(A Series on I Corinthians)
Westgate Chapel 4/26/98 a.m. I Corinthians 3:10-15
PROPOSITION: God is doing one thing in this world, He is building His house on the foundation of Jesus Christ, giving us the choice of materials, but to be tested by fire at the end of time.
- GOD is doing one thing in the world today.
* He is.....building His Church.
* All of Creation is His, but everything else in all of creation is secondary to this purpose of God.
- HOW do we know that the Church is God’s highest priority?
* He gave His only Son to purchase it for Him. Is there anything of higher value He could have given?
* He had it on the drawing board of heaven before the beginning of time....Jesus’ sacrifice was planned from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8)
* He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell His Church during this present age.
* He will culminate history when it is time by returning for one thing......His Church, a radiant bride without spot or wrinkle.
- WHO is His Church that God is building?
* You and I.
* We are His habitation, His building.
- THE last verse we studied last Sunday, I Corinthians 3:9 says,
“...you are God's field, God's building.”
- I PETER 2:4-5 says,
“As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--(5) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
- EPHESIANS 2:21-22 says,
“In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.(22) And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
- IF all of this is true, then it follows that the single most important thing going on in your life right now is the activity of God building His house in and through you.
* Not your health.
* Not your job.
* Not your possessions.
* Not your investments.
* Not your lunch plans.
- YOUR #1 priority is the spiritual building going on in you and through you right now.
- OUR #1 priority as a fellowship is the spiritual work of building that is going on in us and through us right now.
- THIS building that God is working on is not just an individual thing....it is corporate. We, together, are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
- LISTEN to the apostle Paul address this subject with the believers in Corinth....in I Corinthians 3:10 (page 1129).
ii. one foundation
- EIGHT years ago, this summer, we broke ground for our home.
- AFTER months of planning, meetings with the architect, and budget sessions with Dave Peterson....the backhoe moved onto the grounds and trees and brush came down and in a few days a big hole lay open in the ground.
- THE hole was dug deep.....through the rubble, through the loose sand, and down to where the soil was firm.
- THE inspector who came in and looked at our site before the foundation was poured was worried because it looked like fill dirt in the bottom of the hole....but in reality it was the way the glacier left things there.
- WHAT was this hole being dug for....and why did it have to be so deep?
- THE hole was dug for the foundation. The foundation was the first thing to go in the ground.
- WHAT is the importance of the foundation?
* It carries the weight of the whole building....which is why it has rebar reinforcing in it.....and certain kind of cement....and no bubbles allowed that would weaken it when it sets up.
* It keeps the building from sinking or washing away in the rains.....which is why the building is attached to the foundation with anchor bolts.
* It holds the building up when everything else is being shaken.....which is why the code requires straps now to hold the building to the foundation in event of an earthquake.
* It delimits the size and shape of the building....in other words the building must conform to the size and shape of the foundation.
- THE foundation is the unseen but most important part of the building.
- IT is also the first thing to be built.
- LOOK at I Corinthians 3:10a with me now. Paul writes,
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder....”
- SOME years prior, when there was no church in Corinth, no believers in Jesus....just pagans and a few devout Jews....Paul arrived in Corinth in his missionary travels.
- WHEN he arrived, the first thing he did was to clear a building site for God and lay a foundation.
- AND verse 11 tells us what that foundation was,
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:10-11)
- THE world we live in is filled with uncertainty and insecurity. There are no guarantees for the future.....except One.
* He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
* He is the First and the Last.
* He is the Word, and John tells us that He was with God and was God.
* He is the only begotten Son of God.
* He is the Messiah, the Promised One of God.
* He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our sins.
* He took on Himself our sin on the cross so that we could go free.
* He died so that we could live eternally.
* He finished the work for which the Father sent Him.
* He rose from the grave and ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high where He ever lives to intercede for us.
* And when He arrived back with His Father He sent us the Holy Spirit in baptizing power....so that we could live in victory and bring in His harvest.
- IS there any other foundation but Jesus?
* No other man can do the job.
* No leader or teacher or teaching comes close.
* No church or organization can take His place.
- WHEN your life is resting on Him alone....
* No storm can wash you away.
* No shaking can move you.
* No thief can steal you.
* No fear can claim you.
* No sinkhole can swallow you.
- IT is Jesus!!!!
- WHEN your life is based on Jesus you are on a sure foundation.
- NO wonder the apostle Paul says, in Galatians 1:9,
“If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
- GOD is building His church in YOU!
- MAKE sure your foundation is Jesus.
