May 28, 2000 -- AM


1Corinthians 3:9-17


(1) USA TODAY, May 22, 2000 cites a recent survey from the Impulse Research Corporation that summarizes those things people most regret wasting time on. Cindy Hall records the top five "regrettable time wasters:"

5. Gossiping (18 percent)

4. Cleaning/chores (19 percent)

3. Commuting (27 percent)

2. Watching TV (35 percent)

1. Worrying (67 percent)

(2) Life can be wasted. Only certain things will survive this life -- and then only as determined by the Lord’s criteria. The Scriptures warned against the wasting of life’s work. Life effort that is wasted is a byproduct of building life with commodities that will not withstand the examination of Christ. The believer, by structuring his life with the wrong things, can orient his life toward "building to burn."


Here are Four considerations of choice concerning combustible Christianity.

I. There is only one choice concerning life’s FOUNDATION (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11).

A. The foundation for life’s work is Jesus Christ. We see this in the parable of the wise man who built his house upon a rock (Matt. 7: 24-27). Jesus Himself said that no one could come to the Father but by Him (John 14: 6). We are told that there is no other name for salvation (Acts 4: 12).

B. Now, in all or any of these manifestations the matter of first importance is the foundation. A church, or a building, is no good if the foundation is no good, and in this case the apostle is very clear to make sure that we understand who that foundation is. He does not leave it to debate; we do not have to argue about it; it is stated as plainly as it can be. God’s Builders by Ray C. Stedman, June 4, 1978

II. A believer chooses the CHARACTER of his life structure (1 Corinthians 3: 12-13).

A. The Christian is warned to "take heed" how he builds. Most of life’s choices may be reduced to the issue of whom one is going to please: himself or the Lord. A major temptation is to yield to the urges of self.

B. Materials of life structure are temporal or eternal.

1. Worldly things are temporal (1 John 2: 15-17).

2. Fleshly things are temporal (Galatians 6: 8).

3. Devilish things are temporal (Matthew 25: 41).

C. The structure of our lives will be tested by the examination of Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 10). The examination of Christ is compared to a fire that reveals the nature of materials thrown into it. If one’s life is built with wood, hay, or stubble, these are temporal materials that cannot endure the presence of God’s consuming glory. The eternal materials, on the other hand, are compared to the qualities of gold, silver, and precious stones. These are the elements in a life structure that are consistent and compatible with God’s glory. They will withstand the examination of Christ.

D. There is a sense in which every one of us who is possessed of the Spirit of God builds upon this foundation. We all touch one another; we build into other’s lives; we affect everyone by the way we live and the way we think, the apostle called our attention to that. How are you building on the foundation? What materials are you using? Is it the wood, the hay and the stubble of human wisdom, the love of status, the seeking for ambition and prestige by which the world is characterized? Is this what you are building for and with? Or is it with the truth revealed in that secret and hidden mystery of God, truth about yourself, about humanity, and about history? Is that what you are building on? Is that what you are building with? That is the question. Ray C. Stedman in How to Destroy a Church, June 11, 1978.

III. There is no choice in what will OUTLAST one’s life (1 Corinthians 3: 14-15).

A. Did you ever watch a winning team at the end of a game? Do you notice what they do? Why, they go crazy! Grown men jump on each other’s backs; they pound one another, and hug one another, and even kiss one another. They jump up and down like little kids in a candy store. Why? They are filled with joy because the efforts they put forth produced results; it was satisfying to them. That was their reward.

Did you ever watch the losing team? They slink off; there is no jumping around and slapping one another on the back. No. Sadness and gloom prevail; they are ashamed because all their efforts were to no avail. It was all wasted effort.

Now, all of us shall have some of both in our lives. There is nobody who is a Christian who will not have some degree of gold, silver and precious stones because God guarantees it by having come into our lives as Christians. But there can also be a lot of wood, hay and stubble too, built upon the philosophy of the flesh instead of the Spirit. John says, "Let us so live that we shall not be ashamed before him at his coming," {cf, 1Jn 2:28}.

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