1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 25
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|One day we are going to stand before God and everything of our life that has been built will stand before Him. There is a house that is being built the moment we get saved. The moment you receive Jesus Christ into your life, the foundation is laid. And that foundation is Jesus Christ. Paul says to be careful how you build upon it.|
The Preparation for the Test
1 Corinthians 3:14-15
When I was in college, I remember when they would assign a test. That didn’t threaten me at all. Everybody in the classroom would get all nervous. Not me. I knew I could wait until the last minute. I am grateful that I have a mind that can grasp most things. I knew most of the teachers and how they would give the test.
I remember one night in a World Literature class, I was 84,000 pages behind in my reading. The night before the final exam a friend of mine and I went down to the library and got into the master plot books and began to develop funny stories about each one of these things so we could remember them. We laughed until I cried. I mean, we would make up the funniest things, just anything to help us remember the main tenets of the different books we were supposed to have read.
The next day in the classroom they separated us. He was on one side and I was on the other side, for obvious reasons. When we started taking the test, I began to laugh. He began to laugh. We had taken right out of the files a test from this particular professor and we had pinpointed him on every single question, even though we were 84,000 pages behind. I got an A and my friend got an A in the class.
Now, you can do that in school down here on this earth, sometimes. But when it comes to the test we are talking about in Scripture, you don’t wait until the last day and cram so you can pass, because we don’t know the day and we don’t know the hour. One day we are going to stand before God and everything of our life that has been built will stand before Him. There is a house that is being built the moment we get saved. The moment you receive Jesus Christ into your life, the foundation is laid. And that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Paul says to be careful how you build upon it. Look at verse 10. He says, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it.” But then he says, “But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.” The narrow context of 1 Corinthians 3 is referring to the teachers and the preachers who follow Him, but all of us are included here, because once the foundation is laid by faith in Christ Jesus, that foundation begins to be built upon and every choice we make, everything we do in life builds upon that foundation. One day, standing before God, it will be tested as to the materials we have used to build that foundation, that house.
You know, we have had people leave the church because we emphasize obedience and surrender. They told me to my face, “Tell me all that I am in Jesus. Tell me who I am and whose I am. [That is so important to understand.] But don’t tell me what I am responsible for.” You see, we don’t want any accountability. But the reason we preach it and preach it and preach it is because one day we will be held accountable as we stand before the Lord Jesus.
In verse 14 Paul says, “If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains [in other words, after the fire has tested it], he shall receive a reward.” But then he says in verse 15, “If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.” There is going to be a test that is going to come one day. Now again, I want to point out the fact that this test is not a bad test. God wants to reward you. He wants to reward me. That is something we should be looking forward to. The only reason we would not look forward to it is if we are not willing to live the surrendered life He has asked us to live, enabled by His grace. If that is the case, get on your face before God and say, “God, I am sorry. I repent.” The blood cleanses, and the Spirit of God immediately enables and you are right back into building like you ought to be building. But when you live rebellious to those things of God, obviously that house is not going to be what God wants it to be.
Let’s talk about this reward a little bit. Take the word “reward” and run it through the Old Testament and the New Testament, particularly the New Testament. If you go into the New Testament, it gives you some clues about how you can know that you are putting the right materials into this building. There are some attitudes. There are some things God creates within you that are automatically clear as to the fact that these are the right materials. Let me just share a few things with you and you might grab on to some of them.
First of all, when you are living by faith, surrendered to Him, one of the things you can expect at different times in your life is persecution. Now that word “persecution” means people pursuing after you. They never seem to go away. They don’t like you. They don’t like what you stand for. They don’t like the God you serve. Therefore, they are constantly on your trail. The picture is of an old coon dog on a trail at night. You can hear him off in the distance, and it just won’t go away. Everywhere you go, they are always on your trail. That is the word for persecution.
Look in Matthew 5:1112 and let’s just see if there is a reward for people who are persecuted for living the faith life, for surrendering to Christ, for letting Jesus be Jesus in you, depending on His divine enablement within you. Matthew 5:1112 is very clear as to what God says. He speaks there to His disciples and says, “Blessed are you [the word “blessed” is makarios; it means completely, inwardly, spiritually satisfied] when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The next time you seek to live the godly life and seek for the right materials to be put into this house that will one day be tested and you are persecuted as a result of it, say, “Praise you Lord. I am in good company and there is going to be a reward for this.” Persecution is a signal that you are doing it right, not that you are doing it wrong. Light and darkness never get along very well.
