312 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 26 - 1 Corinthians 3:10-4:2 - Part 2

312: 1 Corinthians 3:10-4:2 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 26

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 26

 I CORINTHIANS 3:10 – 4:2

We’ll be looking at the mysteries that are recorded in Paul’s epistles – Romans through Hebrews. We’ll see just how often Paul makes reference to the mysteries. Now the mysteries are a unique term, we have the word used in Matthew 13, when Jesus spoke of the mysteries of the Kingdom, but that was a different setting. But throughout Paul’s epistles he is constantly coming back to this term, “The mystery.” Now let’s begin with I Cor. 4:1. Remember what Paul has been talking about throughout these first three chapters.

I Corinthians 4:1

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.”

Now underline that word `stewards’ and `the mysteries.’ The first thing we must do is define them. Remember back in the Old Testament when God was telling Abraham that he was going to be the father of a nation, with many people, and what was Abraham’s answer? “How can I be, I don’t have a son, all I have is this steward Eleazer of Damascus.” Now what in the world was Abraham talking about? Well, he was a manager. Now our word `economy’ really comes from the same root word that we get `steward.’ And all it is is someone who is a manager of a household or who is in control of something. And then Paul tells us in verse 2 that if we’re going to be the right kind of steward, or manager, then what do you have to be? Faithful.

I Corinthians 4:2

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

Say you owned a business and you were moving to another state; and you leave your business in the care of a manager or steward, what would you expect him to be? Faithful and honest. He has to be a good, faithful steward of what belongs to you. The amazing thing is that Paul has given to every true believer an understanding of the mysteries. But the problem is that most believers don’t understand them. And so, I’ve just always made it a priority to try to help believers understand what are these mysteries that Paul is always referring to.

I’ve got this great big wagon wheel with all the spokes for an illustration. And within this wagon wheel are all the various mysteries that make up what I call this body of truth that Paul calls the dispensation of the Grace of God. And within this dispensation, or period of management, we have all of these Pauline doctrines that you won’t find anywhere else in your Bible. We’ll just take a run through the Scriptures during the remaining time we have in this lesson, and look at them. Now we’ll start back in the Book of Romans where the first one is found and we’ll just come right up through Paul’s letters.

So, Romans Chapter 11, verse 25. And of course this the great chapter where Paul makes it so certain that God is not through with the Nation of Israel. There’s a lot of literature that tries to say that He is, but the Book says that He is still going to return one day, and we think it’s getting soon. He’s yet going to fulfill everything He has promised to the Nation of Israel. Now here is one of the mysteries that was revealed to this apostle that no one else had ever dreamed of, and here it is:

Romans 11:25

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (or secret, and this secret has been held in the mind of God until we come to this apostle) lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; (which a lot of Gentiles are tonight) that blindness in part (not forever, but they have been blinded for the the past 1900 + years) is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

The Old Testament understood that God would one day save Gentiles, but they had no idea that it would be without Israel. See the whole idea in Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 60:1-3, Zechariah 8:22-23 and other prophecies, that once Israel became the obedient vehicle, that “Kingdom of Priests,” then Israel would evangelize the Gentiles. But kept in the mind of God a total secret was that He would go to the Gentiles without Israel. They rejected Him, and He displaced them from Jerusalem, and dispersed them into the nations of the world, and now He has gone to the Gentiles with the Gospel of the Grace of God. A mystery, a secret, kept in the mind of God, but now revealed. Now our next mystery is found in Romans 16:25 right at the doxology of the chapter. And whenever you see this word `mystery’ it’s the same identical Greek word meaning secret (Musterion).

Romans 16:25

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my (Paul) gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation (or revealing) of the mystery, (secret) which was kept secret since the world began (or the ages).” So ever since the creation this had never been revealed that God would take salvation to the Gentiles by faith and faith alone. All the Old Testament was by way of Israel. Now the next one is in I Corinthians chapter 2:7, and here is where Paul has been dealing with wisdom. We looked at this not very long ago.

I Corinthians 2:7

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, (secret) even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our (my) glory:”

Now what was it? That Jesus was The Christ, and that secret in the next verse was that the princes of this world didn’t know Who Christ was, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. Now I’ve told my classes for years and years that Israel should have known Who Jesus was because the Old Testament was full of Him. Israel could have known if they would have just simply studied their Old Testament, but Israel did not know. Now don’t jump all over the Jews for their ignorance. America has had the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) preached, America has the Bible, I trust, in almost every home, and every library. Almost everywhere you go there are copies of the Scriptures, yet how much of America today knows that we are approaching the end-times? Very few.

There was a lady that told me recently that she saw in the supermarket a tabloid magazine that the headlines read, “Repent, The End Of The World Is Coming Next Week.” Leave it to a tabloid, but you see they know nothing of Biblical prophecy, they know nothing of all the details that God has already laid out for us. But even here in America, with all of our Bibles, very few people know or understand that we’re getting close. The Lord is about to intervene in human history. So in the Scripture we have just read, they didn’t know and we’re no different today. It was a secret that had been kept in the mind of God until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul. Now we’ve already looked at I Corinthians 4:1 in the first part of this lesson, so now let’s go to I Corinthians 13:2. Here’s the love chapter, and it sits right between the two chapters where Paul is dealing with the gifts of the Spirit.

I Corinthians 13:2

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, (which was a gift that was needed at that time before the Word came into print, and it was a gift. Men had the gift of speaking forth the Word of God even though it was not yet in print.) and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

Now I think Paul is taking it beyond the mysteries given to him, because of pagan religion, and I’m afraid too many people don’t understand this. In all of the pagan religions of the world, what do they speak of when they speak of the very inner sanctum of that religion? The mysteries, the secret things that the common initiate (I call them), never are aware of. But the big wheels, the guys who are really at the head of everything, the guys who get all the wealth accumulated, they understand those mysteries, and they’re Satanic every time. If you ever have an opportunity to visit with missionaries from the still rather dark areas of the world where they are still in pagan practices, ask them if there is power in those pagan religions. You bet there’s power. Not God’s power, of course, but it’s that whole idea of the mysteries of those religions. But Paul is, I think, including both when he says hypothetically “even if I could,” it doesn’t say that he does. Now let’s go on to the next one, and that will be in I Corinthians 14:2.

I Corinthians 14:2

“For he that speaketh in an unknown (`unknown’ has been added by the translators, I prefer to leave it out.) tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries (or secrets that not everybody can understand. Still means the same thing. Those things that have been kept secret in the mind of God.).”

Now I Cor. 15:51. Here again is a truth that has never been revealed in Scripture. There is no hint of this in the Old Testament. Jesus never referred to it. What is it? The Rapture of the Church. It’s not called that here, but the language is such that you know that’s what it is.

I Corinthians 15:51

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; (what’s this secret? That there will be be a group of believers who will not die physically. Look how he explains it.) We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,”

We’re not going to go up to Heaven in this old body. We’re not going to die if we are part of this secret when it happens, and are resurrected and get a new body. But we’re going to be changed. A metamorphosis. Then Paul goes on to explain it further in the following verses.

I Corinthians 15:52

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (who are alive) shall be changed (in a moment).”

It was a mystery (also found in I Thessalonians 4:13-18) that no one had ever understood until the Lord revealed it to this apostle. Some people get Matthew 24 confused with this secret, but Matthew 24 deals strictly with the nation of Israel, the Tribulation, and His Second Coming to the earth. So don’t confuse those events with the Body of Christ which we are a part of. A good way to remember is that at the Rapture He comes for us in the air, and at His second coming we come with Him to the earth seven years later.

Now the next mystery is in Ephesians Chapter 1. I always stress when I teach Paul’s letters that he had a progressive revelation even as the Bible as a whole does. So some of these things come out in greater detail in his later prison epistles than they do in the first one, and this is very obvious. Romans and Corinthians were the pre-prison epistles. These are the revelations that Paul got early on, but when you get over here in Ephesians, Colossians and Timothy, this is toward the end of his writing career, and he has a greater revelation than he did back here. Never lose sight of that when you study Paul.

