Hammer and Nail: Heart and Soul
Text: 1 Cor 3:9-17
Introduction: How do you build a church? More importantly how does God expect us to build His church. There are many ideas and just as many structures which result from those ideas, but God only has one church and only one way to grow that church.
Joke: Pastor planning a worship service with the song leader. “I’m going to make a pitch to start a new building fund. I going to ask everyone who would be willing to give to the building fund to stand up. The song leader asks, “What would be a good invitation song for a message like that?” The pastor smiles and says, “Well, I was thinking the Star Spangled Banner would be nice.”
Joke: Throws the switch and electrocutes 5 deacons.
I. Carpenters and Contractors 1 Cor. 3:9-10
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
A. Paul, Apollos and the Corinthians built the church.
1. Ye (Vs. 9, plural, all of you) are God’s building
2. The church is people, saved, Baptized and joined in membership. It is not a building, it is not programs or budgets or reputation. The church is built of the lives of the redeemed and the souls of the saved.
3. If anyone builds. (vs. 12) Anyone, so it is not only Paul and Apollos but any member who could build the church.
B. We Are Laboring Together
1. In this passage we see that God views the Pastor like we would a contractor. Paul calls him a wise master-builder. In other words, he is working from a blueprint given to him by God and he directs those involved in the work with him.
2. So then who are the co-laborers with the pastor?
a) We can see from this passage that it is any members who desires and works the church to grow.
3. This working relationship is defined in Ephesians 4:11 - 13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
b) The church is people. It is heart and souls and if we want the church to grow then we must bring people into the church.
4. A church is not built not wood or stick but souls and hearts are its mortar and brick. If we are to see our church grow we must realize we are dealing with hearts, lives with people and we must have the compassion for hearts and people that Jesus did.
C. Illustration: Egyptian Engineer raising the Pharaoh’s Obelisk
D. Transition: Now that Paul has told me, I am a church builder, now I need to know learn the right way to build God’s house. Look at vs. 11
II. Cornerstone of Christ 1 Cor 3:11
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
A. The Foundation Must Be Jesus Christ
1. In constructing the church those involved in building it must build it upon Christ. Jesus is the stone that was rejected by Israel but destined by God to be the foundation of the church. He is the foundation that Paul says is already laid and that we dare not try and build upon anything.
2. We read in Ephesians 2: 19-20 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
3. If we try and start with any other foundation then we change the superstructure. We change the church itself. What we are left with is not the church that God’s word shows and commands us to build.
B. Looking For Cracks In the Building.
1. What foundations should we be careful not to use today? What foundations will not last but will have cracks that will bring down the church from what God intended it to be?
a) Foundation of Works- Seven sacraments, baptism, good works, social work.
b) Foundation of Humanism- Man’s ability to change himself and the world around him by his own effort and plans.
c) Foundation of Social Entertainment - Our pastor is the best. He tells such funny stories. Our youth group is the best. Our couples class has the best times. Our music program is better than the local disco and has more lights and fog machines.
d) Foundation of False Hopes- These are the health and wealth gospel churches, the mountaintop to mountaintop belief systems, They tell the lost that it is always going to be positive and good for the Christian if we just believe in ourselves.
2. How do we make sure we are laying the right foundation? Because it is on this foundation that we will lay the lives and souls or our present and future members, of our friends, families, our children and our grandchildren.
a) We must build their lives and our church on the person of Jesus Christ.
(1) His Salvation: We must build upon who Jesus is, “… the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Him.”
(2) His Sacrifice: They must know when He said, love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That he is speaking of His sacrifice and our obligation because of that sacrifice.
(3) His Sanctification: And they must realize that they are to be sanctified and separated from this world when they come to Him and into the church. Jesus said, “ If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
b) It is salvation, sacrifice and sancification that turns lost souls into living stones for the building of the church.
C.Transition: Now that we know the Church is people let us go on and learn what we are supposed to be as church members.
