Verse: 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
This passage speaks a powerful truth that is relevant for today. The main message here is that those who build the church should take care, for what they build will be judged in the end. There are two thoughts from this that we, as a church, should consider—and that we, as Christians, should be aware of as we view the church as a whole.
First - whose building is it? This is a great reminder that we are not building our own kingdom, but we are building God's kingdom. This verse makes me think of celebrity pastors. I'm not saying they can't be good people. I try to assume the best of them. But when it becomes more about building their image, or brand, or bank account, how does that line up with this verse? Power and money are seductive both in and outside the church. We need, as Christians, to be wary of those who appear to be building their own kingdom instead of God's.
Second - who is the foundation? This is a great litmus test for us to keep in mind as we listen to and read other leaders. Social media, podcasts and YouTube are amazing in that they allow us to listen to any preacher we want to. However, just because someone is a preacher, doesn't mean we should listen to them. When we do listen, we need to also judge. I have read authors who appear at first to be Christian, and then as I learn more, I realize their foundation is no longer Jesus Christ. "No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." When we hear preachers who are beginning to take apart the divinity of Christ, the authority of his Word, the power of the cross, or any other central element to the message he preached, we should be wary.
This is why Jesus told us in Matthew 10:16: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." We can't just accept any teaching or any leader. We need to judge them by the Word of God and the Truth of Jesus' teachings. When Jesus ceases to be central, one could argue, that the message ceases to be Christian. Jesus and the writers of the New Testament warned us over and over again about this. Read these five short passages in light of what we've just talked about and see if you find them to be relevant for today:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."
1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
2 Peter 2:1-3
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Give me wisdom Lord to discern those who speak the truth from those who are misleading.