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Part 2: We Follow Jesus Because He is the Gospel

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The most glorious thing about God is the gospel of Jesus Christ,This gospel must always be our message at Sovereign Hope, because it is the only message that has the power to save.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

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At some point in your life, you have probably heard someone say, “Well I have some good news and some bad news”
            -some of each – some news you’ll be glad to hear and some news that you won’t want to hear
            -then you have to decide which part you want to hear first
            -Do you want to hear the bad news first so that you get it out of the way and then you are freed up to hear the good news?
            -Or do you want the good news right away – start right off with the good stuff?
                        -But then you can’t fully enjoy the good news because the bad news is still lurking?
When someone has told you they have some good news to tell you, what is the best news you have ever heard?
            -Think about it – What is the best news someone has ever told you?
            -maybe “you got the job” – “the surgery went well” – “I’m pregnant”
                     -maybe “you have been accepted into the school” – “I’m coming home” – “we’re all okay”
            -whenever you hear any of these, they are great news
                        -these words and others like them can mean a lot to you
But these aren’t the best news
            -the best news in all the world is what God has done for you by sending Jesus
            -this news is the most beautiful story you can ever hear
            -it is the most important truth and the most influential event
            -it is the most life-changing and the most personally transforming
            -this is the only news in all the world that can save you from the judgment of God
                        -it is the only news that can change your eternity
                        -everyone says they want to go to heaven – this news is the only way you can get there
            -this news is the only essential news  - this is the only news that you have to have
            -it is wonderful on so many levels that God’s people will continually discover how more of how amazing it is for all of eternity
                     -it will never get old and you will never get to the end of it
            -if you are a follower of Jesus, this news will make you say a bigger “Wow” for all of eternity
The message of Jesus is the best news you can ever hear
            -no other news can ever come close to how great this news is
            -and in the Bible’s understated way, it calls this news the gospel – gospel = good news
            -this good news, the gospel, is the central message of God’s word
            -the main point of the Bible is the announcement of what God has done for us in Jesus
This is what we are going to look at today
Core Values series – spending six weeks looking at six core convictions that define us as a church
            -six great truths that we love and cherish and delight in
            -last week – Core Value #1 – We Seek God Because He is Glorious
            -Today – take it a step further by focusing on the most glorious thing about God
            -God is glorious in so many ways – every way you look at God he is glorious
                        -but what we will look at today is the most beautiful and glorious thing about God
Core Value #2 – We Follow Jesus Because He is the Gospel
The Bible has a lot of parts to it, but overall it has one main overarching story
            -it all starts with “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”
            -God created everything that exists – everything that is here is here because God created it
                        -nothing exists outside of him and nothing is independent from God
                        -he made it all
            -God created all the parts of the world and then he created us as men and women in the image of God
                        -God created us to know him and be in a loving relationship with him
            -God created the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve, and placed them in a delightful garden
            -and it was very good
But God gave them one command and they refused to obey even that one command
            -they doubted God and foolishly thought that they knew better than God
            -they turned against God’s one command and in so doing turned against God
            -even though they were created in the image of God so they can be in a close relationship with him, now they were separated from God
            -they started scrambling to try to fix it on their own – and we have been scrambling ever since
Even though they turned against God, God continued to love them and be gracious to them
            -but the damage was done – their sin and their rebellion against God forever changed us
Through the OT, we see God revealing himself to his people
            -he told them what he is like and taught them his ways
            -God continually does good to them – he saved them from all sorts of situations
            -but they continued to rebel against God
            -this is because they were broken on the inside and they couldn’t fix it
            -even though God gave them his commands, they continued to sin against him
                        -again and again and again
            -their rebellion was at the very root of their hearts – their problem was deep on the inside
            -regardless of what God did on the outside, nothing changed their internal problem
            -they were stuck – they couldn’t fix it and they didn’t really even want to fix it
In all of this God was continually good to them
            -God gave indications that at one day in the future he was going to do a new work
            -even though God had made covenants with his people, he points to a new covenant he will make
            -a covenant which changes people on the inside – by giving them a new heart and a new spirit
            -he speaks about his Servant whom he will send – a Deliverer for his people
                        -at times, this Deliverer is describe as a glorious king whom all the nations will worship
                        -and at other times, he is described as a humble servant who will be mocked and crushed
                                    -put to death at the hands of wicked men
            -no one could put together exactly how God would do it
Then, after many years, God announces that a young virgin girl will give birth to the one who will save his
                     people from their sins
            -Jesus is born – the great Hero of the story, the coming King has come to the earth
            -when he was older, he taught the people in profound ways
                        -he did all sorts of miracles
            -from whatever angle you look at Jesus, you could see that there is absolutely no one like Jesus
            -but then the leaders and the government turned against Jesus
            -he was arrested, beaten, mocked, and sentenced to death
