Kevin Wilkening: 6 Basic Truths About the Gospel

Posted: April 25, 2011 in gospel, Jesus, preaching, theology

Below is the outline of Pastor Kevin Wilkening’s (my pastor) Easter sermon from 1 Corinthians 15.  You can listen to it online here.

1. The Gospel is Christ-centered (1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 2:2).

The Gospel is not some generic belief in a God that exists somewhere out there. Nor is the Gospel some impersonal pantheism, which tolerates all gods. Rather, the Gospel is wholly Christ-centered. Without Jesus Christ there is no Gospel

John Stott is right: “The gospel is not preached if Christ is not preached.”

2. The Gospel is deeply theological (1 Cor. 15:15).

Just because it only takes a child-like faith to believe the Gospel does not mean that the Gospel is childish. Rather, the Gospel has infinite depth, and it is worthy of our most serious study, and intellectual effort to comprehend the love of God.

3. The Gospel is biblical (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Lk. 24:13-35).

What is striking about Luke 24 is that Luke grounds the gospel in the Scriptures … and what Luke means by the Scriptures is the Old Testament … and only later the writings of the New Testament. The Gospel is biblical because it comes from the biblical text; both Old and New Testaments.

4. The Gospel is apostolic (1 Cor. 15:5-9).

Paul repeatedly draws attention to the apostles…This was a powerful way for Paul to connect the witness and teaching of the apostles with the faith of all the believers who would come after them. The Gospel is apostolic for it comes to us from Jesus through the apostles.

5. The Gospel is historical, in space and time (1 Cor. 15:5-6, 17; 1 Jn. 1:1-2).

Paul mentions that many of the witnesses are still alive as he is writing, and therefore, if you do not believe Paul – go ask someone else who was there, and they will tell you the same thing. Paul is giving historical evidence that can be checked out. In God’s mercy, this Bible is, among many other things, a written record of those first witnesses.

We must see that, unlike other religions, the central claims of Christianity are irreducibly historical.

6. The Gospel is personal (1 Cor. 15:1-2).

The Gospel must be applied. 1 Corinthians 15 comes at the end of a book that repeatedly shows how the gospel transforms our attitudes, our morals, our relationships, and our cultural interactions. In other words, this Christ-centered, theological, biblical, apostolic, historical, personal Gospel works itself out in the lives of Christians. And Paul hammered away at how the Gospel works itself out in our lives.


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