One of my favorite bedtime stories as a child was the fable, The Three Little Pigs. One pig built a house of straw, another with sticks, and the other used bricks. When the wolf came to devour the work of the three pigs, only the pig that built his home on a firm foundation using bricks survived the story. This was a scary thought at the age of two, but as I matured, I appreciated the moral of the story: work diligently in hopes that hard work will lead to favorable outcomes. What you build upon and what you choose to build with are important and will, inevitably, determine your future.
- On what foundation are you building your future, and what building materials are you using?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 3:10-17 (ESV)
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
- What exactly is being built in this passage? On what foundation is it being built and why is this important (vs. 11)?
- What are the building materials being used (vs. 12)? What is the relevance in the types of material used and quality of work?
- When Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian church, it wasn’t just intended for pastors and leaders, it was written for every believer. Why is this message just as important to the “average” believer as it is to church leaders?
- In this particular passage, “you are God’s temple” is plural, referencing the church. What are some characteristics of God’s temple (vss. 16-17)?
- In what ways are you building God’s temple, or causing destruction to it?
RESPOND TO GOD
God is no “big, bad wolf,” but because he is holy and righteous, he will one day judge the works of his people. Each believer is a builder in his kingdom and the church. He has given us the blueprint in his Word, and Jesus Christ is the strong foundation. He has gifted us all with different works and building materials[BP1] . In unity, our every word or deed should be done in the name of and to the glory of God. Our righteous motives, sieved through God’s Word alone and not through our human knowledge or ideologies, will survive God’s judgment and be rewarded when he examines our ministry.
- Ask God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to examine your deeds and heart motives so that you are only representing what is scripturally relevant and doctrinally pure.