I am hurting from the painful critiques of the modern church that do nothing but tear down the body of Christ and turn people away from heaven and towards Hell. When you constantly criticize the church in front of others you are willingly working for Satan.
Often times we say the Body of Christ is broken. On the Contrary, the Body of Christ is functioning more powerfully today than ever before. However, it is working against a Brick Wall made up of its own Christians.
1 Corinthians 3:12-17, ” If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames”
What I am about to tell I hope will change your “approach” period. Paul was a very eschatological, future oriented man.
There is no choice of little importance. There is no decision that carries little weight. There is no place that holds little value. Whatever choices you are faced with, whatever decisions you are making, wherever you are and wherever you are going are vitally massively insanely incredibly instrumental.
Now to address the matter at hand. What 1 Corinthians 3 is describing is the shallowness of wisdom (sophia) that the world gives. For the Corinthians it was an issue of elevating themselves through the wisdom of the world with application of Christianity which is a sickening twist of truth. That earthly wisdom (hay and straw) will be destroyed by the Fire of the coming Day of the Lord and only things of eternal importance (Gold and silver) will pass through the fire of the Day of the Lord. The Corinthians were messed up in their understanding of wisdom and Paul addressed it numerously in his letters to them. The issue and what we may consider, “hay and straw” today is worse. The Holy Spirit is moving in ways never seen before in the world today. From the 1900’s forward, the overwhelming encompassing of God presence is untouched by any other generation in the past. Millions in Africa coming to Christ at once verses a few thousand in biblical times. Thousands and Thousands worshipping and sometimes Millions worshiping the Lord verses a few hundred when the New Church started. God is near. The Holy Spirits promotion of the most Illogical Gospel (unwise to the greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews) has boomed. The times are coming to a close. Churches filled with the Holy Spirit have arose. Churches in alignment with the Lord are in the many.
The continuation of 1 Corinthians 3:16 goes as follows,
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple.”
Many would interpret this as the individual. However with good exegetical study we come to the conclusion that this is referring more to the church. Gordon Fee’s commentary on 1 Corinthians states,
“Most likely Paul meant by this not that the Spirit dwelt in each of them, true as that would be for him, but that the Spirit of God ‘lives in your midst.’ That is, Paul is here reflecting on the church as the Corporate place of God’s dwelling.”
If you destroy God’s temple, God will destroy you. (Yes, a loving God will destroy you, not because he is evil, but because in this case you are being evil to an intolerable level. We can not forget God is not “just loving,” but is “loving and Just.” I will not sugar coat things for you.) Destroy in the Greek is, “phtheirō” which literally means in the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or “destroyed” when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties. In an ethical sense, to corrupt, deprave. How are we to treat this move of God happening in our Generation? How are we to judge it? How are we to analyze it? How do we help the church grow? How do we help the church die?
I’m not going to go about interpreting all this for you. I will let you soak it in and dwell on it with the aid of the Holy Spirit to guide. However one last point. Non-eternal things will perish in fire, for they will not make it through the Day of the Lord, but good eternal things that benefitted the Kingdom of God will shine and will bring about wonderful rewards. What will evil eternal things bring? When our destruction of the church has an eternal effect, what reward will that bring? 3:15,” he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” Praise God for forgiveness that transcends our works for we would be eternally dead without the free grace Jesus brought about through such a horrendous death.
Oh God let us walk carefully yet boldly in your will and humbly in your calling. Let us criticize only when necessary with the mind of Christ and when necessary shut our mouths so we may not be destroyed.
On an encouraging note. God’s forgiveness forgives all who call upon the name of the Lord. If you have committed such destruction do not be depressed but repent and ask for forgiveness. I know I have struggled with pulling the church down multiple times but through the grace of God I have been given the opportunity to repent and change, and in doing so, Glorify God.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.