1 Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
A few years ago a new hotel was being built near us. The location was superb. It was constructed within site of the busy interstate highway. There was only one problem. No one inspected the foundation. It was the popular news story of the day. The foundation was on “sinking sand” that would be unsafe for the many floors that would be built upon it. The whole structure had to be torn down and started over with the right foundation. Costly.
My husband was an engineer tech at the time, the one who went to construction sites of large structures. He quipped, “My company wasn’t called in to inspect as they should have! No wonder it was about to fall in.” Randy took pride in his work as the inspector of soils, concrete and asphalt foundations. It was very similar to the kind of work he did as a pastor for so many years!
Paul, in our next passage, is doing an inspection of the foundation of the Corinthian church (people not a building) and has found her to be untrustworthy, unsound, not a base to build upon. He even reported the people to be “infantile” as their flimsy foundation seemed to be people not on Jesus Christ, the only foundation that strong, growing lives can be built upon that lasts. They were selfish, demanding their own way and stunted in their growth because of the lack of foundation….like the hotel that had to be torn down and started over. Mm.
Have we inspected or evaluated our church lately, checking for cracks or movement from the original foundation? Let’s read Paul’s checklist in his inspection and hold a mirror up to ourselves as servants of Jesus Christ. If all is good, celebrate and keep growing loving, fruitful lives because of Jesus, our strong foundation. If there are items God needs to do in us, then let Him. If we need to tear down what is not of God and begin again, we will be better for doing just that! Build on the firm, lasting strong and powerful foundation of Jesus Christ, our Lord! Amen! Yes!
1 Corinthians 3, The Message
1-4 But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile?
5-9 Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.
9-15 Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.
16-17 You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.
18-20 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,
He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
of the know-it-alls.
21-23 I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.
In Jesus Name, we pray, Amen.
And an old hymn, anonymously written in 1787 comes to mind…
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”