Berean Bible Study Notes

Learning to be a Berean, Lesson 7

 

A study of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, Part 1

We're going to start studying the "gospel." What does that mean, anyway? What is the gospel? According to many recent Christian fiction books, it apparently means to "believe in God." (I'm really disappointed in several books I've read lately).

We hear "the gospel" all the time. We pretty much understand what that means, right? Jesus came, lived a perfect life and then died in our place to make us right with God. What does the Bible have to say about it? At first glance, the various places that the Bible talks about the gospel would seem to differ radically from each other. For example, we're all familiar with John 3:16:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

And, yet, look at the first time the word "gospel" appears:

Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news (Gospel means "Good news." This is the same word) of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

So, "the kingdom of heaven is near" and "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" are both the gospel? They don't sound remotely the same. Plus, where is the mention of sin? Where is the "making us right with God?"

Yes, these are both the gospel, BUT, in each of these cases, some assumptions are made, and one big one is that the hearers are familiar with the Scriptures and prophecies of the Old Testament. In both of these cases, Jesus is speaking to Jews, and in John 3:16, not only a Jew, but Nicodemus, a Pharisee and THE teacher of the law. They were entrusted with God's Word, which was a great privilege, but also a responsibility, as they were expected to KNOW God's Word.

Romans 3:1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.

John 3:10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?

 

There is a place where the gospel is explained more fully, to people who weren't necessarily familiar with other Scripture (we're going to come back to these other gospel messages, but to get the most out of them, you need to cover some other ground first):

1 Corinthians 15

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Let's go!

1 Corinthians 15:1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

The first thing to notice is that Paul is speaking to "brothers," people who have already been saved by his preaching of this gospel. He wants to remind them of something that he told them earlier. The reason he is doing this is that some of them have begun to deny the resurrection of the dead, and that has led them into all kinds of error. (The Corinthian church was a troubled church, but still a church).

They "received" the message. Received - paralambano {par-al-am-ban'-o}
1) to take to, to take with one's self, to join to one's self

2) to receive something transmitted

b) to receive with the mind

1) by oral transmission: of the authors from whom the tradition proceeds

2) by the narrating to others, by instruction of teachers (used of disciples)

The tense for this word in this verse is Second Aorist, Active Voice, Indicative Mood. Here's what the Blueletterbible has to say about that:

5777 Tense - Second Aorist

The "second aorist" tense is identical in meaning and translation to the normal or "first" aorist tense. The only
difference is in the form of spelling the words in Greek, and there is no effect upon English translation.

The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is
generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations.

5784 Voice - Active

The active voice represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action. e.g., in the sentence, "The
boy hit the ball," the boy performs the action
.

5791 Mood - Indicative

The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be
rendered in the indicative mood.

So, what does all that mean? It means that they received the gospel in the past, but it is having ongoing action within them. They actively received it. In other words, they listened & believed. They could have tuned Paul out, but they didn't. (Example - in Jesus' parable of the four soils, they were "good" ground) So, they took in the gospel that Paul told them and believed it. They took their stand on it. This is the very gospel that saved them and is continuing to work within them. There is an element of being outside of time, which makes sense if you remember that God chose you before the creation of the universe. (we'll go over that in a bit)

There are three kinds of "receive." If I have a present for you, and I set it next to you, but you do nothing with it, that's dechomai (dekh'-om-ahee). It's for you, but you are completely passive. If I have a present for you, and I hand it to you, and you reach out and take it from me, that's lambano (lam-ban'-o). Or, if I have a present for you, and you grab it away from me, that's haireomai (hahee-reh'-om-ahee). Here, we're talking about lambano, with the preposition "para" added to it, which basically means "near."

and on which you have taken your stand.

To stand: histemi (his'-tay-mee)

This word usually means simply to physically stand, but Paul often uses it figuratively, to mean to stand firm in the faith, to continue in a belief. He's telling the Corinthians, "People, the gospel I told you is the very basis of your belief! It was this that made you Christians!" He can't believe that any of them would deny the resurrection, as it was an integral part of the gospel and the very thing they said they believed.

2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

This gospel - the one he is about to remind them of - is what saves them.

