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First Importance

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
April 21, 2019 7:00 pm

First Importance

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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The word of God's grand and he called us here tonight to hear his word. His preached word so tonight as we go to that word.

I asked that if you have your Bibles turn to first Corinthians chapter 15 and I'm going to be looking at verses one through eight. If you would stand with me for the reading of the word.

Now I would remind you, brothers of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and what you stand. By which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what also I 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 Scripture and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the 12. Then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some of fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. Let's pray father we come to you tonight. And Lord, we thank you for your word. Father, we thank you for this day. This day that we set aside to hold high the resurrection.

The proof that Jesus Christ is who he said he was that as we come before you tonight that sin has been destroyed that death has been overcome by Christ and that we walk in victory. Father how great that is. As we look at your Scripture tonight, Lord God, I just pray that the Lord your words go forth. I pray that you keep me from Aaron Lord God, that you may be honored and glorified by what is spoken and it's in Christ name we pray.

Amen.

Have you ever long for the good old days have ever become nostalgic in our country is pretty easy.

I've entered that age now. I just turned 50 and if you ask my son Ethan he'll come up and say is Lebron James. The best basketball player you ever see, and I'll say well when I was young. Basketball was different. It was played the right way and therefore we can't compare across last week Tiger Woods won the Masters. The very first question asked when I got into work is Tiger Woods the best golfer ever and I said well the technology so much better if Jack Nicholas or Arnold Palmer would had this technology they would hit the ball further and they would've probably been better in the game was just better and harder back that we get nostalgic for the old ways and we think that the old is often so much better than what were in at the present time we look at it.

There are many the talk about the church that way. Have you ever heard someone say if the church could just be more like the early church or have you thought it if we were just more like the early church, and less about all the theology questions and less about all the differences in worship wars and things like that if we just focused on Dr. could we be such a better church.

I actually had a friend of mine. We were fishing up in Tennessee at the Holston dam and he had me trapped for two hours. He's a good man.

His name is Chris and we were driving back and he wanted to explain to me why he was leaving denominational church and he went on to explain to me all the issues that he is seen in the churches he explained to me that the difference in denominations. The difference in doctrines in which one is right that the the way we should worship should be singing without music or should be singing with instrumentation. He even went on to say that he you know he's been in a church where people gossiped about him or didn't live in a Christian manner. That's pretty true is I think we all can walk down that the problem for Chris though was.

We don't see that problem in the early church. He said so what I'm gonna do is find a different way to worship. I'm in a find a way to worship may be in a house church setting. He told me he attempted that for a few months or by being out nature like we were just coming back from a fishing trip.

Things like that trying to worship God in these way I shared with Chris that it was important that he stay in a church that taught the Bible that held strong doctrine, but Chris eventually decided he could not tolerate these things because the early church didn't have these problems. Why my going through all this because were looking at the church at Corinth the night, the first letter by Paul to this church. This church was founded somewhere between 49 and 51 it was founded by an apostle, and when we get the chapter 15 that I read to you. Paul is addressing a correction of doctrine that they have they have an issue in their doctrine and Paul is responding in chapter 15 to that issue. But if we read the first 14 chapters is responding to a lot more other issues in the church and if you read second Corinthians is a follow-up letter to first Corinthians, addressing many of the same in some different issues.

If you move over to Galatians, there is correction to the church in Galatia with issues they have. If you move to the book of Revelation where Doug is just reached. We look at churches like that of Ephesus who lost its first love of Sardis of Laodicea. That's the early church folks Jesus Christ.

Look at those churches and said I see your works and here is your issues. It's not something new that that's here in 2019 or started in 1970, or happened in the 1700s are in the 1500s with the Reformation. The church has flaws and why.

Why is the church flawed, but the simple answer because it is filled with men and women, some who hear the gospel and are changed in some who don't. It is the wheat and the tares. We are a mixed church.

When we sit and look at the history of the church. It was Augustine who called it a mixed body.

There are those who are believers and there were those who are unbelievers, but they may not even know that their unbelievers and so the church in turn only deals with said so that is what were saying here is Paul is writing his response to the Corinthians in the first 14 chapters. It's bad enough he is address the Corinthians.

Because there was divisions among them, and he is talking that they are to be unified as they are unified in Christ.