Ephesians 1:9,10

“Having made known (that is speaking of Christ, and our position in Him) unto us the mystery (secret) of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times (in other words when everything is complete) he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”

In other words Paul says, “This is a secret now revealed that is the hope of the believer, that when God brings everything to it’s culmination, and we go into eternity, we will be the objects of His eternal purpose.” And what was His eternal purpose? His Mercy and Grace in saving lost sinners. The next mystery will be Ephesians 3:3, but in this mystery we almost have to start with verse 1.

Ephesians 3:1-6

“For this cause (in other words, everything that he wrote in the first two chapters) I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation (he didn’t get it from other men) he (The ascended Lord) made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [Well what’s this particular mystery?]

“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ;) Which in other ages (or past generations) was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles (remember Paul was not the last of the apostles, others followed after him during the apostolic age) and prophets by the Spirit; (and this is what this secret amounts to) That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel (“Gospel that saves” Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4):”

Now remember, Israel never had a promise like that. Israel never had a promise that they would be joint-heirs with Christ. Do you know what that means? Everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to us believers also, as we are joint-heirs as Gentiles in this “Body of Christ.” Now drop down for the next one to verse 9, and we’ll almost have to start with verse 8. All of this is just a summarization, this is certainly not detailed commentary as I would like to teach on these mysteries.

Ephesians 3:8,9

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship (meeting of the mind) of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world (age) hath been hid in God,…”

Now what’s Paul saying? Remember, he was talking earlier in this chapter that the Gentiles are going to be joint-heirs with Christ. And like I said, that’s something that the Jews had never heard of in their Covenant promises. But you and I, as Gentile believers, have this prospect that when we go into the eternal abode then we will be joint-heirs with Christ. Now in verse 9, Paul wanted this mystery to be seen by all believers, not just the spiritual, not just the pastors, or theologians, but everyone. Now what I can’t understand is why people can’t see that this wasn’t yet revealed during Christ’s earthly ministry. Jesus never indicated that there would ever be this kind of a consort between Himself and Gentiles. He only talked about Himself and Israel. But this was kept secret in the mind of God until it was revealed to this man. And now it comes out to the whole Gentile world, “Look at this glorious prospect of having a joint-heirship with Jesus Christ.” Now let’s look at the next one in Ephesians 6:19.

Ephesians 6:19

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery (secret) of the gospel.” (As given to Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4.)

Now that’s what it says, and you can’t twist it to mean something else. Paul is now proclaiming something that had never been revealed before – that Gentiles as well as Jews can be saved by believing on the finished work of the Cross. Enter into this glorious relationship with Christ that makes us a joint-heir with Him, not for just this life but for all eternity. What a glorious prospect. It should make the hair on the back of our neck stand on end to think that this is what’s facing us. Not some great doom, and judgment. Not, I hope so, and maybe. But we have this assurance that this mystery is this fellowship that we as Gentiles are going to enjoy, and already do. The next one is found in Colossians 1:26, and again we also need to look at verse 25.

Colossians 1:25-27

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, (Gentiles) to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; (and what is the secret?) which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ in a Gentile is something a Jew could never comprehend, but that’s what the Book says.

Colossians 2:2

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery (secret) of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” How few people will understand it. And if they do they won’t recognize it, they won’t acknowledge it. Now Chapter 4, verses 2 and 3:

Colossians 4:2,3

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:”

I Timothy 3:8,9

“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”

I Timothy 3:14-16

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh: justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

311 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 26 - 1 Corinthians 3:10-4:2

311: 1 Corinthians 3:10-4:2 – Lesson 3 part 3 Book 26

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 26

I CORINTHIANS 3:10 – 4:2

Now I want to pick right up where we left off in our last lesson, and that will be in I Corinthians chapter 3. We left off with verse 3 rather quickly so we’ll rehearse that again, and remember, we’ve been studying about this whole idea of rewards. I can never stress enough that this is not salvation that we have been talking about, for salvation is a free gift. We don’t work for it. But for our rewards we work.

Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We have our salvation secure, but now we are to work to further God’s work among the human race, as well as to gain rewards. In closing in our last lesson we had just looked at verse 15.

I Corinthians 3:15a

“If any man’s work shall be burned…”

In other words, this hay, wood, and stubble shall be burned. And I suppose we can look at it this way: the gold, silver, and precious stones are the things that are rightly motivated. In other words, we’re doing it in our subconscious as well as our conscious. Our whole motivation is for God to receive the glory. Now we’re all involved in so many things that enhance the ego (the big `I’) and that will probably end up as nothing more than hay, wood, and stubble. And so we always have to remember that God looks at the motivation, “Why are we doing what we do?” And that boils down into every corner of our life. Why are you doing it? Are you doing it to be pleasing in God’s eyes, to bring glory to Him? If so, then that is going to be reckoned as gold, silver, or precious stones, and those things do not come easy when you do it for the Lord’s glory.

I’ve used this illustration more than once: “The Christian life is like paddling a canoe up a roaring river.” Always remember, the Christian life is never easy. It is a constant battle because we’re up against all the forces of Satan, and all the designs of the world around us, but God has promised that we can do it. So our whole idea of Christian experience then is to gain rewards when we come before the Bema Seat, as we talked about in our last lesson. Then Paul, in verse 15, makes it sure that even these carnal Corinthian believers who are not spiritual giants, but rather on the milk bottle, that even rewards are out there for them. So you believers today never give up, and say, “Oh well, I can never obtain any of this anyway so why should I try.” And then also in verse 15 Paul maintains that even these people who have nothing in eternity as rewards, they will still be there nevertheless.

I Corinthians 3:15b

“…he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved;…”

I remember an old pastor friend of mine would put it this way; “They’ll get there by the skin of their teeth.” They’ll be there but will have nothing to go along with it.

Now then Paul comes right into verse 16, which is tied to our lifestyle that’s going to merit rewards or lack of it, by bringing up a completely new doctrine in Scripture. You don’t find this in the Old Testament, you don’t find Jesus teaching it, Peter and the eleven don’t teach it, only Paul teaches it, and what is it? “That God Himself is dwelling in this body.” Now that’s a concept that you have to take by faith, because you didn’t feel Him move in, you don’t feel Him moving around in you, but He’s there because the Book says He is. Now let’s look at it.

I Corinthians 3:16

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

Even these poor old carnal Corinthians were temples of the living God. To every believer, the moment he believes, the Spirit comes and indwells. Now usually when I teach young people (and that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to older folks), but I usually tell young people, “Now look, when you go to some ungodly place, you’re not going to check God at the door. You take Him wherever you go. You cannot check Him wherever you think it’s not fit for Him to be, so you’d better be careful where you go. Because this body is the temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit and He comes the moment we believe!”

I Corinthians 3:16

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

Now that’s plain language. You don’t have to be a theologian to understand that. The third Person of the Trinity, as we refer to Him – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – the third Person of the Trinity comes and indwells the believer. That’s why God can know every thought. Now that’s scary, isn’t it? God knows our thoughts. God knows every place we go. He knows everything we do. Because He’s here in our heart. Now in your mind’s eye, if you will, go all the way back to when Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, which was going to be the dwelling place of God. When the Temple was complete, and they dedicated it, what happened? Well, the presence of God in the Shekinah Glory came right down into that Temple there at Jerusalem. The presence of God dwelt in that dwelling place, which was the Temple Now that was just a foreview of this Age of Grace where, when God saves an individual, he immediately becomes a Temple, a dwelling place. And just like the Shekinah Glory came into Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit comes into us. Not as visibly. It isn’t manifested in much the same way, but according to the Book, this is what happens. And if the Book says it, we have to believe it. He is dwelling within us.

Now the question has come up and I think I answered it in my last newsletter, if I’m not mistaken. At the Rapture of the Church, and all the believers are taken out, does that mean the Holy Spirit is gone too? And you know, shortly after I’d sent my newsletter out with my answer, I was reading a well-known theologian and bless his heart (or mine), if he didn’t answer it just exactly the same way. And that is; that just because the Holy Spirit goes out and finishes His role as indwelling the individual believer, doesn’t remove Him from the earth. Because the Holy Spirit has always been the Omnipresence of God on the planet. You go all the way back to Genesis Chapter 1 and after the deluge of verse 2, when everything is under water, what moved upon the face of the deep? The Spirit! And so all throughout the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was evident, otherwise nobody could ever have knowledge of God. But He did not indwell the Old Testament believers like He does today. And the same way in the Tribulation – yes, as the indwelling Person of the Godhead, in the believer, that is going to end. But He’s going to remain on the earth as the Omnipresence of God or else no one would be able to be saved during the Tribulation and we know they will be. So every believer then, in this Age of Grace in which Paul is dealing, is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now verse 17. Here comes the doctrinal side benefits, or in some cases not a benefit.

