Summary: Paul continues trying to help the divided Corinthian church by giving yet another answer to one of their problems. There were some troublemakers in the church that were set on destroying the church.
Paul continues trying to help the divided Corinthian church by giving yet another answer to one of their problems. In this portion of his letter Paul adds to what he had just told the believers when he said, “You are God’s building.” There were some troublemakers in the church that were set on destroying the church. They were endangering their eternal destiny and Paul needed to make them realize it. So let’s listen as Paul describes the building of the church.
READ v. 10. Paul says he is the one who planned the church at Corinth. He laid the foundation. He said it was all by the grace of God. It was God who enabled, empowered, and equipped him to do the job. Paul was just the instrument through which God built the church. Note that Paul wasn’t talking about a building. He was talking about people. God gave him the ability to reach people for Jesus Christ and to assemble them together. Where they met didn’t matter. What mattered was that they were one in their trust in the Lord, their belief, worship of God, and their purpose and mission to reach their neighbors and the world with the message of God’s great love.
Paul said he was an expert builder. Paul knew that God had called him to do, to plan and establish churches all over the world so he did it as an expert.
Then Paul says that others built upon his work in Corinth. When Paul left Corinth, God raised up others to minister, to teach, to lead and to carry on the ministry. God calls the master builders still today—someone to surrender himself to God and go forth for God. That’s how churches are started today. This process needs to continue because people still need to be reached. That is why we support the Lone Star Church starting offering.
Our warning here is to let every believer be careful how he builds upon the foundation of the church. The foundation of the church has been laid. It is now to be built upon but we must make sure we are careful in how we build upon it.
READ v. 11. There is only one foundation of any church and that is Jesus Christ. All other foundations are sinking sand. They can’t stand against the storms of life. What does it mean to say that Christ is the only foundation? It means that Christ Himself, His person, is the only foundation upon which men can build their lives. It means that the teaching or doctrine of Christ is the only foundation upon which men can build their lives. It means that Jesus Christ is the only foundation upon which men can build a true church.
READ v. 12. The structure of the church can be built out of two possible materials: either permanent or perishable materials. There may only be one foundation but there are many different kinds of materials within the market of the world.
There are the permanent and valuable materials, the materials that aren’t corruptible and don’t deteriorate and decay. Scripture says they can be compared to gold, silver, and costly stones. What could be the more permanent materials when building a church body?
a. They are the fruit of the Spirit, the spiritual qualities that last beyond this life.
b. They are the things which are to be added to our faith—the lasting things that are so desperately needed by the church, and they are the things that the believer is to use in building the church.
c. They are the souls and lives of men, women, boys, and girls who become living stones in the church.
Then there are the perishable and combustible materials like things that rust, decay, and deteriorate. What are these that Scripture refers to?
a. They could be the treasures, wealth, and cares of this world.
b. They are the works of the flesh, the acts of the sinful nature.
c. They are the false teachings that are always dangerously floating around believers and the church.
READ vv. 13-15. This speaks of the day of inspection. The building of the church will be inspected. The day of inspection is sure to come. The building was started in order to be finished. When it’s finished, the inspector, Jesus Christ, will come to either approve or disapprove it. Every man’s work, the work of every believer, will be manifested and declared. Every believer will stand before the Lord and have his works revealed and tested by the Lord. This is in reference to the judgment seat of Christ.
We are told they will be tested with fire. Fire, in the Bible, is a symbol of judgment and trial. The building is to be set on fire and only the permanent materials of the Spirit will survive the fire. The believer whose works survive the fire will be rewarded greatly, so greatly that it explodes the human mind. What are some of the rewards do you think?