Paul suffered much persecution for telling people the truth about Jesus Christ. Many Jews hated him for saying Gods plan included crucifying their Messiah, and Gentiles were furious when he turned hearts away from pagan gods and laughed at him when he told them a man had risen from the dead (1Co 1:23). There were even so-called Christians who rejected his emphasis on salvation by faith and traveled to cities after he left and tried to convince his converts he had misled them. So when he says I am not ashamed of the gospel he is boldly declaring he will continue to speak the whole truth regardless of how he is treated because only the real gospel can rescue lost men and women. An incomplete or distorted gospel cant produce the miraculous new birth which releases a dramatic new power into peoples lives. Thats why Paul refuses to modify any part of his message. For at least a decade he had been watching God powerfully change those who responded to his message and he was not willing to trade that glorious transformation for powerless religion. He had tested this gospel by preaching it, and over and over saw the hand of God at work in people. He is absolutely convinced that nothing less than faith in a crucified Messiah and submission to a risen Lord can forgive human sin, free people from slavery to sin, transform lives until they become pleasing to God and resurrect their bodies giving them complete victory over death. He says this salvation is available to everyone, but in order to receive it each person must believe and choose certain specific things. Today lets understand what those key elements are, not only for ourselves but so we too can preach a gospel that brings Gods saving power to those who believe what we tell them.
Why was Paul so certain he was right?
1) The scriptures foretold Christs death and resurrection (Ac 13:26-39)
2) God confirmed the gospel he preached with signs and wonders (Mk 16:15-20)
Notice Peters defense (Ac 11:12-18)
Acts 14:8-10 lame man at Lystra
Acts 16:16 slave girl
Acts 16:30-34 Philippian jailer
Acts 19:11-20 miracles, authority, changed hearts
3) His gospel brought the Holy Spirit to dwell in people
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Notice: He can argue theology based on a powerful coming of the Holy Spirit which was an observable fact no one could deny
4) Paul knew the Holy Spirit dwelled in him and was his source of power to minister
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (2Co 3:5)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves
2 Corinthians 12:9, 10, 12
What does Gods saving power do for us?
1) Forgive our sin (Ro 8:1, 33, 34)
2) Cleans our conscience (Heb 9:14; 10:2, 22)
3) Free us from slavery to sin (Ro 8:2-4)
4) Transforms us to become like Christ (Ro 8:28, 29)
5) Resurrect our bodies (Ro 8:10, 11; Php 3:8-14)
Lets listen to Paul preach
1) To Greeks (Ac 17:22-33)
The Creator of heaven and earth (vs 23, 24)
The Source of life (v 25)
The One who divided the nations (v 26)
The One you knew was near you at times (vs 27, 28)
The true God who is above all our invented gods (v 30)
He mercifully offers to forgive our sins (v 30)
He calls every person to repent (v 30)
Judgment is coming (v 31)
A resurrected man will be our Judge (v 31)
2) To Jews (Ac 13:14-41)
The God of Israel (v 17)
Promised a Savior who would be a descendant of David (v 23)
John the Baptist called our whole nation to repent to prepare for His coming (v 24)
Our religious leaders and the city of Jerusalem didnt recognize the Messiah (v 27)
They crucified Him though He was innocent and buried Him in a tomb (vs 28, 29)
God raised Him from the dead (v 30)
Just as the prophets promised our ancestors (vs 34-37)
Many people saw Him alive (v 31)
Jesus is the resurrected Son of God who will rule the earth from Jerusalem (v 32)
Read: vs 38, 39
What are the essential elements of the gospel?
To be born-again every person must repent, believe and receive (automatically given) (Mt 28:18-20 three baptisms; Ac 20:21 repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, also Ac 2:38).
1) What must I do to repent?
Recognize my sin I need mercy from God. I have failed to obey my own conscience and the lifestyle You reveal in Your Word. I dont deserve eternal life.
Surrender control Choose to cease being independent and rebellious and to trust God to guide your life.
Decide to obey His Word turning away from anything that is not pleasing to Him (1Co 6:9, 10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:4, 5).
Stop worshipping all other gods.
Repentance reorients the center of my life from self to God. This transfer can take place in the wink of an eye without a lot of cognitive information. Full understanding can come later.
2) What must I believe?
Who is God (Ac 17:24-31)
Who is Jesus: Gods Son who was sent from heaven to become a man.
What did He do: He died on the cross as the punishment for all human sin, and after three days God physically resurrected Him from the dead (Php 2:5-11).
Where is He now: He has ascended into heaven where the Father has made Him Lord over heaven and earth (Php 2:9-11). He now intercedes for us constantly, and will again return to the earth to judge all humans (Ro 8:34; Ac 17:31).
3) Who must I receive?
The Holy Spirit (Eph 3:14; Jn 14:15-21). We open our hearts and welcome the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The powerful living presence of God comes over us and becomes united to our spirit. This is not only a theological truth we believe in, its an actual experience we receive.
John 7:37-39 - we drink in His Spirit
Romans 8:9-16 - He lives in us
This is the power that frees, comforts, heals, teaches, helps us pray, guides, convicts, encourages and gifts us for service.
Is this the gospel that was presented to you? Are these attitudes and beliefs in your heart now? Did the gospel you responded to bring a powerful change in you? Are you confident the Holy Spirit dwells inside you? If not, would you like to repent, believe and receive today?
1) Have you ever felt the pressure to water down the gospel to keep people from being offended? What part was hard to speak?
2) Have you experienced Gods saving power? Tell us how your life has changed since being born-again.