is telling us all about Jesus. It is what ultimately saves you from your past sins because Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. It's what changes your present right now because he will give you his life and it's what changes your future because of his resurrection. You too can be resurrected because of what he's done. You see, this is the beauty of what Paul is reinforcing to us. That the gospel of Jesus shapes everything. The content of the gospel is Jesus. What's the root of the gospel? God's grace, that's the root of the gospel, God's grace. Let me explain what I mean when I say that because verses nine through 11, help us to see it, watch this. Paul says, for I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God, but by the grace of God, I am what I am. And his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them. Yet not I but the grace of God that was with me, whether then it is I or they, this is what we preach. And this is what you believed. You see, Paul's helping us understand that the gospel at its root is a gospel of grace. See, Paul had to deal with the Corinthians basically making fun of him and saying, you're kind of, you're least of the apostles. They were trashing him, right? You remember early on in First Corinthians we talked about that idea. I follow Paul, I follow Peter, I follow Apollos, right? They're all breaking up into camps and maybe some of the Peter camp is going, oh, Peter's a real apostle. Like he walked with Jesus. Paul, I don't know about him. I'm not sure about him, right? And so Paul actually in humility says, I am the least of the apostles, I am. And I think he was probably playing on his own name. His Hebrew name is Saul, but his Roman empire Greek name is Paul, P A U L U S. And that means little one or small. And Paul says, you know what? Yeah, just like my name says I'm one of the least of the apostles, I got it. I don't even deserve to be called an apostle, why? Because I persecuted the church of Jesus Christ. That's why, but grace, Grace showed up. God initiated with me when I was undeserving. I was persecuting the church. I was on my way to go get some more people to arrest him and kill them. And grace showed up to me and the person of Jesus, Saul saw, why do you kick against the goats? Who are you Lord? I'm Jesus of Nazareth who you are persecuting. And his life was changed by grace. He was undeserving. And God initiated and transformed his life, saved him, changed him. And Paul never forgot it. He never forgot it. It's why when he wrote to Timothy in First Timothy chapter one verses 15 and 16 and 17, he says, here's a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I'm the worst. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy. So that in me the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe and receive eternal life. Now to the king, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God be glory and honor forever and ever, Amen. This is what Paul had never forgotten the grace that had been extended to him. So he recognizes full well that the root of this good news is God's grace to us in Christ, that while we were yet sinners, Paul writes, Christ died for us. Christ rose for us. And God is the one who's initiated all this on our behalf. It is by grace that we are saved through faith, not of ourselves, not of works lest anyone should boast Paul writes, this is the beauty of the gospel. The content of the gospel is Jesus, but the root of the gospel is God's grace. And you know what that means? If God's grace can save someone like Paul who literally was persecuting and killing Christians, then I think his grace is powerful enough for you. Cause Paul said, God did this as an example to those who would believe and receive eternal life. His very life was an example of the grace, the power of grace of God's own power in his life. So the content of the gospel is Jesus. The root of the gospel is God's grace. And the the point or the priority of the gospel is imperative. Let me explain what I mean when I say the priority of the Gospel is an imperative. Look at me, look with me in verse number three, Paul says, for what I received, I passed on to you as a first importance, in the Greek language, it's this phrase enprotois. And what it basically means is this first in priority. That's what he's saying, that the gospel itself, that he is about to proclaim what I received, I passed on to you as of first priority as of chief importance. See, the gospel is priority because Jesus is priority. Jesus is to be the center of everything. Jesus is to be everything, the fully all in all. See, sometimes we talk in these terms and we say, you need to make Jesus number one in your life. Actually you need to make Jesus number all in your life. That's what he's looking for. He's not looking for first, he's looking for all because the gospel teaches us that what Jesus has done has changed everything and that our lives are to be caught up into his life because the king has come and he has demonstrated to us the in breaking of the kingdom of God. And the very first thing that we ought to be doing is seeking that kingdom. Paul is really restating what Jesus said in Matthew 6 33, but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Isn't it interesting that he talks about first things and secondary things? Jesus says there are first things and that's his kingdom and his righteousness. You're seeking Jesus, you're seeking his kingdom. And then there are secondary things, CS Lewis who you guys know that I have like a freakish love for like almost weird like it is, it's weird. And I