Delivered and Received (1 Corinthians 15)
- Order of Service: Divine Service 3
- Hymns: LSB #457, 931, 488, 461, 480, 490
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)
St. Paul preached the Gospel in Corinth. He began the congregation there in Justus' house, right next door to the synagogue who had kicked him out. Eventually the ruler of the synagogue received the Gospel. The Gospel is powerful in its working because it is God's Word.
Through this same Gospel, you came to believe in Christ. You may not have a great testimony like Justus or Crispus or Gaius in Corinth, but you have the same faith. Faith in a Savior from sin and death. One who will bring you from this world filled with immorality into everlasting life. But you cannot have everlasting life if you haven't heard the Gospel. You come to worship at this early morning hour because you have received the Gospel and stand in it.
The Gospel is not only heard. It is experienced. It wraps itself around you. Covering you in Jesus' shed blood. The shed blood of the Savior who was raised from the dead on Easter morning. Just as Jesus stood outside the tomb and spoke to Mary Magdalene, you stand in His Gospel. Jesus calls you by name through the Gospel. You are saved by the Gospel.
Jesus' resurrection was a one-time event. He died once. He rose once. Death has no more dominion over Him. The Gospel experience isn't a one-time deal. It lasts a lifetime. You are wrapped up in Christ's death and resurrection just as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus' corpse in the linen strips. You are wrapped from head to toe in forgiveness won for you by Christ's broken body and shed blood. Wrapped so closely that you can't be identified apart from Christ. You are in Christ and Christ is in you. That is the power of the Gospel.
But the Gospel only benefits you if you hold fast to it. If you cling to it in faith. Nothing else can help you. Only faith in Christ delivered through the Gospel. “Whoever believes and baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Holding fast to faith is required to keep salvation. This is why the Confirmation vows are worded the way they are: “Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even to death? Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?”
These aren't just words that we are saying. These are vows of steadfast fidelity we are making to our God. By the grace of God, we intend to keep these vows whole and undisturbed. But we also know that they will be broken from time to time. But we have a Savior and Redeemer who has covered those sins. His death and resurrection we celebrate this morning with our Alleluias. We break our fasting over our Lord's Passion and celebrate the new life He gives to us through His resurrection. Everlasting life where our Alleluias ring throughout the new creation. Those who are faithful until death will receive the crown of life.
This is the faith that has been delivered to you and you have received from the Lord. The same Lord who sacrificed Himself so you might live. And He commands you to live in that faith and hold firmly to it so that you might enjoy the pleasures of Heaven with Him. Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!) Amen.