May 08, 2023
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Wise humans spend time each morning prioritizing the work of their day. We can get consumed by the tyranny of the urgent and miss the most important things. Many things are important—building our family, working hard “as unto the Lord,” developing our character, loving others … and on and on.
But what is of FIRST IMPORTANCE? What is the most necessary thing for us and all those God puts in the sphere of our lives? What is the one thing we must know and experience before all other important things are even possible?
We must receive, be established in, and be saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ and then give it to others.
“WHICH I PREACHED TO YOU”
How can we be forgiven and saved by the power of God, brought into a right relationship with God if we have not believed in Christ? And how can we believe unless we hear the gospel?
Paul knew that his ultimate task was to communicate the gospel to as many as he could, for as long as he could, as faithfully as he could. At one point, he said that he did all things for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:23). His whole life and eternity were hinged by the moment he heard the gospel, believed, and was saved, and now he lived to help others hear and experience the same.
Is this your understanding? Are you beginning this day with the mission of sharing the gospel with as many as possible? Is that front and center on your to-do list today?
“WHICH YOU RECEIVED, IN WHICH ALSO YOU STAND, BY WHICH ALSO YOU ARE SAVED”
When people hear the gospel, they must receive it and humbly turn to Christ. He will save them and establish them in this new relationship with Christ. This is the Divine Transaction that must occur if anyone is to go from hell to heaven and death to life.
SO, WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
Paul’s greatest passion was to make this glorious, life-transforming truth known with such clarity that there would be no question regarding its content. Paul had heard it clearly from Christ Himself and then from the lips of Ananias. He had received it, believed it, and was saved. And his whole life was now established on the truth and experience of the gospel.
This must be our experience personally and then our mission. And to be effective in sharing the most important thing, we must be able, like Paul, to articulate the gospel in a sentence. Paul models this for us.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
This is the gospel. This truth, in simple reality, is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Paul was not ashamed to gossip this good news to everyone he met. He lived and died to finish his one most important task, as he told the Ephesian elders.
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
What is of first importance for you today? Someone you encounter today—a business associate, neighbor, or total stranger—has never heard the gospel. If we cannot echo the mission and the message of the gospel, we’ve missed the essential purpose of our lives.
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