Summary: We are all expected to be involved in this "building" project in God’s Kingdom. We are to invest in that which is spiritual, valuable and that which will last. Consider well how you are building today.
(Some pointers in this sermon taken from ’Studies in First Corinthians’ by M. R. DeHaan, M.D.)
Consider how you are building your life today. Charles Spurgeon says, "Ask yourself, Have I written in the snow?" Will the things I do endure the lapse of years and the times of change?
There will come a day, Paul says, when all our “his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” (v.13) The gold, silver, and precious stones will endure while the wood, hay, and straw will go up in smoke.
Paul was talking to a group of believers who has experienced the new life in Christ.
• Although they’ve come to believe and trust Christ, they were rather immature and were split up into cliques and different groups.
• Paul appeals to them on the basis of the fact that they are believers in Jesus Christ, to stop these childish practices of following men and exaggerating their differences.
• He says, “All of us - myself, Apollos, Peter - are doing the same job, but just in a different way. But we are labourers together, nevertheless. We all preach the same Christ, and you who have believed – whether through me, Apollos or Peter - are all resting on the same foundation.
Only one Person changed you. Only Christ gave you a new life. No other foundation.
• But now that you’re anchored in Christ, doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you like.
• There is this ‘construction’ going on – “Now if any man build upon this foundation…” (v.12).
• We are all builders in our own rights. You are all in it.
• And there are two clear end results – contrasting ends – gold, silver, costly stones, or wood, hay, straw.
In order words once we are saved, in Christ we are expected to produce works that are comparable to gold, silver and costly stones. Or you will end up with wood, hay, straw if you live a careless, unfruitful life. Both of these are real realities.
Being a Christian does not mean you have license to live as you please. We are to live for Him.
• Paul noticed the Corinthians were not building right – they were living carelessly, not maturing, steep in worldly thoughts and pride.
• He has to remind them of the coming judgement – not of their salvation but of their conduct in Christ.
As Christians, our salvation in Christ is settled. But the Bible says we will be called into account for our conduct after we have been saved.
• We are asked to render an account of what we have done with our salvation.
• We will be judged on the basis of your faithfulness in using your talents and your time and your possessions for the Lord.
This judgement is called, the “judgement seat of Christ.”
2 Cor 5:9-10 “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
This judgement will take place following His second coming.
• It will concern rewards or loss of rewards.
• It will have nothing to do whatsoever with salvation or our eternal destiny. That was forever settled at the Cross and appropriated by faith through God’s grace.
Therefore Paul has to say in 3:10 “But each one should be careful how he builds.”
• The devil loves to see us waste our lives away, in careless living, worldly pursuits, or be indifferent to God’s concerns.
• We have to be discerning and be wiser. Invest our life in God’s work.
The choice is yours, you noticed.
• At the end of the day, if we choose to continue our careless living, we’ll reap what we sow.
• Paul says there will be generally two groups of believers before the judgment seat of Christ – those who will receive a reward for faithfulness, and others who will “suffer loss” and see their “works” destroyed by fire.
He uses a strikingly contrasting picture to describe these two groups.
• One is those who build on the foundation gold, silver and costly stones, and the other, building on the same foundation, but with wood, hay and straw.
• Both of them are building on the same foundation, and therefore are safe as far as eternity in concerned.
• But the super-structure, that which they build upon the foundation, will be subjected to the testing fires before Christ.