Of First Importance (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

2016-Week 9What is the most important thing in your life? This simple question has significant implications for our lives. What we consider important will shape our life. The matters we give priority to will direct us on the decisions we make. So, what is most important to you? As we approach the Easter season, it is crucial for us to reflect on this question. If our central focus is reflected by what we see as important and what we give priority to, then we must direct our thoughts and affections toward Scripture. Indeed, it is in Scripture we see what is “of first importance”.

Of first importance is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even and especially for Christians is the importance of the gospel. The gospel that has been preached and received is the gospel which should be remembered (v. 1). Yes, the gospel is to be shared with those who do not yet know Christ but the gospel is still for believers too! This is, in part, because the gospel not only saves us (“which you received”) but also sustains us (“in which you stand”). The truth of the gospel is not something merely in the past but is at work in the present and for the future as well.

But what exactly is the gospel? The apostle Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,

“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 a result of our rebellion against our good and holy Creator God, we were destined to spend an eternity without Him and to endure His righteous wrath and judgment. By no means could humanity, could we, save ourselves from this punishment of physical and spiritual death. We were pronounced dead in our sins. Then, Christ came. He lived the sinless life we have all failed to live, He died in our place, for our sins, taking upon Himself what we deserved. But that is no the end of the story, for if the narrative stopped here, we would still be in our sins (see 1 Cor. 15:17). The glorious reality is He was raised on the third day. Because of His death and resurrection, we can be reconciled to the Father. We can have fellowship with God once again and experience the saving forgiveness of God.

We can rest in the peace that God’s promise has been fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus’ appearance to various people after His resurrection gives proof of this fact (vv. 5-8). This promise and this proof demand a response. They demand the sharing of the gospel so that people may believe and receive the gospel. For the Christian, this means to remember what is “of first importance”, namely the gospel. Giving priority to the gospel means letting the gospel shape your life, which involves sharing the gospel. For the non-Christian, this means hearing the gospel preached and responding with either rejection or reception. To reject is to face the judgment of God; to receive is to receive the gospel and enter into relationship with God.

This Easter season, may we remember the gospel. May we remember the person and work of Christ. And may we say with Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain” (v. 10).

Reflection Questions:

  • Based on your thoughts and actions, would you say the gospel is “of first importance” in your life? How could you intentionally focus on the gospel this season?
  • When is the last time you shared this gospel with an unbeliever? Why not invite them to join you for church this Easter and begin having gospel conversations with them.
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