They have had sexual immorality to the level of incest which they tolerated. He told them to get rid of it. They got rid of it. The man repented and came back and then their discipline said no we won't take it back and he had correct them on how to do proper discipline he's covered marriage. He's covered divorce. They have missed used the sacrament of the Lord's supper.

It even ends in chapter 14 where your or your worship needs to be orderly and decent. There are several issues at this young church and again this young church is not a church that just sprung up with the new preacher from down the road. The apostles on their missionary journey came into the town of Corinth and they began the church in Corinth. The teaching they received was true doctrine and yet within 3 to 6 years. They are struggling with all these issues. So what we see in this very fun opening is that when we wax nostalgic Ethan when I tell you about things the way they were when I word by was younger. They were probably the same as they are now because the church at Corinth suffers from the same thing the church brace does the church at Corinth suffers from the same thing that every church in every location.

Here suffers from and that is because there is still sin, clinging to the believer and with in the body. There are those who are not true believe and this will cause us to have issues in teaching and in doctrine, but praise God and we are thankful for the Corinthians. The Galatians for the Laodiceans because of the errors that they dealt with because of the issues that they struggled through the Holy Spirit led the writers of the New Testament pen. The exact instruction and teaching that we need 2000 years later we should be thankful we should be thankful because God didn't start a perfect church and as we get 2000 years down the line, trying to figure out how to get back to a perfection. He built a church based on truth and doctrine injured by man, but responded to by the spirit with truth and wisdom on how we are to get through.

That is what were looking at in these first eight verses of chapter 15. So as we take turn our attention to the church at Corinth. Don't let it lose the attention that we have here church here with the spirit and Paul call the Corinthians to, but also is calling us to and that is the truth of the doctrine. The Corinthians were facing error and false teaching concerning the resurrection of the dead. Paul addressed this area error in totality. In chapter 15 were only looking at the first eight verses if you want to go on through 15 you'll hear the full correction on resurrection, but our text is the opening of this correction.

He begins by grounding them in the doctrine preached when he first came to them. Paul grounds them in the gospel. He tells them that this is a doctrine as of first importance to them. Paul is clear why this is the chief doctrine. That's what first importance means I delivered to you of first importance what I received the chief thing that I received and that was the gospel. Paul is clear why it's the chief drop doctrine, for it is by this truth that they are able to stand and are being saved. Let us finish our Easter Sunday by grounding ourselves in the same truism which we stand by which we are being saved. I will look at three points aspects of this truth of the gospel and so the first point is, it is of first importance, the grout, Christ died for our sins look down at verse three. Again, from chapter 15 for I delivered to you as of first importance what also I received the Christ died for our sins in accordance with Scripture.

Again, this laid that letter is dated in the early 50s to the church at Corinth. So what Scripture would Paul be referring to the Old Testament. Paul is referring that he has brought them the gospel from the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Where do we see that also. Jesus said that he opened all of the Scriptures to those disciples on the road to Emmaus and showed how it spoke of him so there may have been most of the Gospels were written in the late 60s beyond most of the epistles are dated somewhere from the 60s to the 90s. So we see that they when Paul refers them to the Scripture. They may have had the book of James. They have this letter from Paul, but they have the Old Testament.

So what would bring to their mind that Christ died for their sins from the old test. I ask you to turned Isaiah 53 because this would be the quintessential passage that taught them of this need, we may sit and look and say wow that's a pretty simple answer.

He taught them the gospel we brought them back and grounded them in the gospel. But what does that really mean when we talk about this gospel of Jesus Christ. A lot of people think it's sort of some kind of free and easy catchall theology that comes along that when we look at the gospel how it defined to us and given to us in Scripture. It covers some of the most heavy theological thoughts teachings that we have Isaiah 53 three through 12 says this he was despised and rejected by man might buy men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And as one from whom whom med had their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities upon him was the chastisement the broadest piece and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep of gone astray.

We have turned every one to his own way and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before cheers was silent, so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away and for his generation who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people and they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him. He has put him to grief when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days the Lord the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand out of the anguish of his soul, he shall see and be satisfied by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and he was numbered with the transgressors. Yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. Paul in his writing to the church at Corinth.

