The Challenge of the Gospel

“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, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 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” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
The gospel message is one of love, grace, hope, forgiveness, and life. It reveals the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on a cruel cross for our sins. It offers us our only hope for eternal life in heaven by means of the blood of Jesus in the washing away of our sins. For this reason, the gospel is good news! In fact, it is the best news we will ever hear.
There are two phrases in 1 Cor. 15:1-4, however, that present the challenge of the gospel.
First, the Corinthians received and took a “stand” in the gospel. Receiving the gospel means that you will be at odds with others, who do not believe it or will not receive it. Pagans took offense at the idea of one God; they thought the word of the cross was foolish (1 Cor. 1:18-21).
When Jesus and His disciples preached the gospel of the kingdom, their first word was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17; Mark 6:12). The world has little desire for repentance and hates those who ask for it (John 3:19-20). They prefer their freedom and want no Lord.
Second, they were to “hold fast” to the gospel, if they would be saved by it. In Christ there is no retirement, no quitting point. Jesus asks us to endure to the end (Matt. 10:22). The challenge, however, is never as great as the promises! Stay faithful to the end.

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Phil Sanders

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