The Wise Masterbuilder #9

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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 (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Immediately preceding today’s Scripture, Scripture says: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Whether Paul or Apollos (verses 4-8), both were working toward the same end. Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and risen again was being preached as (1) sufficient payment for sins and (2) the key to victorious Christian living. “According to the grace of God which is given unto [Paul]” (today’s Scripture)—in keeping with the divine favor or office given him—Jesus Christ was being proclaimed.

Notice two disparate passages. Firstly, the Apostle Peter speaking to the nation Israel in Acts chapter 3: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Secondly, the Apostle Paul addressing Gentiles in Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

While Peter was speaking of Jesus Christ according to “prophecy” (“spoken since the world began”), Paul was proclaiming Jesus Christ according to “mystery” (“kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest”). What is “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery?” We must consult Paul’s apostolic office….

The Wise Masterbuilder #7

Thursday, January 11, 2018

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 (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Returning to the context of today’s Scripture, we begin the chapter at verse 1 and work our way down to ascertain its thought-flow: “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? [4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”

As we read earlier in chapter 1, and just noticed in chapter 3, so we read in chapter 11: “[18] For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. [19] For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” Again, the most basic problem in Corinth is “divisions” (schisms). They follow a wide variety of people—Peter, Apollos, Christ in His earthly ministry, and Paul. This has thus caused them to hold diverse doctrines (“heresies”). Moreover, pagan Greek philosophers and legalistic Jewish false teachers have further confused them. Sound Bible doctrine is under attack: the teaching ministry of the Spirit of God is being suppressed and the flesh (man’s sin nature) is in complete control at Corinth! (Sound familiar?)

The solution to the Corinthian dilemma—yea, Christendom’s problem even today—is to see and embrace the wisdom of the wise masterbuilder that can construct a mighty spiritual edifice to the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….

The Wise Masterbuilder #6

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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 (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Earlier, we referred to the Apostolic conference in Jerusalem as documented in Acts chapter 15 and Galatians chapter 2. There, Paul and Barnabas met with James, Peter, and John. Many years later, at the very end of his life and ministry, the Apostle Peter penned as the Holy Spirit moved him: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Even at such a late date, Peter did not understand all Pauline doctrine: Peter knew God had given Paul “wisdom” not given to him (Peter).

When we consider Peter’s Jewish-oriented ministry, Christ’s Jewish-oriented earthly ministry, and Peter’s limited knowledge of Pauline theology, now we understand the purpose of today’s Scripture. It is actually a warning. Who is the “wise masterbuilder” according to God’s plan for the Corinthians? Peter? Nay! Christ in His earthly ministry? Nay! Who has laid the foundation as concerning those Corinthian saints? Peter? Nay! Christ in His earthly ministry? Nay! Today’s Scripture says Paul is the “wise masterbuilder” and Paul has laid the foundation. How is he “wise?” God revealed some special information directly to him.

Ephesians chapter 3:“[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)….”

Our first Bible Q&A of 2018: “Was Mary Magdalene really a prostitute?

The Wise Masterbuilder #5

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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 (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we find some extremely useful instructions: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The “word of truth,” obviously, is the Bible, for Jesus Christ said to His Heavenly Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The Bible is to be studied “rightly divided,” but how is this to be done? Since the Holy Spirit through Paul told us to “rightly divide the word of truth,” He also instructed us through Paul how to do it.

The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

In “time past,” God dealt with mankind on the basis of physical circumcision (Jew) and physical uncircumcision (Gentile). However, beginning with Paul’s ministry, this changed. In the “but now,” there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile (cf. Galatians 5:6, Galatians 6:15)—all are considered Gentile (or “heathen;” Galatians 1:16). With the switch from “time past” to “but now,” God would send a man to preach to the Gentiles—Saul of Tarsus (cf. Acts 26:16-18, Romans 11:13). Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, verse 2, says of the Corinthians: “Ye know that ye were Gentiles….”

The Corinthians’ main problem, as apparent in today’s Scripture, was forgetting whom God had sent to them….