Saved - sozo (sode'-zo)

1) to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

1) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health

1) to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue

b) to save in the technical biblical sense - to save from judgment

It's this last one that is meant here - salvation through faith.

There are three ways that we are saved. We are saved from God's wrath and punishment, moved from hell to heaven, from death to life, as here:

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

It is the same Greek word, sozo, but here, it is the Perfect Tense, Passive Voice:

5778 Tense - Perfect
The perfect tense in Greek corresponds to the perfect tense in English, and describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.

Jesus' last cry from the cross, TETELESTAI ("It is finished!") is a good example of the perfect tense used in this sense, namely "It [the atonement] has been accomplished, completely, once and for all time."

You were saved, and that is completed. It was completed on the cross and completed in you when you believe. You do not need to be saved again. It is done - finished. Note the passive voice. This was done FOR you, TO you. You did not do the saving. You did not DO anything, just as a ball does not throw itself:

5786 Voice - Passive
The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. E.g., in the sentence, "The boy was
hit by the ball," the boy receives the action

There is a certain sense in which we have always been saved (in God's eyes, that is), as here:

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

Again, it's the same word, sozo, but now it is in the Aorist tense, which means it happened in the past and continues to the future. In a way, it is outside of time. You were chosen by God before the creation of the world.

5776 Tense - Aorist

The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is
generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations.

Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

That doesn't mean that you were a robot with no choice in the matter. It's a hard thing to get your mind around, but you were chosen to love God, before time began. At the same time, that doesn't mean that others WEREN'T chosen. I've heard it explained as a door. On one side, above the door, it says, "Enter here, any and all who choose." Once through, you look back, and the same door now says, "Chosen from eternity." Like I said, it's a hard thing to grasp. (I'm still working on it)

Now, in our verse in 1 Corinthians 15, there is a different tense used:

2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

In this case, the same word, sozo, is used in the present tense and passive voice.

5774 Tense - Present (are being)
The present tense represents a simple statement of fact or reality viewed as occurring in actual time. In most cases
this corresponds directly with the English present tense.

Some phrases which might be rendered as past tense in English will often occur in the present tense in Greek. These are termed "historical presents," and such occurrences dramatize the event described as if the reader were there watching the event occur. Some English translations render such historical presents in the English past tense, while others permit the tense to remain in the present.

Now, the word means "are being saved." This means that you are being saved in the present time. You were spiritually saved in the past and moved from death to life. You were saved from the punishment of sin. Now, through the same gospel, you are being moved towards becoming like Jesus. This time, your current life is being saved. You are (SLOWLY) being saved from the attraction of sin. You can be spiritually saved (from the punishment of sin) but still not useful to God. A newborn baby is certainly alive, but not terribly useful on her own. We all need to grow up in Him.

Notice that the voice is still passive. We are not growing ourselves. We don't become Christ-like by striving to be that way. We are being saved. The action is being done TO us. Paul said almost the same thing here:

Philippians 1:4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

There is a catch, though:

2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

There is something that is expected of us, in order for this to happen. We can stay useless infants if we don't hold firmly to the Word. How do you do that? You keep reading and studying it, so that it can continue to work in you. An infant needs continual feeding in order to grow. He DEMANDS it, doesn't he? He holds firmly to the idea of getting fed. (Ever try to ignore a hungry baby? Doesn't work very long, does it?) As he gets older, he begins feeding himself. In the same way, our faith needs nourishment. If we don't stay in God's Word, the world's beliefs get louder and stronger, and we may let go. We will have believed in vain. An infant isn't conceived, born and nourished with the idea that she will stay an infant. We expect her to grow. Something is WRONG if she doesn't. If it were possible for her to remain an infant, she wouldn't be able to serve in any way, but would need constant care from others - forever.

Well, something is wrong when people stay spiritual infants, too. We need to keep taking in God's truth.

There is a third way that we are saved, and it flows out of the previous idea:

Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved - and that by God.

This is the future tense, the final salvation, this time of our bodies. The first was the salvation of our souls, then of our lives and finally, of our bodies. This is our future salvation, when we take possession of all that we've been promised - no more tears or sorrow, hunger or pain, and no more death. We won't have fight against sin any more!!! This will happen when we are finally WITH Jesus.

