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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

I Corinthians 3:12-13, "Now if any many build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."

This morning, one of the spiraling decays - among many - in our society is that of place, respect, and situational awareness. People today approach every situation the same: slovenly and lackadaisical. This attitude breeds a mindset and outlook that lacks respect and promotes self desire rather than self denial. The whole "come as you are" mentality by modern "churches" is a prime example of this growing mood among people at large. However, there are different situations in life that merit different looks, behaviour, etc on our part. For example, my behaviour with my wife and children should look drastically different than my behaviour around my co-workers. The way I treat my family will be different than the way I treat business associates. One is a familial relationship, while the other is strictly a professional relationship. Some relationships and circumstances require our best, while others require less. Some situations require we dress
nicely, while others may be more fitting with casual attire.

Paul is in the midst of addressing Corinth's many and varied problems. In this chapter, he has vetted the problem of preacher worship by showing that Christ Jesus is the place where adoration should lie, for He is the sole reason that preachers are blessed. Without Him, they can do nothing, but through His blessing, increase, joy, and edification is found. Therefore, when a man is being blessed and his efforts enjoyed by the people of God, his foundation and focal point is that of Jesus Christ. (Verses 9-11) Others may build with him or labour on top of his efforts. Yet, Christ Jesus must be at the heart of it. Verse 11 - that leads into our verses above - sets the stage for our discussion. Paul lays out two principles in the same breath that quite often go hand in hand with each other in Holy Scriptures. Those two thoughts are the eternal security of God's family, and our proper action as a result of it.

If we are building as we should in our efforts, be they preaching, parenting, working, etc, we are building upon Christ Jesus. He is the foundation for true, spiritual effort to be found. If He is not, then our building will fall and come to ruin. Yet, Paul asserts quite firmly, that Jesus Christ is already laid. So, which is it? Is He laid, or are we laying Him as our foundation in our lives? The answer is that eternally speaking He is laid, sure, tried, and precious forever. (Isaiah 28:16) However, for us to actively enjoy that position that we are cemented in by His grace and mercy, we must lay Him actively in our lives to have the joy of His salvation. If we do not, we are not in danger of receiving eternal woe and misery, but if we do, we will look forward with more joy and anticipation to that day where we are parted from our sin forever. Knowing that He is forever sure and laid for us, we can build with confidence upon Him for our daily
needs, uprisings, and downsittings.

So, by building our efforts and labours upon Christ, what have we to choose from? Paul lays out six things that can be grouped in two sections: 1. gold, silver, precious stones, 2. wood, hay, stubble. This is what is available for us to build with. Now, it should not be difficult to reason who Paul is talking to/about, for the verses that follow speak of a salvation that comes by fire. (Verses 14-15) If our labours are burned up, due to their own filthiness and shortcomings, we are saved even though our work is destroyed. This salvation comes as our flesh receives some destruction that Paul will go on in this epistle to pray for in one that he encourages them to turn out from their fellowship. (I Corinthians 5:5) By putting that fornicator from them, one of the hopes in that situation is that his flesh would receive some destruction, but likewise receive salvation in the same circumstance. This salvation would not be pleasant, but would indeed be timely and beneficial as it promotes more profitable and healthy service here and now to our Lord.

Let us, for a moment, look at these building materials to see how they relate to place and circumstance. If our behavioral patterns, attire, etc, change - and rightly so - due to awareness of different situations, let us see how that thought interacts with these verses. The first group of items, gold, silver, and precious stones, are things that are rare, valuable, and sought after in this world. People have spent their lives and resources digging into the earth looking for these rare and valuable items to get gain. The wood, hay, and stubble are items that we can commonly find in great abundance. Most people are not seeking after them with all of their energy as they are readily available. Dear friends, these two groups are indicative of what the child of God has available after the new birth to act upon. We can act, according to the impression and inclination of the flesh, and build with some of the ruined material from our body of death.  Those ruined materials are manifest (Galatians 5:19), for every person that has drawn a natural breath has them. We are all capable of committing them, acting upon them, and building with them in our lives.

While quite common, they are not valuable, edifying, or suitable at all for building a lasting structure. However, the child of God, according to the impression and inclination of the Spirit, has the resources available to build, act, and do with priceless material of the new man and heart of flesh. This material is not as common as the ruined fleshly material (for not all that have drawn a natural breath are thereby born from above), but its worth is above any of the rubies, diamonds, or other precious, natural stones of the world. These materials come from a changed soul and spirit that can build lasting structures that benefit not only us but those that follow after us. (Revelation 14:13) None of these items get us to heaven, but all of them show how we have been represented. The ruined materials show that we descend from Adam's race, and the honed and precious materials show that we are of the family of Christ.

Now that we have laboured to show what things are, one might say, "What does this have to do with circumstances and situations in life?" Again, while it is increasingly becoming less common, people would prepare and lay out their best due to the situation they were in. For example, if esteemed guests are coming over, the common dining materials are put away and the fine china is laid out. The finest silver is put at each place setting, the yard is mowed, the kitchen cleaned, the carpet vacuumed, the floors mopped, and the house looking tidy and well-kept. However, if it is just "the family," the house will not have that unspotted look, but will take on the more comfortable "lived in" look. The meals enjoyed by the family unit will not quite be like meals served to company. As a young boy, I loved having preachers stay in our home, but it was not due to the good Bible discussion, or anything noble of that kind. Rather, I enjoyed breakfast with eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy, grits, hash browns, with all the trimmings, and the works that my mother would lay out in honour of our guests. That was not a commonplace breakfast, but the situation merited it during those times.

Now, we have the ability in our daily lives to build with good things and less profitable things. Some of our items will endure fires, afflictions, and all situations in life. Other items will not endure, but rather, they will not stand the tests and trials of life. While not all earthly things are wicked, they still do not endure. Natural homes are not, in and of themselves, wicked, but they do not endure. All natural things are fleeting and fading, but the spiritual items that we can build with will endure beyond this veil of tears. The question becomes, "If our most important friend is coming, should we give him our best?" The answer should be, "Yes." Our most important and dearest Friend, that sticketh closer than a brother, has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) If we had had preachers in our home all the time, I can assure you that my mother would have laid out those big breakfasts every morning. Dear friends, He is with us every morning and evening. He is with us at all points in between. Where do we have room to offer wood, hay, and stubble?

As we daily appear before His judgment seat (Romans 14:10), we must be striving to build with the materials that He has provided us. That is the best and what endures. When we approach with a house of stubble, many times we are saved by His fire that consumes it to show us where our real treasure is. Idols crop up quite quickly, but He can dash them before our eyes with their hands and head cut off in a single night. (I Samuel 5) If we had house guests every day, how would we try to keep our homes? He is with us every day, so how should we keep our homes? Paul will go on to expound on our bodies being a temple of the Holy Ghost. Befitting such, we should flee fornication and youthful lusts. We should labour and build upon the laid foundation of Jesus Christ so that when fires come, we have a building that gets purer and purer (which is what happens to gold, silver, and precious stones) rather than be consumed away (which is what happens to wood, hay, and stubble). Finally, as we approach His courts and pavilions, may we understand that this situation is above even our daily interactions with Him. As such, it deserves more respect and honour and our all so that we are willing to spend and be spent in His service in His house and unto His people.


In Hope,

Bro Philip