1 Corinthians 3:11
For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
A False FoundationScripture Doctrines Illustrated1 Corinthians 3:11
Admonitions to Ministers and CongregationsF. W. Robertson, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
Building for EternityD. Evans.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the FoundationPhilip Henry.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the FoundationT. L. Cuyler, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the Only FoundationCanon Liddon.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the Only FoundationEssex Congregational Remembrancer1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the Only FoundationA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the Strong FoundationJ. Vaughan, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ the Sure Foundation OfW. F. Stevenson, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christ, the Only FoundationJ. Wright.1 Corinthians 3:11
Christianity Ultimate and Absolute TruthA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
Fundamental Truths Explained, and Popular Errors ExposedEbenezer Temple.1 Corinthians 3:11
Jesus Christ the FoundationT. B. Baker.1 Corinthians 3:11
Life as a StructureA. Raleigh, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
No Other FoundationG. F. Pentecost, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
On the Rock1 Corinthians 3:11
Religion Illustrated Under the Form of a BuildingJ. Benson.1 Corinthians 3:11
The Alone FoundationJ. Gaskin, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
The Christian FoundationC. Girdlestone, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
The Foundations of LifeJ. Wheeler, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
The Gospel the Only Foundation of Religious and Moral DutBp. Mant.1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationW. B. Collyer, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationC. H. Spurgeon.1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationF. D. Maurice, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationJ. Vaughan, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 3:11
The One FoundationJ. Waite 1 Corinthians 3:11
The One Foundation. Christ is the Sole FoundationW. Romaine, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:11
The Soul's FoundationJ. Sherman.1 Corinthians 3:11
The Sure FoundationR. Flint, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
The True Foundation of CharacterD. Thomas. D. D.1 Corinthians 3:11
CarnalityT. Binney.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
ContentionsA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
DiscordA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
EnvyingA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
Incapacity in HearersA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
Milk for BabesA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
Prod an Example to Christian MinistersJ. Lyth, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
Reflections for ChurchesD. Thomas, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
StF. W. Robertson, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
The Comparative Carnality of ChristiansJ. Leifchild, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
The Distinction Between Milk and MeatC. Hodge, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
The Doctrines of the Gospel the Food of ChristiansN. Emmons, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
The Ministerial OnceC. Hodge, D. D.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
The Remains of Corruption in the RegenerateA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
Walking as MenA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:1-12
Foundations and BuildingsR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 3:9-12
The Great FoundationE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 3:10, 11
A Good FoundationA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
All of GraceA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Building MenA. Crummell.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Building on the FoundationA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Building the True LifeC. Short, M. A.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Christian Work and its TestingE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
FoundationsA. Burgess.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
The Foundation and the SuperstructureH. Bremner 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
The Foundation of FaithBp. Basil Jones.1 Corinthians 3:10-15
The Spiritual Foundation1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Workmen and Their WorksC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

St. Paul affirms that he had laid just such a foundation in Corinth as became a wise master builder. Like a good architect, he had made sure of a solid basis, but had the edifice in process of erection been true to the cornerstone? There was but one Foundation - Jesus Christ - and a man might build rightly or wrongly on it in the materials used. The range of substances which might be employed in the superstructure was large. Large it must needs be, for, it' the builders are many, the material must be manifold. Individuality in workmen must be respected, and, though the risks are numerous and great, yet Christianity can only adhere to its fundamental principle of each man as a man in himself. Brutus sacrificed his instincts to what he deemed patriotism in the murder of Caesar; Rome taught her best men to have no conscience except what she dictated; but Christianity laid a stress on personality in the human will in order to secure the full activity of individual responsibility. Providence ordains our home and life in a very ample world. The amplitude is seen, not in its size nor in the mere variety of its objects, but in the endless adaptability to human tastes and dispositions. Despite the curse, this earth is a grand historic memorial of the original idea of humanity, and a prophecy likewise of a glory be recovered. "The field is the world;" and this is true of every man in it, so true indeed that our connections with the great world are far more vital and operative on our destiny than we imagine. This, furthermore, is our discipline. We have a world from which to choose our resources, means, and opportunities, and hence the wonder of experience is the multitudinous additions ever making to the world we inhabit as our own world. Now, to each Christian, "the field is the world;" and therein he finds a vast miscellany - "gold, silver, precious stones," and they are side by side with "wood, hay, stubble." Redeemed man is treated by Providence and the Holy Ghost, not on the bare idea of what he is in an earthly condition, but also and mainly on the ideal of his capacity in Christ. And consequently, when St. Paul says (ver. 21), "All things are yours," he has only formally wrought out the truth involved in the workman's command of his diversified materials. Just because the worker is in such a vast and heterogeneous world, he must "take heed." Nothing short of spiritual discernment can protect him against woeful blunders. A hard worker he may be, a sincere and enthusiastic worker, but he must have Divine insight, and show himself" a workman that needeth not to be ashamed," and the work must be true and acceptable work, or his labour will inevitably perish. St. James is often referred to as the supporter and defender of the doctrine of work. From his point of view Christianity was the final outgrowth of Judaism, its culmination and crown, and, quite in accord with his instincts, he presents the work side of religion with a very vigorous emphasis. St. Paul, however, confines himself in the text to the kind of work, and puts forth his strength on a single line of thought. What is uppermost in his mind is the absolute need of spiritual insight. The practical man is in the eye of St. James, and he writes of "religion pure and undefiled" as its spectator and analyst among the actualities of the world. Caesar, in the 'Commentaries,' is not more terse and compact, nor does he observe more rigidly the requirements of intensiveness as a mental law than St. James in his great monograph. Be it noticed, however, that St. Paul is viewing this matter as a branch or offshoot of a topic engrossing at the time his sympathies, and, consequently, he limits himself to the difference between work which shall be found worthy of reward and work undeserving of recompense. Two cases are before him - in the one the man is saved and his work rewarded; in the other, the man is saved and his work disallowed and destroyed. The latter suffers loss, but not the loss of his soul, and, though the ordeal be severe, the man is "saved, yet so as by fire." Now, this view of work, truthful in itself, was specially suited to these noisy, impulsive, erratic Corinthians. And may we not reasonably conjecture that he had the products of partisanship in his eye while writing of the fiery test? Looking at the world's history, we can scarcely fail to see that the fruits of factions are the most perishable things in civilization, and, in Church history, the fact is still more obvious. But the apostle has something further to say. - L.

Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1. Reason.

2. Self-righteousness.

3. The goodness of God.


1. Unauthorised.

2. Insufficient.

3. Delusive.


1. Divinely laid.

2. Suitable.

3. Strong.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. A foundation should be broad and deep enough for the structure.

2. God Himself has appointed such a foundation (Isaiah 18:16).

3. There is but one foundation, and it is laid for all men.


1. Christianity provides for regeneration of character.

2. The building is of gold, silver and precious stones.

3. Or it is of wood, hay and stubble.


1. The trial is to be "as by fire."

2. There will be most astonishing revelations at this time of trial.Some whom you haven't counted as amounting to much in this world-behold how their buildings loom up in the light of that day. Others shall suffer loss — wood, hay, stubble, all consumed.

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)




IV.OF ALL TRUE HAPPINESS, and this both in the present world and the future.

(W. Romaine, M. A.)

I. THE FOUNDATION. Christianity stands opposed to every system that has entered into the mind of man. It is an original system founded upon Christ Himself. So distinct is it from all that existed before, that it changed the whole system of public worship, and overthrew the altars of heathen idolatry. And if men deny that it was done by Divine influence, the onus rests upon them to show how it was effected. Christianity is intended as that which is to lay at the foundation of all our hopes, to the overthrow of all the imaginations and discoveries of man when left to himself.


1. The public way is to simply lay down the doctrines of salvation.

2. A personal way consists in my bringing Christ, by faith, to my own soul, and saying, with Thomas, "My Lord and my Odd!"

III. THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE FOUNDATION. No foundation is laid, if this be omitted; and if this be laid, all the doctrines of the gospel are brought into harmony. Is man a ruined creature? "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." Is man enslaved and lost? Jesus Christ is "made wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." Conscience condemns, and the law aggravates the condemnation; but Christ is "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." How many have built their immortal hopes on this foundation, and not one of them has ever sunk! And I appeal to your own experience. Is not this the foundation which has supported, and succoured, and sustained you?

IV. THE UNITY OF THE FOUNDATION. It is absolutely indivisible. In vain shall any man attempt to separate it. All the good works of the Christian are the fruits of his union to Christ, the foundation. All "holy desires, good counsels, and just works, proceed" from Him: and it is impossible to mix up anything human with that which is wholly Divine.

(W. B. Collyer, D. D.)

There cannot be two of the kind, for —

1. God from all eternity has made His only-begotten Son to be the foundation. Of whom else is it written that verily He was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world?

2. It is Divine, and it is as impossible that there should be two foundations as that there should be two Gods.

3. Otherwise there must be two redemptions. There is —

I. NO CHURCH BUT WHAT IS BUILT ON CHRIST. Whatever community may call itself a Church, or even the Church, if it is not built upon Christ it is not a Church at all. A foundation is —

1. The first portion of a building; and so is Jesus first with His Church, for His people were chosen in Him (Ephesians 1:4).