The kind of obedience that God requires out of us is not the obedience so that men around you can see it. Obviously they will see it. But it is not for their benefit, it is for His benefit and for your benefit. Therefore, when you do what you do, you do it in the privacy of that life that is hidden with Him and you obey Him. You don’t go out and announce it to everybody. This is something between you and God. It is out of our love relationship.
You know, there are so many things that I would love to share with you about the friendship and the relationship my wife and I have. But it is something that is very private and very precious to us. That is the way it is with your walk with God. You don’t come out and say, “Oh, guess what? I did this. Guess what? I did that.” No, no. It is not that kind of thing. You are obeying out of love. You are honoring a relationship.
Now, I say this because Jesus brought this out. He warned the people of His day, “Watch out that you don’t parade your acts of obedience.” Look in Matthew 6:1. Now you know that the right materials are going in here when you don’t have this overwhelming desire to go out and flaunt your obedience unto God. There are many people who do this. Now obviously people will know that you are obedient, but it is not because of your flaunting it and wanting their approval for it.
In Matthew 6:1 we read, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men [then He gives the motive] to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Be real careful about the whole motive of everything that you are doing.
Then He lists several things there in Matthew. First of all is in giving of alms. In verse 2 He says, “When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” “Alms” there means to do a benevolent work for somebody, to do a good deed for someone, to give money to somebody who is poor or whatever. It always has a benevolent sense to it. He says, “When you do that, don’t announce it. If you do, the applause that men will give to you is your reward.” So what you do, you do out of obedience but not to flaunt it in front of man. That is what He warns the Pharisees about in that day.
Then He talks about prayer in Matthew 6:5: “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” People walk by and say, “Aren’t they spiritual? Look at those people pray.” They have their reward. That was their reward right there.
You see, when you pray in that closet, that is your time alone with God, when you wrestle with the things that you are wrestling with and when you rediscover your peace with Him and when you walk with Him. Not that man can see it. They will see the result of it, only so that God might be loved and honored in your life.
Then He mentions fasting in Matthew 6:16. He says, “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Basically, what Jesus is trying to show us is that when we obey Him, this is something between us and Him and we are doing it because we love Him, knowing that we are building a house that will one day be tested. We don’t do it to flaunt it in front of men.
This is something that has really blessed me. Do you realize that all those secret things that you have done out of obedience to the Lord that nobody ever knew about, that He keeps and knows about, one day will cause that house that you are building to stand like you couldn’t have caused it to stand before, because God knows those things? That is so encouraging to me. Many, many, many are the times that we have said yes to the Lord but nobody ever knew about it. That is alright. He did, you see. That is the way our walk with Him ought to be. When walking by faith, your heart is turned to acts of benevolence, as we said earlier, towards others, particularly those of the family of God.
Look over in Mark 9:41 and you begin to see that God creates within you a compassion for others and a love for others. This is not what you are doing as much as what He is doing in you. It is a good way of knowing that the house is being built correctly. If you have a cold heart toward the needs of others, look out. The house you are building is not one that will stand. Mark 9:41 says, “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” In another gospel it says a cup of cold water. They are talking about when you go out of your way to minister to the needs of somebody, particularly in the family of God, particularly those that are righteous and in God’s kingdom.
In that day the woman of the house would go down to the well early in the morning. The water was cold and she would put it into a pitcher. She would bring it back and set it up and then all day long they would drink out of that water. Well, to give a cup of warm water was easy, because the climate would warm that water up as the day would go by. But to get a cup of cold water meant somebody had to go all the way back down to where the well was and draw that water and bring it back. The idea is not just giving a cup of cold water, but going out of your way to minister to the saints of God, to minister to those that are around you.
I tell you, this isn’t something that you do resulting from the flesh. This is something God creates within you as you are walking submissive to Him. When you have this desire to minister to the family, to minister to those that you become aware of that have needs, this is God working in your life. Evidently, the house is being built correctly. Living by faith causes love to be produced by the Holy Spirit. I guess that is the greatest thing in the world that you can see. That love is going to be tested. And one of the greatest ways it is tested is when you are able, enabled by the grace of God, to love even your enemies.