NOTE: Don't let this verse confuse you. It is not saying that conducting yourself in the right way will save you - only that your conduct is a sign to unbelievers that judgment awaits them, while heaven is waiting for you.

A.W. Pink says that we have a fourfold salvation: saved from the penalty, power, presence and most importantly the pleasure of sin.

Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Think about that! The creation itself waits for our resurrection!

Let's go on:

1 Corinthians 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

Now, that can make us think of these verses:

Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

2 Peter 2:20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

These are strong warnings, but not a reason to fear. If you're worried that you've done it, you haven't. If you were truly in this position, you wouldn't care. We all have loved ones that may seem to fall into this, but we cannot know that for sure. We do not know hearts as God does. I would continue speaking and sharing the gospel if I had the opportunity and the person was willing to listen. I would surely continue praying, even if the person didn't allow me to speak anymore.

It is a warning, though. Here are some people that seem to have fallen into this position: A former evangelist (I can't find the place where I had read her own words, but here is a report on that person): BARBARA RICHMOND aka Leah Rafaeli

Once an evangelist, Charles Templeton died a bitter atheist: A Skeptic Reflects upon Jesus Christ

A letter to a man who claims to have truly believed but then rejected Jesus

 

Review

OK, there are three ways that God saves us. He saved our souls at the cross and when we believed. We are saved from the punishment of sin and moved from death to life. It happened in the past, but its effects carry on. When we truly believe, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit:

2 Corinthians 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

That gift of the Holy Spirit keeps us going as we should, and that leads to the second way we are saved:

Philippians 1:4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The second way we are saved is that God (slowly) draws us away from the attraction of sin. It is a lifelong process and it is something that God does in us. We don't just decide to be like Christ. However, we can shut down the process by refusing to be fed. We grow in Christ when we are fed from God's Word. Paul warns us in our passage:

1 Corinthians 15 1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 

God is the one in charge of our sanctification. That "being saved" is in the passive voice. God is doing it IN us. Again, WE don't just decide to become Christ-like. That is doomed to failure. However, we can short-circuit this process when we stay away from God's word (we don't go to church; we don't read and study it on our own; we don't hear or think about it, etc). When we do that, we're basically refusing to be fed. Remember when Paul preached to the Corinthians, they RECEIVED his message. That word is active and personal. Remember also our verse that we base our Bible Study on:

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

The Bereans actively received the message with great eagerness. Do you remember when you fed your baby when he/she was really hungry? Wow - that milk was received with great eagerness. It's the same kind of concept, here. That milk was all that was necessary for your baby to grow and thrive. However, the day also comes when milk is not enough, and you need to add solid food to your baby's diet. That, too, is often received with great eagerness. (With a few things that are hard for him to accept, though, right, and he turns his head away? We'll talk more of that later) Finally, the day comes when your child wants to feed himself.

Our spiritual lives are similar. It may be that some are happy with milk far longer than they ought to be:

Hebrews 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

The main point here is that God is in charge of our sanctification - that process of becoming more like Christ, less like the world - and the fuel He uses is His own Word. He is the one doing it in us, but we can stop the process by refusing to be fed. (Or, by not recognizing our hunger? Staying on a non-nutritious diet? Can you think of spiritual situations that might apply to?)

To use another analogy, God is driving the car, but the car doesn't get very far without gas in its tank.

The third way we are saved is yet future. The Bible calls it our glorious hope. It is the final redemption of our bodies and eternal life with Jesus. No more sin! No more death! We'll study more about that when we go over resurrection.

The Bible does include some very strong warnings. If you are never in God's Word - if you never hear it from others or read it at all, the best you can hope for is to be a baby Christian. Without being fed at all, it would be very easy to fall away entirely:

Again, please let me emphasize - if you are worried that you have committed this unpardonable sin, you haven't. That may be the Holy Spirit's voice you're hearing, urging you back to a closer relationship with your Savior. However, the person who has truly committed this sin doesn't know and doesn't care. We all have times of doubt - times when we lack faith - times when we slip backward. When that happens, God calls us back. That little voice that says, "I should be reading my Bible" or "I haven't been in church in a long time" or that nagging feeling of guilt over something you've done, is the Holy Spirit, calling you back. He shows you your sin and urges you to confess it to God and to repent:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

OK, back to our passage. We've made through two verses!
1 Corinthians 15

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Have you noticed how often Paul talks about what he received? He mentions it in nearly every letter he wrote. Why? I'm not sure of the full reason. Certainly, he was defending his right to be seen as a true Apostle. He wasn't taught by other men, but by Jesus himself - even though Jesus had already ascended at that point. This is one of those places where I'm sure there's more to it - but I don't know what that is. Lots to learn!!

