No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid.
1 Corinthians 3:5-23 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” 21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.
In today’s text Paul says: No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. He is speaking of those who are ministering, those who are witnessing. He says they are: Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. It is important to note what Paul says is the only foundation to build upon, Jesus Christ. We need to remember that Christ was not part of Jesus name, rather it is who and what He is. Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, which means anointed. The Hebrew word is mashiac, Messiah. Jesus the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Savior, Redeemer, Lord; that is the foundation to build upon. Jesus Himself spoke of the foundation on which He would build His church in Matthew 16:13-19: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Upon the revelation, the truth, the reality that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, Jesus says He will build His church. Paul says: No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid.
There are many ways to build on that foundation, Jesus Christ. Even love, even God’s love builds upon that foundation. Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The demonstration of God’s love is the foundation that Jesus, the Christ died for us. Psalm 89:14 says: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. God’s throne, His authority is on the foundation of righteousness and justice. We though, have our righteousness in Christ, our judgment is in His finished work on the cross, so even the authority of God is built upon the foundation of Christ. Jesus Himself speaks of the authority He has in John 5:21-24: For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Because of Christ we are judged as righteous. Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. To come before the throne of judgment, the Judgment seat, would be a terrifying thing, but we, because of Christ can come boldly to the throne, by grace we have been restored to fellowship with God. We can abide with Him.
We then, when we minister, when we witness for Christ, must also build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Paul says: And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) The love we show to others, the signs and wonders, the power and authority we have, scripture, the written word of God, prophecy, the word of God spoken to His people; none of these are the foundation, they are all to build on the foundation that Jesus is the Christ.
Paul says: I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. In Matthew 9:35-38 it says: Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” We are those workers sent out into the plentiful harvest of the Lord. We plant and water with seeds of love and God’s word. We build upon the foundation that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior. Upon that foundation we have authority. Jesus says: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Upon the foundation of the revelation that Jesus is the Christ we can take the authority of Christ into the darkness of the world, to the very gates of Hell, the places where darkness enters into this world and even that darkness will not overpower Jesus church. We plant, we water, we build on the foundation of Christ and we have the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the authority to overcome darkness.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, the Christ; Holy Spirit. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen