Audio of Sermon:
1 Corinthians 15:1-6 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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 of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
As a Church, a group of believers in Jesus Christ, we come together every Sunday and Wednesday to worship God. We sing. We pray. But most of all we focus on a Book called The Holy Bible.
We do not focus on the Muslim Quran
or the Buddhist Tipitaka
or the Hindu’s four Vedas
nor on the Mormon Book of Moroni.
We do not care what the Jehovah Witness Watchtower has to say, nor are we interested in the musings of confused meanderings of the Shepherd’s Chapel, or any of the other thousands of pseudo religious cults.
We are not focused on politics
or political correctness.
We are not here to please the world,
But we are focused on pleasing God,
So we turn to His Bible.
What makes the Bible different? What makes it special?
It is Jesus Christ.
It is the fact that the Bible alone contains the Gospel of Christ.
Our Bible was written by people who no longer walk this planet.
This Bible is the writings of people who are no longer with us.
People who saw Jesus crucified.
People who took His broken and dead body down from the Cross.
People who saw Jesus buried.
People who saw Jesus rise from death, like a person rises from sleep in the morning.
These people heard Jesus proclaim that He gives eternal life.
Then these people saw Him rise from death.
He walked and talked among us for forty days and nights.
People saw the nail scars, the empty tomb.
Many of these people died martyr’s deaths because of what they saw.
But would not deny Jesus.
Of all the man-made religious writings in the world, the Bible alone contains Christ.
It speaks of His Gospel. His “Good News”.
Paul Is Headed Toward Sure Death But Is Unafraid
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned, headed to Rome and toward a sure death when he was to be brought before Caesar. Paul knew that he was headed toward death. He knew that the King of Rome would remove his head for daring to stand up and preach about Christ. And yet the Apostle was not ashamed and not afraid. He said:
Romans 1:16-17 (KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The Apostle talked to resurrected Christ. He heard the Gospel from Christ’s own lips. He knew that the world would not like the Gospel of Jesus. The world loves the idea of eternal life, but hates the idea of obedience to God. Jesus Christ is a stumbling stone to the unbeliever, but a solid Rock on which every Christian is saved.
Romans 9:33 (KJV) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone and rock of offense: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
The Gospel is what this Bible preaches from cover to cover.
The Apostle was unafraid of death because of this glorious Gospel. He said:
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
In order to be saved, you must receive the Gospel.
In order to be saved, you must stand in the Gospel.
In order to be saved, you must keep the Gospel in your memory.
Receiving the Gospel is not just a few seconds of your life and a faint sinners prayer.
Receiving the Gospel is not a mere walking the aisle and
shaking the preacher’s hand.
Receiving the Gospel is not just Church membership.
Receiving the Gospel means to grasp it with all your heart.
To grab it, as a drowning person might grab a life preserver. To hold on to it. Once you receive the Gospel, you stand in the Gospel, you keep it in memory, you believe and follow Christ.
What Exactly Is The Gospel?
1 Corinthians 15:3 (KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
The Gospel is passed down from generation to generation. It is not to be changed. The Apostle says:
I delivered unto you first of all that which I ALSO RECEIVED
Paul was saved by the Gospel. Who told him the Gospel? Jesus Christ Himself shared the Gospel to Paul when he was on the Damascus Road. Christ is the Gospel. He is the Messiah, God in the flesh Who came to save us. Many people today pass on a false Gospel because they have never been told the true Gospel. We are to pass the Gospel on. Paul passed the Gospel on as it was given to him. Too often we hear the Gospel, but hear a perverted Gospel. Preachers too often preach a perverted Gospel, a Gospel that has their own additions to it. What is the beginning of the Gospel?
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures
Jesus Christ died for our sins. It is He and He alone Who made payment to God for our sins. Sin causes us to be separated from God. The Scriptures declare of God …
“..You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You” (Psalm 5:4).
God is holy, without sin, without evil. The world will have you believe that God has no standards, that He loves you no matter how or when you sin. Beloved, sinners are separated from God. God said:
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2)
God made us to walk and talk with Him, to love Him as He loves us, but sin makes us love only ourselves. Sin puts us in the fore front. Sin makes us self focused rather than God focused. And being self focused we are not happy. We are miserable. This year at Christmas people will run around seeking to buy happiness, to find joy in stuff and self pleasure. There is no joy in this.
Joy is in love.
Joy is in sharing.
Joy is in giving.
And Christ gave everything.
Jesus Christ died for our sins.
He did this not coincidentally, but according to the Scriptures. The Bible tells us from the very beginning, from the Fall of man from God in rebellion, that God would one day send a Redeemer Who would love us enough to pay for our sins. Hear this my little poem:
Jesus took my punishment.
