A few years back, I taught the Book of Revelation to children ranging in age from 7-17 years old. We covered everything, including dragons, beasts, one-hundred-pound hail stones, demon locusts, giant pools of blood, and earthquakes. By far the most challenging and intimidating class was the 7-8 year olds. They were almost more terrifying than God’s final judgment! Every week I entered the room feeling completely inadequate in my teaching. Every week I entered the room aware of my own sin, leading me to question my worthiness and ability to teach truth.
- When have you felt you were unworthy of receiving or preaching the gospel?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11 (ESV)
15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
- What was Paul reminding the Corinthians about that they had heard and held fast to (vs. 1)?
- According to Paul, to whom did Jesus appear after he returned from the dead (vss. 5-8)?
- Why did Paul count himself worthy of being called an apostle (vs. 10)?
- Where did Paul find his identity (vs. 10)? Where do you find your identity?
- How can you have confidence and faith in what you believe and preach?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul reminds us that the gospel can be trusted. It is active in our lives. If we believe, we are saved and can stand in confidence, even though we may consider ourselves the least among all. We acknowledge that by grace alone we are transformed, and by grace alone we preach. If grace covered Paul and made him worthy to preach, then grace can cover anyone, even the least of us.
- Reflect on the times you have felt unworthy, unconfident, or guilty while either sharing or accepting the gospel message.
- Acknowledge that grace has covered you, and pray for a deep confidence from the Holy Spirit to arise within you the next time you begin to feel these things.