What Foundation Are You Laying for Christ?
Rewards are not commonly talked about in contemporary sermons, but they were common fare in the sermons of Jesus Christ. We see this in the Olivet Discourse, in the Book of Revelation, and in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus Christ is not alone. The apostles spoke about rewards. Whether we’re talking about the apostles Peter, James, or Paul, rewards are a common theme in the Bible. Therefore, we should be familiar with the concept of rewards.
I love what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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 to 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.
This illustrates the sober reality that some Christians will be resurrected with precious little to show for the time they spent on earth. They “...will be saved, but only as one escaping the flames.” This conjures up images of people escaping burning buildings with little more than the charred clothes upon their backs.
Christ, whose eyes are “like blazing fire,” (Rev. 1:14) will incinerate the work of those who built monuments to themselves, monuments build of “wood, hay or straw.” This will include a lot of even the most visible Christian leaders whose motives were selfish rather than selfless. They were there not for the love of the Master, but instead for the love of what was on the Master’s table.
On the other hand, those who build selflessly upon the foundation of Christ using, “gold, silver, and costly stones” will receive enduring rewards.