2. The support of all, and there is no Church but that which derives all its support from Christ. Call the community a religious club if you like, but it is no Church —(1) Where the atonement is denied or ignored.(2) Which places its dependence for its present power and future progress anywhere but in Christ. If we depend upon the secular power, education, eloquence, prestige, or our own zeal and ardour, we are leaving the rock for the sand.

3. Has the shaping of the building, and the true Church forms itself upon Christ as its ground-plan and outline. His law is the law of the Church. All the decrees of councils, synods, &c., and all the ordinances of men, if they at all differ from the law of Christ, are treasonable insults to the majesty of King Jesus. Steadfast is that Church which carefully follows His guiding line, but that which departs from it has left the foundation, and therein ceased to be a Church.

4. Indispensable. You could do without certain windows, you might close a door, and remove parts of the roof, and still it might be a house, but you cannot have a house at all if you take away the foundation; and so you cannot have a Church if Christ be not the foundation. If any people find their joy in a teaching which casts the Lord Jesus into the background, they are not His Church. The Church is not formed —(1) By the union of men with men. The best of men may form a league, for good and useful purposes, but they are not a Church unless Christ be the basis upon which they rest.(2) By a mere union to a minister. The Church is not built on Paul, nor upon Apollos; we are not to be believers in Luther, Calvin, or Wesley, but in Christ.(3) By the following of any particular form or rite.


1. There is but one Mediator, by whom God speaks words of grace. If, then, any man say, "God hath spoken to me, and bidden me say other than what Christ has said," receive him not.

2. The true gospel has Christ's Divine person as its glory, and there can be no gospel without this.

3. Christ is the essence of the gospel.(1) If, then, you hear a gospel in which free-will, good works, or the forms and ceremonies, are set up as being fundamental things, it is not the good news from heaven.(2) The teaching of doctrines is not the teaching of the gospel if those doctrines be taught apart from Christ. Paul's body of divinity was the life and death of that only embodied divinity, the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-5).(3) Some preach experience, and experience is admirable when Christ is set forth in it; but if you take up an experimental vein of things, whether of human corruption or of human perfection, and Christ is put in the background, you are marring the gospel.(4) So, too, with practice. By all means let us have practical preaching; but merely to denounce vice and to extol virtue is a mission fit enough for Socrates or Plato, but does not well beseem a minister of Christ. His example shames vice and encourages virtue.

III. NO HOPE OF SALVATION BUT THAT WHICH IS BUILT UPON CHRIST. Some think it must be well with them because their parents were excellent Christian people. But if this is your only hope you are lost, for "Except a man be born again," &c. "Ay, but," saith another, "I had all the ceremonies of the Church performed upon me." Yes, but they cannot bear the weight of your soul. "Ah," saith another, "but I have diligently performed a great many good works." Abound in good works, but do not trust them. Human merit is a foundation of sand. "But I have had spiritual feelings," says one. Yes, but there is nothing in feelings and excitements which can be a ground of hope. "Why," says another, "it has troubled me that I have not had these feelings." Do not let it trouble you, but go to Jesus Christ and rest in Him.

IV. NO CHRISTIAN BUT THE MAN BUILT ON JESUS CHRIST. Here is a Christian, and of one thing in him I am sure: I cannot tell whether he is an Arminian or a Calvinist, but if he is a Christian he has no foundation but Christ. Every man to be a Christian must —

1. Rest his whole soul upon Christ as to eternal salvation.

2. Have Christ for his model.

3. Grow up in Christ, for the temple of God grows. Nor need we wonder, for it is a living temple. An ordinary, clumsy bit of work displays the mason and the carpenter, but perfect architecture looks as if it grew. But all our up-growing must come out of Christ.

4. Live for Christ. Christ's glory must be the great object of his being.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

St. Paul had described himself as a master-builder, whose office was the laying of foundations. The Corinthians thought any man could do that; the skill of the architect was shown in the building he raised upon it. A teacher who was fit for them could not be a mere teacher of elements. Those who only spoke of Jesus Christ and Him crucified might be very useful amongst barbarians. Men who had been used to hear the most various wisdom from Pagan professors, were prepared for the most advanced Christian instruction. This opinion probably was not confined to one of the sects into which their Church was divided. Those who called themselves after Apollos supposed that he had brought a lore with him from Alexandria which would fill up the imperfect outline that St. Paul had drawn. Those who used the name of Cephas thought that; circumcision would initiate into the highest privileges those who had been made novices by the rite of baptism. And the Pauline school will have indignantly disclaimed that their master preached a simple gospel. Had not he as much Rabbinical knowledge as Peter? Was not he better acquainted with Greek poets and philosophers than Apollos? Did he not make light of ceremonies to which they, in their infantine faith, still clung? Had he not been seeking for deep principles, while they were reverencing forms? The praise of seeking for principles, if it had been accompanied with no disparagement of his fellow-labourers, St. Paul would not have disclaimed. That was his aim; and therefore he was as much offended with the conceit of his admirers as of those who despised him. They, as well as the others, were missing that which was dearest to all three — that which they most cared to make the Church aware of, a foundation lying far beneath Paul and Cephas and Apollos, to a rock against which the gates of hell could not prevail. St. Paul, therefore, had to persuade these wise Corinthians that they were the stones of a glorious and Divine temple; that God was hewing and shaping them into their fit places in that temple; if they would know whereabouts they stood, they must give up disputing about the theories and opinions of this doctor or of that; they must ask, "What holds us all together?" This being the case, it was necessary for St. Paul to define more carefully than he did, when he was merely speaking of his relation to other teachers, in what sense he called himself a master-builder. He could not lay the foundation. All which teachers can do is to say, "There it is." All which believers can do is to recognise it. That Christ, the Son of the Living God, of whom Cephas spoke in his great confession; that Word of God, whom Apollos and the Alexandrians declare to be the Teacher of all; that Jesus, the crucified, whom I have set forth in weakness and death; He it is on whom the edifice rests, by whom it alone consists. St. Paul's conversion cannot be described more accurately than by saying that it consisted in his awaking from ignorance of this foundation to a full, clear apprehension of it. He had thought that there was something of his own which be could stand upon; some wisdom, or righteousness, or exclusive privilege, appertaining to him. That belief made him hard, narrow, savage. But the righteousness and wisdom which became so truly his own when he had renounced his own, this was the foundation which he could tell the Corinthians was lying for them as much as for him, the foundation which they were denying and setting at nought by their Greek factions, as he had denied it through his Jewish pride.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

1. Every wise man should sometimes look at his "foundations," and especially at the "foundation" on which he is building his eternity.

2. Perhaps the chief danger is of treating as "foundations" what are part of the superstructure. And therefore you should take it as a first principle that the "foundation" is nothing which you have laid, or can lay. Your faith, love, change of character, good works, have nothing in the world to do with the "foundation." They may be evidences that there is a foundation, and may be a test of how firmly we are attached to it, but they are not the foundation itself.

3. What, then, may I ask, is at this moment the "foundation" of your hope, of your eternal life? You perhaps say, "The love of God." But that is not all you want. Can you find your foundation in the justice, in the truth of God? Has net God said, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die!" And love can never cancel truth.

4. Is there, then, a "foundation" deeper and more sound than the love of God? Is there a "foundation" which shall reconcile and combine all the attributes of God? Yes. His love makes Him, as a Father, longing to forgive all His children, and His justice makes it to be unjust to punish what He has already punished in the Substitute. There, then, is safety.

5. But what has led me to that position of safety? Simply the act of believing, and as the Holy Spirit puts it into your heart to believe, we come to our conclusion that our "foundation" lies in the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They are all united to us in Christ.

6. Do any object, "It is too easy?" The grandest things of the universe are always the simplest.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Christ is the foundation of all —


1. All gospel doctrines centre in Christ.

2. All the gospel titles arc taken from Christ. From —

(1)His names.

(2)His perfections.

(3)His Word.

II. EVANGELICAL PREACHING. The object on which every minister —

1. Directs the eye.

2. Delights to dwell, must be Christ.


1. The atonement for our sin.

2. Our only way to God.

3. The remover of sin away from us.

IV. EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE. He is the foundation of both —

1. Theoretical; and —

2. Experimental, knowledge.

V. HOLY PRACTICE. All our holiness is derived from Him. Application:

1. How destructive to the souls of men must those preachers be who lay other foundations than Christ.

2. Rejoice that the foundation of Christ is laid already.

3. Is Christ your foundation?

(J. Sherman.)


1. We justify the appellation here given, and the situation thus assigned to Christ by a reference to —

1. His precedency. The foundation stone of a building is that which is first laid. Christ is called the "Ancient of Days." In this appointment we have the richest displays of the everlasting love and wisdom and power of Jehovah.

2. His strength and stability (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6, 7).

3. The strength which He imparts to His people. That which imparts stability to the superstructure is the foundation, and all the strength which the believer can boast he derives from Christ. It is by virtue of the union between believers, "the lively stones," and Christ, "the foundation," that the Church has, in all ages, been sustained amidst the storm.


1. When was it laid? "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were formed."

2. By whom was it laid? "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone."

3. How is it yet laid?(1) Officially (ver. 10) in the preaching of the gospel. Hence —(a) The minister himself must have an experimental acquaintance with the truths he promulgates. How can he recommend to others a "foundation" he has never tested and proved to be secure?(b) He must be endued with the Holy Ghost. He may himself be truly established on this "foundation," but this is not sufficient to enable him to lay the same "foundation" in the heart and experience of others. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts!"(2) Personally. This consists in the response which your heart gives to the message which we bring.


