What Sort Is Your Work?

1 Corinthians 3:12-15

12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with GOLD, SILVER, PRECIOUS STONES, WOOD, HAY, STRAW, 13 “Each one’s WORK will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work of what SORT it is.
14 If anyone’s WORK which he has built on it endures, he will receive a REWARD.
15 If anyone’s WORK is burned, HE will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, as though through fire.”

Far too many Christians have the idea that our Heavenly Father is an angry God, all about rules, regulations, and stern discipline when you make a mistake. Or, if not angry, that He’s at least mildly disappointed. 😓  One can hardly blame such believers since that is what they have probably heard from the pulpit when the pastor was preaching on the above passage.

That is a very hard view of God that is not accurate; not by a long shot! Would it surprise you that Paul is not addressing the Church at large? Let’s take a closer look at this chapter of 1 Corinthians in its proper context after we do a little background research.


First of all, Church, God is head over heels in love with you! 💖 He is all about relationship.  But how can you have a loving, warm, family kind of relationship with Him if you think He’s angry at or disappointed with you or constantly looking at your faults and failings?  The answer is, “YOU CAN’T!”  Know where marriages like that end up?  DIVORCE.

Church, our Father in heaven doesn’t want a relationship with us like that.  Far from it!  He wants sons and daughters, not fearful slaves.  His favorite Name is, “Father!”  Though He was known by many in the Old Testament, His favorite could not listed there because He could not be known by that Name back then.  When Jesus came to earth, He revealed it. 😍

(For more on that topic, you may follow the link below:


The Old Covenant.

The problem under the Old Covenant was that the law, being holy, just and good, is also completely cold and unbending.  You’re blessed you if you do right 😀 but cursed you if do wrong. 😢

But God wanted MORE THAN ANYTHING to bless His people because HE LOVES US!  Unfortunately, under Law, they were cursed more often than they were blessed. 😢  HE DID NOT LIKE THAT.  In fact, He found fault with that system, which is why He wanted to institute a New Covenant (See Hebrews 8).  You see, He has always been about grace, not rules and regulations.

God’s Part And Our Part.

Under the Old Covenant, there was “God’s part and there was man’s part.”  But there was no way could we hold up our end of the bargain.  That is why He set up the system of sacrifices in the first place.

What He had planned all along was to replace that covenant with a NEW ONE–Grace–which cost Him DEARLY: The life of His darling Son, JESUS.  Jesusdeath was far and above an OVERPAYMENT for all our sins.

Under the New Covenant there is God’s part…..and there is God’s part.”  Our “part,” if you can call it that, is #1: To BELIEVE that He’s got all the bases covered, and #2: To RECEIVE HIS FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

(For a great illustration of that topic from our Father, you may follow the link below:


Remember, righteousness it’s a GIFT you RECEIVE; NOT a reward for good behavior.  JESUS already did all the heavy lifting.  That’s how much He loved us!  That’s how much He wanted to have fellowship with us–warm, fun, enjoyable, sweet, intimate fellowship.  He didn’t come to give us laws, laws, and more laws.  He came to give us LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!!!  

Church, we desperately need to hear this message today more than ever!

Pastors And Leaders.

As I indicated earlier, in the opening scripture, Paul is not addressing the Church at large:  He is instructing pastors and leaders about how to teach their people.  How do we know he is not addressing the rank and file?  We’ll have to back up and look at the preceding verses so we can establish the proper context of his words.

1 Corinthians 3:7-9  

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both GOD’S WORKERS. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”

He says four words:  “WE ARE BOTH GOD’S WORKERS.”  That’s how you know his audience is in the same category as the Apostle Paul is:  THEY ARE CHURCH LEADERS, too.  He’s addressing fellow leaders.   So, the next time you hear a sermon on this passage and the pastor is using it to point AT YOU, understand this:  He or she is mistakenly taking the passage out of context. 😓

Gold, Silver, Precious Stones.

Paul speaks of precious metals, gems and kindling, so to speak, COMPARING TEACHING TO TANGIBLE THINGS.  Gold in the Bible speaks of Divine righteousness.  Silver typifies redemption.  Precious stones refers to the priceless gems on the breastplate of judgement that represent all of us and how precious we are to God.

When you go to church, are you being reminded of how God sees you–as precious stones, as covered in gold (Divine righteousness) and firmly rooted in silver (Redemption), forever made right with God?  THIS TEACHING IS GOLD, SILVER AND PRECIOUS STONES.

Pastors, our people need to hear this:  LOUDLY AND OFTEN.  They need to hear how they are clothed with God’s divine righteousness, redeemed from all their sins–past, present AND future–through Jesus’ blood and that they are precious in God’s sight.  Undergirded with this knowledge, when trials inevitably come–you know:  The fire–THEY will be able to withstand in the evil “DAY” because of this truth they learned FROM YOU.  Your work will stand and you will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ accordingly.

Capital “D?”

You’ll notice that in the opening passage that the word, “Day,” is spelled with a capital “D.”  There is NO CAPITAL “D” in the Greek text.  This is yet another in a long line of “translator issues.”  The person or persons who made that “D” capital obviously thinks that “the Day” Paul is referring to is “Judgment Day,” as if Christians are going to stand in front of the Great White Throne and be judged. 😲

AS IF!!!  THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE.  If you are washed by the perfect blood of the perfect Lamb of God, YOU ARE NOT SUBJECT TO ANY JUDGMENT OF ANY KIND…..EVER.”