don't care, I don't care. Love the man, can't wait to meet him one day. And then he's probably gonna be like, why did you go to my house? Because I did. I went to his house and I did. I also went to his graveside and I went to the place where he used to eat lunch. So I've been to a lot of places. I went to his church as well. Yeah, it's weird. Maybe that even sounds a little creepy to you, but I don't care, I love the man. He wrote this really interesting essay and it was called First and Second Things, and it's contained in a book that I think was published after his death called God in the Doc. And in this essay, he was basically arguing for the fact that if you get first things right, you get all of it, but if you don't get it right, you may get none of it. He started talking about the fact that you know, a man who puts all of his affection and all of his attention and all of his love on this woman, and that's it, loves her with everything he has. That's that's what he does. His whole life is consumed in just that. He says eventually he'll lose the pleasure of loving her and everything else because he didn't get first things first. That's how he describes it. He ended up a few years after he wrote this essay that was contained in that book, he ends up writing a letter to a friend, Dom Beatie Griffiths. And here's what he wrote. It was very simple. He said, put first things first, and we get second things thrown in. Put second things first, and we lose both first and second things. You see, what Paul's trying to help us understand is that the priority of the gospel is imperative to us because it is the place where we begin and everything flows from what Jesus has done is where we start, and then we move from there out to everything else. So what Paul is saying to us in these verses is what I summarized, brothers and sisters remember the gospel, now that we've established that, here's the question, why? Why Paul's telling us, I'm reminding you of all of these things. Why do we need to remember the gospel? Well, it should go without saying though I'm not going to let it go without saying that literally our eternal destinies are hanging in the balance. The reason that we remember the gospel is because we literally, this is what we are being saved by the truth of what Jesus has done through his life, his death for our sins, his burial, his resurrection, all of that King Jesus has done all of these things and our belief in him and what he's done is really where our eternal destinies are hanging in the balance. Do we deny that? Do we blow it off? Or do we receive this beautifully magnificent announcement from God that he is reconciling the world to himself through his son, that even though we're sinners, Jesus paid the price for our sin, that God and his justice has dealt with sin in Jesus, even though our sin was placed upon him, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God, but that he didn't stay dead but overcame death and hell and the grave on our behalf simply showed that his sacrifice was sufficient to satisfy the justice of God and to demonstrate the in breaking of the kingdom of God. And that he now is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, awaiting that moment where he will return and he will judge the world, bring with him and resurrect all of those who have believed in him and usher in new creation where we will be with the Lord forever. This is the great news of the gospel, right? So literally our eternal destinies hang in the balance. That's why, but let me give you two other practical reasons why we need to have the gospel front and center. Why we need to remember the gospel as the people of God. First is that it protects relationships. The gospel actually protects relationships. Let me see if I can explain what I'm saying. Hopefully I can. Because when we've been going through the book of First Corinthians, we've actually seen it play out. See, in the first four chapters that we looked at, what we saw is we saw a divided group of people in Corinth. They were dividing over personalities. They were dividing over their own self-seeking. They were dividing over their own prominence. They were doing all of those things. What would happen, however, if the gospel was actually the lens through which they would view this, They would realize that sacrificial love comes before self-seeking. And that's what the gospel teaches us. They would look at the life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus, and they would see it. Or if you go to chapter six in one Corinthians six, where it talks about sexual immorality, sexual immorality being defined as any sexual engagement that is going on outside of the boundaries of God designed marriage of a man and a woman, the sexual immorality. And do you know what Paul appeals to when he talks about sexual immorality? He says, do you know why? The reason is that you should not be sexually immoral because you were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your bodies. What was that price? The price of Jesus on a cross bearing your sin. That was the price that you were bought with. So what does it do? It brings us back to the gospel and we view how we want to be faithful with our own bodies because we believe, and remember the gospel, or chapters eight through 10 when we talked about causing our brothers and sisters to stumble, right? We realize that even though we have rights, that if we look through the gospel, we realize Jesus had rights, but that he set aside his rights for the sake of sacrificial love so that we could be reconciled to the Father and be