1. Were we to attempt to lay any other among you, how direful the denunciation to which we were exposed (Galatians 1:8, 9)! Laying another foundation, we act as traitors to God, handle the Word of God deceitfully, and basely betray the best interests of those of whom we may receive oversight, professedly in the Lord (Acts 20:28).

2. And as it is important that your ministers should continually bear this in mind, so it is no less important that you should carefully and habitually examine yourselves as to the ground on which you are resting your faith and hope. Remember, there is no other foundation needed, there is no other appointed. "A Saviour! 'twas all that earth could want, 'twas all that heaven could give!"

(J. Gaskin, M. A.)


1. It is not His person merely, nor any views of His person abstractly, that constitute the foundation of which Paul speaks.

2. In attending to the subject before us, it is important to inquire who was Jesus Christ? This inquiry the New Testament fully answers. Not because He is God, but because He is the Christ, Jesus is the foundation.

3. It may be asked, Are we then to build our faith and hope upon a mere man? By no means. As it is not as God, neither is it merely as man, that Jesus is the foundation; but as the Christ, the Divinely commissioned messenger of God.

4. That it is as the Christ, as a Divinely commissioned person, Jesus is the foundation, appears from the plain declarations of the New Testament (Matthew 16:13-18; Romans 10:9; 1 John 5:1).

5. Christians are to build on the foundation of what Jesus revealed and taught. We can build upon Jesus Christ, or upon tits mission, only so far as we build upon the truth and grace of God which came by Him.

6. But is not the death of Christ, as a satisfaction for sins, the true foundation? However important the death of Christ may be, it is not the foundation; for when Peter confessed the truth which Jesus declared to be the rock on which He would build His Church, He did not know that it would be necessary the Messiah should die.


1. God laid Him as the foundation in His eternal purpose and counsel.

2. God laid this foundation in His ancient promises and declarations.

3. God laid this foundation by actually raising up Jesus as a teacher and Saviour, by giving Him His Divine mission, and all the qualifications necessary to execute it.

4. This foundation was firmly established by the miracles which God wrought by and in behalf of His Son Jesus, and by the apostles in confirmation of their testimony concerning Him.

5. By raising Him from the dead and exalting Him to glory.

6. In the ministry of the apostles God placed Jesus Christ before Jews and Genthes, before the whole world, as the foundation on which mercy is built and salvation prepared before the face of all people, on which He will establish the habitation of holiness, that all the earth may be filled with His glory.

7. This foundation was fixed in its place by all the Divine perfections, and hath remained unmoved through all succeeding ages, though exposed to hosts of assailants who sought to remove it.


1. Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christian faith. What He taught, His disciples are required to receive; but nothing else ought to be made an article of faith.

2. He is the foundation of Christian privileges.

3. He is the foundation of Christian redemption. His gospel and resurrection are the only ground of an assured hope of redemption from death and the grave.

4. He is the foundation of evangelical righteousness. He hath furnished the principles and motives which will produce it: and no other principles but those contained in the gospel, nor any weaker motives, can produce true evangelical righteousness.

5. He is the foundation of our hope.

6. God hath laid in His Son Jesus the foundation of universal happiness.


1. Take heed how and what doctrines you build upon Jesus Christ: that they be not contrary to reason; for to reason, He and His apostles appealed; that they be not inconsistent with the character and perfections of God as plainly revealed in the Scriptures; that they clash not with those plain facts and declarations of the New Testament which compel universal assent.

2. Take heed in what spirit you build upon Christ. You can neither build doctrines nor anything else aright upon Christ, any further than you do it in His disposition in a spirit of seriousness and piety, of meekness and humility, of purity and love.

3. Take heed what life and conduct you build upon this foundation; that it be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.

4. Take heed how you build upon this foundation, because your all is depending; consequences of the utmost moment are involved. A day of fiery trial will come. Try your own work of what sort it is.

(J. Wright.)



1. It is notable for its strength (Psalm 31:2, 3).

2. It is remarkable for its suitability (1 Corinthians 1:30).

3. It is renowned for its perpetuity (Hebrews 13:7, 8).

III. THE FOLLY OF ATTEMPTING TO LAY ANY OTHER FOUNDATION. The way wherein other persons attempt to lay unjustifiable foundations are —

1. By relying on the directions of carnal reason (1 Corinthians 2:5).

2. By placing affiance in our own righteousness (Romans 2:5).

3. By trusting to God's mercy without regarding the Saviour's merits (1 John 5:10).

4. This folly appears from the sufficiency of the foundation laid (Hebrews 7:25).

5. It is a reflection on Jehovah's wisdom and goodness (Revelation 7:12).

6. It involves the soul in remediless woe, to despise Christ (Acts 4:12).This foundation then is —

1. Invaluable.

2. Necessary.

3. Most costly.

4. And eternally saving.

(T. B. Baker.)

y: —

I. Jesus Christ is the foundation on which we are to build, inasmuch as IT IS FROM HIM ALONE THAT WE PROCURE A KNOWLEDGE OF OUR DUTY. Look to the opinions and practices of man not blessed with the light of revelation, and you will perceive how imperfect is the knowledge of duty possessed by the natural man. Not such are the instructions as to the duty of man which are vouchsafed us by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The lives of professors must correspond with Christ's commandments, that the building may be worthy of the foundation!

II. "Other foundation can no man lay than Jesus Christ," because BY HIM ALONE ARE WE INSTRUCTED IN THE RIGHT PRINCIPLE ON WHICH OUR DUTY IS TO BE PERFORMED. A sense of affectionate gratitude to God is the principle on which the whole duty of a Christian is established. This is the foundation of His religion: this is no less the foundation of His morality. Can any principle be so firm? can any be so pure? Honour may dazzle, custom may mislead, expediency may perplex us, and neither honour, nor custom, nor expediency will at all times support us in the discharge of our duty: but his "feet are set upon a rock," whose "goings are ordered" by a desire of doing the will of a perfect and unchangeable, of an infinitely wise and holy Being. Again, unlike the principles of the world in another important respect, what motive of human conduct can be so pure as a grateful affection towards God? "God is love." And human nature is never more exalted and improved than when it partakes most largely of the quality which is identified with God, when with the most devout affection "we love Him, because He first loved us."

III. Jesus Christ is the only foundation on which we can build, because, as we are indebted to Him for the knowledge both of our duty and of the principle on which it is to be done, so also WE DERIVE FROM HIM THE POWER OF DOING IT.

IV. Jesus Christ is the only foundation on which we can build, inasmuch as IT IS HE WHO RENDERS OUR SERVICES ACCEPTABLE TO ALMIGHTY GOD

V. Christ Jesus then being the foundation, the only foundation on which we are to build, let us inquire WHETHER WE BUILD UPON HIM IN THE SEVERAL PARTICULARS THAT HAVE BEEN NOW PASSING UNDER OUR VIEW.

1. Is our practice regulated by that perfect law of religious and moral duty which Christ hath set before us in the gospel? Do we submit ourselves — our souls and bodies — our thoughts, words, and deeds — to the Christian commandments? Do we yield to their authority an unreserved, an unqualified, an universal obedience?

2. What is the principle which we choose as our actuating motive? Is it love for our heavenly Father?

3. In the execution of our duty, on what foundation do we build our hopes that we shall be able to perform it? Do we rely upon our own imaginary strength to support us in the hour of trial, or do we humbly depend upon the Divine grace?

4. After all that by the grace of God we have been enabled to do, on what foundation do we rest our hopes that our services will be accepted by God? Is it upon any value which those services possess of themselves, or, renouncing all claim to merit on our own parts, do we trust our cause to the perfect righteousness of Christ?

(Bp. Mant.)

I. THE FOUNDATION. In building, it is essential to begin with a good, solid foundation. If we have not that, we may take ever so much pains afterwards, but our labour will be all in vain. Now, there are many false foundations. Our selection of ground that will give way under the weight of what we put upon it is quite unlimited. But there is only one true foundation. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." All that teachers can do is to say, "There it is!" All that believers can do is to recognise it. It is God Himself who has laid it there for us. Wheresoever else than the love of God in Christ we repose our chief confidence and affection, it wilt sooner or later repent us and shame us, either happily in time while we may yet have recourse to Him, or miserably when it is too late. It is on this present world, on its pleasures, its riches, its honours most men try to rear the fabric of their happiness; but this world and all we can have in it will slip from under our feet like the sand. But let us remember that it will not avail us that a foundation has been laid, or that it has been already pointed out to us, if we do not make choice of it and use it.