Look over in Matthew 5:46. The bottom line here of loving others is brought out. By the way, loving your enemies does not mean adopting their ways or going along with what they do, but it is being so committed in your heart to do what is spiritually necessary for them. You are willing to pay whatever price that is necessary. In Matthew 5:46 He says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the taxgatherers do the same?” In other words, that is nothing to that. God’s love is beyond just loving people who are good to you.
Go over to Luke 6:35 where again He brings this out so clearly. Love is there, even for people who treat you wrongly. That love is not mushymushy. No, that is not it. But it is a commitment in your heart to do what is necessary spiritually for their best benefit. In Luke 6:35 He says, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. And your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
That is one of the tests of whether or not you are building the right kind of building is when you can love even the enemies who come at you. Living by faith causes our attitude to be affected. Over in 1 Corinthians 9:17, Paul has something specific to say about that. He speaks of an attitude that he has. This attitude plays a huge role in determining what kind of materials are going into this building. He says, “For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward.” If I do it without any pressure on me to do it, I do it because I choose to do it. That is telling me something. Evidently this is the Spirit of God. This is a result of putting my faith in Him and God has caused this in my life.
Again in Colossians 3:2324 he brings out that same understanding of attitude of how God even changes an attitude towards what you do. He says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of your inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” So when you go to work, you are not working for men, you are working as unto the Lord. And you do your work heartily as unto Him. That is a sign that the right materials are going into this building. That is the Spirit of God working in your heart. When you are filled with the Spirit of God, there is a boldness that you have that you didn’t have before, a boldness to speak forth the things of God.
In Hebrews 10:35 we read, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has great reward.” The word “confidence” means that willingness to step forward and to speak out and be bold in what you say. Living by faith, you see, is the norm of the Christians who believe in Jesus Christ. Now, you don’t have to be a fulltime minister to have a reward. You have to be fulltime as far as your Christian walk is concerned. We have made up these terms laity and clergy which have messed everybody’s mind up. Are you in the ministry? Well, yeah, but so are you. We are all in the ministry. The moment you receive Jesus Christ and start living a surrendered life, you are in the ministry. You are a missionary, whether it is across the street or around the world.
So everybody gets in on this reward. Everybody is building this house. This is not just for preachers. This is for every believer. He says that very clearly in Colossians 3:22. Look over there. Look who he is talking to, slaves. Actually, that was 80% of their work force. So he is talking to those who go to work. I mean, that would be a good application of it. Colossians 3:22 says, “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.” He is not talking to preachers. He is talking there to the workplace. He is talking to the slaves.
Again in Ephesians 6:8 we see this is all encompassing. There is a reward for the believer if he will build a house by faith while he is living here on earth. Ephesians 6:8 says, “Knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.” He just opens it wide open, to anyone who is a believer. We are all building a house and we are to build it by faith. When we live obedient lives in the circumstances God has allowed for us, there will be a reward. We not be called upon to do great things as others are called on to do, but whenever you obey Him, surrendered to Him saying Jesus be Jesus in me, for that will be a reward because you are building the right kind of house that will stand the test of His fire of judgment.
Well, back in 1 Corinthians 3:15 you see the reverse of this. How do you know that you are building the right kind of building? God gives you a heart to be benevolent towards others, a love towards your enemies. All these things are involved. And you begin to get an understanding you are going in the right direction because this doesn’t come from the flesh. This comes from God. But in 1 Corinthians 3:15 here is the other side of that: “If any man’s work is burned up, he shall also suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.”
In other words, Paul is saying to the Corinthian church, “If you are going to keep on living like you are living, friend, I am warning you, you are going to stand before God one day. Yes, you will be saved. This is not to judge you, but it is to judge your works. And you are going to be very ashamed. There is not going to be anything left, you see, that God has done through you.”
