Building Something That Lasts by Rick Burdette
1 Corinthians 3:14-3:14
BUILDING MATERIAL THAT LASTS
Do you remember the story of the three little pigs? It’s my grandson Peyton’s very favorite story…I’ve read it to him so many times…he finishes the sentences. It’s the story of three little pigs who set out to build houses of their own after the Mamma pig tells them their too big to live in her house any longer.
The first little pig runs into man with a load of straw and he quickly constructs a house made of this material, the second little pig runs into a man with a load of sticks and be quickly builds a house out of this material…but the 3rd little pig runs into a man with a load of bricks…and painstakingly builds a strong house with two windows and a chimney…it’s a house make to last/ when the big bad wolf comes calling…when he huffs and puffs…the first two houses come crashing down…the 2 little pigs
run for safety to the brick house…and when the big bad wolf comes calling he cannot blow this house down…Its built to last…and when he tries to sneak in the chimney he ends up in a big pot of boiling water…the 3 pigs live together in the brick house…happily ever after.
I don’t know if the original author of this story every read 1st Corinthians chapter three, but both stories have the same theme…when you build….build out of material that lasts.
The three little pigs story starts out “Once upon a time there were three little pigs whose mother said to them…”It’s time for you to go out into the big world to build houses of your own..
They are sent out with a very specific purpose…and if we are to be a church with a powerful purpose we need to understand our mission at lest as well as these 3 little pigs.
Here’s what Jesus told his followers as he sent them out into the world.
John 17: 15-18
Jesus does not take his followers out of this world, instead he sanctifies us and sends us out into it for a very specific purpose…build something that will last…use eternal material, and when the big bad wolf (comes huffing and puffing…it will remain standing….
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of min and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its formation on the rock.” (Matt 7:24-25)
The Apostle Paul lets us know in 1 Cor. 3 who that rock is.
I THE FOUNDATION IS JESUS
1 Cor. 3:10-11
[My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…All other ground is sinking sand…all other ground is sinking sand.]
It and important question isn’t it? The most important question! What are you building the hope of your life on?
The god of this world would have you build it on sand. He’ll lie to you….he’ll try to convince you that your hopes of stability and security are justified. He’ll tell you that relationship will give you value. This accomplishment will seal the deal. This possession will really make you happy….and he laughs hysterically as your house collapses and slides into the sea.
What’s so scary is that people continue to build their lives on this sandy material time after time. Maybe it will be different this time, maybe this relationship will keep me safe, maybe this accomplishment will be enough…collapse…rebuild…collapse….rebuild…and life is over…and you look back only find the straw and sticks blown to kingdom come.
Jesus is the only foundation that offers security and eternal hope…it’s the only foundation that will not collapse as we build for eternity in this world….Before the foundation of the world God prepared this building site….”No one can lay any other foundation than the one already laid, which is Christ Jesus”
He becomes our foundation for hope when we give him our lives…when we finally surrender to the truth that this world only offers straw and sticks…and he has a powerful purpose for each house built on his blood and righteousness….the old house is demolished and new project is begun.
For us to realize the powerful purpose of God’s building plan…the one he is the architect of before time began we have to realize.
II THE BUILDING MATERIAL FOR ETERNITY IS PEACE
If you go back a little earlier in 1 Cor 3 you see the church at Corinth divided and arguing about which minister it was better to have become a Christian under. Was it more spiritual to have accepted Christ because of Paul’s ministry, Peter’s ministry or Apollo’s.
Paul tells them baby’s argue and fight about stuff like this…people still in the world are jealous concerning who the most popular leader is…he writes to them and says
1 Cor 3: 5-10
If you want to see an effective leader’s heart…a leader that understands his purpose in the world all you have to do is look at Paul’s attitude. All of us have egos…all of us like to feel valued, but Paul knows that Jesus eternal building project is a team effort…it requires builders with different gifts…and none of those gifts are more or less important in the construction.
It would have been so easy to divide this church. Paul could have gathered his team…Peter his team and Apollo’s this team.
It happened in 3rd John…Gaius a church leader or pastor welcome others who came in Christ’s name to help and minister. He showed hospitality to fellow builders.
A church leader named Diotrephes did not. He wanted to be first in power and popularity…listen
3 John 8-11
If you want to identify the heart of a leader who understands eternal building…look at Paul, or Gaius…it doesn’t matter whose just or whose powerful…only that hospitality is shown to other people who are building, and that the church is focused on Jesus…not themselves. Diotrephes was the example of a leader focused on self, and trashing others behind their backs.