III. Conscientious, Carnal or Corrupt 1 Cor 3: 12-17
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 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. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
A. Workers and Workmanship
1. According to this passage there are three types of workers and two types of work.
a) Vs. 14 Conscientious- will receive a reward at the judgment seat of Christ
b) Vs. 15 Carnal- saved but through fire, like running through a burning house trying to save what you can.
c) Vs. 17 Corrupt- not saved but a false prophet or professor. They defile and destroy and will be destroyed.
2. There are Two Types of Works
a) Permanent- Gold, silver precious stone. These are costly, valuable but long lasting
b) Temporary- Wood, hay, straw. These are cheap, common and short lived.
B. Are We Prepared For Our Trail by Fire?
1. Every child of God knows that one day we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and there receive our reward or have what could have been our reward taken from us.
2. 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all 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.
3. Notice it does not say whether you are good or bad. You are not being judged to determine your salvation or where you will spend eternity. It says whether it be good or bad, whether the work that you did is good or bad. If good it will endure the trail by fire if bad it will be burned up. Just as we have read.
4. Looking forward to that day, we must strive to be the kind of worker whose work is good. I don’t want to be the carnal worker, who makes it to heaven by the skin of his teeth and has nothing to show for eternity. I don’t want anything to do with a corrupt worker who Paul says God will destroy. I want to be that worker that prayerful, consistently and fervently works on the Lord’s House.
5. I don’t want to use cheap material that costs me little, does not call for effort much less for sacrifice. I want to build something that lasts into eternity and that means I must build with precious building materials, gold, silver and precious stone. They will cost me dearly now but they will last forever.
6. The precious will cost you time, time to attend, time to invest, time to study, time to pray, and time to weep. The precious will cost you wealth. Money that is giving to sustain the church, grow the church, to carry the gospel to foreign lands and to help other members in need. The precious things will cost you your pride, your ego and your self-esteem in the eyes of the world. You must be willing to become nothing in the sight of others to become something in God’s eyes.
C. Illustration: Do you remember how God built his first house of worship?
1. He called for His people to bring Gold, silver, bronze and fine linen to build the Tabernacle.
2. Exodus 25: 1-2, 8 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
3. When you think about it, God really hasn’t changed His building methods. He still calls for His people to bring precious things to His House to build. Then the precious materials were gold and silver but today it is hearts and souls. We bring those precious souls to the Church of God and build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.
A. Callused Hands
When I was a young boy and would visit by Grandfather, he would hold my hand in his as we walked and I would feel the calluses in his palm. My grandfather was a pastor and carpenter and those calluses meant he worked hard. More than once the church he built was with literally with both hammer and nails, hearts and souls. Later when I was a young man I worked labor jobs for a living, usually pick and shovel oftentimes laying block or swinging a hammer. It wasn’t long before I had my own calluses and I was proud to have them for they meant I was a worker and the evidence was in my palms just like it was in my Grandad’s.
Each of us this morning need to examine our spiritual hands. The hands we use for building this church. How callused are they in the work of the Lord? Do they show the evidence of a workman who has been busy building God’s House? As you look around this congregation do you see your craftsmanship. Are there hearts and souls here because you have witnessed to them, invited them, brought them and now they are now a part of this temple of God? How sad to one day stand before Jesus Christ and when He shows us the marks in His hands and we will not be able to hold up ours for they do not bear the evidence of a life spent working for God building His Church.
Let me close with this prayer and plea to God.
Church Builders Prayer. O Lord, you who have saved me from this world and from everlasting death. Lord save me now from apathy and spiritual laziness. Show me, Father, those souls around me which can be reached and claimed for Jesus Christ and let me bring them to your house, to grow and flourish in Your love. Teach me to use the tools you have proved in your Word. Correct me when I make mistakes. And give me the vision of Your Spirit. Most of all, Dear Lord use me. Let me be a part of this work. Let me share the joy of seeing someone believe in Jesus because of my testimony or witness. Let me be able to shout amen when I see them baptized, and let me weep tears of joy as they grow in your grace.
If I fail in this, O God, then I will have failed to do what you have left me on this earth to do. Fill me with your Spirit and let me be a tool in your hand. In my heart of hearts, I give myself into thy service. Use me dear Lord, please, I pray use me.