1 Corinthians (Program #27) – Stewards of the Mysteries of God
When we consider the leading ministry, the most respected Christian workers of the day, what kind of image of their life do we have? Well, most of the well known seems to be quite successful even by worldly standards; they are honored, respected for the most part, seems well off, able to live a very comfortable life. But what about at the time of the New Testament? The leading apostle from most of that era was the apostle Paul of course he wrote the bulk of the New Testament. What kind of living did he enjoy? Well from his autobiographical comments found in 1 Corinthians chapter 4 we get a glimpse:
“For, I think, God has set forth us the apostles last of all as doomed to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools because of Christ, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are glorious, but we are dishonored. Until the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked and buffeted and wander without a home; And we labor, working with our own hands. Reviled we bless; persecuted we endure; Defamed we exhort. We have become as the off-scouring of the world, the scum of all things, until now.“
1 Corinthians (Program #26) – All Things for the Church and the Church for Christ
On one hand God can be quite easily seen, at least His work is clearly identifiable both in creation and in our hearts. On the other hand God is quite hidden or we can say God is a mystery. Actually the Bible says there are mysteries related to God. 1 Corinthians 4:1 “A man should account us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
What are these mysteries? That is the focus of our fellowship today of the life study of the Bible as we are still in this wonderful book the way it’s been unfolded.
1 Corinthians (Program #25) – Building or Destroying the Temple of God
There are many sober warnings in the Bible. Most people associate these warnings with the paralle of facing eternity without Christ that is to be unsaved. Well this certainly is the focus of many of these warnings. But we must be aware that several of the most serous warnings in the Bible are spoken to believers. Those who are already saved. Such a warning is found in 1 Corinthians 3:17 “If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, and such are you.”
But what it is to destroy the temple? How could an unbeliever really damage God’s eternal building. No, it is the believers that are engaged everyday of their Christians life in building and building the temple. And it is the believers that have these words to sow into their heart. We will look today what it is to damage to corrupt even to ruin God’s building on earth.
1 Corinthians (Program #24) – Transformation for the Building
In the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians we are told specifically and clearly that every believer during the course of their days on the earth is engaged in a building work.
How we build, what we build and what we build with are the crucial questions that we all must explore during our course of days on this earth.
1 Corinthians 3 tells us very clearly, ” ……let each man take heed how he builds upon it. For another foundation no one is able to lay besides that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble, The work of each will become manifest; for the day will declare it, because it is revealed by fire, and the fire itself will prove each one’s work, of what sort it is.”
1 Corinthians (Program #23) – God’s Farm and God’s Building
The sequence in 1 Corinthians is really marvelous. Most readers of the Bible are aware that the church in Corinth was full of problems. The very same kind of problems that may plague our church today; division, jealousies, strive and ambition just to name a few.
In short the Corinthians were lacking in the genuine experience of Christ as life. So the apostle Paul after pointing out these problems then points them to life and building. Actually this loving care of the apostle in the word of God is for all of us.
1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.”
The believers in the church of Corinth that Paul was writing to in 1 Corinthians had a number of problems. But not just problems that could be remedy by giving them advice or spiritual counsel. The apostle spoke to them in a very strong way in chapter three telling them that they are infants, fleshy and even fleshly. These are symptoms of a very poor spiritual condition.
But after such a sober word he proceeds to show them the way out of such spiritual poverty not by teaching them but by giving them many marvelous expressions all pointing them to their real lack which was to eat and drink of Christ and to become planters, feeders and waterers in the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:2 & 6, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, for you were not yet able to receive it. ….. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. ”
We can’t have too much eating, drinking, enjoying of our dear Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians (Program #21) – The Building Work with Natural Materials
In the realm of Christian service and ministry many things are done in the name of Christian work. But 1 Corinthians 3 is a key chapter that points out absolutely clearly that the unique work all of us as the believers should be engaged in is a building work. Verse 11 and 12 in this chapter say it:
“For another foundation no one is able to lay besides that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble, “
Two categories of materials. And the first category, the materials are mineral, very precious and enduring gold, silver and precious stones. In the second category however the materials are all perishable and natural wood, grass and stubble. The significant of these two categories becomes very relevant for us and the Christian work in the very next verses.
“The work of each will become manifest; for the day will declare it, because it is revealed by fire, and the fire itself will prove each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built upon the foundation remains, he will receive a reward; If anyone’s work is consumed, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. “
1 Corinthians (Program #20) – The Building Work with Transformed Materials (1)
The goal of the Christian life is not merely to live a proper and upright life, died and then go to heaven. The goal as presented in 1 Corinthians has to do with being built up into a spiritual building that ultimately becomes God’s dwelling place on earth with His people. In short this building is the church becoming the real temple of God on earth.
What a high calling, our real work in the Christian life is a building work. And to this end Paul instructed the Corinthians believers and us in chapter three of 1 Corinthians :
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s cultivated land, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid a foundation, and another builds upon it. But let each man take heed how he builds upon it. For another foundation no one is able to lay besides that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble, the work of each will become manifest; for the day will declare it, because it is revealed by fire. ”