BUT…Christ IS risen from the dead… (1st Corinthians 15:1-58)

Over the last few decades, in America, the gospel has been twisted and distorted by all kinds of false teaching. Most of these false gospels have to do with our self-esteem or our comfort. There is the false gospel of Robert Schuller:

“What does it mean to be saved? It means to be permanently lifted from sin (psychological self-abuse) and shame to self-esteem and its God glorifying human need-meeting, constructive, and creative consequences…To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image—from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust.” (Schuller, R. Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 99).

Then there is the Joel Osteen gospel:

“He said, ‘Because I live, you shall live also.’ He wasn’t just talking about breathing. He was talking about living an abundant life. Not a barely-getting-by life. Not a life filled with lack and mediocrity. No, because of the price He paid, we have a right to live in total victory. Not partial victory where we have a good family and good health—but we constantly struggle in our finances. That’s not total victory…He has paid the price so that we may be totally free…Free from poverty and lack. Free from low self-esteem…” (Osteen, j. Sermon entitled, Living in Total Victory)

Then there is the prosperity gospel which promises health and wealth if you believe—and if you don’t have health and wealth, then your faith just isn’t strong enough. More recently we have been exposed to the Purpose-Driven gospel, which is nothing more than a gospel of “good works.” That meeting physical needs is the number one goal of the church, and is more important than the gospel.

Thing is, the apostle Paul said some harsh words about those who preach false gospels. Galatians 1:8 (John Darby Translation)But if even we or an angel out of heaven announce as glad tidings to you anything besides what we have announced as glad tidings to you, let him be accursed. So what is the “true gospel?” The true gospel is this, 1st Corinthians 15:1-5Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. That is the gospel. That is the “good news.” That even though we are born sinners, that we were cut off from God because of our sins, Christ died to pay for those sins, so that anyone who believes—and keeps on believing—will have eternal life. He didn’t die to rescue our self-esteem, He didn’t die to open up some Heavenly ATM. He died because we were wretched sinners headed for Hell. Period. Paragraph.

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