They were dealing with divisions amongst the brothers. They were dealing with sin issues from sexual immorality. Divorce things like that they get to chapter 15. And Paul is now addressing an issue concerning a wrong doctrine on resurrection, direction, and Paul guides this church to go back to the gospel in the very first thing he opens with his says that Christ died for our sins as it is written in Scripture.

When we moved to the Scripture, that he uses. That is clear clearly teaching that Christ died for our sin. We see the theology of several thing you've heard from this pulpit many times before. The very first thing that Isaiah 53 cries out is a substitutionary atonement that Jesus Christ stood in our place and took the punishment that we deserve for our sins. Paul writing to the Corinthian says that Jesus died for our sin. There was no sin in him.

He had no need to die for himself.

You and I brothers and sisters. That is all we have the offer. If you look at the passage in first Corinthians. It's Jesus died for our sins. He was buried and resurrected for our sins, and he showed himself to the others and what we have in that passage that we offer is just sent when we moved to Isaiah over and over versus 4568 10 and 12 speak of this substitution surely is. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Verse five he was pierced for our transgressions, as he was crushed for our iniquities. He is the substitute that we need is not just remember, Christ died for you. Remember that you're not, you have nothing and the God of heaven came down in the form of man and paid the punishment that you owe for your sin. We also see another topic that Doug brings up from this pulpit. The devil imputation. There is an imputation of our sin to Jesus Christ and his righteousness to us. If you look at verses six all we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. God working in his way takes our sin and places it on Jesus Christ so that Paul can write to the church at Corinth. Remember that Christ died for our sin. Then if you go to verse 11 and Isaiah out of the anguish of his soul, he shall see and be satisfied by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. It can't be much clearer the work that Jesus Christ does on the cross for us. When Paul points them back to the gospel. He's not pointing them back to an empty theological message he's pointing them back to one of the deepest theological messages they can receive you in your sin was lost from God and through Christ you are made right and only through Christ. If we look today Paul a witness of the risen Christ.

Paul on the road to help me. He was knocked off his horse and said Damascus. Thank you. He hears Christ, he is taught fully from Christ. This doctrine so when he comes to the church in Corinth in the early 50s. He uses Isaiah, but he is also able to be a full witness along with the other apostles who come and teach Isaiah 53 is not there. Only Scripture. They are actually receiving the Scripture at the time that it is being spoken in the spirit is giving it when we set look today, we look back at verses like Matthew 118 through 21 and you don't have to flip to these. I just want to share with you what the church today has to rest on now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way when his mother Mary had been true.

The Joseph, before they came together she found she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame. Resolve to divorce her quietly but as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins moved to John 129 the gospel of John. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and John the Baptist declared behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world we move the Romans 321 through 26, the same apostle Paul right, but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although although the law and the prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction for all of sin and fall fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The gospel given to us as we sit and look Paul drives the Corinthian church back to this basic fundamental remember the gospel which was preached to you that I brought to you that you believed that you stand in and you are being saved and then he goes on.

This is what I delivered what I'm telling you to look back at first the Christ died for your sins as it is recorded in Scripture. He moves on from there and he goes to the it is a fork first importance that Christ was buried and raised this is getting to the crux of what chapter 15 is going to deal with you. Read the rest of the chapter. The church in Corinth had those in the church who was denying the resurrection of the body. Why would they do that well. I will be honest, I'm not in ancient history buff so I had to read. I read a lot when I found out that Corinth was a great city of Greece and it was destroyed in 146 BC Rome came along in 44 BC and rebuilt Corinth and so Rome what it was was a retirement community for those of of great service in Rome.

It was of a city that that was a port city in a sense it was the main city right outside the, the, the port area of Greece in the smallest myth. There, but they had many issues of pluralistic thought coming into the church. The Greeks and their philosophy. If you read Plato or Socrates or any of the great philosophers talk about how matter is evil and spirit is good and so from a Greek perspective anything material is evil and anything spirit is good. So, to them it would make no sense that a believers body would be resurrected because materially it is evil when their philosophy to them. The release the death and what Christ would've done was released the soul that it could be free and pure in whole and that thought process came into the church along with the thought processes of the Romans pantheistic system of belief and so you have a church that has a pluralistic issue. They have people who have their culture has inundated in teaching coming in and hearing this teaching and just like in any other culture you have confusion or outright error when it comes to application of doctrine is taught. We love the beat up on people. We beat up on the Pharisees. We beat up on the Sadducees. We beat up on the Corinthians. A lot of times we should look in the mirror and beat up on ourselves because we bring a lot of our own biases when we look at the word of God.

