“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:10-17.
Wow. How to tell you what I am seeing as I look at these two, often separated passages, and understand that they are one. Okay, let’s try this:
Picture the world as a cesspool of sin—for that is what it is. It is like the hot room in a facility that deals with all kinds of chemicals and germ warfare sources of destruction. When entering such a room to deal with such things, a person has to first put on a protective suit. It is the first line of defense.
Christ is our suit. He clothes us in righteousness that assures us a place in the Kingdom of God, protecting us from the destruction of sin. But we are called to build on that foundation in life as we deal with the destructive forces of this world. The way we handle the things we encounter in the hot room builds on the foundational covering of Christ to establish us as a holy temple of His presence here in the earth. The more we practice obedience to the protocols – our second line of defense against the things found in the hot room, the better the materials that are found in the building that we lay on the foundation of our security in Christ.
Then, when God calls us out of the hot room we go through the third line of defense that keeps us from inadvertently bringing the death and destruction of the hot room out into the place of righteousness where God resides and where no unrighteousness can enter: that is the fires that test the quality of our building that we have laid on the foundation of our security in Christ.
The more we have done things WITHOUT THOUGHT OF OBEYING THE PROTOCOLS meant to protect us from the destructive forces, and those meant to make us a witness to others found there that need the foundation of Christ and the example of a godly life, the more our building will have wood, hay and stubble in it that will be burned away.
The more we live so as to influence others for good and protect from contamination in our own lives, the more our building will possess gold, silver, and precious stones.
If we build with only a few of the good materials, them being attached to and surrounded by bad materials, when we go through the final decontamination phase, even the good will fall away as that which it is attached to burns away. In reverse, if we build mainly with good materials, even though there is some wood, hay and stubble in our lives—which there will be, though the materials that cannot stand the fires of testing fall away, we will still come through with a temple of glory intact and ready for the eternal Kingdom and the “well done” of the Son.
At my missionary friend’s memorial, recently attended, one thing we all agreed upon is that he most assuredly met the Master as he came out of the decontamination chamber to enter His embrace and receive the “Well done, good and faithful servant.” If God told him to forget what he had planned that day and just go to the next town and sit in the local DQ, he did it. He told me this last visit home that, in those times, most often there would be a divine appointment. But he had also come to learn that sometimes God sent him on such assignments to “simply take His Presence into a dark corner.” I cannot tell you the number of people who, after meeting him and visiting for only a few minutes, bear the testimony of their life being changed by the encounter.
Beloved, if you are truly trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation so as to be covered by His foundational protection, God’s word teaches us that encounter with Him will be honored by God, for “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” ~ 2 Timothy 2:13. But if you are not working with Him to learn and live out the safety protocols and helping others to do so as well, the temple we are building to the glory of God can be completely burned away so we take no good accomplishment into the Kingdom through which to bring Him glory and receive a “well done” greeting.
An encounter with Christ should change our lives. In fact, we are told that we in this world can recognize His people because we bear fruit in keeping with righteousness (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:6-10; Philippians 1:9-11; Hebrews 12:7-13; James 3:13-18). If we are truly united with Him, there will be a change in our lives: something that reveals we have had an encounter with Him that has us suited up in a protective covering against the hot room of the world. It is the bear minimum requirement that allows us to come through decontamination to enter the Kingdom. Even in a germ-storage hot room, if a person goes in without the suit on and is contaminated, he cannot just come back out, even after undergoing decontamination, and interact with others. Instead he is placed in an infectious ward and he becomes the vial in the hot room, with all who enter into his presence having to be suited up for their protection.
Building a temple on the foundation of Christ that will withstand the decontamination chamber requires we spend time in the Protocol Book—the Bible, learning not only how to move through and function in the hot room safely, but how to make a difference in the lives of others while we are there, setting an example that helps them to enter into a life that is changed by an encounter with Christ-in-me. Brothers and Sisters, this is how we work in the hot room so as to go through decontamination with something remaining that glorifies God and receives the reward of the “well done.” But in order to do that, we have to step into the hot room. We can’t hide out in our safe zones and build as glorious a temple as is possible for us unless we are willing to obey God’s voice to “go to the next town and sit in the local DQ,” or “go to Israel and live in Jericho.”
Go out into the hot room, beloved, being in the world, but not of it, and let Father make a Holy Temple for Glory out of you.