What are you building?

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By Shaun Joynt, jack of all trades and master of some; pastor; explorer of practical theology (PhD), worship leading, songwriting, and IT/webmaster stuff …

At times I’ve been challenged concerning my eventual appearance before God’s throne and the life I will present to Him. This made me think about Paul’s words regarding the materials we use when ‘building’ our reward in heaven.

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. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NIV

Paul was dealing with factions within the Corinthian church regarding who the best teacher was. He explains that each teacher builds on the foundation of Jesus Christ. He continues to describe how each believer then builds on this foundation using various materials. Eventually everything built will be tested. The reward will be based on the outcome.

Points to ponder:

  • Jesus is the foundation of the building (the Church or ecclesia which means called out ones).
    • Is your foundation Jesus and only Him?
    • How deep is it – deep enough that a tall building can be erected on it?
    • Are skeletons being revealed in your foundation? These need to be dealt with or the structure will be weakened.
    • Are there cracks? Remember that pressure doesn’t cause a crack, it only reveals it.
  • We choose our own building materials (gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, straw).
    • Our motives determine the quality of the materials we use.
    • Why do you do what you do?
    • Do you pray and fast publicly (Matthew 6:5-18)?
  • What we build will be tested. On earth things like earthquakes and tsunamis show us the futility of our buildings.
    • There is a purpose for building.
    • There is a definite time-frame (Ecclesiastes 3:3).
    • There is a definite outcome – testing and reward.
  • A time will come when all is revealed and the testing (fire) will reveal the quality of the work.
    • How are you building?
    • What are you using for cement (to hold the bricks together)? It should be love as it never fails (1 Corinthians 13:7). Love builds up and does not puff up (1 Corinthians 8:16).
    • You might fool others by painting or gold-plating the materials, but the fire will reveal all.
  • Each person will be tested individually and give an account of his/her life.
    • We function corporately, but will be tested individually.
    • People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement (Hebrews 9:27).
    • Ubuntu is a two-way flow: ‘I am because we are and we are because I am.’
  • If what was built survives, a reward will be given.
    • We do not build in vain.
    • Make sure you build with good materials. Use quality products (such as pure motives).
  • If all is consumed, the person will experience loss yet still survive.
    • Poor quality materials (such as bad intentions) will be destroyed.
    • This is not salvation based on works. We are not building to be saved, but rather for a reward.

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