1Co 3: "The important labour of the Truth is the spiritual
building of Faith. But the Corinthian ecclesia was so affected by schisms and
factions that they were unable to display the important elements of godliness
and to build the ecclesia in a way beneficial to each member. The apostle
appealed to their consideration of the need for spiritual development, and in
this ch, to reveal the benefits of faithful service. Notice the way in which the
apostle uses important phrases: 'Every man' (vv 4,8,10,13), then 'any man' (vv
14,15,17,18), and 'no man' (vv 18,21). So the apostle sets out the means to
build the temple of faith, by ensuring that every individual is strengthened in
understanding. He shows that leaders in the ecclesia are but fellow-workers with
God, and should not exercise undue influence that might destroy the work being
accomplished. It is, after all, God's work (vv 7-9). Each labourer has his own
activity to undertake. There is only one foundation: that of Christ (v 11), but
we have the responsibility to build wisely thereupon. The approaching judgment
will reveal the results of our efforts, whether of value or not"
QUARRELING: Or "strife" (AV). "TruIy the word strife
appears here in a terrible list of evils with a terribIe penalty threatened. We
do well to make a very critical examination of our own conduct to make sure that
any variance, wrath and strife existing in the ecclesias now, shall not be
aggravated by any wrong action or wrong words of ours" (PrPr).
GOD'S FELLOW WORKERS: "Be thankful that God has
guaranteed you a job. For an able-bodied, able-minded person, there is no
affliction worse than unemployment. There is never unemployment for the true
children of God. They always have full time employment: plenty to do. They are
spiritually-minded, and they perceive the vast amount of spiritual labor crying
to be done, and the laborers few. And they lovingly rejoice at the God-provided
opportunity to be laborers together with Him. And they cheerfully set to work at
the huge pile, from dawn to dusk, in total, exhilarating satisfaction and
enjoyment. They retire at night to sweet repose, serene in the consciousness of
a good day's work done for the eternal, triumphant, ever-advancing divine
purpose. Very little result can be seen with the natural eye, but the mighty
edifice progresses steadily, stone by stone. What a wonderful blessing that
God's spiritually-minded, spiritually-aware children have an abundance of
wholesome, useful, enjoyable work. What a tragedy is slothfulness and
unemployment. How sad the poor blind earthly creatures who 'don't know what to
do with their time'!" (GVG).
"What a privilege it is to be called fellow workers with our
Father. Like a child who gets to take on a grand task beside his father,
watching and learning all the time. Hoping for an opportunity to do some little
part. Then doing that part with great respect and looking to the father for
reassurance that he is doing it as the father would have it done. Giving his
best effort and talent to please him and not to tarnish his great work. And in
the mean time receiving such wonderful growth and learning from the experience.
Thank you, Father, for adopting us as sons into Your loving arms"
"Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever
-- and let us think as we lay stone upon stone that a time will come when men
will say, as they look upon the labor wrought, 'See, this our fathers did for
us' " (J Ruskin).
"I saw a group of men in my home town,
A group of men tearing a building down.
With a heave and a ho and a mighty yell,
They swung a beam and the side wall fell.
I said to the foreman, 'Are these men skilled,
The kind you'd hire if you wanted to build?'
He laughed and said, 'Why, no indeed,
Common labor is all I need,
For I can tear down in a day or two
What it took a builder 10 years to do.'
I thought to myself as I walked away:
Which of these roles am I going to play?"
"Anybody can find fault, criticize, or tear down. But it takes
a rare individual to build something... because they have to do it day after day
after day" (Lou Holtz).
HIS WORK: Those whom Paul taught: 1Co 1:10; 3:3-8; 1Th
REWARD: "Crown" of rejoicing: 1Th 2:19, at acceptance
of his converts.
Figure of speech: Fires sweeping through Corinth's
"Every true son and daughter of the Lord God Almighty is a
miniature tabernacle or temple, as saith Paul. Our minds should be a holy place
lined with the gold of a tried faith, in which the one Christ-sacrifice for sins
is continually offered, and the smoke of grateful incense, kindled by the fire
of the altar, continually ascending, while deeply secreted in the innermost ark
of the heart is the law of God in its remembrance, the scriptures in their
affectionate study, the institutions of divine appointment in continual
reverence, and the bread of God in its continual eating. Thus shall we be the
sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, misunderstood by
all, hated by many, despised and rejected of men, persevering in a bitter
probation that will end at last in life and light and joy everlasting" (LM
Some "build" well, and their work survives (v 14). Others
"build" not so well, yet they survive even when their work perishes (v 15).
Others yet "tear down" instead of build, and will suffer the same fate
themselves (v 17).
YOU ARE OF CHRIST: Cp 1Co 6:19,20. "You belong to
Christ. You are his by donation, for the Father gave you to the Son; his by
purchase, for he paid the price of his blood for your redemption; his by
dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to him; his by relation, for you
are named by his name, and made one of his brethren and joint-heirs. Labor
practically to show the world that you are the servant, the friend, the bride of
Christ. When tempted to sin, reply, 'I cannot do this great wickedness, for I
belong to Christ.' Righteous principles forbid the friend of Jesus to sin. When
wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you belong to Christ, and touch
it not. Are you exposed to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day,
remembering that you belong to Christ. Are you placed where others are sitting
down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the
sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to slack off, cry, 'No, I
cannot stop, for I belong to Christ.' When the siren song of pleasure would
tempt you from the path of right, reply, 'Your music cannot charm me; I belong
to Christ.' When the cause of God invites you, give your goods and yourself
away, for you belong to Christ. Always be one of those whose manners are
Christian, whose speech is like the Nazarene, whose conduct is mindful of the
Kingdom of God, so that all who see you may know that you are the Savior's,
recognizing in you his features of love and his countenance of holiness. Once
upon a time 'I am a Roman!' was a reason for integrity; far more, then, let it
be your argument for holiness, that 'I belong to Christ!' " (CHS,