brothers and sisters with him and with one another. When we view it through the gospel, we see it differently. And I could go to chapter 11 where he talks about the Lord's Supper or chapter 12 through 14, when he is talking about the gifts, Paul's doing this all through the context of First Corinthians. It protects our relationships. I've had this conversation numbers of times with people when they've said, you know what? I've had some bad things happen to me in my life. I've had some bad things done to me in my life, and my heart always breaks knowing that they've had bad things done to them. I've had bad things done to me. You've had bad things done to you. Some are maybe of of more consequence or maybe greater degrees of seriousness than others. But we've all had that happen. And some of us think to ourselves, well, you know what? I don't know that I'm gonna be able to see justice. Maybe something happened to you, and the perpetrator is you don't know and you're not able to find them, and there's no way that you're ever going to, and you're like, they got away with it. Look at that through the lens of the gospel. God cares about justice. He doesn't wink or blow aside sin. He dealt with it at the cross. Nothing escapes his view. Nothing escapes his view. God will deal justly. But what you and I have to understand is that sometimes we won't see justice in this life. That's just true. There are times where we just won't see justice. So what do we do? We do what Jesus did. Peter told us what Jesus did. He said, when persecuted and, when abandoned and when sent to a cross in first Peter two, he says, what Jesus did is he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly, the Gospel. This is what it teaches us. But you know what it also teaches us, not just justice, but forgiveness. See, some of us are like, well yeah, but you just don't know what, like it's pretty bad what they did. My heart breaks with you. I'm confident it was probably pretty bad. There's a lot of pretty bad stories that I've heard, and they're heartbreaking to listen to. I can't forgive them. That's like them getting away with it. No, it's not. Forgiveness doesn't mean you forget what happened. It doesn't mean that you just pretend like it never occurred. Forgiveness doesn't mean that somehow you're saying, oh, it's okay, really, it's fine. No forgiveness is you entrusting yourself to the Lord and releasing them and letting God do what God does. Because when you don't forgive, you are locking yourself in a jail of your own soul and toxifying your own life. Because sometimes the thinking goes this way. Well, I'm not doing that because I'm still angry at them. And they don't care. They don't care that you're still angry at them. It's doing nothing to them. They're not even thinking about that. But you're gonna hold onto it 'cause it what? 'Cause it makes you feel better. You know it doesn't, you think it does because it's something you can do. I can hold this over their head, but you are doing nothing to them. You're doing everything to you. You are toxifying your own soul. That's why when Paul wrote elsewhere in the book of Ephesians, he says, forgive one another as God in Christ has forgiven you. What does he do? He brings us back to the gospel, the good news of what Jesus has done. And he says, you have to view forgiveness through that lens. And while sometimes what we may say is you don't know what was done to me, maybe God would say, you don't understand what I did for you. You don't understand. You will never comprehend the depth of what I've done for you and whatever has befallen you or I, and we're not marginalizing that bad things certainly can, but it is not worth comparing to what Jesus, the sinless, spotless son of God did in taking upon himself the sin of the world and becoming sin for us. So the gospel says, and calls out to us, we don't have an option but to forgive. We don't have an option. I'll never forgive them, that stands in opposition to what the gospel would teach us. Doesn't mean you trust them, doesn't mean they're back in your life. Doesn't mean those things. But it does mean you've got to release 'cause that's what God in Christ has done for us. I could talk about this. There's so many applications here if we just paused and thought about it long enough. But it's gonna impact every relationship. Our marriages, when we view our marriages through the lens of the gospel, when we view our parenting through the lens of the gospel, when we view our friendships through the lens of the gospel, when we view our employment through the lens of the gospel, then we'll see it. So what the gospel does, why we need to remember it, brothers and sisters, is 'cause it actually protects relationships, makes them more godly, more Christ-like. You know what also it protects, it protects doctrine. Lemme explain that real quick. Sometimes we have people in our lives and people that sometimes come on television or whatever, they talk about these generalized God, undefined general, whatever. You can just make it whatever you want. You're God, you know you do your God and they'll do their God and everything's cool, no it's not. It's not cool 'cause the gospel of Jesus talks about a real person in a real place at a real time who really died for the sins of the world. Who was really buried, who really got up from the grave, who's really coming back. And he claimed to be the son of God. He said, no one comes to the Father except through me because I'm the way, the truth and the life. That's an exclusive claim. People are fine whenever you talk about God, as long as