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THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, August 22, 2010

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).


Please keep your Bibles open to this place.

Many of you have come here for the first time this morning. We went out to the colleges and malls and street corners and invited you to come. And you came! Thank you for coming! You are our special guests! God bless you!

Many of you come from another religious background, or perhaps you never thought very much about religion. My purpose this morning is to explain to you the heart of Biblical Christianity. The central message of the Christian faith is called the “Gospel.” In I Corinthians 15:1 the Apostle said, “I declare unto you the gospel.” The English word “Gospel” is a translation of a Greek word that means “the good news.” William Tyndale (1494-1536) the great English reformer and Bible translator said,

Euagelio [translated as “Gospel”] is a Greek word, and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, and maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy (William Tyndale, from The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations, Baker Books, 2000, p. 438).

Why did he say that about the Gospel?

I. First, the Gospel tells us of God’s love for fallen man.

In the Garden of Eden Adam committed the first sin – in rebellion against God. When Adam sinned he hid himself “from the presence of the Lord God” (Genesis 3:8). From that day on the whole human race, all of Adam’s descendants, have been hiding from God in one way or another. The Bible says,

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The whole human race, from Adam to our own day, has been under the bondage of sin. In fact, the Bible says,

“They are all under sin; As it is written…There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God”
       (Romans 3:9-11).

Man has invented many religions to make himself feel better. He has hidden from the true God in the darkness of man-made religion. But somehow these religions do not satisfy. When tragedy and death come, they sense that their beliefs and values are not enough. Because of sin, they face loneliness, confusion and heartache. When a friend or relative dies they ask themselves if there is any meaning to life. The terrible pressures that face young people today are the sad product of sin. Many young people are so distressed by their lives that they become deeply depressed – and an alarming number of them commit suicide. Statistics show that suicide is now the number two cause of death among young people between the ages of sixteen to twenty-five.

All around us we see that the world has gone wrong. The President promised us there would be “change.” But we haven’t seen any real change. We need to pray for him. The war in Afghanistan drags on and on. The economy is worse than any time since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Today it’s harder to find employment than at any time in my memory. When you graduate from college, there’s no job waiting for you. When you look for a friend, they often betray you. I heard one young man say, “Life stinks.” That says it pretty well, doesn’t it? Someone said, “Life is hard – and then you die.” It is against that dark and unhappy background that the Gospel gives us hope. As Tyndale said, the good news of the Gospel “makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing – and leap for joy.”

II. Second, the Gospel tells us that our sins can be pardoned by Christ’s death on the Cross.

Read I Corinthians 15:3 aloud.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
      (I Corinthians 15:3).

“Christ died for our sins.” That is the first point of the Gospel.

Keep in mind that Christ was no ordinary man. No ordinary man could say the things Christ said about Himself. Christ said, “I came down from heaven” (John 6:38). Christ said, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). Christ said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Christ said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). Christ said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me…shall never die” (John 11:25, 26). Christ said, “I came…to save the world” (John 12:47). Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Christ said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Christ was no ordinary man. No ordinary man could say such things about Himself. Dr. C. S. Lewis was a professor at Oxford University. He said, “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up [as] a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any…nonsense about Him being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (C. S. Lewis, Ph.D., Mere Christianity, HarperCollins edition 2001, p. 52). Again C. S. Lewis said, “This man we are talking about was (and is) just what He said or else a lunatic or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. God has [come to this] world in human form” (ibid. p. 53).

Our sins can be pardoned by Christ’s death on the Cross because He was and is God the Son. Christ, the sinless Son of God, came down from Heaven to pay the full penalty for our sins on the Cross. The Bible says, “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24).

He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins. But He also shed His Blood so our sins could be washed away. The Bible says, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Both things happen when you come to Christ by faith. Your sins are both pardoned and cleansed. Dr. John R. Rice said it so well in one of his beautiful songs,

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
   Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
   Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.
(“Oh, What a Fountain!” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980;
   click here for the music).

Sing it!

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
   Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
   Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.

We have a story of love past all measure.
   We tell how sinners forgiven can be.
There is free pardon, for Jesus has suffered,
   And made atonement on Calvary’s tree.

Sing the chorus again!

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
   Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
   Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.

Yes, the Gospel tells us that our sins can be pardoned by Christ’s death on the Cross – and completely washed away by His precious Blood! Sing it again!

We have a story of love past all measure.
   We tell how sinners forgiven can be.
There is free pardon, for Jesus has suffered,
   And made atonement on Calvary’s tree.

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
   Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
   Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.

When you come to Christ you will know why Tyndale said that the Gospel “maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy”!

III. Third, the Gospel tells us that Christ rose from the dead to give us life eternal.

Read verse four aloud.

“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:4).

Christ rose literally and physically from the dead!

“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it”
       (Acts 2:24).

Christ rose from the dead and “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days” (Acts 1:3). Then, after forty days were over, Christ ascended back to Heaven.

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

He is able to save those who come to Him forever, “Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

The powers of death have done their worst,
   But Christ their legions hath dispersed:
Let shouts of holy joy outburst. Alleluia!
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
(“The Strife Is O’er,” translated by Francis Pott, 1832-1909).

“The three sad days have quickly sped.” Sing it with me!

The three sad days have quickly sped;
   He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That is the heart of Christianity! That is the Gospel of the living Christ! How we pray that you will come to Him and be saved for all time, and for all eternity! Then you will be able to say with old Tyndale, “[The Gospel] signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, and maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy”! “The three sad days.” Sing it!

The three sad days have quickly sped;
   He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

“The powers of death have done their worst.” Sing it!

The powers of death have done their worst,
   But Christ their legions hath dispersed:
Let shouts of holy joy outburst. Alleluia!
   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”
You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here) - or you may
write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Corinthians 15:1-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Oh, What a Fountain!” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

(I Corinthians 15:1)

I.   First, the Gospel tells us of God’s love for fallen man, Genesis 3:8;
Romans 5:12; 3:9-11.

II.  Second, the Gospel tells us that our sins can be pardoned by
Christ’s death on the Cross, I Corinthians 15:3; John 6:38, 47;
John 8:12; 10:9, 30; 11:25, 26; John 12:47; 14:6, 9;
Hebrews 9:28; I Peter 2:24; I John 1:7.

III. Third, the Gospel tells us that Christ rose from the dead to
give us life eternal, I Corinthians 15:4; Acts 2:24; 1:3;
Mark 16:19; Hebrews 7:25.