                        -he was subjected to the most humiliating, most tortuous form of death – death on a cross
            -Jesus’ followers were dumbfounded – they didn’t know what to do
                        -they had put their hope in Jesus – they thought that he was the Deliverer God had promised
                        -and now he had been killed – it all seemed over
                        -Jesus was now dead, and Jesus was buried
But then on the third day Jesus rose from the dead because God raised him from the dead
            -then it all clicked and came together for Jesus’ disciples in a way that they could have never imagined
            -the risen Jesus met with them – on numerous occasions
            -in the 1 Corinthians 15 passage that was read, it tells us how more than 500 people saw him at one time
            -Jesus explained to them how he had to suffer and die to fulfill God’s promises in the Scriptures
                        -Jesus showed them how he is the key that brings all the promises of God together
            -Jesus’ disciples had thought that Jesus’ death on the cross was when everything went wrong
                        -but now they see that Jesus death on the cross was when everything went right
                        -Jesus’ death on the cross was not his defeat but his ultimate victory
            -in Jesus, God came to the earth, not only to bring his judgment but to receive his judgment
            -he came to die in our place to do what we could never do
            -but Jesus could – and Jesus did
Now for the past 2000 years, Jesus has been building his church as he promised to do
            -raising up a people from every nation, tribe, tongue and language
            -this people from all over the world who worship their Savior Jesus Christ as King and Lord
And the story is not over yet – because our King will return to establish his kingdom in its full force
            -he will come and defeat the forces of evil once and for all
            -and his people, all those who have believed in him will live with him and reign with him forever
This is the story of the Bible
            -the great gospel message is the announcement of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ
This gospel message is the greatest news we can ever hear and the most glorious truth about God
Philippians 2:8-11
Revelation 5:9-10
The cross of Jesus tells us the most essential truths about ourselves and the most essential truths about God
1. What the cross says about us
            -if you want to see how bad your sin is, look at the cross
            -your sin is so bad that the only way it could be forgiven is by the brutal death of God’s perfect Son
            -we don’t have a little problem – we aren’t pretty good on the whole
            -we are wretched, vile, hard-hearted, arrogant rebels against our Maker
            -our problem was so deep that they only way it could be overcome is through Jesus’ death
Ever since we fell back in the Garden of Eden, we have tried to fix our problem
            -we have blamed others – as if it is somebody else’s fault, but surely not our fault
            -we have minimized our sin – as if what we have done is not really that bad
            -we have have hidden our sin – we have tried to cover it up
                        -this is why we sin in secret – we usually don’t sin in broad daylight because we want it hidden
                        -this is why we don’t want anyone else to find out
                     -we are embarrassed and ashamed when they do
            -we justify our sin in all sorts of ways
                        -we have this inner lawyer his is always faithfully and relentlessly working in our defense
            -we have pridefully thought we could fix our problems on our own
But we couldn’t – our problem is so deep that we can’t fix it
-and the real truth is that on our own, not only can’t we fix it, but we really don’t want to even if we could
            -we are deeply and irreparably broken – we are wicked sinners – every last one of us
            -if you want to see your sin for what it really is, look at the cross of Jesus
                        -Jesus’ death on the cross is what your sins deserved
Do you see this? Are you willing to say, “Yes, this is what is absolutely true about me”
            -if not, you will continue to blame-shift and justify yourself and defend yourself
            -if not, you will continue to hide your sin and hope that no one finds out
            -but you will never solve your problem – you will never find new life in Jesus
Truly coming to Jesus begins when we see how desperate our need is
            -if you don’t see your deep need, you will never really see why you need Jesus
            -you won’t come to him as if your life depends on it, because you really don’t think it does
            -but if your life didn’t depend on Jesus’ work, he would have never went to the cross
If this were the only part of the story (what the cross says about you), this would be bad news
                     -but that isn’t all there is – this isn’t the end of the story
2. What the cross says about God
In the cross, we see the full depth of the love of God
            -we see that God does not treat us as our sins deserve – that would mean our judgment
            -instead God came to die in our place so that we could be reconciled to him
            -if you want to know who God is, you look to the cross
                        -the cross is the clearest picture of who God is
                        -in the cross we see the depths of the grace and mercy of God
                        -and nothing is more beautiful and glorious about God than his grace and mercy
See people have always tried to figure out what God is like – many other religions, a lot of opinions/speculation
            -almost all have this idea that God is powerful – probably that God is Creator
            -also that God is the Judge – the God will judge all other people
            -but no one came up the idea that God is gracious and merciful
            -we would have never thought that up on our own – it is too good for us even to imagine
            -but this is who God is – this is what we see most clearly in the cross of Jesus
All other religions basically boil down to some version of karma
            -karma – if you do good things, the gods or some force out there will someone make good happen to you
                        -and if you do bad things the gods will bring bad things to you
            -karma is you get what you deserve – you get what you deserve and some higher power will see to that
But this is where the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is so much better
            -because of the depths of sin, no human being can never have any hope if karma gets the final say
                        -if you get what you deserve, you are done
            -in the gospel you don’t get what you deserve – Jesus took what you deserved
                        -not only that, but you get what Jesus deserved
            -this is how beautiful and glorious the gospel of Jesus is
Tim Keller – brings these two sides of the gospel together
            -“You are more sinful than you could ever dare imagine and you are more loved and accepted than you could ever dare hope-at the same time.”
