The Central Theme of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The third most important point is:

(3) He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Christ was raised permanently, forever; his Father raised Him from the dead “on the third day” as noted in the Gospels (Friday afternoon to Sunday morning—three days in Jewish reckoning of time). This also occurred “according to the Scriptures.” Jesus quoted the prophet Jonah (Jonah 1:17) in Matthew 12:40 to show the connection to “three days” as prophesied in the Old Testament:

Jonah 1:17

17 Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:40

40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110 also foretell the resurrection of the Messiah:

Psalm 16:8-11

8
I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 110

1
The LORD says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

2
The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
3
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.

4
The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

5
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
6
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
7
He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high.

The Central Theme of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The second most important point is:

(2) He was buried. The fact of Christ’s death is revealed in the fact of His burial. Many have tried to discount the actual death of Christ, but Jesus did in fact die and was buried in a tomb.

The Central Theme of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The first most important point is:

(1) Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Without the truth of this message, Christ’s death was worthless, and those who believe in Him are still in their sins and without hope. However, Christ as the sinless Son of God took the punishment of sin so that those who believe can have their sins removed. “The Scriptures” refers to Old Testament prophecies such as Psalm 16:8-11 and Isaiah 53:5-6:

Psalm 16:8-11

8
I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Isaiah 53:5-6

5
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Christ’s death on the cross was no accident or afterthought. It had been part of God’s plan from all eternity in order to bring about the salvation of all who believe.

Mocking Worship Leads to Barrenness

2 Samuel 6:16-23

16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’S people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

Every Good Work

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

We Are Here to Love

God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.

1 Corinthians 13:2-3

2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Offering Leftovers

God is holy. In heaven exists a Being who decides whether or not we take another breath. This holy God deserves excellence, the very best we have. From the beginning of time, He has been clear that some offerings are acceptable to Him and others are not.

Genesis 4:5

5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Hosea 13:6

6

When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me.

Malachi 1:8

8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 1:10

10 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.

The Impossible Happened That Day

Luke 18:18-30

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”

21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

In verse 27, Jesus offered hopeful words: “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” In the very next chapter, as Jesus enters Jericho, we see exactly how the impossible becomes possible with God.

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”