This Week’s Theme
The Gospel in Which You Stand
1 Corinthians 15.1-11
In writing to the Corinthians concerning issues on his mind, Paul brought up the issue of the Gospel and the resurrection of the dead. This is not an idle theological topic, with no application to character or conduct. Rather, Paul’s reminder of the centrality of the Gospel, which they had received and in which they stood, would be key also to their salvation and perseverance in the faith.
Paul said that he delivered to them “as of first importance” what he himself had also received: the facts of the Gospel message. Paul laid them out in clear fashion. First, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; next, that Jesus was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. Then, the risen Savior appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, and also to more than five hundred brothers at once (most of whom were alive at the time of the writing of his epistle). Paul finishes his “fact sheet” by saying the Lord appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and finally to himself, “as to one untimely born.” Paul considered himself to be the “least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Yet God’s grace overcame his rebellion, causing him to work harder than all the other apostles for Christ’s mission.
In this bare recitation of the facts of Jesus’s resurrection and appearances, Paul reminded the Corinthians of the Gospel he had preached and which they had believed. This Gospel had saved them, and they needed to cling to that Gospel, lest they had believed for nothing. Paul gave to them what he had received from the apostolic tradition, with the first importance being that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures had predicted, and that the risen Christ appeared to many as proof of his resurrection. The Gospel and the resurrection are intimately connected; because Jesus lives, we know that he paid our penalty, that God has accepted his sacrifice, and that our hope is real. This is the Gospel that we received, and in which we stand.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Great God and our Father, thank you for raising Jesus from the dead. He is alive, forevermore, exalted and soon to appear to complete the work he started on the cross. We believe that he rose again as the Scriptures testified, and that he appeared to select witnesses chosen before, by you. He is our living Mediator to represent us before you today. In his name, we give you thanks, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, thank you for Paul’s explanation of the Gospel here in this passage in Corinthians. This is not an invented or exaggerated message; rather, Paul has given to us what your messengers gave to him. You died, were buried, and rose the third day, and appeared to witnesses. We believe you will return and gather your own to yourself. Give us the grace to stand on the Gospel, till the end. In your name, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
The Gospel is the message whereby we are being saved, if we hold fast to the word that was preached to us.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
We have received the Gospel Paul preached, the same Gospel in which we stand, and are committed to hold fast that Word, till the end.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
One Mediator between God and Humankind
1 Timothy 2.3-7