So, what did Paul receive? He explains in his letter to the Galatians: 

Galatians 1:11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

Paul was sent to the Gentiles, most of whom probably weren't all that familiar with Scripture. They weren't keeping the law of Moses, and they didn't know all the ins and outs of the Messiah. Jesus told Paul what to preach to them. Paul wasn't making a decision on his own about what was important and what wasn't; Jesus told him what to say by direct revelation.

The true apostles were those who learned directly from Jesus, and were witnesses of his death and resurrection. By making these things known to Paul by direct revelation, Jesus put Paul on equal footing with the other apostles. He was not considered of the Twelve, but was the Apostle to the Gentiles. God made it apparent that the Gentiles were being saved by Paul's gospel through the signs of the gifts of the Spirit. For example, they also spoke in tongues.

There were things that Paul doesn't mention in his gospel. He doesn't mention Jesus' miracles or His teachings on how to live. He doesn't talk at all about the law. There are people who try to say that Paul's Gospel was different than the other Gospel messages, such as those given to Jews. It isn't. It's the same Gospel, but different groups of people have different things to "weed through" in order to understand the Gospel. For example, The Gentiles need to know that there even IS a Messiah, that He died for their sins, and that He was raised from the dead as they will be, if they believe. The Jews, who were familiar with Messiah but had some mistaken perceptions about Him, needed to know that JESUS is the Messiah, and that He fulfilled the prophecies about Him. The Jews didn't understand that Messiah had to die. They thought when He came, that He would be a political ruler who would reign forever. Many of them knew that under Messiah's rule they would be righteous, but they didn't understand how that was to come about. For the Jews, all that had to be explained, as Peter did in the beginning of Acts.

So, is Peter's gospel something different? No, not really. He is still saying that Jesus the Messiah died and rose again. He is still saying that it was by God's set purpose, not some tragic coincidence. He is still talking about the forgiveness of our sins. However, as these Jews were familiar with Scripture and living under certain expectations of their coming Messiah, he needs to do some explaining. Part of what he includes is a warning of coming judgment. Does Peter tell them they must fulfill the Law of Moses? No - he just tells them that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah. Does Peter tell them they should do away with the law? No, he doesn't do that, either. Many Jews who are Christians choose to live under the Law of Moses, not because it saves them, but because they are Jews and want to. That's why Paul's gospel could be confusing for some people who didn't understand this idea. Remember that the thought of Gentiles being part of the church without having to be circumcised and without living under the Jewish law was pretty hard for the Jewish Christians to understand. Paul's gospel was simply a gospel of grace, period. That doesn't mean that the gospel for the Jews wasn't, though.

I don't expect you to grasp all the ramifications of this. Just be aware that there are people who always take things to the extreme on both sides. Some try to make light of the Gospel and say that "believing in God" is the Gospel. Others will make much of the so called differences in Paul and Peter's (and others) approaches and say that there is one Gospel for Gentiles and another for Jews. The biggest thing that I want you to get out of it is that Paul received his gospel directly from Jesus, and that it is not in conflict with other gospel messages in the Bible.

 

Christ died

1 Corinthians 15

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Paul received this gospel from Jesus, along with other information. However, what he's about to say was the most important of all he received. The first thing he reminds them of is that Christ died. He doesn't say Jesus died, or even Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ, but that CHRIST died. Of course, he means Jesus, and some people would say that he's just using interchangeable terms. Perhaps he is, but my immediate assumption is always that there's a reason behind every word.

Remember that "Christ" means "anointed one" or Messiah. We see the word "Christ" so often that it's become like Jesus' last name, as in Jesus Christ. However, it's a title, so it really means "Jesus the Christ" or "Jesus the Messiah."