One of the main things that you and I must do when we read the Scripture is pray before we read because we don't wanted to be Jay's interpretation of Scripture. We don't want to be Doug Agnew or Eugene, or Larry Oldham's interpretation of the Scripture what we want is the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and when we speak when we talk about Scripture that we are led by the spirit of God and not by the biases of the conventions we may of grew up with.

You sit and look at history in the United States. There was a time when slavery was tried to be argued from a scriptural standpoint and I am not a person who will not disagree that slavery is definitely in the Bible there is a specific type of slavery that is in the Bible it is specific to the Israel people and I don't want to go down that path. I all I want to do is point out that we take biases that we have from our culture and we tried to bring them into the church do we see it today. The United Methodist Church in February just held a conference to make a declaration whether or not they should ordain openly homosexual pastors and whether or not they should bless the union of homosexual couples, where does that come into the church I was raised United Methodist. The book of discipline has a specific statement that says homosexuality is not compatible with Christian life. So where did that whole topic come from where did the need to have a conference and a vote to determine what Scripture was teaching but other than the influences of culture we have churches who will tell people hate it. God doesn't want to see unhappy if you and your wife if you and your husband aren't happy to get. God doesn't want to see and discomfort. In that relationship. So divorce in men and women walk away believing there right side of God ending at a marriage that has no biblical reason to be and we have churches today that will preach that if your faith is just strong enough you can have health and wealth and anything your heart desires.

Where does that thought process come from, but a culture that is driven by materialism. Corinth is no different. They have been raised to believe that material is evil. That spirit is good so there would be no resurrection of the body to them. So within the church. There are men probably women standing saying no, there will not be resurrection of the body because why would evil material be regenerated. Paul is answering that and is answering it very strongly. If you read in chapter 15, but the very first place. He takes them in verse four through eight. He says this, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in a court in accordance with the Scripture and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the 12.

Then he appeared to more than 500 brothers of one time, most of whom are still alive, though some of fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James than to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. Paul is explaining to the church at Corinth.

The same Jesus that was taken down off the cross on Friday who was placed in the tomb and the rock was rolled in front and was sealed is the same Jesus that came out of the tomb Sunday morning. He was buried, and he was raised church at Corinth here this. That is what I brought and preach to you that is what brought you to Christ to that is the work, the Holy Spirit word the Holy Spirit used bring you unto God himself that this man Jesus died for your sins, was buried in the tomb and the third day came out of that to. It is a resurrection of the body. Now he is going on to explain in their language and philosophy. If there is no resurrection of the dead. Therefore, Christ did not raise. And if Christ did not raise then we are the most pitiful because we even risked misrepresented God himself because we have said that God has raised him from the dead. Paul is not light when he comes across on this particular topic. He is attacking serious error within the church which you and I are called to do. We are not to stand back and let false teaching and error prevail. We have the word of God.

We are to declare the word of God and we are to stand by the word of the why does why do churches go down these path when I was watching the video that Bernie sent out. I can't remember his name lurk Leonard have a meal. I think Raven will Ravenhill was close. He was not making a facetious comment about those who were coming in. If you watch the video there was an emotionality to what he was saying because what he was saying was that there are people walking in here not understanding this gospel message, not hearing. The spirit isn't moving an opening their ears to understand sitting here tonight. Do we truly understand why Paul calls us to the gospel as the foundational truth that we are to rest in, and that we are to stand against false teaching why is it is because in Matthew, we read that God took the form of us throughout the Gospels we read that Jesus Christ grew in stature in favor with God and he was a man who knew no sin. He is a man that at age 30 was baptized and became began a public ministry where God worked powerfully through him where people long to drag their sick there infirmed, those needing any type of healing to drag them. We read the story of the men who lowered him down through the roof because the crowds were so great around the house any way to get man to Jesus because God was authenticating his work by the power the Christ was displaying. If you look beside you. There is a real human being sitting beside you. That is what Jesus Christ was. He was not a phantom. He was not some type of apparition of God for a time here on earth.