I Corinthians 3:17

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Here we have to be careful. When it says here that if we defile the temple, what it’s referring to is defiling our physical bodies, then God will destroy it. Remember, the soul and spirit are pretty hard to separate, but the body, the third part of us, is not that hard to separate from the soul and spirit. So when God speaks of destroying the body, the temple then, He’s not going to touch the soul and spirit. Let’s look at a good example in I Corinthians Chapter 5. And we’ll be coming to this down the road. We’ll just jump in on a couple of verses because we’ll be studying this in detail when we get to Chapter 5. But here the Church at Corinth had a terrible immoral situation, and Paul is writing to them and telling them that they have to deal with it. And how is Paul going to deal with this situation?

I Corinthians 5:4,5

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, (most of us would refer to it today as a business meeting) and my spirit, (Paul would be there in spirit although he was at Ephesus) with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver (now watch it carefully) such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, (not the soul and spirit) that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Remember the account of Job? Job had been so blessed, and so prosperous, and nothing bad ever happened to him, and Satan just couldn’t stand it. You all know that account.

Job 2:1-6

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, `Whence comest thou?’ And Satan answered the LORD, and said, `From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.’ And the LORD said unto Satan, `Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.’ And Satan answered the LORD, and said, `Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.’ And the LORD said unto Satan, `Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.'”

Now Satan wanted to even take Job’s life, but could he? No. That’s where God drew the line. But here in I Corinthians Chapter 5 where Paul says to deal with this gross sin in the Corinthian Church, he makes it very plain to deliver one such as this to Satan. For the destruction of his flesh would not touch the man’s spiritual relationship with Christ. This man was still a believer, hard as that is to believe. But by destroying the flesh what would be taken from him? His physical life, and Paul speaks of that again in I Corinthians 11 when they were abusing the Lord’s Supper Table, and what did he tell them?

I Corinthians 11:28-30

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (Have died. God took their physical life here also, but not their spirit.)

And again that’s exactly what we have here, in I Corinthians Chapter 3:17, that the person that defiles his body, he may suffer physical harm. I don’t care how you do it, but when you in excess, abuse your physical body, sooner or later you’re going to suffer the consequences. Look at the drug addicts. They may think they can handle their drug problem, but unless they are fortunate enough to be drawn out of it, and be broken of it, what’s it going to do to their physical health? Utterly destroy it, and the same way with the alcoholic. Sooner or later that alcohol will destroy his liver, and his whole physical well-being. Well, we’ve come to the place now where medical science has proven that cigarettes do much the same thing. If you’re going to harm the physical body with things that you know are harmful, your body is going to suffer the consequences.

And we’re seeing it all around us. I saw on television several years back, the President of the American Hospital Association in an interview, and he said we need to stop doing things that harm our bodies. About 70% of our hospital beds are occupied by people who are there because of drinking, smoking, drugs, and venereal diseases. Our hospital beds are filled with people who abuse their physical body with things that we know are harmful. Now that’s all the Bible is telling us. Nearly 2000 years ago Paul could write that if you do something that is harmful to the body it’s going to suffer the results. Now come back to the text.

I Corinthians 3:17

“If any man defile the temple of God, (do something harmful to your physical body which is now the temple, the dwelling place of God) him shall God destroy; (In other words God will permit these ravages to destroy our physical health) for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

So as soon as a person becomes a believer he becomes responsible for taking care of this physical body. Paul teaches we are responsible for taking care of it. In fact, let’s look at a passage in the Book of Ephesians. This is all so practical, and it was written way back in 62-64 A.D. It was way ahead of the times, but it’s still a basic truth.

Ephesians 5:28,29

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; (no man in his subconscious ever hated his own flesh, but what is the normal thing for a person to do?) but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

So here is a basic fundamental premise, that if you are normal, and you have the right attitude toward life you’re going to take care of your physical body. And then the spiritual admonition, as we’re coming back to I Corinthians, is that it’s not just your physical body, but it’s the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. It’s the temple of God on this earth, and we’re to treat it accordingly. We’re to take care of it, we’re to feed it right, we’re to rest it right, and we’re not to abuse it. Now verse 18.

I Corinthians 3:18

“Let no man deceive himself (now that’s a strong statement in our day and time isn’t it? Because we’re so deluged with all kinds of deception. The advertisers are masters at it. They can make anything look like a great deal, and it may be the worst thing you could ever do, but that’s good advertising. But Paul is warning us, don’t deceive yourself). If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”

I think Paul, for the first time, is digressing a little bit, and he’s addressing an unbeliever – that if he thinks he is wise in the things of this world then he’d better change his approach to life, and what is that going to be? Come back for a moment to Chapter 1, but first look at what verse 18 says again.

I Corinthians 3:18

“…If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”

How does the unsaved person become a fool to become wise? Well back to Chapter 1, and verse 18.

I Corinthians 1:18

“For the preaching of the cross (that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. That preaching) is to them that perish (the lost person) foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

In other words, the unbeliever has to recognize that he’d better go into what he thinks is foolishness, and out of that foolishness, that he thinks is foolishness, he can get the wisdom of God. It’s that simple, and that’s exactly what Paul keeps driving at. And that’s why he’s using this term, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom throughout these early chapters of I Corinthians. And how do we gain wisdom? By going to what we think are lost people with this foolishness, the Gospel, (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) and then the power of God is poured out on us as His wisdom is as well. Now verse 19:

I Corinthians 3:19a

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God….”

You know something? The wisdom of this world, in other words, all the great philosophy and all the great literature, and the great works of art, when it’s all shaken up and sorted out, what is it? Foolishness so far as God is concerned. It amounts to nothing. Old Solomon put it how? “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” It’s the same thing. Let’s go on.

I Corinthians 3:19b

“For it is written, `He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.'”

Now that, I think, comes out of the Book of Job also. And then verse 20.

I Corinthians 3:20

“And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise (the wise of this world), that they are vain.”

Let’s go back and see what David said about it in Psalm 94:11. I always like to show you that even though I’m an adherent of Paul’s epistles, as the meat and potatoes for us today, that doesn’t mean you cancel the rest of Scripture. No way! It all fits together.

Psalm 94:11

“The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man,…” Remember what I said on the last program? That God even knows our thoughts. He knows everything we think. And so –

Psalm 94:11

“The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.”

In the final analysis they’ll go up in a puff of smoke. They amount to nothing. For a believer to have a great education and have a brilliant mind, that’s fine. That’s Christ-honoring. But you see, what God is talking about, is when the unbeliever places all of his faith in his so-called wisdom of this world, it’s nothing! Now for the believer to have this kind of education and knowledge, that’s great. But this is what Paul is driving at. Let’s go back to I Corinthians, if you will, and you remember I made the analogy that when Paul came to Mars Hill and came up against all those Athenian philosophers, he began to preach to them his foolish Gospel. When he began to tell them about the resurrection life and so forth, what did they call him? The “Babbler.” To them it was just a bunch of babble. But in reality it was the other way around. Paul had kernels of truth. The philosophers had nothing but babble. See how the world has got it all upside down? Now then, just a couple of verses to finish this chapter, and we’ll finish Chapter 4 in our next program.

I Corinthians 3:21

“Therefore (since all of man’s wisdom amounts to nothing without God’s wisdom) let no man glory in (who?) men. (none of them. The greatest minds on earth, and there’s no use looking up to them, because in God’s eyes, they’re nothing but vanity.) For all things are yours;” That is in Christ. This is Paul’s whole premise that when we’re in Christ, then it makes all the difference in the world. Now verse 22 and 23. And Paul comes all the way back to his first controversy with the Corinthians believers, and that was their divisions. And so now what does he say? Let’s bring it to a head.