If we are to build with material that lasts these are the spiritual truths that must be followed. There will be a messenger that lays the gospel foundations in Jesus….there will be mentors who help people become strong and secure in their faith, their will be people who refresh with encouragement like water to a thirsty plant…none of these people are more important than the other…they’re all servants. “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose…and each will be rewarded according to his labor.” (v.8) Neither he who plants or waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow” (v.7)
That one purpose is clearly leading people to Christ Jesus and helping those people in turn become effective builders for Christ. Helping them become temples in which God lives instead of houses built on sand…tossed back and forth by worldly stones. Yes there will be people who argue about which ministry is more important, yes there will be people who love to be first like Diotrephes…and gossip will tear servants down.
But there will also be builders who realize they are servants…that God is the only one who can grow anything or build anything…and they will welcome others to share in ministry for God’s eternal glory…there will always be weeds and wheat in the field…even in God’s field.
That’s the very reason Paul tells us “each one should be careful how he builds…because
III THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS SACRED
“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. (v 16,17)
It’s the exact correlation to Luke 17: 20-21 where Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come and Jesus replied “The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation nor will people say “Here it is or there it is because the Kingdom of God is within you”.
When you are born again in Christ you receive the Holy Spirit. He takes up residence inside you. Your body becomes the temple in which God lives. The foundation for building a beautiful temple for God’s glory and His purposes has been laid.
Now the construction to make it a Holy residence for His presence begins. Each of us is responsible for its continued Holy construction for ourselves…and we are also helping others become Holy tenders. The bible calls this process – sanctification. It is the process of becoming like Jesus.
And if any of us presume to be builders for God we’d better build carefully using gold, silver or costly stones.
If we go outside of God’s purpose and use wood, hay or straw…”The builders world will be shown for what it is…because the day will bring it to light…it will be tested by fire…and the fire will reveal the quality of each man’s work
Paul chose gold, silver and costly stones when it came to the Corinthians. He chose to build maturity in their lives instead of choosing sides in petty arguments. He wanted to teach them to be temples instead of outhouses.
Godly builders have to dig deep for these sacred truths. You might find straw, wood and hay just laying around on the surface—but the costly things….the things that last and stand the test of fire require courage to dig deep spiritually.
[Here’s an example: suppose someone doesn’t like something in the church and they begin to get critical or begin to tear down…do you dig deep and remind them of “the one purpose” or as you settle for wood, hay and straw by trying to placate and please…Do you try to make sure they’re on your side… or do you share the expectation that building for the kingdom is much more important]
It seems clear there will be builders who chose the wood, hay and straw option…and they will not lose their salvation….”They’ll suffer loss, but, he himself will be saved as one escaping through the flames”
But as a leader in God’s house I don’t want to stand before Jesus with a smoldering mulch pile behind me….I want to stand before him with people who have dug deep and are purified by the fire, like Gold and Silver, not burnt up.
People as the temple of God are so sacred each building block of ministry we lay…needs to be laid with the question…does it build up or destroy…does it help people grow up into Christ or does it keep them infants. Let me end by saying….A church with a powerful purpose is laid by men and woman who are spiritual in their thinking and wisdom. It is that Spirit that makes us sacred….It is that Spirity that gives us insight into the heart and mind of God according to Romans 8:27.
“And he who searches our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will”.
Janus Chan in the book “Forgotten God” shares the reason the Holy Spirit exists in each believer. It’s shared and it’s the right reason
While we may have our own purposes for desiring the Spirits presence and power in our
lives, so does God! First Corinthians 12 tells us that each follower of Christ is given a
“manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (v.7) As we’ve seen, these manifestations, or gifts, are “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (v. 11)
So these reflections of the Spirit’s presence and activity in us have nothing to do with our
natural abilities, and we have no received them because we have earned or somehow deserve
them. Since these gifts come according to God’s will and not ours, it should be clear that they should not be used for our own boasting or entertainment.
The Spirit is intentional as He apportions these spiritual gifts to each person, according to His
will and purposes. The most obvious and stated purpose of these manifestations if for the good
and edification of the church. The Spirit desire to use us when our hearts are aligned with this vision, when we are filled with genuine love for the church, and when we desire to see the church grow in love for God and others.
So, this little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef and this little piggy had none…and this little piggy built for God’s Kingdom all the way home.