Summary: We can ask ourselves questions like, “Why do I exist.” With that questioning nature, we must ask at times, “why does the Church Exist?” It is not enough just to say “to glorify God.” While this is true, there is so much more to the question; “What is
1 Cor. 3:10-15
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
During this past week I have either handed to you or e-mailed you a list of questions. If some how I was not able to get one to you there are copies here to take home. (If you are listening to this message on the web site, you can go into the files menu and get a copy of the questions.)
We discussed the calling of Moses last week. The fact that God calls us and uses who ever we are and whatever we have to do the work He calls us to do. At the end of the message I made this statement.
Far too often we go through life and never know why we exist. Mankind is unique. We have the ability to think abstractly. We can ask ourselves questions like, “Why do I exist.” With that questioning nature, we must ask at times, “why does the Church Exist?”
It is not enough just to say “to glorify God.” While this is true, there is so much more to the question; “What is the purpose of the church?”
Today I want to talk about the foundation of the Church. Paul shares with us in 1 Cor. Let’s read it together.
1 Cor 3:10-15 (NIV) 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 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. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through he flames. 16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
We learned last week that fire was to many nations, not just Israel, a significant emblem of the deity. Everyone will have to pass through the fire that is the judgment of God. I started reading Sacred Fire this past week. It is a book that has used extensive research to prove that George Washington was a devout Christian and not a Deist as revisionist history has portrayed him. The title “Sacred Fire” makes me think of the judgment of God. So today we will look at how to escape through the flames.
Paul in writing to the Corinthian church is using a metaphor. It is a metaphor of building. Any builder will tell you that the foundation is the most import part of a building. Paul here is saying that the foundation upon which we must build has to be the foundation of Jesus Christ. I don’t think that 80% of America would argue with that statement. Eighty percent of America consider themselves to be Christian. They would say that they have built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Whether they are building on that foundation or not, that is what the Sacred Fire will determine when we stand in the judgment of God.
Let us make an assumption for the rest of today’s message. Let’s make the assumption that we are building on the true foundation, that of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, raised from the dead and returning one day for the living and the dead.
With that in mind let’s look at my first point.
1. We can build on the foundation with wood hay and stubble.
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown puts it this way: “The image is that of a building on a solid foundation, and partly composed of durable and precious, partly of perishable, materials. The "gold, silver, precious stones," which all can withstand fire, are teachings that will stand the fiery test of judgment; "wood, hay, stubble," are those which cannot stand it; not positive heresy, for that would destroy the foundation, but teaching mixed up with human philosophy and Judaism, curious rather than useful. Besides the teachings, the superstructure represents also the persons cemented to the Church by them, the reality of whose conversion, through the teachers' instrumentality, will be tested at the last day. Where there is the least grain of real gold of faith, it shall never be lost. On the other hand, the lightest straw feeds the fire.”
Notice that there is a distinction between heresy and human teaching. When something is being taught that is an obvious contradiction to the Bible, but is taught because it makes man more comfortable, or allows us as a society to be politically correct, and if often done because it is the easy road and rufles the fewest feathers. JFB rhetoric says it destroys the foundation, but I rather believe that in order to adhere to the teachings, you must move from the incorruptible foundation of Jesus Christ and build elsewhere. This verse may explain to some the reason you can find hypocrites in the church. (As I have said many times, in the church is right where hypocrites need to be, but that is another message).