            -“We’re far worse than we ever imagined, and far more loved than we could ever dream.”
I want to stop here for a minute and take stock
            -Do you see how marvelous and good Jesus is to you?
            -Are you amazed at what Jesus has done? Does it stir your heart to worship him?
            -Do you truly believe in him?
            -I’m not talking about some generic belief in God
                     -But do you believe in Jesus Christ, who died, was buried and rose again?
            -Have you given your life fully to him?
            -Is it your highest goal in life to please him in every way you can?
            -Have you become a wholehearted follower of Jesus?
            -If not, why not? Whatever plan do you have? Whatever it is, it will not work
                        -your only hope is Jesus
The gospel of Jesus also changes how we do church
What we see in the NT is an absolute emphasis on the gospel of Jesus
            -on what Jesus accomplished on the cross and how we must believe in and follow him
            -this is the message that dominates the NT
            -it is in every book, every letter, every sermon – it is looking at this same message again and again
            -this is the message to nonbelievers and believers – to every audience
            -because the message of the gospel is what we need
Romans 1:15-16
1 Corinthians 2:1-2
In the NT, the don’t try to make up some better message – they know they can’t improve it in any way
            -they don’t start at the gospel and then move on to other, higher things
            -they keep coming back to the gospel and the implications of the gospel
            -because the gospel is what we truly need
            -the gospel is God’s power to change us and change our lives so that we live in ways pleasing to him
            -if you hope to please God, the only way you will ever do it is by living out the gospel
This is why the gospel of Jesus must always be our message here at Sovereign Hope
            -this is why our Core Value #2 is “We Follow Jesus Because He is the Gospel”
Here is what I have often seen happen in my life, in the lives of other believers, and in many churches
            -because of our hard-heartedness, we get bored with the gospel
            -we can think that we have heard that message over and over again – same old same old
            -because our hearts are hardened to the gospel, in our boredom we move on to other things
                        -we move on to other emphases – try to find something to entertain us other than the gospel
                        -or we misdiagnose ourselves by thinking that what we really need is something else
            -these may be good things, but the problem is that we try to make them the main thing
Maybe we turn to political involvement – think that what we really need is different election results and laws
            -as if what we really need is to take America back for Jesus – again through laws and elections
Maybe End-times speculation becomes the main thing
            -where we have the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other and try to connect the dots
            -where we can become more fascinate by our speculations about what is not clear than what God has made clear
Maybe it is discovering the Jewish roots of our faith – trying to go back to the Jewish festivals
            -focus on what happened before Jesus rather than the full fulfillment that we have in him
Maybe it is a fascination with spiritual gifts – where we hunger for some ecstatic experience
Maybe it is a dominating focus on Creation Science
            -where we think that we can look at different rocks and prove God once and for all
            -that people will be changed by our facts
            -the problem is that blind spiritual eyes can’t see until God gives them sight
Maybe it is social justice or mercy – good things in and of themselves
            -but we think we can fix what is wrong with the world by our activism
            -where the main problem is structural injustice and not sin
Maybe leadership becomes the main thing
            -in many churches, they talk very little about Jesus and the gospel, but you can hear a lot about leadership
Maybe it is doing all that we can do be hip and trendy and relevant
            -to try to attract the world by trying to look and act just like the world looks
            -if you are trying to make God relevant, you are already on a mistaken path
            -if you try to give the world back more of itself, you have nothing to give the world
You can probably come up with your own list of what we can replace the gospel with, even in the church
            -but we cannot improve upon the message of the gospel in any way
                        -if we try to tamper with it we miss it – we miss what we really need
            -it is so incredibly arrogant to think we can come up with something better than the gospel
The gospel message, the message of the cross of Jesus, is the main emphasis throughout the Bible
            -if our emphasis is something other than the gospel of Jesus, we have an unbiblical message
May we as Sovereign Hope Church know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified
What do you need? What do you truly need?
            -you need the gospel of Jesus – you need the forgiving, reconciling, life-giving work of Jesus
            -you need the gospel of Jesus every day for the rest of your life
            -you don’t need to move on beyond the gospel to bigger and better things
            -what you need is to more fully live out the gospel of Jesus
            -you need to have your life come more fully in line with what Jesus has done and is doing for you
So what does this all mean for you?
            -well we can’t cover it all today – to fully get to the bottom of this will take all of eternity
            -this is why we need each other as the church
            -every one of us needs the church of Jesus to live out the gospel in its fullness
Until Jesus returns, with God’s help, we together at Sovereign Hope will focus on the glorious gospel of Jesus
            -This is our core conviction – this is the truth of God in which we delight
            -We Follow Jesus Because He is the Gospel
Colossians 1:21-23a

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