The Wise Masterbuilder #4

Monday, January 8, 2018

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 (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

In Acts chapter 18, God sent the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles in Corinth. No minister of Jesus Christ had ever preached there before. Verse 11 says, “And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” He preached “the Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24) to these Hell-bound pagans and they believed unto eternal life! First Corinthians chapter 15 looks back: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;…. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Throughout his 18-month stay, Paul also taught these former idolaters all about proper Christian (grace) living. After he departed Corinth, Apollos, another grace teacher, arrived and continued where Paul left off (Acts 18:1–19:1). Hence, some Corinthians clung to Apollos in 1 Corinthians 1:12.

There is no verse in Scripture that indicates Cephas (Peter) or Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry ever visited and taught in Corinth. Contrariwise, as per Galatians 2:9 (Acts chapter 15), Peter had already restricted his ministry to “the circumcision” (believing Israel, the “Little Flock” of Luke 12:32). From Acts chapter 15 onward, Peter had no ministry to unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles. Moreover, Peter and the other Israeli Apostles agreed to turn all “heathen” (unsaved) over to Paul (including Corinth, which Paul later visited in chapter 18). Furthermore, Christ’s earthly ministry was restricted to the nation Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8), so He had not gone to Corinth either.

Yea, a failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) caused the Corinthians’ schisms….

Sifted Saints #5

Monday, March 13, 2017

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31,32 KJV).

What is Satan’s goal here?

In his final meeting with the Ephesian church elders, Paul through the Holy Spirit issued a grave warning in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Notice how Satan “sifts” members of the Body of Christ by having them overlook “the word of [God’s] grace” (verse 32). Thus they follow the Law, available in many forms—that is, 38,000 denominations! Splinter group after splinter group develops, until the distinction is no longer “Christian versus non-Christian,” but increasingly “this denomination versus that denomination.” So many precious Christian souls are entangled in such confusion and division!

As Satan attempted to “divide and conquer” the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, so he uses a similar strategy with us the Church the Body of Christ today. Remember, he attacked the Little Flock by focusing on its chief Apostle (that is, Peter). With Peter discredited, the Little Flock would collapse. Likewise, we see Satan attacking the Church the Body of Christ by concentrating on its leading Apostle (namely, Paul). There are “doctrines of devils” today aimed at questioning Paul’s grace doctrines, Romans through Philemon (1 Timothy 4:1-16)—people using the Bible but not “rightly dividing” it (2 Timothy 2:15). With the Bible not rightly divided, the Christians are divided and conquered!

Sifted Saints #4

Sunday, March 12, 2017

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31,32 KJV).

What is Satan’s goal here?

“Simon, Simon” underscores the seriousness in Jesus’ voice. After delivering to Peter the grim news about Satan wanting to split up the Little Flock—mainly by attacking its leadership, the 12 Apostles—the Lord comforts His chief Apostle. Not many people notice, but the Lord, in today’s Scripture, revealed that He had prayed specifically for Peter ahead of the impending ordeals. But I have prayed for thee….” (We do not read the actual prayer, although it preceded today’s Scripture.) Jesus prayed for Peter (remember, “thee,” singular), rather than the whole group (“you,” plural, as in modern versions).

“[T]hat thy faith fail not….” We are not to suppose that Peter’s faith will be unwavering (because, as we know, it was not). The implication is that he will fall; hence, his “converting,” or turning around, will be necessary. However, because of Jesus’ prayer, Peter’s denial of God’s only begotten Son will not be continuous. “[A]nd when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” We know that, after he denied Christ, Peter went out and “wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62; cf. Matthew 26:75; Mark 14:72). Although not recorded in the Bible, we can assume that Peter was “converted” (moved from denier to embracer) sometime after.

When Peter would be turned around, re-oriented toward the right way, Jesus told him to strengthen his brethren. Those brethren would be vulnerable to Satan’s further assaults, but with Peter, their leader, now restored in faith, they would be also rescued from additional spiritual harm. Peter could encourage them to remain having faith in Christ. In fact, he will go on to declare to them the news of the resurrected Christ (Luke 24:34)! As a powerful, Holy-Spirit-filled Apostle, he will go on to lead the 11 Apostles of Jesus Christ into the Book of Acts. Except Judas, none of the Apostles were permanently lost to Satan. In short, the Lord Jesus’ prayer was effectual!

The Devil, however, still employs “divide and conquer” to hinder believers in Christ today….