I Corinthians 3:22,23

“Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;”

Now that’s the great glory of being in Christ. It’s an unfathomable well of wisdom and knowledge. Some day, if the Lord tarries, we’re going to get to the Book of Ephesians in this series. And there Paul actually makes a prayer for the believer, that we might be filled with the wisdom of God. And that we might know the height, depth, width, and length. I always ask my classes, how many dimensions is that? Well, that’s four. But we live in three. So what does that tell you? That there’s another dimension out there that we don’t even know physically. But spiritually? We’re already there. We’re living in four dimensions.

310 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 26 - Jesus Christ the Foundation

310: Jesus Christ the Foundation – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 26

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 26

JESUS CHRIST THE FOUNDATION

Now let’s get right back into our study of I Corinthians, and we’ll begin with verse 11. But before we do let me share with you a conversation with a gentlemen on the phone about denominations. I told him, “Some day when you stand before the Lord’s throne, whichever one it is, He’s not going to ask you whether you were obedient to your local Church or denomination, but rather have you been obedient to the Word.” And of course that’s all that’s going to amount to anything for eternity, and that’s what I keep hammering home at people,“What does the Book say?” I don’t tell you what my denomination teaches, I don’t tell you what someone else says, we’re just going to try to discern what the Word says.

Now I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t claim to have any special revelations, and I think I do teach the same as many of our fundamental men, but the only difference is, “I make it in language that common people can understand.” We’re not coming up with something way out in left field or far different from the main stream, but we do want to make it understandable so that anybody can sit down for an evening and study their Bible, and it is the most enjoyable thing that you can do. Again, the other evening I took my Bible, and was going to review a few things, and the first thing that I knew I was just chasing references, and three hours had gone by just like that. I find there’s no contest between Bible study and anything else in this world. Now let’s begin our study again.

I Corinthians 3:11

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

We have a lot of cults and religions who have come on the scene even in the last several hundred years who claim to have had further revelations. They claim their prophet came later than Jesus, and consequently he has revelations that Jesus didn’t have, and so forth. But listen, that’s not what this verse says, this verse says that when Paul laid the foundation for the Church, which was the Finished Work Of The Cross, then that’s it.” No one can add to that. I’ve told my classes that if you’re reading a book, and I don’t care how good it is, and all of a sudden that author comes along and says, “I had a special revelation the likes of which no one else has ever had,” just close that book and pitch it in the nearest fireplace or waste basket because that’s the only place it belongs. This Bible is complete, everything that we need to know is between these two covers. Now this isn’t all that we would like to know, I know there’s a lot of things that you and I still ask about, and God hasn’t seen fit to reveal it, but everything we need to know is in this Book. A couple of years ago one of our major news magazines, had a cover story of all the great men down through history who made an impact on civilization. And they had the Apostle Paul as one of them because he was the founder of Christianity, and I just couldn’t believe it. As a rule they say it was Jesus Who was the founder of Christianity, but no, Jesus didn’t found it, but rather Paul. But he founded it on Jesus Christ, of course.

Jesus never promoted the fact that He had died, and shed His blood. He couldn’t do that because it hadn’t happened yet. The Twelve certainly didn’t understand it because they had no idea that He was going to die and be risen from the dead. We haven’t looked at that in a while so let’s go back to the Book of Luke, Chapter 18. Sometimes we need to look at some of these older references that we haven’t used in a long time to refresh our memories, and it also helps those who have just tuned in recently. And if you think Jesus and the Twelve preached our Gospel, the Gospel that Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:1-4 saves us, “if we believe that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again,” then you had better think again. How could they? In the first place He hadn’t died, and in the second place He certainly hadn’t been raised from the dead, and in the third place his earthly teaching was confined to Israel (Ref Matthew 10:5-6). Now look what Jesus says in this passage.

Luke 18:31-34

“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he (speaking of Himself) shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.’ (Christ knew it would happen) And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

Now isn’t it obvious, because at His crucifixion did they just stand there and say, “Hey, don’t worry, He’s going to be raised from the dead?” But what did they do? They scattered like a bunch of quail, and as far as the eleven were concerned it was all over. He didn’t bring in the earthly Kingdom for them, He was dead. And I remind you now, “Where were those disciples on resurrection morning?” Well they certainly weren’t at the tomb waiting for Him to come out. Were they? No. But the disciples didn’t know, so how could they preach a Gospel based on death, burial, and resurrection? They couldn’t because it hadn’t happened yet.

Now this Apostle Paul as he defends himself over and over, this is all that he knows, “How that Christ died for the sins of the world, and that He arose from the dead victorious. And by His life and death we’re justified from all things.” That’s the foundation of the Christian faith, it’s the foundation for anyone who is going to go to an eternity in the presence of God. To trust anything short of the finished work of the Cross, I’m afraid that those people are doomed to a lost eternity. I’ve told people over and over that I don’t point the finger at anybody. I’ll never look at someone and say, “Hey, you’re lost.” That not my prerogative, because I can’t look on anyone’s heart, but I can say, “That if Jesus Christ and His finished work of the Cross isn’t the foundation of your faith, then you’re on pretty shaky ground.”

Now let’s look at verse 12. Here Paul has involved us in a building process, he’s the masterbuilder, he’s started the foundation. Now a general run-of-the-mill believer has been building on that foundation for almost 2000 years, and all these believers down through the centuries have been building on this foundation. We are building on this foundation, and we are adding to that building. Now usually when I teach this I liken us to building a wall, laying the mortar, laying the brick, and being meticulous on how we are building, because, after all, our section of the wall is going to be examined by those fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus some day. Now as we embark on our Christian walk, God gives us six materials to build with. Isn’t that amazing that He tells us what we can build with. We can use gold, silver and precious stones or we can use hay, wood, and stubble, or a combination of all six, and that is what we as believers are all doing. Now one of the first things I have to remind folks of is this: do you find gold or silver, or precious stones laying just right outside the front door? No! To get them, usually you have to go up into the rough country, and it takes hard work. None of these first three come easy, but hay, wood, and stubble are everywhere, and that’s what most Christians are building with because they are too lazy to get up and go out and work for those hard to get materials. Now let’s look at it.

I Corinthians 3:12

“Now if any man build upon this foundation (Remember, Christ has to be the foundation, we have to have faith in His finished work of the Cross before we’re even given opportunity to add to His building. So the materials we are going to use to build with are) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; “

I Corinthians 3:13a

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest:…”

Not the person who is working for his salvation, because that is impossible, but the one who has salvation and is now working for rewards. Now this is a graphic difference from what most of Christendom teaches. Most of Christendom has the idea that you work to obtain salvation somehow or other. But listen, you work absolutely none for salvation, it’s all of Grace by faith + nothing, it’s free! But once we’ve entered in to that glorious salvation experience then God expects us work for rewards. And what’s the purpose of working? To enhance His work, to enhance the Kingdom as we so often say, and to bring honor and glory to His Name. He’s still the Sovereign God, and we are still nothing but His little worker bees. We are to work for rewards. Now turn to I Corinthians Chapter 9, and verse 24, and of course Paul here is making an analogy with something that everyone understood. Sometimes he makes an analogy of a Roman soldier, in Ephesians 6 for example. Other times he will make an analogy to a farmer, or business man, but here he is going to use the analogy of the Olympics. He’s going to talk about people who are running in a race.

I Corinthians 9:24

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? (And that would be the winner. So Paul says as believers working in this building process, now bring it into the analogy of a foot race) So run, that ye may obtain.” (Not your salvation, remember, you’ve already obtained that by your faith.)

We are to enter this race with the idea of winning this race. Who would ever enter a race not wanting to win, the mentality has to be, “I want to win.” Now verse 25.

I Corinthians 9:25a

“And every man that striveth for the mastery (trying to be first in this race) is temperate in all things….”

