On Easter Sunday, we looked at Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
As we studied these verses together, we noticed three things about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus:
It all happened in accordance with the Old Testament Scriptures.
It all happened for us, to free us from the grips of sin and death.
It all happened to impact our faithfulness, just as it impacted Paul’s faithfulness in his ministry of delivering the all-important message of the gospel.
And as we noticed these things in the passage, our hearts were impacted by the good news of Jesus in these three ways:
Trust the Lord Continually
Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and was raised from the dead in accordance with the Old Testament Scriptures. In other words, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus happened just as foretold and foreshadowed in the writings of the Old Testament. All that God promised through the Law and the Prophets regarding sin and salvation has been fulfilled by Jesus through the cross and the empty grave. And since this is true, we can always trust God at his Word.
Psalm 33:4 says, “For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.” God has specially revealed and made himself known to us through his Word, and all he does is in faithfulness to his Word. This means we can always trust God’s Word on all that it teaches us. You can trust he will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:9). You can trust he will always provide for you (2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 4:19). You can trust he hears your petitions (Philippians 4:6). You can trust he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). You can trust he loves you (John 3:16). You can trust in his forgiveness (1 John 1:9). You can trust you have a heavenly home waiting for you (John 14:1-3; 1 Peter 1:3-4).
Sometimes, we over-worry and get anxious about many things. But since God is faithful to his Word, we can rest with a peaceful trust of all that he has promised to us in Christ Jesus. Just take God at his Word.
Praise the Lord Incessantly
Jesus died and was raised again for our sins. Here is where we find Christ’s motive in going to the cross for us. He wanted to fix the problem of sin and death for us—he wanted to rescue us and make us his! With this motive, he was our faithfully loving servant (Mark 10:45).
If someone has done so much for us, the right response will always be gratitude. As Paul so indicates: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, emphasis mine). I pray the good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection will continually stir our hearts in such a way that we’re repeatedly led to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). May we be known as people who fervently and incessantly praise God with ever-grateful hearts!
Serve the Lord Faithfully
Paul said that what he received (The message of the gospel) he also delivered as of first importance. The gospel, of course, was not something he made up. It was a message he received directly from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12). And it was a message that transformed his own life, as Jesus rescued him from his zealous-but-sinful religiosity (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13). Jesus then called him to apostolic ministry, and as an apostle of Jesus, Paul was faithfully committed to passing on the all-important gospel message to others. “The man who formerly persecuted [Christians],” Paul writes in Galatians 1:23, “is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” The gospel completely transformed Paul!
The gospel transforms us, too! Through the gospel, we believe and are saved (Romans 1:16; 10:14-15). Through the gospel, we grow into Christlikeness for godly living (1 Peter 1:13-16). Through the gospel, we are sustained in this life with great hope until the Lord calls us home (1 Peter 1:3-5). It shouldn’t surprise us, therefore, that the gospel also transforms our hearts unto faithfulness to the Lord. The same gospel that motivated Paul to faithful service is the same gospel that motivates us, today, to devote our lives to the Lord (Romans 12:1).
If Jesus did everything it took to rescue us—being humiliated, tortured, put to death, and raised from the dead—not only are we motivated to trust him at his Word and praise him with thankful hearts, but also to serve him with whole devotion, and that’s because the gospel woos us to move from living for ourselves to living for the One who has given us grace upon grace.
In what ways is the gospel impacting your heart toward the Lord this week? Is it in trusting him and his Word? Is it in praising him and giving him thanks? Is it in serving him and following him with full devotion? How is the Spirt of God working in your heart this week? However the Lord is leading you, listen to his still, small, gentle voice and put it into practice. You’ll never regret doing whatever the gospel is encouraging you to do!