1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;…
I. THE PRIMARY TRUTHS WHICH ST PAUL DELIVERED TO THE CORINTHIANS.
1. Here is a solitary Jew visiting a great heathen city for the first time, to preach an entirely new religion. His bodily presence is weak, and his speech, compared to that of Greek rhetoricians, contemptible. He stands almost alone in a city, famous all over the world for luxury, immorality, and idolatry. A more remarkable conjuncture it is hard to conceive. And what did he say about the Founder of the new faith which he wanted them to receive in place of their ancient religion?
(1) That He died, and died as a malefactor on the Cross. Why did St. Paul lay so much stress upon this? Because "He died for our sins."(2) That He rose from the dead. By this amazing miracle He proved, as He had frequently said He would, that He was the Saviour foretold in prophecy; that the satisfaction for sin He had made by His death was accepted by God the Father; that the work of our redemption was completed, and that death, as well as sin, was a conquered enemy.
2. Learn —
(1) What were the leading principles of that religion which, eighteen centuries ago, came forth from Palestine, and turned the world upside down. Christianity starved idolatry, and emptied the heathen temples, stopped gladiatorial combats, elevated the position of women, raised the whole tone of morality, and improved the condition of children and the poor. These are facts which we may safely challenge all the enemies of revealed religion to gainsay. What did it all? Not the mere publication of a higher code of duty, but the simple story of the Cross and the sepulchre.
(2) What the foundation of our own personal religion must be, if we really want inward spiritual comfort. That the early Christians possessed such comfort is plain. These men had a firm grasp of the two great facts which St. Paul proclaimed "first and foremost" to the Corinthians.
II. THE REASONS WHY HE WAS LED TO ASSIGN TO THESE TRUTHS SUCH A PROMINENT POSITION. There are three great facts which stare us in the face everywhere.
1. Sin. When the sense of this is really awakened, what can cure it? Nothing has ever been found to do good to a sin-stricken soul but the sight of a Divine Mediator.
2. Sorrow. What shall best help man to meet and bear this? The cold lessons of Stoicism have no power in them. Just here, the Pauline doctrine of a risen Christ comes in with a marvellous power, and exactly meets our necessities.
3. Death. At no point do human religions and philosophies break down so completely as in the article of death. At the point where all man-made systems are weakest, there the gospel is strongest.Conclusion:
1. Do not be ashamed of holding decided views about the first things — the foundation truths of religion.
2. The only way to do good is to walk in St. Paul's steps, and to tell men first, foremost, continually, that Jesus Christ died for their sins, and rose again for their justification.
Parallel VersesKJV: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;