“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man 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. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Paul writes that he laid the foundation in the teaching he gave. He hastens to mention that that foundation is, of course, the Rock Yeshua (1 Corinthians 10:4). We read this in the parable of the house (mind) on the Rock as well (Matthew 7). Paul is referring to the teaching of Yeshua: His Word, His truth that we must accept in our mind and heart. How can we know this? In verse 1 of this text from 1 Corinthians Paul mentions his ‘speaking’, and immediately after this text above Paul writes that God’s Spirit dwells in our temple (mind, heart) (vs 16, 17). And he continues with the wisdom (thoughts) of the world, which is foolishness (lies and delusion) (vs 18, 19), and with the vain thoughts of man (verse 20).
So the foundation is the teaching of Yeshua, and that is truth because His Word is truth (John 17:17). The works that we build upon that foundation refer to the teaching we give to others, for we have seen that the context of this text refers to the teaching of truth (wisdom), or of lies and delusion (foolishness). And of course what we do, or do not do, comes from what is in our mind and heart (Jeremiah 18:12, Mark 7:21-23).
With which material can we compare our teaching? Is it gold, silver, precious stones? Or wood, hay or stubble? What we teach is tried by fire. What is that fire?
“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD” Jeremiah 23:29
Fire is His Word, and His Word is truth. So what we teach is tried by the fire of His truth, and then it becomes clear whether we have taught truth, or lies and delusion (the ‘wisdom’ of the world). If our teaching abides, we will receive a reward. What is that reward? We find it in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). The servants with the two and five talents gained talents, and they received a reward: “thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things”.This refers to spiritual ruling. And that comes not without the responsibility of continue to earn talents by teaching His truth.
So the rewards we will receive are different for everyone, depending on what we have taught others about His truth; and also whether we have taught others His truth. For the servant who buried his talent received no reward. What we teach others depends on the measure of His truth in our mind. Because we cannot teach truth that we do not have. To the extent that we are set free by His truth, we can teach more of His truth to others. So that, after we are first set free from our own lies and delusions, we can also set others free. For His truth sets free (John 8:30-32).
What do you build upon the foundation of His Word? What are your ‘works’? What would happen to your thoughts if they are tried by the fire of His truth? Will they be burned? Or will they abide?
“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” 2 John 1:8
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12