Jesus took my pain.
Jesus died for me and you,
And He would do it all again!
Oh what love our Savior has,
For every Child of Sin.
He calls us to His bleeding side,
To receive Him and enter in.
Eternal life is where God is,
And death is where God ain’t.
Come to Christ Who loves you so,
And He will make you into a Saint!
If you believe that you are not a broken sinner Christ cannot save you. If you do not see yourself as hopelessly lost, adrift in a sea of sin, in desperate need of Christ, then He cannot save you. Christ was asked once “why do You spend time with these sinners?” Our blessed Savior said:
Mark 2:17 (NLT) “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Jesus Christ died for our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:4 (KJV) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
The Gospel tells us that Christ died for our sins. Is this a metaphor? No, but the Apostle says:
And that he was buried
You don’t bury a living person. Jesus was dead. The Bible tells us:
John 19:30-37 (KJV) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:  But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.  And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
The last thing Jesus tasted on this earth was not cool water. They couldn’t even allow Him a moment of pleasure …. but receiving the vinegar, He said “it is finished”, and bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. That is an old time way of saying Jesus died. He relinquished His life. Few noticed His death, but the religious crowd noticed that the sun was setting, and the next day was a special Sabbath. So the religious crowd demanded that those on the Cross be tortured further so that they might remove from the Cross.
Religion goes to the state and says “Let’s break the legs of those on the Cross so we don’t mar one of our holy days.” Religion makes nothing better, but often intensifies suffering in order to look good. A sinner cannot make themselves right with God. Christ died for our sins. There is no other resolution.
So now they come along, and in the name of God (forgive us, Lord) they break legs.
I have seen people break legs in business meetings (forgive us, Lord)
I have seen so called deacons break legs in the name of God (forgive us, Lord).
I have seen so called preachers break legs in the name of God (forgive us, Lord).
Much of the evil in the midst of many so called churches today is based on religion, not on Christ nor His Gospel. And as they come to break Christ’s legs they found Him dead. To prove His death, a soldier pierced His side with a spear, and out ran blood and water. Jesus Christ was dead. His Blood had begun to separate, proof of death. These things were done according to the Scriptures, according to this Bible, which prophesied that He would be pierced, and not a bone of His body would be broken.
Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb.
1 Corinthians 15:4 (KJV) and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures
And Jesus rose again. Death could not hold Him. Jesus said before He died:
Matthew 12:40 (KJV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Jesus died. He was buried. For three days and three nights He was sealed in a blocked and guarded tomb. Jesus knew that this would happen. The Lord’s Table was Jesus’ declaration of what He would do for us. “Take, eat, this is My body broken for you. Take, drink, this is My blood of the New Covenant, shed for you.” The Gospel is that Jesus would die. But the Gospel is also that Jesus would live.
Jesus would die on the Cross, brutally tortured, brutally killed. He would be handled, embalmed according to the standards of that day. Jesus would be sealed in a tomb, and guards placed about it. Had He been alive when placed in that tomb He would have been dead after three days from lack of oxygen. Jesus was dead. Then He rose from the sleep of death.
Jesus is alive! He lives! He reigns over His people.
Are You Sleeping … Or Will You Sleep?
1 Corinthians 15:5-6 (KJV) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
When Paul wrote this text he was still walking this earth. So was Cephas or Peter, and so were most of five hundred brethren who saw Jesus … but some are FALLEN ASLEEP.
That is an interesting metaphor – falling asleep. The Christian doesn’t die. Christ has given the Christian eternal life. Jesus has said:
John 12:26 (ESV) If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 11:26 (ESV) … everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Christians do not die. Those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believing He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again NEVER DIE. Our bodies stop functioning, but Christians SLEEP. Our bodies SLEEP, whereas our souls go to be with Jesus.
The world SLEEPS. It sleeps in sin, believing it will never die.
The unbeliever SLEEPS. He drowses in life, believing death will never come.
The sinner SLEEPS.
Some Churches SLEEP.
Romans 13:11-14 (NLT) This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
A gunman enters a Texas Church. The news reports that 26 people were killed. The atheist and agnostic find this to be an opportunity to mock and question God. Where was God during this event? God was there. He was there when Paul was martyred, and Peter was nailed to a Cross, and the early Christians were stripped naked and killed by wild beasts in the Roman Coliseum. But these believers did not die. They slept. Their bodies slept. Those killed by earthly standards sleep in the dust of the ground, but their souls are with Jesus. As Paul declared,
2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
The world can make our bodies “sleep” but it cannot kill us. Christ has promised us life. Do you know Him? Have you received Him?