"...And The Fire
Test Each One's Work"
Our great commission is to go and preach the gospel to every person. (Mk 16:15) It is a great and grave responsibility to be entrusted with the gospel (death, burial and resurrection) of Christ. Many great men have spent their lives delivering the message of hope to the lost world. But it is not the preacher, nor the dutiful Christian who saves the sinner. Rather, it is God who gives the increase. (I Cor 3:7)
All men are God's "building;" we are His creation (I Cor 3:9) and it is God's will that all men be saved. (I Tim 2:3-4) The Apostle Paul shared in this desire and counted it as a gift from God that he was able to help build up Christ's church. But he warned us to take heed how we build. (I Cor 3:10)
We must be very careful that we lay the correct foundation when teaching the gospel, for through no other than Christ can salvation be found. (I Cor 3:11) There is no gospel but the gospel of which Christ is the foundation. (Gal1:8)
Now, when we build on this foundation, those converts will fall into two major categories: (1) gold, silver, and precious stones, or (2) wood, hay and straw. (I Cor 3:12) The first category being the diligent, pure, and strong ones, and the second being the weak, shallow, and easily uprooted ones. I Corinthians 3:13 tells us that the nature of the one who is converted will be revealed because it will be tested by fire. Whether that fire be some form of persecution, or simply one of life's burdens, it will prove the nature of the convert. You see, when fire comes in contact with gold, silver, or precious stones it simply purifies and strengthens them. But when fire comes to wood, hay, or straw if consumes them leaving ashes. We must be proclaimers of the word and if those we convert endure, we will be rewarded. If not, we will suffer loss, but will ourselves be saved. That same fire which consume the weak will strengthen us. (I Cor. 3:15.)
- - - - Darrell Powell