Happy Monday! In high school the local indoor swap met would sell jewelry at the small jewelry stores. If you wanted a gold chain you could put it on lay-away until you paid it off. Or if you didn’t have the money or it was too expensive you could buy a fake gold chain to look like the real one. The only problem with the fake one is that you couldn’t get it wet or it would turn green, or to preserve it you would use clear nail polish to coat the metal to keep it from turning green. With careful care those tricks would work for a little while, but eventually the fake necklace/jewelry would reveal its true color (nickel) – it wasn’t real gold at all. Today in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul is describing a foundation made of materials. Join me as we read verses 10-15.
“10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NLT
According to these verses, there are six examples of materials that can be used, but I will compare them in two bullet points:
- Gold, silver, jewels
- Wood, hay or straw
Under fire, gold, silver and jewels may melt but they will not disappear. The precious metals and jewels remain rich in quality and usable. In these verses it represents a firm foundation of sound doctrine in Jesus Christ. Under fire, wood, hay and straw will turn to ash (not reusable for anything). This example represents a false doctrine that was being preached.
Paul understood that it was only by God’s grace that he was able to lay down the foundation of the message of the Cross in Corinth. Paul also mentioned Apollos and Cephas (Peter) had also preached the message in Corinth. Yet, Paul was concerned about others who came in and preached a different message that was creating further chaos and confusion with doctrine that was like wood, hay and straw that was unable to withstand fire. Paul, was firm in this letter stating that no other foundation except the foundation of Jesus Christ can be laid, which is everlasting.
Sisters and brothers, don’t be misled by teaching that looks and sounds like the gospel (false/fake doctrine), cling to the firm foundation, the gospel truth, the message of the cross. As you share the Good News, the message of the cross with others make sure they know about Jesus Christ the one who came to save us all.
Father God, thank you for the grace that you have given to us. Lord, thank you for our firm foundation in you. Thank you for your endless mercy and constant guidance. Lord, we want to build our lives on the truth of the gospel message. Lord, you know our past, you know our current and you understand our needs. Lord, lift us up out of our struggles, worries, confusion and despair. Lord, renew our minds and breathe life into us again. Remove the barriers that keep us trapped in the world and that give us a false sense of stability. Lord, we want our foundation to always be in you. We want our hope, peace, joy and comfort to be established in you. Lord, build us up and transform us to be all that you have called us to be. Lord, direct us and make us perfect in you. Lord, be the foundation of our homes and in the lives of our family members. Lord, we pray for our family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors who do not know you. Lord, we ask that you remove the veil from their eyes so that they will receive you as their Lord and Savior. Lord, help them to see your glory and their transformation into your image until the day you return. Lord, continue to change us so that we may reflect your image and love in this world. Lord, let the work that we do in your name be pleasing to you. In Jesus name, amen!
Keep praying! Keep Trusting! Keep believing!
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