You know, when you drive through the Shenandoah Valley you see those old plantation homes, many of which have burned, and all you see standing is just a chimney. All of that which was so beautiful to everybody who drove by has been consumed. Only the chimney is left standing. I think of that every time I think of this passage. Standing before God one day, all that is of the flesh, all that I was unwilling to repent of and unwilling to seek God’s forgiveness and walk in His grace, is just going to burn immediately in His presence. The only thing left standing is that which I was willing to commit by faith, that which came out of a surrendered life towards Him. Now that is a sobering thought. It ought not be a scary thought, but it is a sobering thought. We need to remember there is integrity in the Christian life.
I want to go back to chapter 1 and show you the steps that we can take to assure that our building will not burn when it is tested by fire. What steps can we take? If you will go back and live this way, you can be assured that you don’t have to fear the coming of the Lord and you don’t have to fear standing before Him because you know that you have sought to live a life by faith.
Live According To Your Eternal Purpose
Alright, first of all, you begin by living according to your eternal purpose. That is step one. There is one eternal purpose for us and that is to live separated unto Him, as a vessel which God can use. Remember back in 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling.” A man or woman, boy or girl, who is a Christian, should start right there. “I am separated unto God. I didn’t separate myself unto Him. He separated me unto Himself. I am His. He owns me. I am His possession. God, what do you want me to do today? How do you want me to live today so that you through me can be seen to others?” That is the key. That is step one. Every day that you live, every morning that you wake up say, “God, I have but one purpose in my life.
The word “sanctified” means to be set apart, put in a class all by itself. The thing that distinguishes us between other human beings in this world is that we love this Book. We love the Lord of this Book. And as we love Him and we obey Him, then people see that we are different. We are human beings, yes; and we have faults, yes; and we have a body of sin, yes. But somebody lives in us and we have purpose in our life. This begins to set up our witness to others and it begins to start the process of making sure you are putting the right materials in the house that we are building.
We must get very practical with this. Look over in Colossians 1. This is a very precious verse. In everything in your life, give Christ first place. Colossians 1:18 says, “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.” He wants first place in everything. He is the head of the body. And we have been separated unto Him.
Go over to Ephesians 5:16 and it begins to show you how you work this thing out. I mean, let’s be real practical with it. If I want to make sure my house will not be consumed by fire when I get to heaven one day and I look at the Lord Jesus Christ and I stand in His presence, then I have got to understand my purpose in life. I have got to separate myself unto Him. I have got to learn this and give Him first place in everything. In Ephesians 5:16 it says, “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” That “making the most of” is a Greek phrase that means to purchase. It is made up of two words, ek, out of, and agorazo, which means to buy or purchase. Put together they mean to purchase out of, redeem the time.
Now let me ask you a question. If you are going to purchase time, which is all we all have, and if we are going to live separated unto Him, if we are going to give Him first place in everything, what collateral are you going to use to purchase time? The only collateral I know of is choice. So I have choices I can make all day long. When I get on the freeway, I have the choice to run over that lady or just pray for her. I have a choice to make. The choice that I have to make when something comes up in my life and I wanted to do something else.
One day I wanted to go with a friend of mine to a football event. I have gone to this event for years and years. But this particular Saturday was so full and demanding on my time. I had studied Saturday and had just finished the first message. I don’t like to spend Saturday studying, but I knew I had another message to go and I was wrestling.
Something inside of me was saying, “Wayne, you have got to preach tomorrow and you need this time to be alone with Me and to be in My Word. Now, Wayne, you have got a choice to make.” All the time I was thinking, “I know, Holy Spirit, but…!!!” I was thinking that the whole time. My flesh was raising up and I was thinking, “Wait a minute. Give Him first place in everything in your life.” Finally, I came down to it. If I had to make a choice that is eternal and not temporary, to satisfy my flesh, I am going to have to stay home and stay in the Word and finish out what God has put before me. It was not easy.
Folks, you have got to make those choices in life, enabled by the grace of God. It all stimulates out of your love for Him, yes. These people who say it is so easy to do that I don’t understand. My flesh rears up on me and makes me feel like an idiot sometimes because of the choices that I make to deny the flesh and do what God wants me to do.
When you are living this way what you are doing, without realizing it, is you are building a house in heaven. You are doing something that you can’t see right now and you don’t want to see right now because if you did, that would be your reward, as He told us. You want to see it one day when you stand before Him. And everything that goes into this house is redemptive in its nature. I want to tell you, folks, it is a blessing to be able to live that way. That is what God has called us to do. We have one purpose and that is to get involved with Him, attach ourselves to Him, put Jesus as first place in everything and learn to redeem the time. Learn to make the proper choices in life, enabled by His grace. This is not something legalistic. This is not something fleshly that you can manufacture. It is just learning to be submissive and obedient to His voice when He speaks to your heart.
