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Saturday, September 21, 2019
Baptist Church

Building With Things That Last

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)

cornerstone

“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.  10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”  1 Corinthians 3:9-13

At first glance you may be asking, what does this passage have to do with discipleship? It is a passage that teaches the importance of building things that will last, specifically lives that will persevere in Christ. It is a pretty common word picture in the New Testament to view our lives as a building that is continuously being built. This passage reminds us that we can build with materials that will hold up well and materials that will fail when tested.

During the Middle Ages when many Gothic churches were built, they would mine the stones for construction, sometimes as far as 50 miles from where the church was being built.   The rocks from the mine would be transported to the building site via a human chain of volunteers.  The church could not be built if anyone in the rock chain were to drop the stone or fail to do their part.

Today, the church is still dependent upon believers faithfully working together doing their part to see the church built up to be all God desires her to be.  More importantly, the Bible declares that our future reward comes from building Christ’s church, making disciples who make disciples. In other words, it’s not what we know, but what we do here on earth that will seriously impact our heavenly experience. Translation: the time to prepare for tomorrow is today.

The Apostle Paul describes the church as a building in our text and stresses the quality we should strive for in constructing each stage—from laying the foundation, through the actual construction, to the final inspection. Notice he says, “…the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”  Not how much work, but rather what kind of work. Not the quantity but the quality. In other words, your life’s work can be wood or hay or straw — or it can be silver, gold, or costly stones. And on that day, the fire will put it to the final test. You say, “I am in Christ, what fire?”  We know that the Bible not only tells us that God is love, but it also tells us that our God is a consuming fire as well. (Heb. 12:29)

Paul continues in vv.14-15If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.  The Corinthians understood this illustration because not too long before this was written, their whole city was devastated by fire. They had seen the damage fire could do. Naturally as the fire swept through the city all the homes constructed of wood, hay, or straw, were now a pile of ashes. But the more wealthy homes that were constructed with marble and beautiful pillars of granite were still standing after the fire had swept through.

Will our life’s work stand the test of the fire when we come before the Lord? Will it have lasting eternal value – or will it end up in ashes?  What are some examples of these two kinds of materials? I would suggest to you that a heart of service is like gold, silver, and precious stones, while spiritual laziness and the attitude, “let others do it, I’ve done my time,” is like wood, hay, and straw in God’s sight. Generosity with the Lord and with His people is gold, silver, and precious stones, while self-centeredness and stinginess are wood, hay, and straw. Coming to church with a heart of worship is the former; coming to impress others is the latter. Doing ministry only after it has been bathed in prayer is the former; doing it in one’s own strength is the latter.

Finally, I think it’s worth noting that wood, hay, straw are found above the ground. They catch the eye, just like many people’s ministries do. They are quite plentiful and easy to find.  However, silver, gold, and precious stones are found below the ground. Nobody sees them – like many people’s ministries. They’re not just lying around in a field waiting to be picked up. It takes a lot of hard work to get silver, gold and precious stones. That’s why they are so expensive. Their quality for building and their rarity are what makes them valuable.  Again, it’s the quality, not the quantity that sets their value. Many things are difficult in the Christian life, but we should desire to build with things that last and hold their value, not only on earth, but in heaven as well.

david ><{('>


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