The Gospel You Must Receive—1 Corinthians 15:1-7

20160328FBCAM Easter; Resurrection Sunday

Levi Durfey




As we have journeyed through the book of 1 Corinthians together, we’ve seen a lot of issues that the apostle Paul had to deal with. Everything from divisions over who was the best apostle in chapter 1 to the misuse of spiritual gifts in chapters 12-14. 


Now we come to the last great issue that he had to tackle with the Corinthian church. They were confused about their own future resurrection as believers—we’ll learn about that later. Paul begins to address the issue by reminding them of the gospel. He says…


1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:1–7)


To begin, Paul reminds the Corinthians of what the gospel is…

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Stranger Behavior-1 Peter 2:11-12

20160320FBCAM—Anniversary Sunday

Levi Durfey




A. 85 Years Have Brought Many Changes


What was the world like eighty-five years ago? We have a tendency to glamorize the “good old days,” forgetting that they had problems of their own. We also forget that they didn’t have many of the things that we enjoy today—like hearing aids, microwaves, and frozen pizza. No, the old days weren’t perfect by any means. 


But I think it is accurate to say that today the culture overall is less friendly to Christianity than it was eighty-five years ago. The culture is more ready to challenge Christians about their faith and even demand that they set their faith aside in certain situations, as we’ve seen with recent cases of Christian photographers, bakers, florists, and even county clerks.


Like it or not, the culture has changed. Christianity is not the norm anymore. Russell Moore, who writes about cultural issues, tells about a conversation that he had with an atheist lesbian:


We had a respectful, civil conversation, though she couldn’t help but laugh out loud several times when I articulated [Christian] viewpoints…


She said I was the first person she’d ever actually talked to who believed that sexual expression ought only to take place within marriage, and that I was the only person she’d ever met in real life who thought that marriage could only happen with the union of a man to a woman…She followed this up by saying, “So do you see how strange what you’re saying sounds to us, to those of us out here in normal America?” 


Before I could answer, I was distracted by those two words: “normal America.” How things had turned around. Most of the people in the pews of my church back home would consider themselves to be “normal America.”…But I suspect she’s right. More and more, she represents the moral majority…She is normal, now. 


She snapped me out of my daydreaming by asking again, “Seriously, do you know how strange this sounds to me?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I do…But what you should know is, we believe even stranger things than that. We believe a previously dead man is going to show up in the sky, on a horse” (Moore, Onward).


This is where we are at eighty-five years later, and no amount of wishful thinking or complaining or boycotting will ever bring those days back. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and become Amish, but we also cannot strike back in anger. But what we do need to do is to learn how God wants us to live as Christians in this new culture. 


The first thing we need to realize is that this the kind of culture where Christianity was first planted—and it thrived. 


Case in point: Peter wrote the letter of 1 Peter around AD 64-65, about the same time that Rome was burned. The burning of Rome killed many people, left many more homeless, and destroyed buildings of religious and cultural value. The Romans were devastated. Emperor Nero, who hated Christians, blamed the burning of Rome on Christians. As a result, Christians were widely and viciously persecuted. Christians were covered with tar, hung up on poles, and burned to give light along roadways.


We can be thankful that we aren’t at that point…yet. Peter wrote this letter to help those persecuted Christians know how to survive in a world that despised them and what they stood for. His letter can also help us live in a culture that is becoming more and more anti-Christian.


If eighty-five years have brought many changes, we can also say…

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Orderly Worship—1 Corinthians 14:20-40


Levi Durfey




I heard a story about how a surgeon, an engineer, and a politician were discussing which one of their professions was the oldest, and therefore the best:


The surgeon said, “Eve was made from Adam’s rib, and that, of course, was a surgical procedure. Obviously, surgery is the oldest profession.”


The engineer countered with, “Yes, but before that, order was created out of chaos, and that most certainly was an engineering job.”


The politician smiled and said triumphantly, “Aha! And just who do you think created the chaos?”


Indeed, from the very beginning, God has loved order in Creation. That is why the problem in the church at Corinth was so troubling. God, Paul will say in this section, is not a God of confusion. And since He is a God of order, our worship should also be an orderly worship. Paul says that:


1 Corinthians 14:20 

Brethren, be not children in understanding: 

howbeit in malice be ye children, 

but in understanding be men.  


Paul uses the word “Brethren,” to grab their attention and plead for them to listen carefully. It’s like saying, “My fellow countrymen, lend me your ears! Don’t be immature in your thinking. Be like innocent children when it comes to evil, but be grown-up in your thinking.” 


Speaking in tongues was to the Corinthians like a new toy is for a child. They were infatuated with them, and as a result, their worship services were chaotic. To correct this, Paul outlines the benefits of orderly worship:


I. Orderly Worship Is Helpful For Unbelievers

II. Orderly Worship Builds Up All Attending

III. Orderly Worship Requires Our Submission

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Why Can’t We Be Saved By Good Works?—Romans 4:1-5


Levi Durfey




There was a preacher who explained salvation like this:


It seems that a frog one day fell into a pail of milk, and though he tried every conceivable way to jump out, he always failed. The sides were too high, and because he was floating in the milk he could not get enough leverage for the needed leap. So he did the only thing he could do. He paddled and paddled and paddled some more. And oila!—his paddling had churned a pad of butter from which he was able to launch himself to freedom. The preacher’s message was: “Just keep paddling, keep on working, keep on doing your best, and you will make it.”[1]


Sadly, many people, even preachers really do think that salvation is earned by working hard like that frog. A survey was taken several years ago of 7000 church-going teens from a number of denominations. The results show that…


  • 70% thought it was true that God is satisfied if a person lives the best life he can. 
  • 60% agreed that God accepts you if you sincerely try to be good.[2] 


Now remember, these were church-going teens, but they answer the way world wants to believe about God. Either that seeped into the churches they attended, or the churches weren’t clear enough to counteract the world’s teaching. Just to be clear, then, what does the Bible say?


Is God satisfied if you live the best life you can?


48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)


Does God accept you if you sincerely try to be good?


10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10–12)


20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)


28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28)


Well now, that’s pretty clear, isn’t it? But why can’t we be justified by works or good deeds? That’s what we turn to now…

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