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Not long ago, someone asked me to write a brief outline of how I became a preacher. What happened was simple, but entirely life-changing.
First, I heard the good news message of what Jesus did for the entire world.
Second, I placed my faith in what Jesus did, not only for the world, but personally for me. I didn’t know how to pray and simply said, “God, you can have my life.”
That event of conversion was so remarkable that it totally revolutionized the next 53 years of my existence, including becoming a minister along the way.
In case the Corinthians had forgotten what Jesus did for them, Paul gave this reminder.
“Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand,
“Through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you — unless you have come to believe in vain” (1 Corinthians 15.1-2).
The good news message of Jesus, is something to be heard, received and acted upon. We literally trust our lives (stand) on this message.
The good news of Jesus Christ, when received and trusted, is God’s method of revolutionizing our lives, both now and forever.
The Message of the Good News
What is the message of the good news?
People have proclaimed the good news for centuries in various languages and locations around the world. Like Paul, the message did not originate with us.
Every person who has told another person about Jesus can say with Paul, “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15.3).
One of my favorite expressions is, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.”
That is exactly what we do when we share the good news. I had a friend help me meet Jesus. In turn, I have helped other friends experience friendship with Jesus over the years.
Part of the good news is that Jesus died for our sins. Isaiah 53 is one of the best Old Testament passages that pictures Jesus’ death for our sins.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53.5-6)
We worship a “crucified God,” as Jurgen Moltmann put it. However, he is also a risen Lord.
Paul continued with the good message, “And that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Corinthians 15.4-5).
If Jesus had only died, he may have been a celebrated teacher and social reformer. However, his resurrection revealed that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Corinthians 5.19).
Not only did Jesus reveal himself to Peter (Cephas) and the other apostles, but there were more people who experienced the risen Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote, “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
“Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” (1 Corinthians 15.6-8).
Paul wrote this in A.D. 50, when if people wanted to corroborate his story, all they had to do was to visit with one of the people who witnessed the resurrected Jesus.
Paul’s Resurrection Experience
Paul experienced a post-ascension resurrection appearance by Jesus. Acts 9 describes Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road.
Paul’s meeting with Jesus totally transformed his life. His conversion was so striking that it took some time for other followers of Jesus to believe it was true.
Here is how Paul described his relationship to Jesus. He wrote, “For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15.9).
Take some time to read Acts 8 and 9. It details how Paul persecuted the church, met Jesus, was converted, and began his ministry.
Many people agree with Paul’s next statement when he wrote, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain” (1 Corinthians 15.10).
The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, wrote a book entitled, “All of Grace.” That is true of everyone who has heard the good news, received it and based their lives on what Jesus has done for them.
Truly, the grace of God has made us who we are. May his grace never be in vain.
Paul declared that God’s grace was not in vain, “On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them — though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15.10).
Grace is an interesting concept. It is God’s unmerited favor toward people who are undeserving of his love and care.
Yet, grace is more. Grace is the active work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It transforms our character and help us lead other people to friendship with Jesus.
Praise God that God uses everyone who is available to him. He works in us and through us for our good, the good of others, and his glory.
Everyone has the opportunity to tell other beggars where the bread is. Paul said, “Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe” (1 Corinthians 15.11).
Take a minute and remember the time when you heard the good news of Jesus, received it and trusted your life to Jesus.
Thank Jesus for the grace that is behind the cross and resurrection.
Think of someone whom you can help become a friend of Jesus by telling them the good news of God’s love through Jesus.
May We Pray For You?
The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team is honored to pray for you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. We will pray for you.