God's not defined. People get a little antsy when you start talking about Jesus. But they're okay if you talk about Jesus as long as you don't define him. But once we start defining who Jesus is, everybody gets freaked out. Well that's kind of exclusive. Yeah, 'cause he's the truth. He's the way. He's the life he made you. He literally made you. Yeah, but I don't know. Okay, okay, but he knows and he's told us and shown up, see, you've got a choice with our issues that we have in this world. I don't understand everything there is to know about God. So I'm just not really sure. You got two choices. You can start with yourself or you can start with the gospel. You start with yourself. I can promise you where you'll end yourself. That's where you'll be. You will spin your wheels for the rest of your life 'cause you're starting with yourself, here's why. Because you've given yourself to idolatry, the idolatry of self that says, if I don't understand everything, then that's that I'm not going to believe. Well, how about you? How about you? You have the audacity to believe that you could understand everything. That level of arrogance is off the charts. That's why we're told in in the book of Isaiah, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways above your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts says the Lord. The one who is the creator of everything and who knows everything about everything all at the same time. And you think you can understand everything, I'd get off that nonsense train in a hurry because you can't. That's a creature talking to a creator that's a clay pot trying to talk back to the potter. That's a car talking back to Henry Ford. I got more right. It's nonsense, what the gospel does is it protects us from those kinds of ideas. It protects us from the ideas of if you believe in Jesus, then you're gonna be wealthy and healthy. Look at the gospel. What are you talking about? Well, the scripture does say he became poor so that in him we could become rich, yes. Here's what's rich. That we can be reconciled to God and not face judgment and hell for eternity, that's rich. That is the richest thing you're ever gonna find. Nothing better than that. It doesn't mean that you'll have all the dollars in the world. Jesus didn't, the apostles didn't. And if it didn't work for them, listen, if you can't preach, if you can't preach the gospel everywhere, you shouldn't be able to preach it anywhere. And I defy people who talk about wealth and health. They're going into poverty stricken areas, and it's not changing anything with their message. They're still poverty stricken. If you can't preach the gospel everywhere, then it shouldn't be preached anywhere because you're not preaching the gospel. The true gospel can be preached anywhere to anybody at any place at any time. What the gospel does is it preserves healthy doctrine. And then we can get away from people who are talking about, you know what, really the true bodily resurrection of Jesus doesn't really matter. We just can say He's resurrected in our hearts. No, we can't. And the reason we can't is because that's stupid. And the reason it's stupid is because Jesus getting up from the grave demonstrated conquering of death. And if I just walk around talking about how he raised in my hearts, but he's still dead and I'm gonna be dead forever. That's just dumb, Paul makes it really clear. Dead, buried, risen. We can't get away from that truth. It protects doctrine. It protects us from that evil doctrine that says that somehow I can be good enough to inherit God's favor, that I can be good enough and God will have no choice but to let me into his presence. If you can be good enough. What was the cross for? What was it for? I'll tell you what it was for. It was for the fact that you can't get the fact that you are a sinful person and I am a sinful person right out in front of our face because our sin is what Jesus was dealing with. We can't be good enough. I got a little fired up, but I've seen the damage. I've seen the damage that is done in the souls of people who don't allow the gospel, the true story of Jesus to be the lens through which they look at everything in the world. So it protects our relationships and it protects our doctrine. So I don't know all that Paul would say if he were writing to us today, but I do know this. He would say, brothers and sisters, remember the gospel. Let's bow our heads together. We will be dismissed in just a moment. But you may be here and have never received Jesus. You've never responded to the great invitation that God has given you in Christ. Couple things for you to make sure that you know, you like everyone else in the world has sinned and come short of the glory of God and the payment for that sin, according to Paul's own writing is death. You, me and everybody, we've all sin and come short of the glory of God and we cannot save ourselves. We have no hope of doing that. That's why Jesus came to teach us about the kingdom of God and to to make a way for us to be reconciled with God. God is both just and He's the justifier of those who believe. So what the cross teaches us is that God is just, he deals with sin and our sin was placed upon the sinless one Jesus. But he's also the justifier because Jesus paid the price for our sin, rose from the grave, and now through our faith in him, because of God's grace, we can be forgiven, we can be made new. We can have our lives completely different. God is so gracious to us, he so loved the world that he gave his only son, whoever believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.