Good morning everyone. We have not yet moved on from 1 Corinthians 3.
It seems for Paul the work of the five-fold was precise; one person lays the foundation and then the others build on that foundation. However, it is not just teh five-fold involved in this work; everyone contributes to what is being built on that foundation. But Paul gives a stern warning concerning the seriousness of it:
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. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 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. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. vv. 10-15
Along with those who are authentically called to the work of discipling there exist a lot of pretenders. Actually, I have worded that wrong. We have all been called to "build up one another" which means that we all contribute to each others building. However, there are some who try to do this in their own knowledge and opinion instead of the will of the Spirit. Often times they are busy bodies, sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong; gossipers who do far more wrong than good; know-it-alls who spend more time tearing down the work of others than contributing anything of their own.
Some people are also wrecking crews. Out of ignorance they try attacking the foundation so that they can lay a new one. These are the people who twist Scripture to make it say what they want. They are the promoters of one isolated verse insread of considering teh entire Word of God. They are the ones who promote their own doctrine, or the doctrine of their sect or denomination. They sow seeds of confusion born from lies, half-truths and manipulations of the heart.
Paul's warning to the builders is clear. Any house looks great in the sunshine. The real test is in the storm. In this case the storm will be the testing by fire:
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 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.
Paul states that any material can be used to build on that foundation. Sometimes in can be a testimony, a worship song, a prayer, a simple Bible Study, a deep teaching and so on. Gold and hay can be used in the same structure. It will all face that same test. Our work for the Lord will be tested. I hope that is sinking in. It will all be tested to see if it is a true work, to see the quality of our workmanship. No one is going to get away with an half effort. It will be revealed on the Day:
If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
This is a sobering thought that should make us all sit up and take notice. We do not often talk about the rewards waiting for us. We are like many High School kids who just want to graduate and do not care what marks they get as long as the complete school. But we are told throughout the Word that we should do everything to our very best ability. We should not be coasting along, we should be striving to honour our God with our best. We should desire to receive the very best rewards, perhaps not for ourselves but so that we would receive the pleasure of our Father.
This is a serious work we are about; it is our Father's work. Our attitude should be the same as Jesus, giving our very best one hundred percent of the time. Let's check our doctrine, let's stand on the Word of God, let's sow seeds of unity and let's give our very best to each other.