If you are not in the Word of God, you don’t even know what I am talking about. All these things are built into it. Separate yourself unto God who has separated you and learn to put Him in first place and learn to make the proper choices to redeem the time. Then you won’t be afraid of standing before Him one day. You will not be afraid. The most ashamed you will ever be is when you realize how wise His wisdom in leading really was in your life. That is the only thing that will make you ashamed, to see the eternal aspect of what God has for you.
Live In the Attachment
Secondly, once you get involved in His purpose, attach yourself to Him. I am sanctified. I am a saint. I am not my own. I can’t live like I want to live. I live the way He wants me to live. You learn to live in that attachment to Him. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:2, “with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” “Call upon” means to depend upon, to live every day depending upon Him.
In a recent conference, God reminded me that, “Wayne, it is in me, it is in Me. It is not in the people. It is not in anybody else. It is in Me. Depend upon Me. Call upon Me, Wayne, period.” That is it. From then on, you have it solved. That is your attachment to Him, those choices that you are making. It is in the present middle tense, so you call upon Him as a lifestyle and of your own choice.
Look over in Romans 10:12. I want to show you what you tap into when you call upon Him and what you don’t tap into when you don’t call upon Him. This is a tremendous verse. Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him.” One of the things I think happens so often in our lives is that we move away from this. For whatever reason, we move away from that intimacy of just depending upon Him, calling upon Him. We don’t tap into the riches, spiritual riches that God has for us. You can’t live attached to Him if you are not going to call upon Him, if you are not going to depend upon Him.
If you are not walking with Him, no wonder you have doubts, frustration and confusion in your life. You are not building the right kind of building. Come back to what a Christian really is. Depend upon Him for everything, every single thing in your life. And when people look at you and say you are stupid for doing it, just smile right back at them because you know something they don’t know, that you have been set apart to Him. He lives in you to be your sufficiency, and you can depend upon Him for everything. It is ridiculous to think that a believer would depend on anything other than Christ Jesus, drink from any other well than drinking from that well. To do so is to cheat yourself out of everything God has given to you.
He says in verse 4, “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him.” I love the statement that Bill Stafford made. He said, “Listen, if God loves a cheerful giver who is living attached to Him, who understands the principles of what it means to be a believer, then where in the world are they?” You can say the same thing right here. If God’s people are to live in the riches of Christ Jesus, then where are the people living in them? That is the whole point of writing 1 Corinthians. They were upside down. They were not living as if they were true believers. They were building buildings that were not going to stand the test of God’s judgment one day.
You Cannot Do It in Your Own Strength
It is critical to realize this. Live according to His purpose and depend upon Him. Thirdly, is to know that you cannot do it in your own strength. You have to know this. This is bottom line. This is basic. You have got to understand that you cannot do it in your own strength. People say, “Hey preacher, don’t pray for me yet. I am going to go a little bit further. I think I can handle a little bit more of this. Then I will call you or whatever.” As if they can do it themselves. What is it Paul wishes for them in verse 3? Do you think this is just a greeting? Hey, it is the inspired Word of God. When you look at it, now you begin to realize what he is saying.
He says in 1 Corinthians 1:3, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” What do you think grace is? Do we know what grace is? “It is the unmerited favor of God.” Yeah, that is basic. If you don’t understand that, forget it. You are not going to go any further. Yes, we don’t deserve any of it. But what is it? It is the transforming, enabling power that God places within us when the Spirit of God comes to live inside of us.
Now why would He put the Spirit in us if we could do it ourselves? That is why he told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1, “Timothy, be strong in the grace that is found in Christ Jesus.” Grace is what I need to deal with the sin in my life. When there is a problem with my flesh, I must go and confess it before God. But He doesn’t just remove it, because the potential of sin continues to stay. He not only removes it, He fills me in that area and recreates me in that area. Where I was bitter, He makes me forgiving. Where I was proud, He makes me humble. It is Jesus being Jesus in me. That is the work of grace.