Now what’s temperate? Trying to maintain a balance. Don’t go way off to the right or way off to the left, but rather maintain a middle balance. This will work even in disciplining your kids. You can’t over-discipline or you will have a bunch of rebels, but on the other hand you can’t under-discipline or you’re also going to have a rebel, but just maintain that middle-of-the-road temperate idea of discipline. It’s the same way in business, you show me a man who is covered up with inventory, he doesn’t even know where things are, and I’ll show you a man who won’t be in business long. But on the other hand you show me a man in business whose shelves are bare, and you try to buy something, and he tells you he’ll have to order it for you, then he won’t be in business very long either. So you just have to maintain that temperate balance. Now it’s the same way in running the Christian life. Don’t go off on the deep end to the right or left, but maintain that balance. So in order to prepare for this foot race they didn’t all of a sudden become gluttons in order to build up this energy level, they didn’t all of a sudden spend all their time sleeping so that their body could rest, but they just maintained a balance, and it’s the same way in our Christian experience. We have to maintain a balance in everything we do. Now looking at verse 25 again:

I Corinthians 9:25

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things; Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

Do you know what a corruptible crown meant? Back in Paul’s day they didn’t give the runners a gold, silver or bronze medal, but rather they received a wreath just made of leaves. Well, by the time they went home from the race that wreath had wilted, and then all it was good for was to put between the pages of a book. It was corruptible, it died, but we don’t work for something like that, but rather we work for an incorruptible crown. And what a difference that makes. If only the human race could get a glimpse of the eternity that is waiting for us who believe. We would just say, “What is seventy years compared to eternity?” It’s nothing, and yet even believers are so tied to this world, and are so blinded by the glory of the world that we get our priorities all mixed up. But Paul says to run to win the prize (not for our salvation, we’ve already got that), but that we might have the rewards that are going to go with our salvation. This is all the way through the Scriptures. Let’s go to the Book of Genesis for a moment to Chapter 15, and drop down to verse 8, and here God is dealing with Abraham. And Abraham is already a believer. He was a believer when he left Ur of the Chaldees years and years previous to this, but now God is promising him a territory of land.

Genesis 15:7

“And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

In other words God is saying here, “Abraham I’m the One Who saved you, I’m the One Who declared you a righteous man, and I’m going to give you this land to inherit it.” Now look at Abraham’s response in verse 8.

Genesis 15:8

“And he said, `Lord GOD, whereby (how) shall I know that I shall inherit it?'”

Well, because God promised that he was going to be rewarded with a deed to this land of what we now call Palestine. This whole concept of working for rewards has been on the minds of believers from day one. They’re not just looking at salvation per se, but it’s this idea that we’re going to receive rewards. Another good one was when Jesus, during His earthly ministry, promised the Twelve that they would someday reign and rule over the twelve tribes of Israel during the Kingdom Age. And remember, that was still on their minds even as Jesus was ready to ascend back to glory there in the Book of Acts Chapter 1. I wasn’t going to use this one, but I will anyway. Do you remember the person who was given ten talents and he went out and made ten more? And the one with five went out and made five more? The lesson was, “The one who hustled and went out and made ten more would get to rule over ten cities in the Kingdom Age.” In other words, he’s going to get rewards in eternity, and it’s the same thing for us. I’m sure that’s what it all boils down to, that our rewards are going to be levels of responsibility as we rule and reign with Christ. The person who’s going to have nothing in the wall but hay, wood, and stubble is going to be there, as we will see in a moment, but he’s not going to enjoy the benefits of reward. He’s missed that, although he’s going to be saved. Now let’s turn to II Corinthians Chapter 5. Where does this whole idea of reward come to the full? Immediately after the Rapture of the Church (Ref. I Thessalonians 4:13-18) and we’re brought up into glory with the Lord Jesus, we have a great event in Heaven that’s going to take place. (This will take place during that seven years that the Tribulation is raging here on the earth.) And here it is now, beginning with verse 8.

II Corinthians 5:8-10

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, (Having died physically) and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, (in this building process) that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (not for salvation, but for rewards. Now here it comes) For we must all (believers) appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

That’s not salvation being put in the balances, but rather “rewards.” Now the words `judgment seat’ scares people, and I think it’s an unfortunate translation. The correct term out of the Greek was, “The Bema Seat.” Those of you who have been to the ruins of Corinth, that’s one of the things that the guides like to show you. Well, all it is is a raised podium, and it was the seat of the judges where they would come to the various conclusions. Now in the Olympic games the Bema Seat was set at the finish line, and as the runners were coming by, the judge of the Bema Seat would sit up there and determine who was first, second, and third. There is nothing in the Bema Seat judgment in verse 10 that involves our eternal destiny. That has already been settled if you’re at the Bema Seat.

But the Bema Seat will determine how much rewards are given. Now don’t lose that as a believer. Yes, our salvation was settled the moment we believed, but we’re not to just sit down in an easy chair and let life go by. We’re to get busy, we’re to work, and the reason we work is to bring glory to our God’s Name, but also for our own personal benefit for rewards. Now I’ve always used this as an analogy: “If I had the choice of being the Dallas Cowboys quarterback or a spectator sitting way up in the cheap seats, then I’d rather be the quarterback. Even if I did get my head knocked off once in a while, that would be fun, but is to sit way up there in the stands comparative? Hey, there’s no comparison.”Well it’s going to be the same way when the Lord brings us into His Kingdom experience. We’re either going to be sitting on the sidelines, (oh, we’re there, and remember there’s no sin so there will be no envy or jealousy), but won’t it be a lot more exciting to be involved in all of the activity? Of course it will be. But this is the whole idea of rewards. Remember, never confuse rewards with salvation. You don’t work one ounce for salvation, that’s a gift of God according to Paul.

Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

But rewards? Yes, we work for them. Let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 3, and move on. And here Paul explains graphically how these six materials are going to be sifted out in our section of the wall that as believers we are building.

I Corinthians 3:13a

“Every man’s work (as a believer) shall be made manifest:…”

I’ve defined that over and over as being put in the spotlight. It’s just like putting a slide in your microscope. You don’t see a thing until you turn on that bright light underneath it, and then all of a sudden all those little living creatures are manifested. Why? Because they’re put in the spotlight, and it’s the same way here. We’re going to be put in the spotlight for our moment of time personally in front of the Lord Jesus at the judgment seat of Christ. Everyone of us believers will appear before Him personally. You say, “How can He do all that in seven years?” Just remember when we step out of time we step into eternity, and in eternity there’s no sixty-second clock, so that’s the difference. Unreal? I know it is, but there is no five minutes back or five minutes forward in eternity, it’s all now. But whatever, we’re going to come before the Lord Jesus personally, and He’s going to examine our building work with His fiery eyes. Now reading the verse in its entirety.

I Corinthians 3:13

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” Well what’s the fire? Well it’s those fiery eyes of the Lord Jesus as we have them described back in Revelation:

Revelations 19:12

“His (Christ’s) eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.”

Now that doesn’t mean that His eyes actually have flames flying out, but they are so penetrating. Have you ever looked at someone who seems to look right through you? Sure you have. Well that’s nothing compared to the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ when He looks at our life, and our reward status, and the wood, hay, and stubble is going to going up in a puff of smoke. The only thing left, if we have any, will be the gold, silver, and precious stones.

Job 23:10

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Now back to I Corinthians.

I Corinthians 3:14,15

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, (that’s the hay, wood, and stubble) he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved;…”

All the works of a believer can be burned up if he or she has done it for the wrong reason, but even if it’s all burned up, he himself shall be saved as nothing can take away a true believer’s salvation.

309 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 26 - Paul the Wise Masterbuilder

309: Paul the Wise Masterbuilder – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 26

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 26

PAUL THE WISE MASTERBUILDER

Now for the beginning of our study we are going to pick up where we left off in our last lesson and that will be in I Corinthians chapter 3, verse 9. I’ve been emphasizing throughout this whole study of the Book of Corinthians (both letters really), that they were in response to questions from the congregation at Corinth. And remember that these believers at Corinth had come out of the most ungodly pagan, immoral background that you can imagine, and so it took them quite a while to get everything sorted out, and as a result of that Paul makes it very plain that the Corinthians were so carnal. They were not a spiritual Church like Ephesus or Philippi, but rather they were a Church that was beset with all kinds of problems. Now the first problems we noticed were their divisions, as some wanted to follow the teachings of Paul, some Apollos, some Peter, and yet others, Christ and His earthly ministry teachings. So this was causing a division in the Church, and Paul had to address it, and as he addressed that, he was constantly having to defend his apostleship.