II. THE SUPERSTRUCTURE, or what is built on the foundation. St. Paul knew that the foundation was most important, and that, save on the one sure foundation, no lasting building could be raised; but he knew also that the foundation was not the house, that the discovery of a good foundation does not dispense a man from the necessity of building his house. We must build. We must not only rest on Christ, and Christ alone, for salvation, but must also "work out our salvation with fear and trembling." We must build, and to build is to labour. If we cannot build even the smallest cottage without the exertion of putting each stone in its proper place, still less can we, without exertion, build up our lives into temples of God. To do so is the grandest of all works, and for that very reason it is one which needs the most thought and trouble. It demands a constant putting in of what is solid and true, and a constant casting out of what is hollow and false. He who would build up his own self, his own mind, and heart and soul gradually into a perfect manhood, must see to it that every day, every hour contributes somewhat towards that result. Some accession of knowledge, of self-control, of practice of good, and conquest of evil. Six kinds of material for building are mentioned in the text, but they may be reduced to two — good materials and bad: those which will stand the fire, and those which will not. Gold, silver, precious stones — the fire will not burn these; wood, hay, stubble — it will burn these. The various good materials may be of very different degrees of goodness. The various bad materials are not equally bad. A house, not so very uncomfortable for a while, may be constructed of wood, but not even a tolerable hut can be made out of hay and stubble. Yet all are bad; for even wood, if fire come near it, will be speedily reduced to ashes. All this is perfectly applicable to our own lives. We may build with different degrees of diligence, and what we do day by day may be most unlike in a thousand respects; but all we build must have its source either in love to God and holiness, or to self and sin, and will either be approven or condemned. The very best of worldly lives will be found then as miserably insufficient as a house of wood, however well built, however commodious, however imposing without, to resist the fury of the flames; and, on the contrary, no life which has been prompted by love to Christ and a sincere endeavour to do the will of God, however far it may have fallen below what it ought to have been, will be proved by the fire to have been other than enduring and precious. Let us live, then, as nobly and sublimely as we can; but, oh, at least let us live sincerely and righteously.

III. THE DAY which will try the building of each one of us. "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." The apostle, I think, refers here in part to any time of peculiar trial, any day of testing. There is many a day of this sort, and they often make strange revelations. Either adversity or prosperity, for instance, may serve to test the work of our lives, and both often find far more wood, hay, and stubble therein than either we or others suspected. Every day of sore affliction is a day of fiery revelation. A man is living altogether for this world, wholly engrossed with his farm or merchandise, so as to have no thought beyond that; but God lays him on a bed of sickness, brings him to the very verge of eternity, reminds him of his sins and of the condemnation which awaiteth sin, and, oh, how clearly he then sees that he has been living like a fool and judging like a fool, that this world which he thought so real and so important is a shadow and a vanity, while that other world, which he never thought of, is alone substantial and eternal;, that he has been preferring wood, hay, and stubble to gold, silver, and precious stones. It is, however, mainly to a greater and more terrible day than any of these that Paul refers; it is mainly to that awful day on which there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known — that day into the light and heat of which no work, however subtle, or obscure, will not be brought, so that its true character may be made manifest — that day which, as we are told by a prophet, will burn like an oven, so that not one wicked life, not even one bad feeling, or one base act, will pass successfully through it. Since there is this day coming, it surely well becomes us to habituate ourselves, to bring our conduct, to bring our most secret feelings to the test of that law by which they will then be judged, and, through the grace God never denies to those who sincerely seek it, conform ourselves to that law now as far as we can, that it may have the less to condemn in us then.

(R. Flint, D. D.)

I. THE FOUNDATIONS INCLUDE ALMOST ALL THAT WE CALL LIFE, IN A LARGE VIEW. The individual is like an apple-blossom at the top of some tall and spreading monarch of the orchard. The entire tree is to that flower a foundation, out of which the blossom unfolds. The flower cannot change its place, cannot develop into anything but an apple. Its destiny is bounded, its efforts limited to a very narrow place. It is mainly so with a man. He is a consummate flower on the tree of humanity. For his personal development all the foundation facts are inevitable and irrefragable. The physical, intellectual, and moral worlds he cannot alter by the breadth of a hair. He can only build upon them. A century of progress has tended to bewilder some minds into the hope of new foundations. To such men progress seems a thing of changing the bases of life, but it is nothing of the sort. It is simply and only the uncovering of eternal foundations, that we may build more broadly. The widened palaces of civilisation are wider, because we have found more of God's unchangeable foundations. Every improvement, every application of an invention, is made possible by uncovering a little more of the unbreakable rock. Look at social and political changes in the same light. A vast number have been proposed in this century of ours. A few have succeeded, because they struck solid foundation. They rose upon the basal facts in the nature of man and his social and moral conditions. The dreams of idealists and utopians have come to naught, because they had no granite undergirding of eternal law. You might as well try to change the constituents, or their proportions, of water or air, as to attempt to vary by a scruple the moral order of the world. You might as well try to defeat gravitation as try to abolish one jot or tittle of any of the Divine order. Nearly everything is settled. It is ours to find out how it is settled, and to rear our house on that solid ground. We are on a foundation. God's fire, God's waves, God's tempests, will always keep their steady ways: it is ours to make ourselves secure against the fire, the waves, the storm-wind. So is every moral law, every and unchangeable fact in our nature, every invincible barrier in our liberty. We must uncover this bed-rock if we would build securely.

II. ALL FORMS OF UNBELIEF RESOLVE THEMSELVES INTO INCREDULITY RESPECTING FUNDAMENTAL LAW. Men are incredulous about law, because a merciful provision postpones the penalty. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, the hearts of the children of men are fully set in them to do evil." Nature seems to the careless to be infinitely tolerant of law-breaking. Her process of punishment, like her processes of growth, are slow, and are so concealed that the children of men are snared as birds are snared. If every carelessly caught cold should kill, consumption would not reap its awful harvests. If one glass of liquor caused death, there could be no alcohol habit. In none of these cases is nature tolerant or indifferent; the penalty is delayed just as the maturity of a fruit is delayed, but it comes in "the evil time." We sin by inches and die by inches, because we refuse to see the penalties of vice, gluttony, carelessness, or drunkenness. Because sentence is not executed speedily, men build cities over the ruins wrought by earthquakes; and the sides of Vesuvius bloom with gardens and are green with olives, and villages sleep in the lava paths below; and on our streams towns sleep in fancied security, where floods work periodical desolation. Men caught in the net of their physical sins are apt to have the courage of confession. They admit that they ought to have believed in the fundamental law. But when snared in the evil nets of passion or vice, they are apt to regard their conviction and punishment as an accident or injustice. No man violates one of the Ten Commandments with impunity. The very act of sinning inflicts a punishment.

III. WE MUST BUILD UPON THE ETERNAL FOUNDATIONS. We cannot build at our caprice the foundations themselves. But it is of much moment to remember that our own work becomes fundamental to further work. On God's rock we lay our own foundations. The walls above are imperilled by the weakness of the walls below. Poor materials in the basement crack the roof overhead. The tall towers rock and reel because the undergirding is unsound. There are gifts of speech which Jack the support of the gifts of wisdom. There are capacities for action made useless for lack of capacities for reflection. There are mature manhoods which are inefficient because they are not built upon an industrious youth. There is an old age mourning over a life of neglected opportunities. There are souls that have repented of pleasant vices too late to recover in this world the joys of innocence.

IV. THE INDIVIDUAL MAN HAS MORE CONSPICUOUS NEED OF BUILDING ON WHAT IS NOBLEST IN HIS PAST. This personal past is characterised by what we call the law of habit. The thing once done tends to be done again. The good and the bad in the past have a common interest in this foundation. We cannot unmake the law. We are at each new step influenced by the path we have travelled. It has brought us here; it has set up a tendency to go right on. But our past has good to be selected from. If the immediate last steps were wrong, still our feet have known the other path. Some one may ask what I make of that doctrine of grace which lies so close to my text. I reply that grace is as much and as fully a foundation under moral life as gravitation is a foundation of physical life. We do the men of our generation infinite damage when we speak of grace as though it were a matter of Divine caprice. God helps men who seek His help as truly as He helps men who sow and reap. There is no wait of more contingency in the one case than in the other. Grace is the inspiring name for the Divine co-operation with man.

V. TO SUGGEST THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING OUR NOBLEST PAST THE MATERIAL FOR BUILDING OUR FUTURE, LET ME CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO OUR PRESENT BUSINESS. In short, we can build. Our building is on God's land and up towards His skies. All that distinguishes our personality comes out of personal aspiration and endeavour. One man's life is a filthy hut, another is a stately palace. The bed-rock below every fixed fact of material or season is the same for both. The builders have made the enormous difference in the results.

(J. Wheeler, D. D.)

Christ is the foundation of —


1. If it be of man we reason, of his sinfulness, his corruption, his mortality; even here shall our foundation be laid in Jesus Christ. For in His Word is our fall most plainly set down, and by the necessity of His sacrifice is the enormity of our guilt most plainly proved. How deep must be that sinfulness which no less a sacrifice than one so precious could atone for!

2. If it is of God we speak, of His nature, His attributes, His dealings with mankind; here must our foundation still be Christ Jesus (John 1:18).

II. HUMAN DUTY. If we consider what line of conduct men ought to pursue, as most tending to their own happiness, either on earth or in heaven; the same reference is made to the will and grace of Christ. In the gospel only can we find any sufficient rule of excellence. There only can we learn how to become pure in heart, lowly, meek, kind, and charitable. There only are we taught sufficient motives for doing what we ought to do, or avoiding what we ought to avoid.

III. ETERNAL HOPE. Without His revelation and His merits how dark and dreadful had our future been. Or if aught we could suspect of any further existence, it was an apprehension of punishment. But in the gospel of Christ "life and immortality are brought to light."