Saying Messiah to Jews is commonplace. They expected a Messiah. They were waiting for a Messiah. To this day, they're waiting for Messiah to come and bring them peace. However, this is written primarily to Gentiles, so why the use of the word "Christ" alone?

Well, that's on my list of "wish I knew" things. However, I can think of at least one reason, and that is that the Gentile world is looking for a Messiah also. Nearly every religion has expectations of a Messiah. Islam is looking for the Imam al-Mahdi. Hindus wait for Krishna. Buddhists expect Maitreya Buddah. Some claim he's already here, like Share International. On March 23, 2004, Rev. Sun Myung Moon was literally crowned as the long-awaited messiah and savior of the world in the Dirksen Senate office building with more than a dozen Senate and Congress members in attendance. Or, read the headlines that come up on these searches: Christ consciousness or Cosmic Christ (don't click on the articles - there is some really bad stuff there)

Ask a religious Jew why Jesus couldn't be the Messiah, and he will likely answer, "Because he didn't bring peace." The world wants peace - political peace, that is. Back in 1957, Jacques Santer, a European leader, said, "Europe needs a strong centralized leader. Show us such a man, and be he god or be he devil, we will follow him."

Should such a person show up with some brilliant plan to bring peace, the world may very well declare him their Messiah. Yet, what does our gospel say? Messiah died. So, not only has Messiah been here already, but He DIED, and not just any death - but for our sins.

Again, "Christ" means "anointed one" or Messiah. That's a title, not a name. The world is looking for a Messiah. The Messiah the world wants is someone who will straighten out this world's problems and bring peace. The world is not looking for a Messiah to come and suffer and die - nor was it 2,000 years ago. The Jews should have known - because the prophets spoke of it. But, we know that it is Jesus who is the Christ, the Messiah, through the very word of God. The Bible we hold in our hands is like no other book in the world. We went through some of the many proofs we have of that, and you can review them if you'd like. So, when God's Word announces the real savior, we listen. When the real savior was born, the angels announced:

Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

He wasn't born to bring peace to the world, but to bring peace between God and men. He is truly our savior. That's what the angel told Joseph:

Matthew 1:20 "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

John said he wrote his whole gospel so that we would know that it was Jesus who was the Messiah:

John 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The Messiah was never meant just for the Jews:

Isaiah 49:6 (God) says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

Matthew 4:12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali- 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

And, that Messiah came to die:

Luke 24:25 (Jesus) said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Acts 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said.

Some people say that Jesus never declared Himself to be the Messiah, but that's not true. Immediately after the temptations by Satan in the wilderness after his baptism, he headed to Nazareth, teaching as he went. In Nazareth, on the Sabbath, he went to the synagogue:

Luke 4:17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus took a prophecy clearly intended to be of the Messiah and applied it to Himself. He did that throughout his ministry and even after his resurrection.

John even tells us that to deny that Jesus is the Christ is to be an antichrist:

1 John 2:22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist - he denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

So, in other words, you cannot deny that Jesus is the Messiah and still be saved. Are those Jews who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but deny Jesus is the Messiah saved? Not according to this. It's not something you can come to on your own. Jesus says it is God who reveals that to us:

Matthew 16:15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

In fact, if you truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah (and all that that means), it shows that you are saved:

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

What exactly does it mean to be our Messiah? Here is an article that goes into that:

Isaiah 53 - Who Was Crushed and Pierced for Our Transgressions so That We Would Be Healed by His Wounds; upon Whom Did theLord Lay the Iniquity of All Mankind?

Another article about Jesus being our Messiah:

Jesus is the Messiah

 

This is a "pass through lightly" discussion of Jesus being Messiah. (There are entire books on that). As you read through the Bible on your own, I'd encourage you to "look for Messiah." Pray about it, and I bet - eventually - you'll start seeing Messiah on nearly every page. Remember that the Old Testament was the Scripture that the Jews had when Jesus came. Many of them were looking for Messiah, but only a few recognized Him when He came. They had it in their minds that Messiah was coming to rule forever and didn't understand that He had come that time to die. We'll take that up in Lesson 8.





Learning to be Bereans Bible Study



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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11



© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 1/2/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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