Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling: Eternal Reward, 1Co 3:1-17, part 9.
Thursday February 4, 2021
One hope of your calling: hope is to wait with eager confidence in the promises of God.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; 6 that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men? 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. [Image of the field] 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
[Image of the building] 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
The theme of “taking care how he builds” is now expounded upon as the central motif of vv. 11-17 with a Christocentric frame.
The Corinthians were trying to build the church which false doctrines. They were trying to build something, but it was wood, hay, and straw on top of a marble foundation.
That day will show the value of each believer’s building work (to others and to the church), which would be a direct reflection of their spiritual lives.
The good church is built upon the foundation of the Person and work of Christ. The people in the church are either growing or not, and if they are growing, the church brings more and more glory to God.
Paul says soon after this:
I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.
Not even we can properly examine our own church. We will have to wait until the Lord comes, but until then we are careful how we build and always have our eyes on our foundation and the apostle Paul’s words, our wise master builder.
If we can’t judge our own church properly then we cannot judge another’s church. (If the foundation of an organization isn’t the cross of Chris then it isn’t a church – so no evaluation is necessary) We can see if their foundation is something other than Christ crucified, but we must leave judgment in the hands of the Lord. Only time and the day of judgment will tell.
We do know that the properly built church will last forever as gold, silver, and precious stones – its impact on people.
Impact for good upon others has an eternal impact. Think of God’s works, like freeing Israel from Egypt, calling Abraham, conquering the Promised Land with Joshua, raising up David, and most of all, the cross of Christ. These works never die. They are always remembered and they continue to impact people thousands of years later and will continue to do so for thousands of years to come. Our good, though small compared to God’s, will have lasting, eternal impact.
The image that Paul is using is a lasting building that survives fire (judgment of Christ) and so is built of good deeds, 2Co 5:10. Reward is the fruit that arises from divinely good deeds.
Some have pictured the rewards as being robes and crowns worn in heaven that many others do not wear. While this may or may not be true, the crowns that we do see in heaven are thrown at the Savior’s feet. What reward in the kingdom of God will not be, is like reward on earth.
Reward would also come in time as well as eternity. The rewards in life for living the spiritual life of Christ, for being filled up with all the fulness of God defies explanation. It is exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we could ever ask or think.
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them. 4 "And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries, and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 "And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi. 8 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 "And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
Then He would pronounce His woes upon them.
Paul says to Corinth in essence, “Your own city was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in glory. Your church will suffer or be blessed in similar fashion depending upon each of your own spiritual lives.”
We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Then, and only then, is the final word on our works, good or bad, declared.