According to the Scriptures

1 Corinthians 15:4c

Particular emphasis this Easter season – What Is the Gospel? Have unpacked statements one by one from v.3 & 4 of our text. Statements made here by divinely inspired writer proclaimed “as of first importance”. This is the Gospel, the good news, that had been preached, received, formed immovable foundation on which their life was based. Not only threescore and ten of this life, next life also.

Now come to final statement we will consider – repeated twice for emphasis – “according to the scriptures”. What we celebrate here this morning centers on a person and his work that is rooted in history. Jesus a real person with real parents, a real career and ministry, a real life/death/resurrection during a real period of human history. Enough people convinced of existence of Jesus Christ that unquestioningly accept dating system determined by his advent. Both person of Jesus and significance of his life/death/resurrection have place in human history from very beginning – God’s word the Bible makes that abundantly clear.

Heard on the radio just last week:

“The living word, the Lord Jesus, and God’s written word, the Bible, stand or fall together. Anything that diminishes or discredits one attacks the other. To diminish or discredit the work of the Lord Jesus is an attack on God’s word. To diminish or discredit what God’s word has to say is an attack on the Lord Jesus.” WRJ

That is true in part because of what our text declares – certain historical events took place according to what God’s word said would occur. And… if God’s word assigns particular significance to those events, they occurred for that purpose. Since those events took place publicly on the world stage, means word of God applies to what we think of as real life. Cannot be consigned to some sort of parallel universe, existing only in churches on Sunday morning, or in minds of weird people they call Christians. The Bible is God’s word for all people in all time and in all places.

Paul used phrase “according to the Scriptures”, are other phrases throughout NT which carry same meaning. “this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel” – Acts 2:16; “it is written”; “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” common in Matthew’s Gospel. Each of dozens of occurrences reinforces confidence in Scriptures; demonstrates God’s character repeatedly in Scriptures; shows centrality of Christ in all of God’s Word. Good news that brings hope to lost sinners centered in Christ; good news that brings comfort to redeemed sinners centered in Christ. Just as Christ is central in God’s word the Bible, he must likewise be central in our thoughts and lives.

A. to give confidence in God’s Word

perhaps you wonder: can I trust the Bible? have you read it from start to finish? if you question, I challenge: ask God show you truth, and read – here’s what you will find:

details

Bible not a technician’s manual, not filled with generalities either – includes sufficient detail to be credible witness

Herod asked Bible experts where Messiah would be born; answer… not “in Middle East”, was “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet”

Paul not content to simply say “Jesus came to be our savior” – he died, he was buried, he rose again, he was seen

accuracy

didn’t stop with “rose again”… “rose again the third day”… but wait, there’s more – “He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”

not only accurate about facts, is accurate in how it presents truth: is noun singular or plural, verb past tense or present tense (Gal. 3:16 Seed[s]; Matt. 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)

relevance

Lord Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” – since we’re still here, God’s word still has relevance and meaning and application

in need of life? “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31

lack confidence whether you have eternal life? “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” 1 John 5:13

can count on God’s word to get the details right, to be accurate and relevant… for you and me – when Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory” it is right; when says “there is none righteous, no, not one”, Christ is “the way truth and life, no one comes to Father but by him” it is accurate; if it is right, if it is accurate, if it supplies answer to man’s need, is certainly relevant

B. to demonstrate character of God in his Word

wise

look at first statement again: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”

“The wisdom of God in redemption is visible in manifesting two contrary affections at the same time, and in one act: the greatest hatred of sin, and the greatest love to the sinner. In this way he punishes the sin without ruining the sinner, and repairs the ruins of the sinner without indulging the sin. Here is eternal love and eternal hatred; a condemning the sin to what it merited, and an advancing the sinner to what he could not expect.” Stephen Charnock, Existence and Attributes of God

faithful

over and over God promised what he would do – sometimes took place in short time, others required hundreds or thousands of years for God to fulfill

consider two, made to first parents Adam and Eve: when you eat from the tree you will surely die, fulfilled in matter of days

“he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” – thousands of years, yet was accomplished at Calvary – God faithfully keeping his promises to his people

powerful

God’s promises not empty – every time “as it is written” demonstration of God’s power to accomplish his purposes without fail

loving

greatest standard of love: God sent Son to be atoning sacrifice – Christ died for our sins; all that God promised and accomplished in sending Jesus the demonstration of God’s love for his people

C. to show centrality of Christ in God’s Word – see Luke 24:27

All things were created through Him and for Him” “All things hold together in him” Father’s intention is “that in all things He may have the preeminence” Col. 1:13-18

is it any wonder, afternoon of first Resurrection Day, “Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! …And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

by name (Seed, Prophet)

Seed of the woman, Seed of Abraham, Prophet from among your brethren, the Lord’s Servant, Messiah, Immanuel God with us, King of kings and Lord of lords

description (son, shepherd)

serpent on pole in wilderness; son of a virgin; one who would sit on throne of David forever; sufferer of Psalm 22, shepherd of following

type (sacrifice, tabernacle/temple furnishings)

Passover lamb; light of the world, bread of life, veil through which access to Most Holy Place; deliverance from Egypt

to remove direct references and allusions to Christ from Bible would turn it into pile of shredded paper

D. how is this good news? – see Acts 17:22-23, 30-31

started series on Thursday with “Christianity stands or falls on what is contained in these two verses. And this is what separates Christianity from every other religion or worldview.”

can also state: if you can believe Bible on this, can believe the Bible on anything… especially concerning significance of historical claims made here

if can believe Jesus died, was buried, and rose again third day… can believe what Bible teaches about its significance – if are convinced Lord Jesus died for your sins and God raised him on third day, you will be saved

if this piece of “story of hope” genuine, whole story must be true – Bible a package deal… if any to be believed, all must be believed

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: …Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

no other god in human history has done all necessary to redeem people – what is his story?

God, in beginning, created universe and all that is in it in six days, all very good, and on seventh day he rested from his work of creation

Man was created, male and female, in image of God with knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, with law of God written on their hearts and desire and ability to obey

Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s direct command by eating of the fruit he had forbidden

Death immediately followed disobedience, just as God had promised and corruption of sin was passed along to every one of Adam and Eve’s natural descendants

Christ, the one promised by God throughout OT, entered time and space, born of a virgin, and lived in perfect obedience to his heavenly Father, being without sin and having committed no sin

Cross was his destiny, to be crucified there, giving up his own life as a perfect sacrifice and substitute for those he came to save

Faith through which we are saved by God’s unmerited favor alone rests on finished work of Christ; saving faith accompanied by repentance from sin is the free gift of God, not anything earned or achieved

Life that never ends is promised by God to the one who has saving faith; true believer demonstrates saving faith by obedience to Christ’s commands

That is God’s story, story of hope as presented to us in God’s word the Bible. Is story lost sinners need to hear and by God’s grace respond to in faith. Have you heard his story and turned from sin to follow Christ in faith? The living resurrected Lord Jesus calls us to deny self, take up cross, follow him… and as we go, make disciples. The nations start with family, neighbor, co-worker, beyond as God gives opportunity. We know his story, we must tell his story to all who will listen.

 

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