In his early ministry he always went first to the Jew, to the synagogue where at least he would have a halfway civil hearing, and when the Jews would reject his message then he would go out into the Gentile areas, the marketplace, and whatever. But wherever he went there was that constant slur on the man, that he was an impostor. he wasn’t a true representative of Judaism, and he was a renegade Jew. He always has to come back and defend his apostleship and the fact that he is God’s man for the hour, and we’re going to see this especially now in verses 10 and 11. But now beginning in verse 9, after straightening up some of the problems Paul comes to these Corinthians, and always keep in mind that they’re carnal, but nevertheless they were still co-labourers with the apostle. That puts us in the same place in the fact that “We are also co-labourers all of us together to bring to fruition the eternal will of God.” And that of course to bring the “Body of Christ” to its completeness to where the Lord can take it unto Himself, and yet then be able to pick up where we left off with His Covenant people, Israel, after He Raptures out His Church. Now reading verse 9:

I Corinthians 3:9a

“For we are labourers together with God:…”

My, what a Partner we have here, have you ever thought of that? You know people a lot of time get wealthy because they got hooked up with a wealthy person. I’ve run into several people like that who just fall into wealth because they got hooked up with a wealthy person who already had things going. Well, we as believers have something even better than that, we are hooked up with the Creator God Himself. And we can just feed on all these promises day in and day out, and lots of time God doesn’t necessarily do it the way we think He should. But nevertheless He’s Sovereign, and in control, and even if we’re a little bit on the carnal side as the Corinthians were, that doesn’t cancel out the fact that we are still labourers with God, and I hope this study encourages those of us who are not spiritual giants.

I shared with my class last night that years ago I read a little book on true spirituality by the great Chinese Bible teacher, Watchman Nee, and this book on true spirituality just sort of made me feel so far beneath a man like him, and the thought came, “Who was I to even try?” And I almost got discouraged through the reading of it, but I think this is why Paul writes now to these Corinthians that they not become discouraged. Oh yes, they’re carnal, they’re still “Babes in Christ” but Who are they laboring with? The Eternal, Sovereign God. God wants to use every last one of us whether we’re weak babes, and maybe a little carnal, or whether we’re farther up the ladder, and more spiritual than even the average. So looking at the verse again:

I Corinthians 3:9

“For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”

Now do you see where the possession lies? All the possessive term is with God. He’s the Owner of everything, not just the cattle on a thousand hills, but rather He owns everyone of us. And of course He owns us by virtue of the redemption price of His shed Blood, and we will always preach that to people because it’s the “Preaching of the Cross” that gets people into this position, and nothing else will do. So as believers in the finished work of the Cross, yes God is our partner, God is our Overseer, He is the One that oversees everything that we say, think, and do. So we are His workmanship, as it says in the Book of Ephesians. We are His husbandry, and we are God’s building. Now we’re going to stay with that word “building” rather than the husbandry aspect because when we get down to verse 12 we are going to be dealing with building materials.

But let’s put that on hold for a moment because I want to come into verse 10 where Paul brings out something that just shook me up many years ago when I discovered it in that verse. I remember a man in one of my classes had been plaguing me with a particular question, and it was after I had taught the early chapters of Acts. This individual was highly educated, and came to me one evening after class, and said, “Now Les, after hearing you teach, and hearing you say over and over be just as careful what is not in the Scripture as what is in the Scripture, I’m suddenly beginning to wonder did the Church begin at Pentecost? Because there’s no Church language in these early chapters.” Now remember, I was raised traditionally like most people are, and told him I had never heard such a thing. “Well,” he said, “You’re the one who got me to study, you should be able to see that.” I said, “I know what you’re driving at, but I’ve never really caught it,” and I hadn’t. But with him egging me on I began to search these things, and almost every week he would ask me, “Well, what do you think?” And I would tell him that I hadn’t decided yet, and then finally the Lord, in His own time, showed me verse 10. Now I don’t say that if you don’t agree with me that you’re out in left field, or doomed, or anything like that, but I just maintain that if you see it the way it’s meant to be seen, then this Book is just going to open up like you’ve never seen it open up before. Now look what Paul says in verse 10:

I Corinthians 3:10a

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me,…”

Now always remember when Paul speaks in the first person of himself he’s not bragging, but rather he is writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit: every word, even when he commends himself, is Holy Spirit inspired. Don’t forget that. Now reading on:

I Corinthians 3:10a

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon….”

Now I always ask my classes here in Oklahoma when we teach this verse, when any of you are building a home or building, and you need a contractor, when does your major contractor come into the scene? When the home is half built? No. When you first begin to lay plans to build that contractor comes right into the picture with you, he’s the one that goes out and stakes where it’s going to be built, and he’s the one who lays the foundation. Right from the beginning he is involved, and that’s the role of a masterbuilder. He is not someone who comes on the scene when the building is half built just to finish it up, but rather he’s going to be there from day one. That’s what the apostle is claiming to be, that he is the masterbuilder, and he’s speaking of course of the Church, the Body of Christ. Now completing the verse:

I Corinthians 3:10b

“…I have laid the foundation, (He’s been there from day one overseeing this building, which is the Body of Christ) and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed (Following in Paul’s footsteps) how he buildeth thereupon.”

Now you might say that’s not enough to convince you. Well then, let’s turn to the Book of I Timothy, Chapter 1, and verses 15 and 16. When you start studying all these verses, things start following, because that’s the way the Holy Spirit works. In this passage I couldn’t help but see this is a verse that I’d heard sermon after sermon where the preacher would use“chief of sinners” as making Paul (formerly Saul) the worst reprobate that had ever lived. Yes, he was awful, I mean let’s face it, he had persecuted those Jewish followers of Jesus of Nazareth. And do you remember why Paul was going to Damascus when he was struck down by the light? He was going to arrest those Jewish believers because he thought that to stamp out anything connected with Jesus of Nazareth was doing his God a favor. He was a religious nut, and that’s all there was to it. He was a fanatic who was trying to stamp out anything that would oppose Judaism. And we find that he regretted doing this, as it comes up through his letters how he persecuted those early Jewish believers.

For the most part Christendom has taken this verse as the “chief of sinners” that Paul was the worst that was ever saved. He was bad, there’s no doubt about that, and it was the Grace of God to the extreme that saved Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, we know that. But that’s not what verse 15 says. Now look at the verse with me.

I Timothy 1:15

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

Now most of Christendom takes that word `chief’ to make Paul the worst, but that’s not what the word `chief’ means. The word in the Greek is `Protus’ and now let’s look up where that term is used in other Scriptures. The first place I want to show you is in Luke Chapter 22. Remember this is the same Greek word that is used in I Timothy 1:15, and Jesus is speaking here:

Luke 22:26

“But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”

Now look at that verse. Would it be fit to imply that Jesus was talking about somebody intrinsically bad, awful, and wicked? Of course not. But what was Jesus talking about? He that is the most prestigious among you. In fact I looked up “Protus” in the dictionary, and it means prestigious. Someone who was in leadership, someone who was at the head of the line. That’s what the word means, it doesn’t mean the worst. So Jesus is saying let him that is the most prestigious, the one that is at the head of everything, let him go to the bottom of the ladder. Now the next reference I want to take you to is in the Book of Acts chapter 14. And remember this is the same Greek word, `Protus’ Here in this passage Paul and Barnabas have come into Lystra, and they have performed a miracle, and so these pagans thought they were one of their pagan gods.

Acts 14:12

“And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.”

Does that mean Paul was the worst? Does that mean that he was vile? Does that mean he used awful language? No, he was the most important of the two. He was the chief speaker rather than Barnabas. Now I’m just trying to show you how the word is translated in all these other areas, and why have we twisted it to mean something entirely different? Now let’s go on to Acts chapter 28, and verse 7. This is what I call Bible study, this is the only way we can learn, you just compare Scripture with Scripture, and don’t just take what I say, but rather search the Scriptures. Now reading on, and this was just after the shipwreck where Paul and all that were on board made it safely to this little island called Melita.

Acts 28:7

“In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.”

Was this Publius a wicked man? Is that what the Scriptures are trying to tell us? Of course not, but rather Publius was the head honcho on the island. He was probably the governor, and consequently he was the chief of that island. Now let’s look at one more. Let’s turn to Romans Chapter 3, where the word `chief’ is an adverb, and so it’s a little different form of Greek, but the same root.

