The Inseparable Connection Between Preaching and Believing: 1 Corinthians 15:2Thursday, June 16, 2005
The first text is one on which I spent my first few weeks in the pulpit here at my church. It is 1 Corinthians 15:2. Beginning in verse 1, Paul writes,
“Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you…” (NET).
Remember that the focus of chapter 15 is to review the basics of the gospel, especially with regards to the resurrection of Christ. Paul wanted to make this clear for the Corinthians in hopes of shutting down the false teachers in the church. So he begins with a gentle warning that the gospel was preached, they did receive it, they stand in it, and it is continuing to save them if they firmly hold to it.
Notice the order in which he argues: preaching, receiving, standing, sanctification. The preaching came first, then the receiving of the gospel came next. If there was no gospel preached, how could they have received it? Or better yet, if they did receive the gospel without it being preached, one has to wonder what kind of gospel it really was? I have come to think that this was precisely part of the problem. Some of the Corinthians had either forgotten what Paul had preached, or else they had received a gospel of another kind, which his why he argues, “if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you…”
This is quite a blow to those Christians who supposedly got “saved” without any preaching. And it is actually a one-two punch. The first punch is delivered in the order. Preaching occurred first, and then the Corinthians believed. The second punch is delivered when Paul clearly indicates that this preaching is necessary to stand firm and remain firm in the gospel. Therefore, without the preaching of the gospel, no soul can be saved and no soul can remain steadfast in their salvation.
Tomorrow...1 Corinthians 15:11.