A Wise Master Builder - 1 Corinthians 3

A Wise Master Builder

1 Corinthians 3:1-23

The apostle Paul by trade was a tentmaker.  He also knew something about constructing a building.  In fact he likened himself to "a wise master builder."  He understood that you begin with the foundation.  As far as Paul's ministry was concerned, in accordance with God's building code he laid only one foundation.  "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."  See 1 Corinthians 3:10, 11.

When you became a Christian, the Lord Jesus Christ became your foundation for life.  From the point of your conversion you began to build on this foundation.  Bear in mind that this foundation was expensive.  It cost Jesus Christ His life.  In the light of this we are admonished, "Let each one take heed how he builds on it."  How foolish to use inferior building materials upon such a costly foundation!

Paul makes reference to six kinds of building materials: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw.  A wise master builder will only use gold, silver, and precious stones.  Wood, hay, and straw will never meet the requirements of God's building code.

The building materials represent our works as believers.  Gold, silver, and precious stones are those works that we do for the glory of God.  Wood, hay, and straw are carnal works done in the flesh for self.  At times even inferior products can be made to look more valuable than they are.  The Pharisees were great at publicly displaying their imitations of gold, silver, and precious stones.  They tithed, and everyone knew it.  They went to great lengths to show off their obedience to the tradition of the elders.  They prayed long, loud, beautiful prayers.  They received their reward in the praise of men.  Christians are not Pharisees, but we need to be careful that we are not seeking personal glory in our service for the Lord.

Those who build houses understand that their work must stand the test of the building inspectors.  For the Christian the life which they have built will be tested by the Chief Building Inspector.  "Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.  If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."

Eternal salvation is a gift.  However, rewards are earned.  As a Christian, be careful how you build on that foundation which is Jesus Christ.  No imitations.  Live for His glory.


Lord, keep us from self-promotion.  We love You, and we want to build with gold, silver, and precious stones.  Help us.  Thank You for Jesus.  In His name we pray.  Amen!


Faithful Stewardship - 1 Corinthians 4



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