The Gospel Is Everything

The Gospel Is Everything

April 22, 2012
Morning Sermon from Pine Valley Baptist Church
Rev. James Strickland, Minister to Students

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-20
Theme: Our response to the gospel affects and defines EVERYTHING we do!

The Gospel Defined: Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
1  Corinthians 15:3-4)

A) What Is The Gospel? 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-4 

B) The Gospel Is Not A Theory, It Has Been Proven 1 Corinthians 15:5-9

C) The Gospel Changes Our Lives - 1 Corinthians 15:5-11

D) The Gospel Secures Our Future 1 Corinthians 15 :20

This sermon was delivered at Pine Valley Baptist Church on April 22, 2012 during Youth Sunday where students led the music, prayer, greetings, ushering etc.  I was so grateful to our Pastor Chuck Love and the church for this opportunity!


Are You Drunk or Praying

I love when I run across occurrences in the Bible that are funny or dramatic.  This is because so many think the Bible is irrelevant and boring, but I know the contrary to be true.  There is comedy, betrayal, lust, sex, violence, deceit, love, sacrifice, redemption, salvation and more literally through out the entire Bible. So many popular movies, stories and books are ripped off from Biblical accounts. Here is an example of a scene I could really see on any screen today . . .

1 Samuel 1:9-18 (New Living Translation)

9 Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. 10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” 12 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” 15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” 17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” 18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

Who do you think would be funny to be seen cast in this?

On a serious note, we see the humble beginnings of one of God's greatest prophets Samuel.  God's timing is always right.  Unfortunately we usually only admit that in hindsight.  Hannah could have taken her cries to the family or friends and caused drama but, she took them to God instead who was the one person who could do something about her situation.  She poured her heart out to God and He honored that. If someone decides to get drunk I wouldn't suggest using 'I was praying" as a defense.  However, we should get so lost in our prayers that we lose sight of who is looking at us and concentrate on our creator God who is looking into us!

Hold On

This post spawned from a comment I left to a friend who is going through adversity from critics of his ministry. Here is the comment:

Dear, __________ I know your heart for the Lord. In these times hold true to your biblical convictions. Look for the truth God is showing you through adversity and people. Pray over what they say, look for the truth then chunk the rest. These times help to clarify your vision and passion as well as teach you things about yourself. The battle is to never see those you minister to as the enemy. I've never heard of a fatal sheep attack. (jk) Know that nothing touches us that God does not allow. God knows your heart and intentions. Outlive your critics and learn from the truths they challenge you with. Allow God to make this time in your lfe a win/win situation. I am praying for you. 

The Take Away

These are lessons I've learned in my 20+ years of ministry. I've been very fortunate to have godly friends who help keep me grounded in troubling times as well as mentors who encourage me to hang on, ride the storm out and trust God. Do not get me wrong, I have not mastered the handling of adversity but my experience teaches me that God has been with me every step of the way. I'm reminded of the word of "It Is Well" by Horatio G. Spafford. 

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul."

The main point thought it may sound cliche' is to hold on through the storms and trust God.  He has not brought you this far to drop you. Hold On!

Here are Scriptures Than Help Me In Times of Adversity In Ministry

Philippians 1:6
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Exodus 14:14
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Psalm 138

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. 3 As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. 4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,  for all of them will hear your words. 5 Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways, for the glory of the Lord is very great. 6 Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. 7 Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. 8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.