Summary: Just as there is a building code for physical buildings, Paul clarifies the building code for Christians.
BUILDING ACCORDING TO CODE
Text: I Corinthians 3:10 – 11, 16 -23
Back in October of 2010, there was a lot of talk on the radio about the infrastructure of our country. When they were talking about the condition of America’s infrastructure, they were talking about the quality of the roads, water supplies, public transportation, communication system and schools. All of these things are important to how well our country functions on a daily basis. When these things were built, supposedly they were built with the future in mind. When these things were built, they were built, supposedly they were built with the anticipation of lasting for many years to come. Now, some of those infrastructures have reached their limits and must now be remodeled. Failure to remodel where remodeling is needed can create problems.
Prior to the foundation of our infrastructure, there were building codes. Before a structure is built, there are guidelines known as building codes that must be followed. One online resource describes the function of building codes in the following way: “Building codes stipulate details of the construction and maintenance of a building or construction. These include fire safety rules: safety exits in buildings, limitations regarding how far a fire should spread and the provision of adequate fire fighting equipment. There are also structural rules; buildings need to be strong enough to resist internal and external forces without collapsing. Building codes also cover health stipulations such as adequate air circulation, washrooms and plumbing facilities.” (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-building-codes.htm). Just as there is a building code for physical buildings, Paul clarifies the building code for Christians.
Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. 1) Our Foundation: Jesus Christ is our model. Jesus Christ gives us forgiveness, reconciliation, hope and peace. Without Christ as our foundation, there is no real future. As one of our hymns says, “Jesus Christ is the solid rock and all other ground is sinking sand”. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:11). 2) The foundation is often over looked: Someone (Daniel R. Mitchell) said it best when he put it this way: “The foundation is always the least noticed and most important part of any building”. (Jerry Falwell. ex. ed. The Complete Bible Commentary. Daniel R. Mitchell. “Corinthians.” Nashville: Nelson Publishers, 1999, p. 1464). Therefore, without Jesus Christ, the church could not exist in the world!
Christ is the only stable foundation. 1) Superficial foundations: Someone (David R. Grant) pointed out that “Lives built on superficial foundations are doomed in spite of appearances”. (T. T. Crabtree. ed. The Zondervan 2002 Pastor’s Annual. David R. Grant. “The One Foundation”. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, p. 81). Without Jesus as the foundation, there are countless relationships that will fail. Without Jesus as the solid foundation, families will fail. Without Jesus as the solid foundation, marriages will fail. Without Jesus as the solid foundation, churches will fail. 2) Salvation comes only through Jesus. Only Jesus can give us the gift of an abundant life in the here and now. Only Jesus can give us the gift of eternal life in the hereafter.
It is dangerous for the Christian faith to be watered down. 1) Watered down in mediocrity: There is the story of this woman who reacted to an invitation to worship on World Communion Sunday. As we all know when we partake of Holy Communion we partake of the bread and wine. On World Communion Sunday the lady’s church was going to ask “if loaf is a noun or a verb?” She suggested that if it were a verb, she would end up loafing with Christians around the world! Isn’t that what most of us do when it comes to living out the Christian life?” We settle for Mediocrity. We don’t put much effort into it and consequently we don’t get much out of it. “ (Rebecca H. Grothe. ed. The Minister’s Annual Manual. 2005 - 2006. William M. Shwein. “If It Had Been Up To Peter”. 2005, p. 41). I once heard Jesse Ventura say that he did not like organized religion. One can only wonder if our times of mediocrity as Christians is to blame for how people like Jesse Ventura feel about the Christian faith.
2) Watered down in theology: Imagine a church that sings songs like “Sunshiny Day” rather than challenging hymns of the faith. Or imagine removing “forgive us our sins from the Lord’s Prayer and replacing it with “Naming our Pain”. What would come next? The pastor (William M. Schwein) who observed these things in another speculated that removing the cross from the chancel might come next. (p. 41).
Christ must not only be the foundation upon which we build, He must also be Lord of our lives. 1) Authority: In Cuba, nothing is bigger than baseball, not even the cigars. Nothing, that is, except Castro. Recently, the 74-year-old dictator grabbed an aluminum bat and walked to the plate in an exhibition game against Venezuela. When Castro approached the batter's box, the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, left his first-base position to take the mound. His first pitch didn't even reach the plate, and Castro kept his bat on his shoulder. The next pitch was a strike, but Castro missed. A couple more balls and an attempted bunt later, the two heads of state were locked into a full count. Castro watched the 3-2 pitch sail through the middle of the strike zone and listened as the umpire called him out. "No," Castro said, "that was a ball." And he took first base. No one argued. President Chavez said nothing. The opposing team said nothing, and the umpire said nothing. Later Castro joked, "Today just wasn't his [President Chavez's] day."