Romans 3:1,2

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way (They had all kinds of advantages, they were the Covenant people, they had the Temple, they had the very blessing of Jehovah God upon them, but): chiefly, because that unto them (The Jews) were committed the oracles (Word) of God.”

So that wasn’t the worst thing about the Jews, but rather the most prestigious thing about the Jews was that they had the Word of God. Now coming back to I Timothy again, let’s look at that word `chief’ in that light. Remember it’s the same word we have been comparing. We have no right to put anything evil or wicked on the word `Protus’ that I can see.

I Timothy 1:15

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

Or the leader. Paul says, “I am the head of the line. I am the first to be saved by such Grace.” And I admit that it took the Grace of God to save that rebel who was trying to stamp out every instance of the name of Jesus of Nazareth. So God saved him by Grace. The verse does not imply that Paul was the worst, the most wicked, the most vile of all sinners. But instead Paul is the head of a line of sinners who would be saved like he was. And even though I may have never persecuted someone, or put people to death, yet I was just as great a sinner in God’s sight as Saul of Tarsus was, and so were you. Everyone of us was just as vile in God’s sight because the picture in Romans chapter 1, and another one in Corinthians, is not pretty at all. And Paul tells us that some were such as you, and some were such as us, but always remember the chief, the head of the line was saved first. And now down through the ages here we come being placed into the Body of Christ. Now come into verse 16, and this verse just makes it so plain and makes all the sense in the world. Now I never read commentaries, but once in a while someone will give me one, and when I look at them these writers skip over verses like this. They just pretend that these verse are not even in the Bible. I know why they do that, because they don’t want to stick their neck out like I’m doing today, because when you stick your neck out and say, “Hey, this is the way it really appears in Scripture,” the traditionalist is going to disagree. And that’s their privilege, I don’t mind that a bit, but I have to teach it this way and it just thrills my heart.

I Timothy 1:16

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first (Now first has always meant the same thing. It means at the head of the line.) Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Now what’s a pattern? The first. If you’re cutting cloth, or lumber, you don’t make a bunch of things and then decide that you draw up a pattern. The pattern comes first. Do you see the connection now? Paul was the chief of sinners, a sinner saved by Grace. He was at the head of the line. He was number one. He was the pattern for all other sinners saved by that kind of Grace, especially Gentiles that will be following after him. He was the first to be placed in the Body of Christ. Now looking at the last of the verse again:

I Timothy 1:16b

“…for a pattern to them which should hereafter…”

Paul doesn’t say that is retroactive all the way back to Pentecost. But from that point onward from his conversion on the road to Damascus, from that point on God is going to be calling people into the Body of Christ which is a revelation given only to Paul. Watch all the rest of Scripture, and I don’t care whether it’s the Four Gospels, the Book of Acts, or in the Old Testament, there is no such thing in any other Scripture except in Paul’s writings that uses the term, “The Body of Christ.” Let’s look at the verses again so we don’t miss the point.

I Timothy 1:15,16

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (Remember, not the worst but the first, since Paul was going to play the role of being the Apostle of the Gentiles.) Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Now with that I think we can come back to I Corinthians Chapter 3, and maybe this term, “Masterbuilder” will, I trust, make a little more sense. And like I said, Paul is always defending his apostleship, that he was the one that brought the Gospel to the Gentiles. He was the one that the ascended Lord had revealed to him all these mysteries. And in one of our classes we will cover all the mysteries given Paul. Paul is the only one that claims to have had revealed to him the mysteries. Now as we come back to I Corinthians let’s look at verse 10 once more:

I Corinthians 3:10a

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,…”

Now what’s the other word tied to `wise’ that Paul has just been drumming into our minds these first three chapters here in I Corinthians? Wisdom. He’s always comparing the wisdom of God as over against the wisdom of this world. And how that the wisdom of this world knows nothing of the wisdom of God, and here in this verse he’s still sticking to that term `wisdom.’ As a masterbuilder with wisdom, is a way it could have been put. Now looking at the verse again:

I Corinthians 3:10a

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation,…”

Now you all know about buildings. The foundation is the heart of your building isn’t it? Whether it’s a home, or commercial building or whatever. If you have a rotten foundation then you will have a rotten building in short order. But when the foundation is solid and secure the rest of the building is apt to be the same. Paul is making that same analogy here. That unless our faith rests upon the foundation which he laid, which is Christ crucified, was buried and was risen from the dead (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), unless that is our foundation, we’re hopelessly lost, and the world just can’t accept that. You know they call that exclusivism, and it is exclusivism, because there is no other Name given among men whereby we must be saved. It is Jesus Christ plus nothing, and faith in that finished work of the Cross. And so that’s the foundation that this man claims to be laying, for Jew and Gentile alike, but it’s going to end up primarily for the Gentile because the Jew is just going to reject it. So don’t lose sight of this fact that this man claims in Romans 11:13:

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”

And now to this Gentile Church he writes, “I have laid the foundation, (and that foundation is Jesus Christ of Nazareth) And another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

308 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 26 - 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:9 - Part 2

308: 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:9 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 26

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 26

I CORINTHIANS 2:6 – 3:9 – PART 2

Now let’s just look at a quick review as Paul has been comparing the wisdom of men with the wisdom of God, and yet these Corinthians are still so carnal that they are not cashing in on this fountain of wisdom that is theirs for the taking. It’s the same way for us today. Every believer can just simply get into the Book and feast on it, but most won’t, and what’s their excuse, “Oh, I can’t understand it.” Yes, you can, it’s not that difficult, and of course my first premise is, the first thing you do is separate that which was for the Jew or Israel, and that which was for the Gentiles. Now that doesn’t mean you throw aside that which was for the Jew or Israel, but rather compare Scripture with Scripture. In the light of the fact that God dealt with the Jew under the Law, and He’s dealing with us today under Grace. And they are two totally contrary principals. Law and Grace will not mix, but always be aware that the Apostle Paul is crying out against legalism in any shape or form because we’re not under the Law, we are under Grace.

Now then to these Corinthian believers, for the most part pagan Gentiles recently converted out of their mythology, and idolatry, but they aren’t growing. They are stagnated in their infancy, spiritually. Looking at the beginning of Chapter 3 again for a review.

I Corinthians 3:1-4a

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul;…”

Remember, Paul was the one who came into that idolatrous city and preached the Gospel, and had a nucleus of believers, and naturally they would stick to Paul. But after Paul had gotten these congregations off the ground, naturally God used other men. He didn’t leave it with Paul alone, and one of these other men that God had chosen was a man by the name of Apollos. And we pick Apollos up in Acts Chapter 18. Now Apollos doesn’t come to the Corinthian Church immediately, he comes first to Ephesus which is across the Aegean Sea on the western shore of Turkey.

Acts 18:24

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man (here was a guy who came with all the outward appearances of somebody who was magnetic, someone who could hold a crowd, he could literally spellbind people with his speech), and mighty in the scriptures (Old Testament), came to Ephesus.

This eloquent, well-mannered, gifted man comes to the Church at Ephesus. Now verse 25:

Acts 18:25

“This man (Apollos) was instructed (or had been taught by other people), in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”

Now how much of Christianity did Apollos know? I’d say none! Because the Gospel of the Kingdom that was preached by Jesus and the Twelve was still basically Jewish. It was connected with Temple worship, connected to the Old Testament Covenants, connected to the promise of the coming Messiah. So here comes Apollos, and he knows nothing of Paul’s Gospel that had been revealed to Paul by the ascended Lord: that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again, and that’s what you believe in your heart for salvation. (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) Apollos only knows the Gospel of the Kingdom that had been preached by Jesus and the Twelve, and by John the Baptist. That gospel was repentance and water baptism, and believing that Jesus was the Christ. Now that’s all that Apollos knew, but remember God always has the right person at the right time available. So who takes Apollos aside, and says, “Now wait a minute, Apollos, you’re a great speaker, and we love to sit and listen to you as you open the Old Testament, but Apollos you’re missing something.” And I suppose Apollos thought of these lowly tentmakers, “What are you trying to tell me?.” But I admire Apollos because he listened. Great man that he was, he sat down, evidently, and listened to the two lowly tentmakers, Aquila and Priscilla. Now let’s see what they tell him.

Acts 18:26

“And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly(actually, or more completely.).”