IV. CHURCH ORDINANCES. If hither you resort to pray remember it is because Christ is in the midst of you (Matthew 18:20). If here you offer praise, it must be above all for the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. If hither you bring your children to be baptized, it is because Jesus Christ ordained this holy rite (see Matthew 28:19). If hither your dead are borne to burial, it is because Christ is the resurrection and the life (John 4:25). And here also should you apply this rule to the celebration of those holy mysteries, in which Christ is Himself set forth before us, His very body and blood received through faith, and made effectual to the strengthening and refreshing of the soul.

(C. Girdlestone, M. A.)


1. He is a laid foundation (Isaiah 28:16). Christ did not take upon Himself this honour. He that could best tell what would best serve pitched upon His own Son for that purpose.

2. A low foundation. Foundations are wont to be laid low, the lower the surer. So the Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:6-9). There were several steps of His humiliation.

(1)Into the human nature.

(2)Into subjection under the laws.

(3)Into poverty and persecution, contempt and contradiction.

(4)To death itself.

(5)To the grave.

3. He is a foundation of stone (Isaiah 28:16). A stone is the fittest thing for foundation, because it is hard and firm, and yet easily hewn. Now Christ is a rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).

4. He is a foundation out of sight. All foundations are so. Christ is out of sight, not below, as He once was, but above, in glory.(1) His person is out of sight, yet we love Him (1 Peter 1:8).(2) His presence is with us everywhere, especially in His ordinances, but in an invisible way (Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20).(3) His proceedings are invisible — those of His grace within; of His providence without (Psalm 77, ult.).

5. He is a precious foundation (Isaiah 28:16). Though all stones in their place be useful, yet they are not all precious stones. Few buildings are built upon precious stones, but the Church is. Christ is precious —(1) In Himself. "The chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely."(2) In the account and esteem of His disciples. To others He is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence (1 Peter 2:7).

6. He is a permanent foundation (Isaiah 26:4) — the rock of ages, from everlasting to everlasting. The saints have been building on Him from the beginning, and will build on Him to the end of time. He is "the same yesterday," &c. His righteousness, His promises are unchangeable.

7. He is an elect, or chosen foundation (Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 42:1).

8. He is an experienced or tried foundation. He was tried —(1) By God, who laid upon Him the iniquities of us all.(2) By men and devils, who did their best against Him, bus all to no purpose.(3) By the saints, who have had occasion to make use of Him, and He has never failed them.


1. To believe all this concerning Him.

2. To see our need of Him. We have each of us a building to rear, and what foundation have we? None in ourselves.

3. To renounce all other foundations. They are but sand (Matthew 7:24).

4. To repair to Him. In the way of faithful and fervent prayer tell Him you are sensible of your need of Him, and that you are undone without Him.

5. To build upon Him.

(1)In the great business of justification.

(2)In all our perils and dangers (Psalm 46:1; Psalm 62:1, 2).

6. To beware what we build upon this foundation, in opinion and in practice (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). If we build loose, careless walking, our hopes built will be accordingly wood, hay, stubble, &c.

(Philip Henry.)

When the immense stone piers of the East River bridge were begun, some years ago, the builders did not attempt to manufacture a foundation. They simply dug down through the mud and sand, and found the solid bed rock, which the Almighty Creator had laid thousands of years ago. It is a wretched mistake to suppose that you need to construct a foundation. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Your own merits, however, cemented by good resolutions, will no more answer for a solid base than would a cartload of bricks as the substratum of yonder stupendous bridge. God has provided for you a corner-stone already.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I. OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. It was already built upon Him as its historical foundation. He was the reason and account of its existence, so that if He had not lived and died, its existence, as Paul found it, would have been inexplicable. Some hold that Paul, not Christ, was the founder of Christendom — a theory he by anticipation contradicted. "Was Paul crucified for you?" &c. If the Church is built on she labours of apostles, apostles themselves rested on the Chief Corner Stone.


1. Christ Himself is the only foundation on which the soul can build, and not merely —(1) Doctrines abort Him. Not that Scripture texts, or the creeds are to be disparaged. We prize both for His sake. but not Him for theirs, and to rest upon them as distinct from Him would be like building on a measuring rule instead of on the granite of which it has given us the dimensions.(2) Feelings about or towards Him. These are great aids to devotion; yet what so fugitive and unreliable. And after all they only point to Christ; their root is in ourselves, and we cannot supply the foundation stone out of the exhausted quarries of unrenewed human nature.(3) His work. For this can only be appreciated in the light of His person. His death is at best heroic self-devotion, if it be so much as that, unless His person is superhuman; and no more reliance can be placed upon it than upon the death of Socrates.(4) His teaching. For the persistent drift of this is to centre thought, love, adoration on Himself. Relatively to Himself, it is part of the superstructure. His disciples learnt devotion to His person through listening to His words; we believe His words because we know whose words they are.(5) His sacraments. These are only picturesque unrealities, unless He who warrants them lives and is mighty. Apart from Him they have no more validity than our armorial bearing or a rosette.(6) His example. Take only the pattern of humility (Philippians 2.). If He is only the Son of Mary His condescension is but one acceptance of natural circumstances. His example in this and in other respects is only a power on Paul's hypothesis.

2. In modern times an effort has been made to put His power in the shade, as if it did not affect the essence of the gospel. What Christ was, or is, men say cannot matter if we profit by His teaching and example. And that is true, if Christ was merely man. And a high-minded, disinterested man, after doing his best for his fellow-creatures, will withdraw as far as possible from their notice, But we know that Christ imposed His person, and not merely His maxims upon the thought and heart of the world, and this departure from the ordinary instinct of high human goodness must have depended on the fact that such a course was necessary. It implies that Christ's person was in His own deliberate estimate of more importance than His teaching or philanthropy. But all is sufficiently explained, if we believe with Paul that Christ is God. Otherwise to make Him the foundation of the soul's life would be to substitute a creature for the Creator. A purely human Christ might be the architect, and even the scaffolding of the spiritual temple; He could not be its own foundation.

(Canon Liddon.)

Essex Congregational Remembrancer.
I. THE NATURE OF THIS FOUNDATION. It is to the atonement, principally, that the apostle refers.

1. It was prepared from eternity.

2. It was made known by revelation.

3. It was finally laid at the death of Christ.

II. ITS PECULIARITY. Christ is the only foundation —

1. That God has appointed.

2. That the Scriptures will warrant.

3. That the righteous have in every age relied upon.


1. It promotes the glory of God.

2. It produces evangelical obedience.

3. It secures safety, honour, and happiness.

(1)In the season of adversity.

(2)In the hour of dissolution.

(3)In the day of judgment.Conclusion: Let us —

1. Seek to obtain correct views of our true condition as sinners in the sight of God.

2. Beware of building on any false foundation.

3. Allow nothing to move us from this blessed hope.

(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)

1. The Church.

2. The Christian congregation.

3. The Christian life.

4. The sinner's hope.

5. The hope of men.

(W. F. Stevenson, D. D.)

I. THE "FOUNDATION" IS THAT FROM WHICH EVERYTHING SPRINGS, WHILE ITSELF BEARS ALL THE WEIGHT. So from Christ all that is beautiful in the whole structure of the Church starts; and back to Him every part throws its heft and burden.

1. Christ was the "foundation" of the material world. For His sake, chiefly, this world was made — to be the scene of the display of His exceeding power and love to the glory of the Father (Proverbs 8:23-31).

2. So that when this world fell to ruin, there was the eternal Son of God ready to be the beginning of a new and better creation. As the promised Messiah, at the gate of Eden, He stayed the hand of universal death; and this earth and everything that is in it lived on, for "He was before all things, and by Him all things consist," i.e., hold together.

3. After that, all along, underlying the whole Jewish dispensation, there was that expected One, the "foundation" a thought of every Jew till, in due time, He came. And the cradle of Bethlehem was the "foundation" of a throne before which every throne shall crumble into dust — of a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.

4. Of this kingdom of grace and glory the threefold fundamental principal is —(1) The person of Christ, that He is God and man — man to constitute Him a representative; God to give efficacy to the representation.(2) The work of Christ — that He paid the debt of the whole world, and wrought a righteousness which can make the whole world good in a holy Father's sight.(3) The glory of Christ — that He is occupying heaven for us, and there exercises all regal functions for His people's sake.

II. FOUNDATION PRESUPPOSES SUPERSTRUCTURE. And with the superstructure you have to do. And the height of the superstructure will be according to the depth of the strength of the "foundation."

1. The foundation of all prayer is the Christ that is in it. Realise that your prayer is made prevalent by His intercession, that whatever you ask in the name of Christ shall be done.

2. Works are good and acceptable to God just according as they proceed from love — the love of God. But you cannot love God till you are in Christ, Good works are sweet evidences; the pinnacles and the decorations of heavenly architecture; but no foundation.

3. Is there any one in this church who has not peace? It is because Christ is not in His proper place. He is not laid deep enough in that poor heart of yours. Nothing else can bear the weight of that sin of yours.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)


1. In the variety of its materials. Moral character is built up by impressions, the emotions, thoughts, volitions; by all, in fact, that in any way affects us.

2. In the unity of its design. Every building, however varied its materials, is formed on some plan. The master-purpose of the soul, whatever it may be, gives unity to the whole.

