Foundational Truth

Message:  In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul called them out for their immaturity. He told them that he had been unable to speak to them with the substance he wanted because they weren’t ready for it and still weren’t. He told them they were still “fleshly”. How did he know this? In verse 3 he told them that because there was envy and strive among them weren’t they living like unbelievers? Ouch! Anyone envious or carried a grudge against anyone lately? Paul says this is fleshly and immature. He even went as far as to compare this to being an unbeliever. We are all in a growth and learning process but as Christians we are supposed to be mature and known for our unity. This kind of immaturity holds us back from our purpose and is the reason that unbelievers are not seeing something different in us. In this context Paul was still talking about the fact that the people were dividing themselves according to the leader they were following because they didn’t understand that they were all of the same purpose. Some said Paul, some said Apollos, some said Peter. Paul explained to them that some were called to plant and some to water but they are one in purpose and God is the one that gives the growth. One is not above the other. He continued on to explain that he laid a foundation like a master builder when he planted the seeds and shared the gospel with them. Then others like Apollos came and built on that foundation. Paul cautioned that what we build on top of that foundation is important and will be tested by fire for quality and purity. What is of God will stand and anything else will burn up in the fire. We are all called to lay foundations and also build on them so we have to be extremely careful and intentional about what we lay. The foundation is Jesus Christ and nothing else so when we share the gospel we have to keep our opinions out of it and stick to the truth of the gospel. When we lead people we also have to keep our opinions out of it and build a solid structure of truth. As I thought about this a few things came to mind. We all have thoughts and opinions about politics, social justice and biblical topics like the end times and sticky topics like predestination. These are not fundamental to the gospel and though we are free to pray through our own understanding of these things, we are not supposed to confuse the truth of the gospel by intertwining these things in the foundation or the solid structure of doctrine. This passage warns us that everything will be tested. If we invest our time building a structure based on some of these unclear topics our structure will be like hay and stubble that burn up. If we invest our time building a structure of clear doctrine, our work will stand the test of fire and we will find a strong structure. Why is a solid structure so important? It’s critically important to have the foundation of salvation. Without that foundation it’s impossible to build anything that will last. Having a solid structure of doctrine built upon that foundation will give us a safe place to weather the storms of life. When we know who God is and have built a solid structure of truth, we will not be stirred up. This is not just about us though. It’s about what we are building in others. If we are consumed with our opinions instead of solid truth we will not help those around us who need a safe shelter of truth. We are responsible for what we build and it will be tested. It’s good to care about politics and social justice but this is a temporary kingdom and we need to be more concerned with building a strong structure for the kingdom of eternity.

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