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Sermon Guide

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Recalibrate Your Life

Built To Last

february 11, 2024 | PASTOR chris winans | i corinthians 3:10-17

Sermon Questions

  1. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is _________________.
  2. In our message for 1 Cor 3:10-17, Pastor Winans contrasts which two sets of materials for which to build your life upon:
  3. the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ
  4. concrete and stone vs. wood and glass
  5. gold, silver, costly stones vs wood, hay or straw
  6. What does Paul use an analogy how our life and work will be tested and revealed?
  7. What example from social media did Pastor Winans describe that many people aspire to as their foundation in this life?
  8. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the _____________.
  9. Gold, silver, and costly stones
  10. Wood, hay and straw
  11. Rock
  12. Each person’s work
  13. TRUE or FALSE: There will be a Day, referring to the second coming of Jesus, that will reveal the foundation of our lives and will reveal the nature of the material that we were building our foundation on. There will be a “reward” and “loss.”
  14. Do you not know that you are God’s ______________ and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
  15. 1 Cor 13:3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not ___________, ____ ________ ____________.

Discussion Questions

  1. In these verses, 1 Cor 3:10-17, Paul starts with the grace of God, describes the foundation of his work, and then further describes our work on that foundation. Discuss the following in light of these verses:
  2. Note that Paul begin these verses in this way, “by the grace of God”.
  3. Why do you think Paul started the way he did, with grace?
  4. Discuss how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is evidenced in these verses.
  5. Read Matt 7:24-26 and discuss the questions below:
  6. Discuss the difference between building your life on the rock and sand. What are the implications of these verses for your family? Your spiritual life? Your life in the Church? Your life in your neighborhood? 
  7. Discuss some of the practices that Pastor Winans cited that point to how others or we may build our life on sand.
  8. How do we maintain a life built on the Rock? 
  9. 1 Cor 3:13-15 says “their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
  10. Why are these verses not teaching that we are saved by our works?
  11. How should we think about the verses “the fire will test the quality of each person’s work?
  12. How would you explain these verses to an unbeliever in light of the finished work of Jesus Christ?
  13. What does it mean that “you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst”? What does this mean for us as a Church?

Sermon Outline

Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-17.


Pastor Chris continues the idea that we are God’s field, that we are this metaphor of cultivation, growing and watering. But instead of the metaphor of cultivation, he uses a metaphor of architecture. The apostle Paul is going to help us see ourselves both individually and together as a construction project that is growing into the Temple of the Lord.


We want the building of our lives to be one that will continue into eternity. We want to build in a way that the nature of what we are doing will be taken with us into eternity. We need a greater sense of meaning and purpose that matters to God, that God is at work in the world, he is at work through his people. God is inviting us to participate, as we are being built into a house in which the spirit of God is dwelling, and we go out as light in the world to proclaim salvation to the world. What materials are we reaching down to pick up to build upon a foundation which has been laid?


What are you building on?

What we build upon is the most crucial question to ask. The apostle Paul describes himself as being a skilled master builder, and the reason why he describes himself as being skilled is because he lays a particular foundation.

·        1 Corinthians 3:10-11 - 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Paul tells the Corinthian Church, in chapter two, I did not come to you proclaiming the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom, but I came deciding to know nothing among you except for Jesus Christ and him crucified. That is the foundation we all are called to build our lives upon. It is the only foundation that will last for eternity. We all have cracked foundations because of our sin and rebellion against God, because of our separation from God. It is only by means of the perfect righteousness of the son of God, who fulfilled all that God had for him as a perfect covenant partner, who then lays down that life in order that the life of God may come from him to you as we place our faith, hope and trust in him for salvation. You no longer need to earn acceptance; you are accepted in Jesus. That foundation is a foundation that will carry you through. It is a foundation that makes promises of life, promises of peace, which makes promises of security, and it is a foundation that makes promises of flourishing and joy.

·        That is not the only foundation that people are building their lives upon. Every single person that you see, it is helpful at times to see them as a building project, and every person is building upon some kind of foundation. Jesus recognizes this in his words in Matthew chapter 7.

Matthew 7:24-26 - 24“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

He says those who hear my words and do them are like one that builds his house upon a foundation of rock, but those who hear my words and do not do them are building on a foundation of sand. They are building a house upon the sand and anything apart from Jesus is the sand. As they build their life upon a foundation of sand, it still makes them a promise of security, a promise of happiness, and a promise to flourish. It cannot fulfill those promises and yet people continue to build upon them. They build upon the foundation of sand and the foundation that they are building upon is making them great promises that will not stand.

·        People will build their life upon a foundation of fame or wealth, or the desire for it. Once I have fame and wealth, or something, then I will have peace, I will have security, then I will flourish. I will have all that makes life worth living for. A way in which people are seeking fame and seeking after wealth, particularly among younger generations, is to become something called an influencer. An influencer is someone on social media who posts videos and accumulates a significant following of thousands of people. One article puts it this way.

Who doesn't want to be rich and famous? Certainly, plenty of people have dreamt of getting rich and obtaining fame as a singer or an actor, or an athlete. In the case of younger Americans – those in Gen Z - currently one in four now wants to become an influencer.Peter Suciu “Young People Want To Become Influencers Even As Older Americans Say It Isn’t A Real Job!”