He was truly physical with flesh and bone and blood and he went forth, and preach the kingdom of God to all that he encountered. He was taken by people and unjustly accused and sentenced and died for your sin this morning when you woke up and whatever thought was sinful on Saturday whatever action you committed. God took that sin if you are his and nailed it to the very cross the Christ hung on his blood was shed for you and me. It is not a matter of some philosophical thought or ethereal thought Jesus Christ suffered and died. Jesus Christ was buried, and Jesus Christ through the power of God raised himself on the third day to show that he was God, but he was still fully me he was still fully man when he did these works he was still fully man, no different than the person sitting across from you right now and because he loved you lease it on. We whipped him. We pounded nails in his hand and he cried out from the cross, father forgive them for they know not what they do. He took my sin. He gave me his righteousness, he sits at the right hand of God right now interceding church at Corinth understand who this God is church at Grace understand who this God is Eugene's teaching in Sunday school this morning and he talked about the Puritans, one in an act of piety and active Christian walk. How can you have an active Christian walk because you have a living Savior who has done the work do you believe not a head knowledge, not ISN. The Jesus was a man not ISN that he was a good man that he was railroaded and he got hung on a cross. He is God, fully man and fully God and able and shows and demonstrate and we at Easter say this is that proclamation I am God. I arose from the dead when I say that the sins were nailed on the cross, they are taken for you from you. That's why Jesus can say. Take my yoke is light the burdens easy. We read all these passages take up your cross and follow me deny yourself all. It's going to be horrible ladies and gentlemen, the most horrible thing is the stand before a holy and right God without Christ. That's the only horrible thing therein is if you lose your job if you're diagnosed with cancer. If what ever happens in your life if you are a believer. If Christ has entered your heart and made you a new creation, a new creature. You stand fixed solvent firm. You stand in the gospel because you are being saved by the gospel, by the only power that can do it Jesus Christ fully man and fully God so to finish it up.

So what what does that all this have to do with us today we still face the same issues in the church, we still face the same issues in our day-to-day life and the culture that we deal with. So what is a question that I learned in one of my classes, you should always ask so what I never did it before I figured I'd ask you.

So what what does this mean to us. It means everything. Eugene was talking about how we should when you preach look at application. The application of this text is very simple. The Corinthian church, the believers a grace the Presbyterian Church in America. Whatever the process we want to call for the church.

We struggle, we struggle with trying to figure out what is right paths. What is wrong passed what is right doctrine. What is wrong doctrine. Paul calls us to. One thing Paul calls us to look back to the gospel that we receive because in that gospel is the truth of God manifested to us will.

How does that help J, what does that do for us. Second Corinthians 516 shows us God's work in us, by redemption, he makes us new this for work humbles us number one when you look back at the gospel. You cannot see anything in J when Paul told the Corinthians. It is Christ who died. It is Christ who was buried it was Christ who was raised, it is Christ to appear and it is Christ who ascended it is all Christ.

Christ. Christ there is no J when we look back at the gospel that we received. There is nothing of me and it we are new creation humbled by what God is done a man a woman or child, say by this gospel has to become less and less, and Christ has to become more and more how do we keep, conduct, and in worship, orderly because not about what I want is about how God wants to be worshiped. How do I make sure that we as a church body handle discipline properly where we don't ignore sin, but we also don't overly legalize it because it's not about what offends J it's about what offends the honor of Jesus Christ. We want to apply this text we become less like John the Baptist. Christ becomes more that's the gospel you are nothing but a sinner. He is everything. Lord, Savior, God we humble ourselves before him for his teaching. We do not make our teaching meet what we think he should be. That's the application of the text of the Corinthians polyp finishes in chapter 15 with some wonderful words at all. Finish with these at the end of chapter 15 Paul writes this, the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast in movable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain, even our laborers and ours, our laborers, the Lords, that's the application become less make him more. Let's pray heavenly father we come to you this evening. Lord God, I just thank you for the opportunity to to share your word. Father, I thank you for your word. I thank you that that your spirit move men to write 2000 years ago the exact words that we need today. Father I pray that you give everyone here through your spirit, the desire to serve Christ, let us remember that gospel messages we received it. Let us remember what we were what we are and only through you or we write in holy and just the left to ourselves. We are sinners. Jesus, we praise your name. We thank you and it's in Christ name we pray. Amen


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