In other words, Priscilla and Aquila were in a position to tell Apollos something that he did not know. Now let’s back up in Chapter 18, and let’s see where they got their knowledge.

Acts 18:1-4

“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome); and (Paul) came unto them. And because he (Paul) was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought (worked): for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”

Now as time goes by, and as Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla are spending some daily time with their occupation, what do you suppose Paul constantly talked about? His Gospel that he had received from the risen Lord. That’s all he could talk about. You know I’m always thrilled when we can stop and visit people that have been acquaintances only through the program, and they have invited us to stop as we did in the last week or two as we traveled to Oregon to see Iris’ sister. And for 48 hours do you think we talked about the weather or politics? No way. I mean it was constantly talking about the things of the Word. Well that’s as it should be, and it’s the same way with these three people. All they talked about was Paul’s revelations concerning now the Christ Who had died, and had been buried, and rose from the dead, ascended back to glory and commissioned this man Paul to take the Gospel of the Grace of God, not just to the Nation of Israel, but to the whole world. So now Paul has just unloaded on these two people, and he has gone his way. Now do you think Priscilla and Aquila forgot all that they had heard? When Apollos comes, and knows only the baptism of John what do these two people do? Well as I’ve said before, I think they took him home for dinner. And as they sat across that dinner table those two people unloaded on that eloquent man, and now let’s look at verse 27 and 28 in Chapter 18 again:

Acts 18:27,28

“And when he (Apollos) was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he (Apollos) mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”

Now when you come back to I Corinthians Chapter 3, this is the same man who now has followed in Paul’s footsteps, and he is now at the congregation in Corinth. And he is again holding forth with eloquence, and a capability of opening the Scriptures, but of course he had to be in agreement with Paul’s Gospel, so there wasn’t any doctrinal differences, but it was personality. Now as we have shown before, Paul was not the kind of a man who simply drew people to him by his appearance and speech, but it was quite the opposite. Paul gained his converts strictly through the working of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think Paul physically had much to offer like Apollos did, and so now what do these believers in Corinth do? Some by virtue of the fact that Paul brought them out of their idolatry and immorality, naturally had an adherence to him. But Apollos, with his magnetism and charisma, also had his followers. Well that’s understandable because people are still doing the same thing today. I’ve seen churches just totally fall apart when a pastor leaves. In other words that church has been loyal to the man instead of the Word of God, and the Christ Whom they worship. So always remember that you don’t put your eyes or hang your heart on a man, but rather let your eyes be centered on the Word of God, and on the Christ Who bought us.

We have another group, and they are the ones that adhered to the Apostle Peter. I’ve said over the years that I’ve been teaching, that I did not believe that the twelve per se had a ministry among the Gentiles. Now that doesn’t mean that they never had an opportunity to greet some of these believers, and I’m sure Paul would have been the first to give Peter the opportunity to speak to the believers at Corinth, But I do not believe that Peter was instrumental in bringing these people out of paganism, and bringing them to salvation, but nevertheless you have this group at Corinth that are going to cling to Peter rather than Paul or Apollos. So as I have mentioned before, I believe these were the Jewish element of that Church. I think there were believing Jews in all these early congregations, and it naturally follows that since Peter had been steeped in Judaism, and had been located at Jerusalem, that he was the one that they more or less had an affinity for. Because after all, he was connected to their background, and so with all that going for Peter we have this group of people that followed him. And all this caused a division, and I suppose it was a rather stark division or Paul wouldn’t have considered it a problem.

Just like today, and I run into it constantly, when I teach that our Church Age doctrines come from the pen of the Apostle Paul, and I can show from Scripture where Paul says:

I Corinthians 11:1

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

I Corinthians 4:16

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”

Philippians 3:17

“Brethren, be followers together of me and mark them which walk so as ye have us (me) for an example.”

II Thessalonians 3:7

“For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us:…”

Romans 11:13

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”

I Timothy 1:16

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

People rebel when I show them these Scriptures, and say, “Les, there’s no way I’m going to follow Paul because I only follow Jesus.” However, they fail to realize that Paul was inspired to write these verses from the Holy Spirit Himself. And it was the same thing here, let’s look at it in I Corinthians 1:12:

I Corinthians 1:12

“Now this I say, that every one of you saith, `I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.'”

Now why do you suppose they were doing that? They felt that Jesus was the One Who had brought all this to pass. It was Jesus Who had instituted the work of the Cross and so forth, but Paul tells them you can not have these divisions. Now back to Chapter 3, and verse 5:

I Corinthians 3:5,6

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave (the measure of faith) to every man? (Now here Paul says how it really works) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

And that’s the same way today. You don’t always have to see the fruits of your witnessing, and testimony. You don’t have to be one that sees a person saved. All you have to do is sow the seeds. You and I sow the seed, someone else may come along and add to their understanding, and maybe even a third person will come along and bring them along a little further, but regardless how many of us may be involved in the salvation of an individual, Who is final cause? God is. He is the One that gives the increase, and never lose sight of that. Now verse 7:

I Corinthians 3:7

“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

And that’s what we have to understand: the whole focus here is on God that giveth the increase. Now verse 8:

I Corinthians 3:8

“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”

I can’t take credit for someone’s salvation when someone else has had a part in it, even if I’m the only one, I can’t take credit, Why? I didn’t save them, but rather God did. So this is the role of every believer. We sow the seed, and sometimes it only takes a couple or three words. Maybe it’s just a little statement that makes someone sit up and take notice about eternity – hey you’ve sown the seed, and maybe something else will happen, and all of a sudden that person will be generated, and get a hunger, and then God moves in, and He finishes that work of salvation. Well, I really don’t have time to do the next part justice, but I guess we might as well try. Now in the light of everything we’ve seen thus far in Corinthians, God is going to bring us now, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the pen of the Apostle Paul, this whole idea of works in the life of a believer. Now verse 9, and remember Paul has just said he planted, Apollos watered, maybe somebody else had a part in it, but God gave the increase. Now with that thought resting on your mind come into verse 9:

I Corinthians 3:9a

“For we are labourers together with God:…”

Right about now I wish I could bring in one of these little portable beehives. A gentlemen down at Wilburton, Oklahoma has one, and there may be others around. You can set that beehive inside your house, and run a little inch pipe outside, and those bees will start coming in that pipe, and they will build up their honey, and you can sit there at the table and watch them work. It’s one of the most interesting things you could ever see. The people that put these together mark the queen bee so that you can watch her every place that she goes, and how those little workers will kick out those who are lazy. You can just watch all that right in front of your eyes. Well, here’s exactly what we see here. Just like a hive of bees, busy with all their workers, and they all have their unique little role to fulfill. Some do nothing but clean house for the queen, but they are all part of the hive, they’re all working for the same purpose. Now Paul says that’s what we are. We’re labourers, not as individuals, not just for your local church, although there’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not the end result. The end result is that:

I Corinthians 3:9b

“…ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”

Now as I teach this I hope you will read the next few verses before the next program rolls around, and envision yourself as being a worker building a wall maybe of brick. And then you will see that God is going to give you six different materials to work with as you build in that segment of the wall which is part of God’s building. And everyone of us are involved in it. Some of us may just never get out of our rocking chair, others may accomplish great things, but we’re still just like those bees in the hive, we’re all working together for a common purpose. Of course the analogy breaks down because God doesn’t kick out the lazy workers as the bees will. But nevertheless, we are working everyday toward the same end, and that is to bring glory to God to fulfill or fill up the Body of Christ, and remember, when the Body is complete, and the last person is brought in, what’s going to happen? The Lord’s going to take us out in the Rapture of the Church (Ref. I Thessalonians 4:13-18) He’s going to deliver us out of this evil world because the Body is now complete. So the whole concept as we read verse 9 again:

I Corinthians 3:9

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”

Now we will start with verse 10 in our next lesson, but remember, as workers, every believer, whether we’re carnal like the believers at Corinth were, or whether we’re spiritual giants like maybe some other great men of God, it doesn’t make any difference. We are all working for the same end, we are all working for the same purpose, and that is to bring everything to God’s end, and that’s why He’s left it in the hands of mortal men. Why didn’t He put the Word of God in the hands of angels. He wanted people just like you and I to labour just like that honeybee.