Jesus Christ, the foundation
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: 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. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 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. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. As I read this, and in particular: no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident, I couldn’t help but to think how many today, even in the name of Christ build on foundations of gold, silver and precious stones. How many proclaim a gospel built on the foundation of blessing and prosperity rather than on Christ and the cross. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” If people are attracted to a gospel founded in blessing and prosperity, then it is blessing and prosperity that they will serve. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God wants to bless us and that there is prosperity for those who follow Christ. But, prosperity with God is not measured the same as prosperity in the world. Right after saying that you cannot serve God and wealth, in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus says: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” There is only one way to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
There are others today who try to build on a foundation of the power of the Holy Spirit. They rightly want to walk in the power and do what Jesus says in John 14:12-14: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Yet, in agreement with what Paul says, that: no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ, in Matthew 16:13-19 we see an interchange between Jesus and the disciples which says: “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.” The church that Jesus Himself is building is built upon the revelation that Jesus is the Christ and it is upon that revelation that we gain the keys to the kingdom of heaven and so, the power of the Holy Spirit. Some would argue and say that the gospel Jesus spoke of was not the cross, but rather the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus says: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” But, from the beginning, Jesus message was: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17) The message of the gospel can not be preached unless it is preached with repentance. Additionally, in John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus Christ and the cross are the foundation and the way, anything else we build upon will not last. The things that are most important in this age will fade in eternity.
Finally, we also, even in Christ, cannot build on a foundation only of grace without repentance. Paul says: Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 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. We are saved and redeemed through the grace of God by the cross. But repentance is more than just receiving forgiveness for our sins, it is turning from them. God’s grace given to us in the cross, leads us to righteousness and holiness in Christ. Of all of the things we receive; of all of the things that are built upon the foundation of Christ, holiness and righteousness are vital to whatever else we would build. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit for the revelation of Christ and the grace of the cross. May the words to the hymn be my daclaration and prayer:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand… Amen.