3. In the function it fulfils. Buildings are generally residences of some kind or other. The soul lives in the character. In some cases the home is the mere stye of the animal, or the shop of the barterer, or the prison of the guilty, or the temple of the saint.

II. CHRIST IS THE ONLY FOUNDATION OF A TRUE CHARACTER. There are sometimes splendid edifices and poor foundations, and the reverse. All characters are based upon some one idea.

1. Some on the sensual idea. Such as that on which the prodigal son started; such as that on which Dives built his all. Millions now do the same. What shall we eat, what shall we drink? is the grand inquiry.

2. Some on the secular idea. On this Judas, the young lawyer, and Demas built; and on this thousands build now.

3. Some on the ambitious idea. Absalom, Haman, Herod, are examples of this. Such, too, are the Alexanders and Napoleons of general history.

4. Some on the Christian idea. Supreme sympathy with God, and this requires Christ for its existence. Christ is its foundation, for He does the two things to generate this sympathy. He —

(1)Demonstrates to man the propitiableness of God.

(2)Reveals to man the moral loveliness of God. Thus He is the true foundation.


1. Partially formed of "wood, hay, stubble."(1) The mere creedal character is worthless. There are those whose Christianity is a mere thing of idea.(2) Mere sentimental character is worthless. There are those whose Christianity is a mere thing of frames and feelings.(3) Mere ritualistic character is worthless. There are those whose Christianity is a mere matter of form. All these are things of no solidity, value, duration.

2. Entirely formed of valuable materials brought to Christ. They are formed of "gold, silver, precious stones." The heart is in vital sympathy with Christ as the Atoner for sin, the Exemplar of holiness, the Saviour of the world. The profoundest thoughts, the strongest sympathies, the gold and silver of the soul, are connected with Christ.

IV. THERE IS AN ERA TO DAWN WHEN ALL THE EDIFICES BUILT ON THIS FOUNDATION SHALL BE TRIED. Individually, it is the day that dawns at the end of our mortal life. Universally, it is the day that dawns at the end of this world's history. The fire of absolute justice and truth will burn to the centre of all souls, consuming all that is worthless.

1. This day will be injurious to those who have built on this foundation with worthless materials.(1) They will suffer loss. There will be the loss of labour, of opportunity, of position.(2) Though they suffer loss they may be saved. Their favourite theories and cherished hopes shall burn like wood and hay, yet they themselves may survive.

2. This day will he advantageous to those who have built on this foundation with right materials.

(D. Thomas. D. D.)

We have —

I. A STRIKING FIGURE. Christ is compared to a foundation. There are four ideas connected with Christ as a foundation.

1. Selection. A foundation stone is not taken at random — wisdom and care are required in the choice of it. The motto inscribed on this stone is, "Chosen of God and precious." When any great building is about to be erected, it is customary for some person of eminence to lay the foundation stone. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone."(1) How striking was the description which represents Him as a "tried stone." He was tried in His humiliation, tried by the lapse of ages, by the malice of devils, by the opposition of His enemies, and in the experience of His friends.

2. Suitableness. The Divine and human natures which meet in Him render Him suitable for the work He undertook.

3. Strength. The Saviour has strength to sustain. He sustains millions who are now in glory, and multitudes who are on their way, and the whole universe cannot furnish one instance of an individual being confounded who reposed here. But there is strength to destroy (Daniel 2:34, 35; Matthew 21:42-44).

4. Stability. This is well represented by a stone; yet, however durable, the elements have power over it. But "time that doth all things else impair," has no power over the foundation of the Church. Eternity claims it as its own — it shall stand unshaken amidst the shock of judgment — and when all nature shall sink in ruins, "verily the foundation of God standeth sure."

II. A SOLEMN FACT. Christ is the only foundation. The apostle plainly intimates that attempts would be made to lay other foundations. Let me take you to three spots where men have tried to build their hopes for eternity.

1. Carnal reason. I mean the reason of man set up in opposition to, and in defiance of revelation. We would not undervalue reason, nor condemn its use in religion, for religion itself is a reasonable service. In all the doctrines of Christianity there is nothing contrary to reason, though there is much that infinitely surpasses it. There must be some standard by which to guide our views and feelings in reference to the interests of the soul, the claim of God and the solemnities of eternity. Where shall we find such a standard? Pride of intellect has set up reason; the wisdom of God revelation; and to make the latter bow to the former would be as preposterous as to make the sun acknowledge his inferiority to the glimmering taper.

2. Self-righteousness. This error assumes a variety of forms all of which are fatal. Here is a benevolent individual who wishes well to all around him. The acts of his liberality we cannot but admire, but we deplore the principles by which he is prompted to do what he does; he prides himself on his generosity, and imagines that God will accept him, though the general tenor of his conduct is opposed to Christianity. Let him come to the temple of Christianity, and read on the stone which unites and sustains the whole — "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Let him enter the building, and there read for himself — "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor," &c. Here is another individual strictly moral, a respectable and respected member of society, a good husband, a kind father, a generous master, and a sincere friend. Now all this is well and praiseworthy, so far as it goes, but all these excellent traits may be found in their fullest extent while the heart is estranged from God. The man prides himself on his morality, and is attempting to make of it a bridge over which he shall pass to heaven. But here is another individual who makes a considerable profession of religion, his creed is sound, his life regular, his attendance on the means of grace punctual, &c., but he knows nothing of the power of grace or the experience of religion. How many seek to make a ladder of their religious duties that shall reach to heaven!

3. The general goodness of God. Many wish to be saved, but in their own way. They will not comply with the terms proposed in the gospel — they would have salvation, and yet retain their sins — they desire heaven, not because they love holiness, but that they may escape hell. We must take it as a gospel axiom, that if the salvation of Christ is in the soul, the dominion of Christ must be set up in the heart. Conclusion: Let me seriously inquire whether I am building on this foundation. It was laid in the eternal counsels of the Sacred Three — in the fulness of time in the person, work, suffering, and sacrifice of Christ — and is now laid in the preaching of the gospel.

(Ebenezer Temple.)

1. What we know of the way of the world hitherto prepares us to believe that a great many things which are now serving their purpose will be superseded. And that we cannot see how, gives us no assurance that certain things shall not be got beyond. In travelling, there may be something beyond railways. In communication, no one can say that the telegraph is the ultimate wonder. And in all the arts and conveniences of life, the case is so too.

2. There is one thing, however, which will never be superseded. The world has seen various religions; but the truth, as it is in Jesus, is absolute and ultimate truth. We may have to learn, perhaps, that things which we think to be part of Christianity, are not, and to give them up as our fathers had. But, in the face of all possibilities, we turn to the comfortable assurance in the text. There is no "Christ that is to be": the One Christ has come, once for all. Among the ultimate and unchangeable truths are —

I. THE WAY IN WHICH EACH OF US MUST BE SAVED. A vital thing, which cannot go amid all coming changes, is salvation through the atonement of Christ. We are sure of nothing if we are not sure that "Christ died for our sins." And no theory of the way of salvation but that which is familiar to us can bear being calmly looked at by any man who feels it his duty to accept the Word of God as decisive. We do not think that it is in any way profitable to push revealed doctrine into minute details; but we cannot regard it as other than vital part of that foundation besides which there never can be another, that Christ is a Saviour: that His sufferings were sacrificial, and borne for us: that by His obedience and death He reconciles us to God, satisfies Divine justice, and secures sanctification as well as forgiveness: that His atoning work is complete, and that its benefits are offered freely to all who will receive them.


1. You are not more sure of your own existence than that the requirements of Christianity as to duty will never grow less and can never grow greater. You cannot conceive of anything beyond perfection. Nor can you recall anything that lies outside of "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest," &c. And there is set before us for constraining example the life of One who was sinless in humanity, perfect in Godhead; and we are bidden to grow like Him.

2. Then, as for the help for all this there can be no change. As for the grace, guidance, vitality of the Holy Spirit — these, too, will be needed and are guaranteed to the end. Conclusion: There may be other things nearly associated with the scheme of Christian belief which will endure. Christian worship, surely, must always abide, though the accessories may greatly change. Surely there must be prayer, and praise; and even preaching must in some shape last. "Till He come" again, too, the sacramental commemoration of the Great Sacrifice, and the feeding upon it by faith, is appointed to continue. Yet it is rather doctrine than ritual that is pointed to in the text.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

I. THE FOUNDATION. Christianity is threefold. Its doctrines are the walls which enclose and preserve the interior parts of the building, its duties are the beams and rafters which keep its several parts together, and are its strength and firmness. Its privileges are the furniture placed in this edifice. Now, Christ is undoubtedly the foundation of each.

1. As to doctrines, whether they concern our fall or our recovery, a state of grace here or of glory hereafter, certain it is, Christ is the foundation of them all — not only is He the centre in which all the lines of doctrine meet, but also the fountain from whence they flow. So is He also the one source of all spiritual illumination. From Him all the sacred penmen derived their instruction, and from Him we must receive the ability to understand what they have revealed. So that whoever would build up the walls of Christian doctrine must be careful to erect them on Christ, his Prophet.

