PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

1 Corinthians 3

SUMMARY.--The Proofs that the Corinthians were Yet Carnal. Not Able to Endure Strong Meat. The Work of Paul and Apollos. The Increase of God. The Church God's Building. The One Foundation. Perishable Materials Built on This. The Sin of Defiling God's Temple. The Glorious Estate of the Christians.

      10-15. According to the grace given to me. Given when? When he was called to be an apostle. I have laid the foundation. The figure of the building is retained. Paul is a discreet master-builder. He had laid the foundation at Corinth, when he was preaching Christ, and working through faith in him ( 1 Corinthians 2:4 1 Corinthians 2:5 ). Notice it is not a foundation, but the foundation, because God's spiritual temple ( v. 16 ) can have only one. Another buildeth thereon. After Paul left Corinth, Apollos and other teachers continued to build upon the foundation that Paul had laid. Let every man take heed how, etc. Since there is only one foundation of the temple, viz: Jesus Christ, there should be most careful and conscientious building upon it ( verse 12 ). 11. Other foundation can no man lay, etc. There is only one foundation of the church ( Matt. 16:16 ). This foundation-stone was laid by God ( Isaiah 28:16 ). Paul's work under God was to point to this foundation, to induce them to believe, and thus to build them upon it. His preaching laid it in their hearts. To preach Christ is to preach the fundamental or foundation truth of the church. 12. If any man buildeth upon this foundation. There is only one foundation for all builders to build upon. The church or temple will be of the character of the material built upon it. If this material be precious and imperishable, if apostolic doctrines and men moulded into the image of Christ be this material, it is well. If erroneous doctrines and unstable men, wood, hay, stubble, this will all be revealed in due time. 13. Every man's work shall be made manifest. The kind of work that every builder does will be manifested. The day shall declare it. Probably the day of Christ's coming. As fire destroys wood, hay, stubble, but leaves gold, silver, precious stones, so the work of some builders, when tested, will vanish. They do not do solid work. 14. If any man's work shall abide. Shall stand the test of trial. Such a builder will be rewarded. There shall be stars in his crown. 15. If any man's work shall be burned. Shall perish as worthless. Such an one will forfeit his reward. So as by fire. He is saved, because he intended well, but is barely saved, like one who escapes from a burning house where all his property is consumed.

      16, 17. If any man defile the temple of God. In verse 9 the apostle had said, "Ye are God's building." Now he returns to that figure, and denounces the judgment of God upon all who would defile his house by their carnal divisions. In that temple the Spirit dwelt, as the Shekinah had dwelt in the temple of God at Jerusalem; it was therefore a holy temple, and an awful sin to defile it. Under the old dispensation, death was the penalty of polluting the temple.

      18-23. Let no man deceive himself. A caution against the philosophical tendencies of the Apolloite party. If any man thinketh that he is wise. If he is wise in his own estimation and that of the world, let him choose what the world calls "foolishness," in order that he may became "wise unto salvation." 19. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. See chapter 1:20 . For it is written. Job 5:13 . 20. And again, the Lord knoweth, etc. Psalm 94:11 . 21. Wherefore, let no man glory in men. In preachers like Paul, and Apollos, and Cephas. Above all, let them not form parties around human leaders. For all things are yours. All, the preachers as well as all beside, are ordained to prepare you for eternal glory. 22. Whether Paul, etc. See verse 5 . Or the world. The world is not to be the master, but the servant of God's children. Or life. Life is given to do God's work and to insure life eternal. Or death. To the saint "death is gain." Or things present. These, whatsoever they are, "shall work together for good to them that love God." Or things to come. The things to come to the Christian are the presence of Christ, and the joys of the New Jerusalem. All are yours. What a climax! 23. And ye are Christ's. He had procured for us all things, but has bought us with a price. Christ is God's. God's Son, and belonging to the Father. All things are ours, but we are not our own! We own all else, but we do not own ourselves! Hence our duty to be consecrated to the service of Christ.

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