“TIME TO REVEAL”                                      By Pastor YAU

Text: 1 Corinthians 3:10-15                             August 23, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)    A television program: The house was a wreck. Mismatched furniture. Faded paint. Knick-knacks crammed into rooms and corners. The homeowner tried to make some improvements, but the house kept getting worse. This begins a Home-Improvement TV program. After interviewing the owner, the designer draws a plan to maximize the space potential. Program producers create suspense by building up to a moment of truth called “The Reveal.” Viewers watch the progress and ooh and ah with the owner when they see the new house.

2)    A biblical analogy: Some 2,000 years ago, Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians on how to best build their spiritual life. He used a familiar phenomenon of building a house as analogy to illustrate the building of a Christian life. First he emphasized on the need of a firm foundation on which one would choose to build. Then he pointed out the need of proper choice of material one would use to build his house. Finally, Paul pointed out that whatever one may choose his foundation and material to build his house, the moment of truth would be revealed in the test of a fire: if the house would stand or fall in ruin.

 

PILLARS OF PERSONAL BUILDING: From the ground up.

1)    Building your body: This is a life long process from birth to death. Bodybuilding starts from conception in our mother’s womb. Our parents and family continue the process after we were born. When we grow older, we learn to take care our own bodies on their growth, purity and good health. To maintain a healthy body is a lifelong commitment. This includes provision, discipline and exercise. Apostle Paul said, “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it.” (Ephesians 5:29) We should refrain from doing anything, taking anything that may hurt our body. Again, Paul said: “You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)

2)    Building your knowledge: When God intended to build the first tabernacle in the wilderness, He instructed Moses to call a man named Bezalel. God said, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge of all kinds of crafts.” (Exodus 31:1-3) We all agree on the importance of knowledge in everyday life. We learn at home, in schools and through life experiences. We also learn to know God and salvation through Jesus Christ. The saying “Never too old to learn” says it all on the life long process of gaining knowledge.

3)    Building your character: When King Solomon had aquired all the knowledge and wealth anyone may achieve, he realized the most important element of life is character. He says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) Few people will be remembered because of his great wealth. But many great men and women are remembered because of their great character. So invest more of your time and energy in building character than in gaining knowledge or wealth.

4)    Building your eternity: Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples on the costs of following Him. This contradicted the pursuits of man. Then He asked them a question of striking importance: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37)This is one kind of building most people in this world have neglected. But this is the kind of building all people in this world need to pursue. Nothing anyone may gain in his life on earth may buy him a seat in the Kingdom of God. Therefore we all need to start and continue to build our eternity before the end of our earthly journey.

 

STEPS OF PROPER BUILDING: (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

1)     First, be a wise builder: “According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise builder...But each one should be careful how he builds.” (3:10)Building a house is never anything casual. Building of a life is a much more serious endeavor. We all have to be very determined and careful to be a wise builder. Whatever we do or whatever negligence we make will certainly affect the outcome of the life we want to be. As the quality of a house will affect the safety of all people who live in it, the quality of our life will affect others with whom we live and work and relate with. It is more than just for the good of us. It is also for the good of many others.

2)     Second, a solid foundation: “For no one can lay any other foundation than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ.” (3:11)A foundation is the most important part of a building plan. It will determine the kind of building, the purpose of the building and the safety of the building built on it. Jesus told us to build a house on a solid rock, the principles of his teaching.” (Matthew 7:24-27) Paul advised us to build our life on the only foundation, Jesus Christ. Do not waste your time, energy and resource in building anything on the foundation in this world. Just look at the kind of foundation Michael Jackson chose to build his life and you will learn a lesson. (He died in late June)

3)     Then, the best material: “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones; wood, hay or straw.” (3:12) Paul used these material to represent the price and the quality of material one uses to build his house. Half of the list consists of costly material that means one has to pay high price to buy them for his building, and these material will make the building strong and lasts much longer. Another man will not pay a high price for the material of his building, he just uses cheap thing and easy ways to build his house. Foundation has been laid in Christ, but we are responsible in what to build on it. Never take an easy way out. Never try to be smart or take short cuts in building your life.

4)     Finally, time to reveal: “His 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 man’s work.” (3:13) Every decision one makes, actions one takes, values one forms and direction one takes will bring him to where he will arrive: successful or failure, victory or defeat, honor or shame and joy or sadness. Michael Jackson may have succeeded in his career and wealth, but he failed so miserably in his life as a man, a husband and a father. We all have to face the moment of truth: the time of reveal before God and man. (Today is July 8)

 

BE READY FOR REVEAL

1)    It’s all in God’s plans: Both in the Parable of the Builder in Matthew 7 and the testimony of Paul here in 1 Corinthians 3 illustrate that God has designed the ultimate test of quality of life for all men. He intends that all men should live his life on the foundation He has laid and the material He has given us in His word. Every man is responsible for his choices and steps he takes and all will face the final test of results. Regardless of if one fears God or not, he or she will have to reveal his or her life at a time in God’s choice.

2)    It’ll come unexpected: Watching the video of Jackson rehearsal just 2 days of his sudden death, no one expected he would die 2 days later. Many people would assume that they will have many years of good life, plans of bright future and success in what he does like the parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12. But the real control of all things is in the hands of God. Therefore we all need to do our best in building our life, in this world and in heaven, be ready for the moment God chooses to reveal. Begin doing good and right this very moment because no one would know when is the time.

3)    It’s time to be rewarded: “If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.” (3:14)Just as in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, those who were diligent, wise and obedient to God’s command received rewards from their master more than the initial rewards. They would receive much more than the initial trusts from the master. Because no one may do enough good to earn his way to heaven, so, salvation is a free gift of God. But rewards are to be earned, not free gifts. Paul had to finish his good fight, run his race and keeps his faith before God will reserve the crown of righteousness for him.

4)    It’s time to suffer loss: “If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (3:15)The final reveal is not about if one is saved or not because we all are saved by the grace of God. The reveal is about reward of loss. No one knows what “loss” exactly means here. But from the description “escape from the flames” may shed us some light on a pitiful situation of defeat, shame and nakedness. All one may have achieved on earth cannot buy him any honor in heaven if it is not built on the foundation of God.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   Time for checkup: Too many people live their life too much as routine: day in and day out, all the same, and don’t care. Most of these people never have a goal, a purpose or a time to look back and reflect on the substance of their life. As most of us would need a physical checkup it is important we also have a spiritual checkup. Do not allow routines take over your goals and purpose of life the Lord has inspired you to live.

2)   Time for reveal: Don’t pretend that you are doing all right or you will do better later. Be careful what you are using to build your life and on what foundation (principle) you are building it. We all have to face the moment of truth someday and that someday may come sooner than you think. Don’t spend all your life, energy and resource on cheap stuff to build your life that will not stand a chance of test by God. Change course, many a big turn-around so you won’t be regret when it is revealed.

3)   Time to restart: If you started your life years ago without the sure foundation or use of valuable material to build your life, it is not too late to restart it now. God is knocking at the door of your heart and wants to come in to help you change your life for the better. Open your heart and mind to God and ask Him to stay and lead your life for a brighter and more secure future.