In Romans 6:14 he says you are no longer under law, you are under grace. What does it mean to be under grace? It means I am a brand new person in Christ. I have not only been set free from the penalty of sin, I have been set free from the power of sin. I don’t have to live under it anymore. I don’t have to say yes to my flesh any more. I can say yes to Him because He lives in me to give me that opportunity. That is where grace begins.
If you don’t understand that, no wonder it is mechanical. No wonder it happens that way. What happens is you start building a house that is not going to stand the test of God’s judgment because you are not operating in that which God says you ought to operate. You are not living under the principle of His grace. So Paul wishes grace upon them. Oh, man, how desperate we all are for the grace of God.
Pursue the Peace of God
Well, we must live according to His purpose. We must live attaching ourselves to Christ. We must be aware of what we cannot do or we will never build the buildings that will stand the test of God’s judgment. Fourthly, we must pursue the peace of God. In that same verse he says, “Grace and peace to you.” Why do we need peace? Now, let me talk about this for a second.
Look over in Philippians 4. I want to show you something. Romans 5:1 says we already have peace with God. That is established, whether you ever feel it or not, you have peace with God. Now what does it mean to have peace with God? It means you have dropped your sword. You are not fighting God anymore. When you came to God, you came on the terms of surrender to Him. You laid the sword down. Therefore, you have peace now with God through Jesus. Jesus paid your sin debt and there is nothing standing between you and God. You are not going to fight Him anymore, and you have peace with Him.
There is not only the peace with God. There is also the peace of God. Look and see how Paul says you get it. Verse 6 of Philippians 4 tells you. If you don’t have the first thing we talked about nailed down, it just doesn’t make much sense. But if you have those first three things knocked down, it makes a lot of sense. He says, “Be anxious for nothing.” Let me ask you a question right now. Is anxiety eating you alive because something is happening in your life and you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring? You go to church to find some solace. You are not going to find it in church. You find it in Christ. He will give you the peace of God. You are already at peace with God, but it is the peace of God, that divine serenity He puts within you that no man can ever explain. It is beyond comprehension.
He says, “Be anxious for nothing [and then he tells you what to do], but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” Now thanksgiving always implies that which already has happened. If you have a bitter bone in your body, forget it. You haven’t understood this verse yet. Go back and repent of something that you are bitter about because until you can be thankful and see God’s hand in it, you can’t go much further.
Look at verse 7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension [man cannot understand it], shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Where is the problem coming from most of the time? It is coming right out of what we think or what we feel. It is going to stand guard over your emotions. It is going to stand guard over your mind.
That peace of God only comes when you are willing to trust Him and bring everything to Him by prayer and thanksgiving, all your supplication. Your whole attitude is to live separated unto Him. Depend on Him for everything, regardless of what is bombarding your mind. Push that out and just cling to Him. Then something supernatural happens. The peace of God that overflows you and you couldn’t explain it if you had to. That is how you can live every day. That is also how you can know the house that is being built is the right one because God and God alone can produce that peace in your heart.
The peace of God. If you are just going to check out and say, “God, I know this is good stuff, but you know, not now. I think I will do my own worrying for a while.” Number one, you are going to be one miserable individual. But number two, you can be assured that what you are building will not stand the test of His judgment one day. Until we repent of this kind of living, come to the altar and bow down and confess it before a holy God and repent of it and step back into the truth that we know has set us free, we live miserable lives. One day we stand and the whole building burns. That is something that we don’t need to have to experience. We need to come back to the basics of what the Christian life is all about.
We are believers who have been set apart unto God and we are to live setting ourselves apart attached to Him, obeying Him, pursuing grace and peace in our life. These things are to continue guide and to motivate and drive our live. When they are not, number one, we are miserable and number two, when we stand before Him, the house will burn. Not us, we are saved, but there will be no reward. We will suffer loss is what the Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 3:15.
My plea to you is this, if there is something not right in your life, run to the cross. There is forgiveness, cleansing and mercy to bear up under the consequences and grace to transform you in that area of your life so that you can get back to building with the right materials so that one day you will not be ashamed when you stand before Jesus Christ. As long as our heart is beating, there is an opportunity to correct. But one day when we see Him, that is it and what has been built will be tested.