2. But Christ is the foundation of Christian privileges, i.e., the blessings procured by Him for men, and bestowed upon all true believers, as the pardon of sin, the favour of God, adoption, the indwelling of His Spirit, the resurrection of the body, and everlasting life. Whosoever, therefore, would enjoy these blessings must build all his confidence and hope respecting them on Christ; and they who look for them in any other way build upon the sand.

3. The duties of Christianity can only be built on the same Rock of Ages. And here I refer to a right temper, as well as a regular behaviour; a pure heart, as well as a holy life. Now Christ's laws enjoin all this, and His Spirit inspires it; from His love it springs, and to His glory it is directed. It derives all its value from His grace, and depends for acceptance upon His mediation.

II. ITS SUPERSTRUCTURE (ver. 12). What a glorious temple must that be which is raised upon a solid rock with such costly, splendid, and durable materials as "gold, silver, and precious stones" I And what a glorious spiritual temple must that be which is built on "the Rock of Ages"; of no worse materials than faith, love, and good works!

1. We must build faith upon Christ, or we must build upon Him by faith. Is Christ "a Teacher sent from God," He the High Priest of our profession, He our King? Then we must believe in Him, receiving His doctrines, relying on His promises, and subjecting our hearts and lives to Him.

2. This faith must be followed by love.(1) The love of God, which, as a fruit of faith, must be built upon Christ, is not merely a high esteem of Him, nor a desire after Him as our chief good, but also a complacency and delight of soul in Him as our Father and our Friend, who, in and through Jesus Christ, is become our portion in time and eternity.(2) And as this love is in union with the love of our neighbour which is a resemblance of God's love to mankind.

3. With great propriety are good works compared to precious stones, whether we regard their real worth or apparent beauty. Valuable and costly in themselves, they shall adorn the crowns and beautify the robes of the followers of Jesus in that day when God shall amply reward even "a cup of cold water" given in the name of Christ. Real good works spring from living faith and the love of God shed abroad in the heart; they are done in obedience to the Divine will, and with a view to the glory of God, and hence, be they ever so insignificant as to the outward act, they are truly precious in His sight.

4. But, alas! many begin to build with gold, &c., but by and by build with no better materials than wood, &c. Others never make use of anything better than sapless, combustible wood; the best modes of worship and religious duties, where the Spirit of God is wanting, are no better than mere hay; and the best systems of doctrine, where the gospel does not come with power, are of no more use than dry straw.

III. THE ISSUE OF ALL (ver. 13). "Every man's work shall be made manifest" (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 10:26), "for the day shall declare it."

1. The day of trial here will generally discover what character we possess, and if our religion is built up of nothing better than "wood," &c., it will be consumed and vanish.

2. The day of death shall prove a man's faith and piety, as a furnace tries the metals, and those who are mere dross shall be burnt up by it.

3. The day of judgment (Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:10).

(J. Benson.)


1. Sin had laid the world in a state of ruin; and if another temple could be constructed it must have a foundation firmer and broader than that which fallen nature could furnish. Human sagacity might suggest penitence, reformation, suffering. But none of those, nor all united, could answer the purpose.

2. When the incompetency of the law had been demonstrated, God "laid in Zion a foundation"; and "he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." As Christ is the foundation of the universal temple of God, so is He also the foundation of each believer. It matters not in what clime they have fixed their dwelling, &c. In Christ they are one, and on Him, as their common support, they repose.


1. Some build "gold, silver, and precious stones." The superstructure which they rear is of a costly and glorious character. The materials are emblematical of preciousness, purity, solidity, and permanency. There are some characters formed of elements as pure and indestructible as the principles upon which they are reared.

2. There are others who build on the same foundation "wood, hay, and stubble"; materials which are perishable, corrupt, and comparatively worthless.

III. THERE WILL BE A PERIOD IN WHICH THESE MATERIALS SHALL BE REVEALED IN THEIR TRUE NATURE, AND TRIED BY THE SEVEREST TEST (ver. 13). The day referred to is clearly the day of judgment. Independent of revelation, we have many evidences confirmatory of this truth.

1. Analogy. Everything here tends to a final close. The universe itself is marching on towards dissolution.

2. The aspirations and the forebodings of humanity. The moral character of God. There must be another day in which that which is now wrong and imperfect shall be rectified and completed.


1. The work of the wise builder is indestructible. As it regards —(1) Himself: his sentiments, feelings, spirit are in harmony with the laws of heaven.(2) Others: the doctrines, &c., are right and Scriptural. As a necessary consequence, the fabric erected of such materials cannot but abide. Having been erected on the same principles which have the throne of the Eternal, their period of duration will be analogous.

2. The builder shall be rewarded. His reward will be a reward of —

(1)Grateful recollection.

(2)Inward satisfaction.

(3)Remunerative labour.

(4)Public approval.

(5)Divine recompense.

3. The reward shall be in proportion to the work done. "Every man shall receive according to his own labour." Heaven will be what we make it on earth.

V. THE BUILDING CONSTRUCTED OF PERISHABLE MATERIALS SHALL BE CONSUMED — THE BUILDER SUSTAIN LOSS, BUT WITH DIFFICULTY SAVED (ver. 15). The very idea of erecting "wood, hay, and stubble" upon an everlasting foundation was highly imprudent. What could be more incongruous, or more indicative of misplaced labour? However, such a building cannot stand; the investigations of the last day are more than it can bear.

1. As a consequence "he shall suffer loss" —(1) Of labour. All that he has done, with one exception, has been done in vain.(2) Of inward satisfaction. He might have reared a durable building; but he wasted his time and energy in another way.(3) Of hope. He expected his labour to be accepted by his Judge and rewarded accordingly. He is now stripped of all such anticipations.(4) Of reward. A reward can never be given but in connection with service rendered. This loss will be everlasting in its effects; it shall be a detriment to him to all eternity.

2. He himself shall be saved. The groundwork abides upon which he has been erecting, and, in virtue of this, he is safe.

(D. Evans.)


1. The idea is the radical one that no one can begin to live rightly and well just as he is. Sin has touched and tainted the deepest things in us. We cannot even begin. And this is not only the Bible teaching, but the conviction of almost the whole world.

2. Immense numbers of men are busy in the vain attempt to lay a foundation of their own. And as builders drive in piles into the marshy ground, and throw in vast loads of earth and stones, making a foundation on which they rear their house to last for its century or two, so men in imagination carry out of themselves their good deeds, sufferings, penitence, recognitions of Divine mercy, &c., to lay down as a basis on which they may raise the structure of hope and happiness. Vain toils! The gulf is too deep and the materials have no real strength or worth.

3. God, looking down says, in condemnation, yet pity, "Behold, I lay in Zion," &c. Jesus Christ, then, is the foundation. The needed work is done. "It is finished." The gospel is a message, far more than an argument; an announcement of work done, rather than a discussion as to the way of doing it. On this we rest. The foundation of God standeth sure. We are safe, we are strong, if we build on that. There are many mysteries yet unsolved, but this is clear, that God has laid the foundation.

II. THERE IS A BUILDING TO BE RAISED. A foundation without a building is a solecism.

1. After laying the foundation God tells us that we may build a house, and ought to build a temple. "Wood" was used for the posts and doors; "hay," or dried grass mixed with mud, for the walls, and "stubble" or straw for the roof. These are never used for temples. The temples were built of "precious stones," such as granite and marble, and they were adorned with "gold and silver." God stands close by the foundation He has laid, waiting for the builders to come. Come, be a builder. Put your trust in Christ. Faith in Him is the first stone laid on the foundation, and without it no other can be there. A man may be, according to the human judgment, great, and good, and happy, but if he does not believe in God's chosen foundation, his life is essentially defective, and must collapse in the end.

2. But the apostle is speaking to those who have begun, and in effect says, "Having begun, go on. Build diligently, that you may have a completed structure — carefully, that it may be composed of the proper materials." There is a certain kind of Christian teaching and writing which condenses everything in Christian life and experience into faith: "only believe. That is all." No, says the apostle, that is not all. Lay the first stone securely on the foundation which is laid, then add another, and another. Act by act, day after day, let the temple grow. In the compass of three verses four several times the apostle mentions a man's work. Lay the precious stones one upon another. Bring in the gold and silver for the enrichment and adorning of this living temple.(1) And beware lest unwittingly you should be using the wood and the hay and the stubble, which must perish at last. A man, e.g., comes to Christ, he yields to Him, is pardoned, renewed, and rejoices for a while in his complete salvation. For years he keeps his place and builds on. But what is his building? "Wood, hay, stubble," low views, superficial opinions, evil tempers, worldly habits — just such things as irreligious men are building into their lives. Then let us be careful to build with the right materials, and all the more because the wrong ones are so rife and so near. Errors of every kind, but especially religious errors, are very abundant, some of them looking quite like truth. We shall build them up into the system of our faith ere ever we are aware; if we do not give earnest heed. Vices also abound, and some of them are so fair. And a multitude of things are around us which cannot be called either errors or vices, which yet will make very indifferent materials — ways of thinking, speaking, acting; the spirit of the place.(2) But let no man be discouraged, as though there were but little chance of being able to build up his life without large intermixture of such inferior stuff. Good materials are available — truth, virtue, strength, wisdom and love. If we ask them they will be given to us. God has taken care for this. He has filled His Book with truth. He has filled His providence with moral helps. If we diligently study the one and live faithfully amid the scenes of the other, He will fill us with His grace and salvation day by day, so that we shall grow unto an holy temple in the Lord.