The “Judgment Seat” Of Christ.

Speaking of the Judgment seat of Christ, we’ve been fed some unfortunate misinformation about this subject all our lives.  Here is the verse in question below:

II Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

You have to understand that, though the Bible it is an inspired book, it is only the original languages are inspired, not the languages into which it was translated.   That’s why we have so many “translator issues.”

Because they are people too, translators have a their personal frame of reference just like everyone else.  They can slant their translation in a negative way if they view God as harsh and unbending, making Him appear cold and stern.  Words in English are often added that, while they may seem to make the text flow better, can (and do) actually cause more confusion.

The capital “D” accomplishes the same thing.   That’s why you need to study the original languages to read God’s unadulterated message.  Strong’s Interlinear Online is a great resource if you don’t read Greek or Hebrew.

The verse above is a prime example.  You see, in the Greek text, the word “judgment” doesn’t appear.  It is called “the Béma seat of Christ.”  The Béma Seat is not the Great White Throne before which the ungodly will appear.  In Ancient Greece, athletes in the Olympic Games appeared before the Béma seat to receive their rewards and medals for winning in the games they played.  Believers, in the same way, will appear before the Béma Seat to be rewarded for deeds done in this life.  That’s it.  It’s all about rewards, not punishment.

At the so-called “Judgment Seat of Christ, God doesn’t judge you based on what size your work is but on what “SORT” it is.   It’s not about judging your works to see if you will make it to heaven or not, as you may have been lead to believe.  Heavens no!  Your work, Christian leader, is tested to see whether it is Gold, silver, precious stones OR wood, hay, stubble.

Wood, Hay And Stubble.

What kind of teaching is wood, hay and stubble?  Telling people that their Christian life is based on good works (wood), right doing (hay) or measuring up to some standard (straw/stubble). 

Based on that system, people will try to earn God’s blessings by their good works.  Then they’ll wonder why they’re not blessed.  Well, I have news for you:  When we work, God rests.  Even worse, THIS FALSE TEACHING WILL HURT THE PEOPLE and they will not be able to stand “in the evil day.”   How much better it is to rest from our works of self-righteousness.  When we rest, God works!

I have every confidence that pastors do not knowingly do this.  It does seem, however, that a lot of this kind of false teaching is going around in the Church.  Nothing wrong with Bible college or theological seminary, mind you; but let’s be careful to read what the word “SAYS” and let the Holy Spirit guide us, not just spout things we were taught in seminary.  Unwittingly, it is the place where such false teachings are perpetuated. 😓  THIS IS NOT INTENTIONAL, mind you.  It is all too easy to forget to let the Author do the teaching and simply rely on our education.

Let God be God and lead you into all truth.

The Bible is a living, breathing, multi-layered book that speaks to us in different ways at different times.  It even speaks differently to different people based upon their unique and individual situations.   NO OTHER BOOK ON PLANET EARTH CAN DO THAT!

Double Curse?

However, for those who continue to insist on teaching falsehood, two unfortunate things will happen to them.  According to the Apostle Paul, in Galatians 1, you are under a double curse. (See Galatians  1:6-9) 😓

First of all, your people, who’s Christian walk is based on your false teachings, will not be able to hold up when the heat is on, meaning they will not hold up under the heat of “THE DAY.”   They will not be equipped to withstand the trials of life.

Secondly, the same thing will happen to the one who taught them: YOU.  Your teaching, and possibly even your ministry, will go up in smoke like so much wood, hay and stubble, though your life will be spared, of course.  (See Galatians 1) 😲

This is serious stuff.  Do you really want to risk that?  Bear in mind now, these trials refer only to the tangible or material world, the stuff we all go through, not your spirit.   Your spirit is forever safe.

Simple Solution For Church Leaders.

Church Leaders, God has simplified everything and made it SO EASY.  WE ARE TRANSFORMED SIMPLY BY BEHOLDING JESUS!  As Jesus is lifted up and you point TO Him–and ONLY Him–instead of AT THE PEOPLE, He is adored, glorified, and unveiled.  The Holy Spirit then takes over and He begins teaching! 😍

That’s a much better deal!  No sweat on your part…..and you’ll be doing your people a great service.  They will grow and change without your effort; be holy by accident as it were, AND BE EQUIPPED TO STAND IN THE EVIL DAY.

But it’s up to you what you teach your people.  If they work, God rests.  If they rest, GOD WORKS!  HALLELUJAH!!!  It’s a no-brainer.  But just remember:  God is a great respecter of your free choice. He will sit it out if you insist.

So what’s it gonna be, pastors and leaders? Wood, Hay and Stubble, or Gold, Silver and Precious Stones?

It’s not about the SIZE of your work; it’s about WHAT SORT YOUR WORK IS.

(For more on the topic that your influence is not dependent on the size of your Church or ministry, you may follow the link below:  https://emmausroadministries.international/2016/03/30/the-lampstand-tabernacle-series-part-3/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s