Summary: The apostle Paul exhorts us to build our lives on a solid foundation-Jesus Christ. We build on a foundation that others have laid. We have to carefully build on that foundation.
How many of you remember the story of the three little pigs? The three little pigs left their mother to build their own houses. The first little pig built his house of straw. The second little pig built his house of sticks. The third little pig built his house of brick. Soon the Big Bad Wolf came to visit the three little pigs. When the little pig in the straw house would not let him in, the Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed until he blew the house down. The same thing happened with the little pig who built his house of wood. When the Big Bad Wolf came to the little pig in the house of brick, he huffed and puffed, but he could not blow the house down.
The apostle Paul exhorts us to build our lives on a solid foundation-Jesus Christ. We build on a foundation that others have laid. We have to carefully build on that foundation. Those who help us might not have the same skills. They might not have the stable, strong faith that we have. We must build our faith wisely and carefully so that we can minimize the flaws of our co-workers and maximize their strengths. Not everyone is ready to receive the Good News at the same point in time. Perhaps God has only called on us to plant a seed in a person’s life or water a seed that someone else has planted. God will make the seed grow in his own time and in his own way. He will be the foundation of their lives, just like he is the foundation of our lives. That firm foundation will withstand the tests that life will send our way.
Paul gave the Corinthians spiritual milk, also known as an introduction to faith and spiritual life. He gave them spiritual milk because they were not ready for solid spiritual food, just like babies have to be fed milk before they can eat solid food. The carnal, earthly nature of the Corinthians was their guide. They should have been guided by the Holy Spirit, but their minds were occupied by earthly thoughts and their emotions were plagued by negative thoughts. Carnal people are not operating in the manner God created then to operate.
God created us to operate as spiritual beings so that we could do his work in our world. He created us as spiritual beings so that we can spread the Good News of the Gospel. We must not let the world’s carnal nature influence us or stop us from doing what God wants us to do. In order for us to do God’s work, we must grow spiritually. God wants us to increase in faith to the point where we can teach others, just like I am teaching all of you through this message. He wants us to grow and persevere. God can use all of us.
Each and every one of us faces the temptation of setting up our own egos as idols for others to dance around. We face the temptation to put ourselves in the spotlight and ask others to applaud. We are tempted to praise so that we will get praise in return. We are tempted to love to get love in return. We are tempted to serve to be served. We are tempted to believe that our own needs excuse our behaviour.
When God lives in us, we have a friend who will be with us in any situation. When God lives in us, we have an internal guide and an internal comforter. When God lives in us, we are never alone, and neither are those we love and serve.
We do not work for God to earn our salvation. God gives it to us for free if we accept Christ as our saviour by faith. We work for God because we are grateful for what God have given us. God uses us to reach people, but God is the one who saves them. God prepares a person’s heart to hear and receive the Gospel. He uses us, but he does the work of salvation.
So how can we make the Good News known to other people? There are four steps.
1. We need to stop worrying about what other people think of us. We only have to worry about what God thinks of us, and make certain our lives are pleasing and honouring him in all we do.
2. We need to develop the mind of Christ, which we uniquely possess as his followers.
3. We need to believe that God intends to use our words and deed to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
4. We must engage people in conversations designed to lead them away from their worldly lives and help them see that their way of life is robbing them of full and abundant lives.