III. THERE IS A TIME GIVEN TO FINISH THE WORK. And when the limit of that time shall come, not one stone more can be laid. "I must work the work of Him that sent me while it is day," &c. And no man can tell when the night shall come. Look at the tombstones in a graveyard. You will see every age recorded there, and remember, as you read, that every name recorded is the name of a builder who, in the day given to him, began and finished a building that will be tried by fire.

1. Here is a stone that tells that an infant was born, and after wrestling with mortality but for a few days, died and was buried. But that little history was the building of a temple, and when it was finished the angels carried it away.

2. Here is a stone that marks the resting-place of a little worker. Mere shapings and scantlings of work there were — a little serious thought, a little faith and love, some tiny steps of following after the great Master: nothing, as some would say, to make a finished life. You are mistaken. That little workman will never need to be ashamed. He has finished a temple life.

3. This is a maiden's name. She was looking to the bridal-day, and death came unbidden, but not unwelcome, for He led her up to the higher espousals of heaven. Father, mother, lover have written on the stone that "her sun went down while it was yet day." But the angels have written "eventide"; the Saviour has written "finished."

4. Here lies a merchant who was in the full stretch of his powers. His name was a synonym for truth and honour, and all around are the beginnings he had made. Nothing was finished. Yes, all is finished, and he lies here.

5. And now we come to the grave of the old, old pilgrim. The shock of corn seemed more than ripe. He was blind, deaf, in pain, helpless. Would it not have been better that he had gone some years sooner? No, no. It was the right time. He needed all his days and all his experiences to finish the temple.

IV. THE FIRE SHALL TRY EVERY MAN'S WORK OF WHAT SORT IT IS. Our day is now. "The day of the Lord" is coming. Then our day will begin once more beyond, Go have no more ending. But there must be judgment before glory. The apostle brings out this idea with truthful and unsparing severity. Again, and again, and again he mentions "the fire"! and how shall I dare try, with my misleading instincts, to quench God's holy fires? They will burn all the same, and be the more consuming the less men expect them.

1. God resolves to take us through that last ordeal, sparing nothing that will burn, and bringing us out, if need be, with nothing left to us of all our sore labour under the sun, that we ourselves may be saved — saved so as by fire. And which is best? Our poor human shrinking and longing, or God's holy will? For would you have "the wood, the hay, the stubble," yonder as well as here — calcined and hardened and preserved by those fires which were too feeble to consume them? Better stand at last in his full and complete salvation, than in any respect or for any length of time come short of it. Day of God! Day of Christ Jesus our Lord, with awful yet with loving desire we would look on to thee! The Lord grant to us that we (whatever may come of many of our works), that we may find mercy of the Lord on that day.

2. But let us, on the other hand, remember that nothing in us, which is truly Christian, can fall in those flames at last. And a little of these things is just as indestructible as much. Good is gold always, and will pass through any fires. If it is mingled with alloy the fire will be its salvation. And you do not know how the little services you are rendering will expand into nobleness, when the spirit and principle of them are known and declared. Not one precious stone which you put into your life will ever crumble, not one particle of gold or silver can perish. He whom you serve will gather up all the fragments so that nothing shall be lost.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

One day a female friend called on the late Rev. William Evans, a pious minister in England, and asked how he felt himself. "I am weakness itself," he replied; "but I am on the Rock. I do not experience those transports which some have expressed in the view of death; but my dependence is on the mercy of God in Christ. Here my religion began, and here it must end."

Scripture Doctrines Illustrated.
One was once brought, in the course of providence, into the company of a young lady who was just recovering from a dangerous illness. Speaking of her illness, among other things, she said, "At one time I sent for my honoured parents, and beloved brothers and sisters, and took, as I thought, my last farewell of them. Both the physicians had given me up, and my friends expected to see me no more." "We seldom meet with a person," said the other, "who has been so near to death as you have been. Pray tell me what were your feelings when you were on the verge of eternity." "I was happy," she replied. "And will you please to tell me what were your prospects?" "I hoped to go to heaven, of course." "Had you no doubts, no fears, no suspicions?" "None." "Perhaps almost all hope to go to heaven; but I fear," said the young man, "there are many who have no good foundation for their hope: pray, on what was your hope founded? "Founded!" she replied: "why, I have never injured any person, and I had endeavoured to do all the good in my power. Was not this sufficient?" "It is a delightful reflection," said the student, "that you have never injured any person, and it is still more delightful to think that you have done all the good in your power; but this is a poor foundation for a sinner to rest upon. Was this the foundation of your hope?" She seemed quite astonished at the question, and eagerly inquired, "Was not this sufficient?" The student did not give a direct answer; but observed, "I am very thankful that you did not die." "What! do you think I should not have gone to heaven?" "I am sure you could not in the way you mentioned. Do you perceive that, according to your plan, you were going to heaven without Christ? — a thing which no sinner has done since Adam fell, and which no sinner will be able to do while the world stands. Be very thankful, dear Miss, that you did not go out of life resting on this delusive foundation: for had you done so, the moment that you entered eternity, it would have given way, and you would have fallen through it into the bottomless pit." God carried home this word to her soul: light broke in upon her mind. From that day a decided change took place in the young lady's views; and a corresponding holiness, and love, and zeal, and usefulness, have adorned her life.

(Scripture Doctrines Illustrated.)

I. TO MINISTERS (ver. 11).

1. Ministers are to preach as the foundation — Christ. Recollect what Paul's own Christianity was: a few facts respecting his Redeemer's life, a few of his Master's precepts out of which he educed all Christian principles, and on which he built all that noble superstructure — his Epistles. Remember how he sums all up (Philippians 3:10). His life, death, and resurrection, working daily in us, "being made manifest in our body." Christianity is Christ; understand Him, breathe His spirit, comprehend His mind; Christianity is a life, a spirit. Let self die with Christ, and with Him rise to a life of holiness, and then you need not care what discussions may arise; you stand upon a rock.

2. On this foundation we are to build the superstructure. Christianity is a few living pregnant principles, and on these you may construct various buildings. Christianity is capable of endless application to different circumstances, ages and intellects. Now in the words of ver. 12, observe that there are not six kinds of superstructure, but two: gold, silver and precious stones, the materials of the temple; wood, hay and stubble, of a cottage; but in these buildings the materials of each are of various degrees of excellence, and the latter, good, bad and indifferent. Now what do these symbolise? Perhaps doctrines or systems; but more probably persons. Some of straw, utterly worthless; some of silver, sound, good, but not brilliant men; some of gold, characters true to the very centre; some of precious stones, men in whom gifts are so richly mingled with useful qualities that they are as jewels in the Redeemer's crown. And such was the author of this Epistle.

3. Now there follows from all this the doctrine of the rewardableness of work. All were one, on the one foundation; yet they were not one, in such a sense that all their work was equally valuable, for, "every man shall receive his own reward according to his labour." Therefore, Christian men, work on — your work is not in vain. A cup of cold water, given in the name of a disciple, shall not lose its reward.

4. There is also here a distinction between the truth of work and its sincerity. In that day nothing shall stand but what is true; but the sincere worker, even of untrue work, shall be saved (ver. 15). Sincerity shall save him in that day, but it cannot accredit his work. But what is this day? Generally speaking, time; more particularly the trial day, which every advent is, and especially the last. Nothing gilded or varnished will remain; for just as fire burns straw so must all that is not based on the truth perish. Then elaborate systems of theology shall be tried and found worthless. Then many a Church order, elaborately contrived, shall be found something unnecessarily added to the foundation, and overlying it. And then many a minister, who has prided himself on the number of his listeners, will be stripped of his vain-glory, if that which seems to be souls won for God, turns out to be only hearts won for self.


1. A warning against all ministers who should so teach as to split the Church into divisions (ver. 21).

2. A warning against sectarianism, on the ground of Christian liberty (ver. 21). Man enters this world, finding himself in the midst of mighty forces of which he seems the sport and prey. But soon Christianity reveals to him God's will, which makes these things co-operate for his good. And so he learns his own free-will, and uses them as the sailor does the winds, which as he uses them become his enemies or his friends. Then it is that he is emancipated from the iron bondage to circumstances: then all things are his — this marvellous life, so full of endless meaning, so pregnant with infinite opportunities. Still more death, which seems to come like a tyrant, to lead hint to higher life. Paul is his, to teach him freedom. Apollos his, to animate him with his eloquence. Cephas his, to fire him with his courage. Every author his, to impart to him his treasures.

3. St. Paul refers all this to the universal law of sacrifice: all things are ours on this condition — that we are Christ's. The law which made Christ God's has made us Christ's.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

First, therefore, He is to be laid down as the only foundation in respect of knowledge and instruction. Secondly, we must preach Christ the foundation of all strength and power, from whom we receive all ability to do anything that is good. "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me" (Philippians 4:3). Thirdly, Christ is preached as a foundation when He is exalted in our ministry to be the Head of the Church and He that governeth all things. Fourthly, Christ is to be set up the only foundation in respect of mediation and intercession with God. Fifthly, from this floweth another necessary way of preaching Christ a foundation, viz. of acceptation of our persons and duties. Sixthly, Christ is to be preached as the foundation of all fulness for all our necessities and spiritual wants. