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 1st Corinthians 15:3,4.
When was it that the Apostle Paul first delivered to the Corinthians "how that Christ died for their sins according to the scriptures"? When did he first show them that Christ was buried and that he rose again the third day? Fortunately the word of God is very clear about that. He did so when he first came to Corinth. He did so before he even named Christ's name. He labored in the synagogue to convince his hearers what the scriptures said of the coming Christ before he even told them that he knew Christ and who he was.
Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
Acts 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
Acts 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
We cannot get a precise time table for how long the Apostle Paul preached in the synagogue before Silas and Timotheus caught up with him. We do know that Paul had commanded them to leave Berea and to join with him in Athens. We know that those who conducted Paul from Berea to Athens by sea carried back Paul's command to Silas and Timotheus to come and join him, (Acts 17:15). We know that Paul preached in the synagogue for however long it would take someone to:
1. sail by ship from Athens to Berea,
2. find the two disciples,
3. for the two disciples to sail to Athens only to find that Paul was not there,
4. and the two disciples to travel from Athens to Corinth and find Paul.
We can be sure that at the very least it would have taken many weeks, it may have taken months.
What was the Apostle Paul doing in the interim? He was preaching in the synagogue every sabbath persuading all who would listen. What was he persuading them about? Acts 18:5 tells us that he did not reveal the name of the promised Messiah (Christ) until Silas and Timotheus arrived. Instead he spent those weeks revealing scriptural facts about the "Christ" that they were expecting. He used the very scriptures that they read every sabbath
If Paul had not yet revealed the identity of the Christ, and if whatever he was preaching in the synagogue needed him to use persuasion, we can be sure it was not the standard fare of teaching in the synagogue. What the Apostle Paul was doing was preparing his listeners in exact accordance with his statements about the law; Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith, Galatians 3:24. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, Romans 3:21.
The Apostle Paul spent many weeks persuading the Jews and Greek who came to the synagogue about the Christ from within the Old Testament scriptures. He used the same scriptures that Jesus Christ used on the road to Emmaus; And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself, Luke 24:27. He persuaded them with the same verses that Jesus Christ used in Luke 24:44 when he further taught his disciples; And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
You will note that the Apostle Paul spent weeks preaching the death burial and resurrection of the Christ (without revealing who Christ was) by expounding all of the prophets (Acts 3:24, Acts 10:43, Luke 24:27), the Psalms, and Moses.
What troubles me in our time is that most American Fundamental King James Blah, Blah, Blah, churches, Baptist and otherwise have become sterile. They exhibit very little evidence of conversions other than their soul winning statistics. Their membership only changes when sea changes occur in surrounding churches.
If the average pastor had to confine his ministry to only those he himself found lost and undone without Christ, wooed to a saving knowledge in Christ and then labored over them until Christ was fully formed in them, he would have nothing or almost nothing.
Part of the sterility of his church stems from the sterility of his gospel. He has become straightened in his own bowels and sees the gospel as being strictly the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is an error. The gospel is the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures. The good Apostle tells us that he used Old Testament scriptures to preach that. Paul did not preach that Jesus did those things. He preached HOW he did those things.
Look at our opening verses again. 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 Corinthians 15:3, 4. What was the first presentation by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian people? His first presentation took many weeks of persuading Jews and Greeks out of the Psalms, all of the Prophets and in Moses. He did that without once using any New Testament scriptures. He persuaded men by means of the Old Testament as to what to expect from the Christ.
If the average preacher today was asked to preach the death burial and resurrection of the Messiah and to persuade unbelieving Jews and Gentiles well versed in the Old Testament scriptures by revealing the prophecies of the coming Messiah from within their own scriptures, could he last for many weeks? Could he last more than 20 minutes?
Could he find the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Book of Job?, Jonah?, Habakkuk?, the Psalms of Asaph (a prophet: Matthew 13:35)?, Moses? Could he hold the attention of a well attended synagogue for weeks at a time? If he cannot, he has never preached the gospel in accordance to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
There are two evangelists currently associated with my church who freely and with great power preach Christ from the Old Testament scriptures. In some churches this has been greeted with a genuine love of the truth. In others they are accused of adding to the gospel. (They are indeed adding to the sterile and powerless gospel preached by many.)
The effect of preaching the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures in the same way that the Apostle Paul did has been life. Our church is filled with former drunkards, whores, drug users, Pharisees, and just plain old sinners who have come to Christ, turned their lives around and now raise their families in the house of God. Those churches that have accepted those two evangelists are experiencing genuine conversions.
On the other hand, I watch debates on Facebook and other places that remind me of medieval monks arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Preachers joust with each other trying to be technically correct over how people get saved. Pastors call these two evangelists and tell them they have added to the gospel while meanwhile their congregations are stifled and never see growth from actual conversions.
If the Apostle Paul himself needed weeks of preparatory time to prepare the soil for the seed of the word of God, and if he indeed spent weeks preparing his audience of devout men by grounding them in prophecies of the coming Messiah (Christ) before he revealed Jesus Christ through the foolishness of preaching, do you suppose that might help explain the lack of converts in our churches? You are not preaching the gospel according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 if you do not preach from the law to bring men to repentance.
If you contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org I will gladly send you a copy of my book Who Moved the Goal Posts: A Critique of 21st Century Soul winning. Or, go to www.andsomeevangelists.com and begin listening to the daily podcasts. Or, go to www.onesoulattime.net and click on Liberty Behind Bars or Dale Morey. May the Lord take the wise among you and open your understanding.