TEXT: 1 Corinthians 3: 9-13, 16-17
Move 1: Introduction
King David wanted to build a temple in Jerusalem, a dwelling place for God. But the Lord refused him this privilege. However, his son, Solomon, was called by God to build the temple and it was a magnificent structure.
Solomon brought together the finest of building materials, pillars made of bronze, tables and lampstands of gold, beams of the finest cedar from Lebanon, and the walls and foundation for the temple were built from the finest stone, cut to measure.
We would never presume to call this building a temple, but we have some experience building a house of worship here at the First Christian Church. We have been truly blessed in making many improvements to this house of prayer and devotion.
But Solomon knew, and taught, that, “even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!” The Lord desires a home in the heart and life of each of his children. Therefore, we are all, every one of us, temple builders, and the most important part of any building is its foundation.
Our passage from 1 Corinthians teaches us how to lay a secure foundation. Listen with me for the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 3 verse 9 and following:
“For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-13, NRSV)
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, NRSV)
Move 2: The Foundation
Every good and solid building begins with a solid foundation. Paul told the Corinthians that he had laid a foundation for them. He shared with them what he had received, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” This is the foundation, the very bedrock, of our faith. And like the Corinthians, it is up to us to build on this foundation.
Move 3: Gold, Silver, Bronze
Like Solomon, we may use the finest of materials like bronze, and gold, and cedar to build a church building, but it will never stand up unless its foundation is strong. We may surround ourselves with a fine home, a luxurious car, successful friends, and important work, but unless the foundation of our lives is built on the faith that Paul teaches, it will all be for nothing. When we are shaken, when illness threatens, when we lose our life’s work, or when one we love dies, all that we have built may crumble unless it is grounded on our faith in God’s promises to us.
Move 4: Did You Know?
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? . . . For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” You are special not because of what you do, or what you have, or whom you may know. You are special because God dwells in you! The temple of your life is where God wants to dwell.
Move 5: Temple Artisans
Now, Solomon built a grand and glorious temple in Jerusalem, but he didn’t do it without help. He called on the kings of surrounding kingdoms. He worked with the best architects, builders, craftsmen, and artisans. We, too, need help to build our temples for God. That’s why we need to come to this place of prayer, worship, and study. For it is here we can find those who know something about temple building–faithful people with a vision, people who have built, and continue building, on a foundation of faith in Christ Jesus.
As we dedicate the improvements to our church building, and rededicate our lives to you, O God, we join Solomon’s prayer. O Lord our God, heed the prayers of your servants; that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house of worship. Let your name be present here. Lord, in heaven your dwelling place, hear the plea of your servants; heed and forgive us, let your Spirit rest upon us and fill us as we build a temple for you in our daily lives. Amen.