- NOW look back at the last part of verse 10 with me. In the first part of the verse Paul says that he laid the foundation....which is Jesus.
“.....and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.”
- THIS building business, since it is God’s building, with Jesus as the foundation, is VERY important stuff.
- SOMEONE laid the foundation in us...which is Jesus.
- SOMEONE else is building.....and that ends up being all of us at some time or another.
- EVER seen a foundation sitting with nothing on it?
- NOT a pretty sight is it?
- A FOUNDATION calls for building activity....for a house for God.
- SO Paul says, in verse 10b, “be careful how you build.”
- NOTHING more important in all of your life!
iii. choice of materials
- THEN in verse 12 Paul moves on from the subject of the foundation and addresses the building materials of your spiritual life.
“If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw...” (I Corinthians 3:12)
- The first principle I want you to discover in this verse is that all believers are builders of this spiritual house.
* No age restriction.
* No retirement.
* No strikes for better wages or hours or working conditions.
- THE second principle I want you to discover is that as a builder you are responsible for the quality of God’s house.....constructing the character and destiny of your life and the character and destiny of those around you.
- PAUL lists some interesting building materials.
- THEY are obviously not literal building materials, or he would have listed bricks, stones, mortar and wood.
- THEY are figurative building materials....listed in descending order of value for two purposes....
* They were chosen to emphasize selection based on value.
• Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay straw.
• The materials that you use in the building of your spiritual house all have relative value.
• Which are you using?
• What is the value of the materials that you are selecting in the building of God’s house?
• What materials of eternal value are you investing in your life compared to those things that are of this world?
* They were chosen to emphasize selection based on increasing flammability.
• Gold and silver come through the fire the better for the refining.
• Costly stones are marred a little by fire, but not destroyed.
• Wood, hay and straw are consumed by the fire....just ashes left behind.
• Which are you using in the building of your spiritual house?
- NOW listen carefully this morning.
- PAUL’S point is concern for the quality of construction....a quality that is not always seen at the time of construction.
- ON the surface it is virtually impossible to tell what material has been used in the construction of God’s house.
- BECAUSE we all tend to judge by externals, most spiritual houses look alike...on the outside.
- BUT here is the warning!
- THERE is a day that God has set for final inspection.
iv. final inspection
- IN verse 13 Paul writes concerning the builder that,
“...his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.”
- THERE are several references throughout the Bible to “the Day.”
- IN most of the references it is called the Day of the Lord.
* Malachi 4:1 says,
“‘Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
* Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:2,
“...for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
* In II Peter 3:10 the apostle writes,
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”
- ON that Day the quality of our work, our selection of building materials will be revealed.....final inspection.
- CONTINUING with verse 13,
“It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. (14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. (15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (I Corinthians 3:13-15)
- AS certain as you and I are breathing in this sanctuary this morning, there is a day of the Lord coming where every one of us will stand before God’s judgment throne and the materials and workmanship of our spiritual building will be tested by fire.
- AND on that day two things will happen.
* The fire of God’s judgment will consume the inferior materials.....leaving some with nothing but their salvation, which is by faith.
* If the fire reveals that you invested gold, silver and precious stones in God’s building....you will receive God’s reward.
- THERE will be a final inspection.
- WHAT you do with your spiritual building today will determine how you do on that day.
- IN II Peter 3:10-11, the apostle speaks of the same theme and says,
“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives(12) as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
- WHAT are you using as you build on your foundation?
- I REALLY don’t want to make lists for you.
- THE Holy Spirit does far better when He calls you to the gold and silver, and convicts you about the wood, hay and stubble.
- CAN I at least point you to some gold?
* Making a place for God’s Word in your daily life.
* Making your life a prayer before the Lord....with time to commune with Him daily, and with God’s people on Wednesday nights.
* Being a worshipper....it draws you into God’s presence. It is pure gold material in the spiritual building of your life.
* Being a witness to those around you who don’t know Jesus....that’s laying a foundation in others.
* Having a ministry....so you are laying up building materials on the foundations of others lives.
* Being a cheerful giver.
* Being a true servant.
* Being a student of God Word in Cornerstone classes...or Basic Training.
* Building in the lives of your children by getting into Growing Kids God’s Way.
- I DON’T have time pastor...my life is too busy.
- HOW do you think that will play at on the Day of the Lord?
* We make time for Mariner’s games.
* Little league.
* School activities.
* Old cars.
* The newspaper.
* The movies.
- WHICH of those is wood, hay, or straw?
- I WILL let you decide.