One in four say, the career path that they want to pursue is to become an influencer. This is a $6.5 billion industry. There's serious money in this and people aspire to build a foundation upon money and a foundation upon fame, and they are building it to become an influencer. If I can be successful as an influencer, I will obtain all that Jesus would say I should have, which is peace, security, and happiness.

·        There has been testimony from influencers themselves that say it absolutely does not. They are saying that all these promises that this has made are not happening. There was a young woman, her name is Elle Mills. Elle was an influencer. She had 1.7 million followers on her social media account, and she recently came out and said this.

This is all I ever wanted...why am I so unhappy? It – It doesn't make any sense. You know what I mean? Because, like, this is literally my dream. And I'm so unhappy. It doesn't make any sense. It's so stupid. It is so stupid. – Elle Mills (1.7 Million Subscribers)

We see testimony that made promises to build a life on the foundation of what those promises would provide. When you achieve that which would fulfill those promises, it does not deliver. They end up with a continuing ache and annoying emptiness at the center of their soul because the only thing that can fulfill you is Jesus Christ.

·        There is a Russian historian named Nikolai Karamzin. He said something remarkably interesting.

Death surprises us on the road towards something we still desire. Give a man everything he desires and yet at that very moment he will feel that this everything is not everything. – Nikolai Karamzin Letters of a Russian Traveler.

That is an interesting and profound statement. If they are going to build their life on a foundation of being rich and famous, and the moment they obtain it, they will realize the everything that they wanted is not everything, so they continue to seek and desire. Then suddenly, they die and that is it. This is the life of people that you and I love. We seek to share Jesus with them because Jesus is the only foundation that you can build, that delivers on the promise, not only in this life but for eternity.


What are you building with?

The apostle Paul gives us six different things to build our foundation with, but they are really in two sets.

1 Corinthians 3:12 - 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw...

The first set is gold, silver, and precious stone, which are the materials that were used in the construction of Solomon's Temple. The second set is wood, hay and straw.

·        Now the main difference between these two sets of materials is that when it passes through fire, one set remains, and one set does not. Paul says there is coming a day, and that day will be a day where all our life will be revealed, and we will give an account (notice the capitalization of Day in the scripture).

1 Corinthians 3:13 - 13each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

This is the Day, referring to the second coming of Jesus, the Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord, in which God will enter into history and remove all evil and establish his eternal Kingdom forever. It will be a Day that will reveal the foundation of our lives and will reveal the nature of the material that we were building our foundation on. What matters is what God sees as being gold, silver, and precious stone, or hay, wood, and straw.

·        Paul says there will be this revelation of revealing on the Day.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 - 14If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

When we build with gold, silver, and precious stone, that will go with you into eternity. If it is burned up, you will suffer loss, though you will be saved. This can sometimes make us uncomfortable.

As surely as there is a final judgment, there is also “reward” and “loss.” What is not known, either from this passage or elsewhere, is the nature of the reward. This text only affirms its certainty. – Gordon Fee The First Epistle to the Corinthians.

What you build upon will matter into eternity, and what you do matters.

·        What is the difference in these building materials, and how do we begin to really ask what does that look like? One place in scripture that points us in the right direction to meditate upon this, and to think through this, is later in First Corinthians 13. This is the chapter where Paul is expanding on the concept of agape Christian love.

1 Corinthians 13:3 - 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

This helps us to begin to think through what it means to build with gold, silver, and precious stone. One thing that this helps us to see is not just primarily what you are doing, but it is also very much why you are doing it. Jesus helps us by explaining what it means to be a faithful follower of himself and to follow God. He says, if you are going to follow me, there are two requirements. First, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Secondly, love your neighbor as yourself.

·        When we stop being so focused on ourselves and begin to lift our gaze and to lift our hearts and to lift our souls upon the Lord our God, and upon those around us, and as we act from a motive and a place of love, we are reaching down not for hay, wood and straw, we are reaching down for gold, silver and precious stones that will take us and be carried with us into eternity. This matters to God.

1 Corinthians 3:16 - 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

·        Up to this point, we have been thinking about our kind of life, our foundation, and our building materials. But this language is of you as God's temple, is plural. Paul is saying we are God's people, but we are the temple, collectively, and together. Paul says that we are stones, living stones, being built into a spiritual house, each one of us individually is not what we are together. How we act together matters.

1 Corinthians 3:17 - 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

If we act in ways that destroys that which God is doing in the world through his people, God takes that seriously.

·        Each one of us are called to participate in the mission of God and the redemption of all things, we all play a part in that. We are all called to build in a way that reflects God to the world. We build with gold, silver, and precious stone because the temple was the place of residence for God's spirit. No matter where you are, you have meaning, and you have purpose because you are God's temple. Build today with gold, silver, and precious stone, God has use for you. In God's economy, it is the things that are not flashy, it is the things that are in the background, the things that people do not see that are the most important. It is the things that God is doing in and through people that feel like, how am I important. You are the most important. God works through hidden insignificant things to do remarkable things. You matter to the Kingdom of God. You matter to what God is doing because God works through his body, and you are the body of Christ. You have meaning, and you have purpose. We need to remind ourselves...

o  What are we building our life on? We build our life on the finished work of Christ.

o  Have we placed our faith and hope in Christ? We build our lives for eternity on Christ, it is the only foundation that fulfills its promises.

o  What are we building with? Are we building a foundation with gold, silver, and precious stone? That is, are we being motivated and moved to action by love of God and by love of neighbor? God wants to use us. We have meaning and purpose in his eternal Kingdom.

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