It was my pleasure to preach last week at my friend Jim Hamilton’s church in Houston, Texas. I was very grateful for the invitation and for the warm reception my family received while visiting. My sermon text was 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, and the title was “The Gospel as the Power of God for Perseverance,” which is available here.
For anyone who might be interested in listening, here’s the outline:
I. What the Gospel Is (15:3-8)*
Short Definition: “The gospel is the message of Jesus Christ crucified and raised for sinners according to the scriptures.”
A. The gospel is Christ-centered.
B. The gospel is biblical.
C. The gospel is a story.
D. The gospel is personal.
E. The gospel is apostolic.
1. It comes from authoritative apostolic tradition.
2. It’s crowning event was witnessed by apostles.
F. The gospel is historical.
II. What the gospel requires (15:1)
In verse 1, Paul’s description of the Corinthians’ reception of the gospel gives us a hint at what the gospel requires. It requires something from the one who preaches it and something from the one who receives it.
A. Preacher: Persistent Proclamation
B. Hearer: Persevering Faith
1. Initial Faith
2. Ongoing Perseverance
III. What the Gospel Does (15:2)
What does the gospel do? The short answer from verse 2 is that it saves sinners.
A. Salvation is a process.
B. Salvation is kept alive by the gospel.
C. Salvation does not happen where perseverance in gospel faith fails.
*I should point out that points A, B, D, E, and F trace back to John Stott’s brief exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 in Evangelical Truth: A Personal Plea for Unity, Integrity and Faithfulness (Intervarsity, 1999), pp. 28-29. I first came across them in D. A. Carson’s message on the same text at the 2007 Gospel Coalition meeting. In that message, Carson credits Stott for the first six of his “eight summarizing words.” I’ve used five of them and added one of my own: “The gospel is story.” Though there are many similarities with Stott and Carson, my exposition also has many differences since it is growing out of my own exegesis of and meditation on the text (some of which you can see here).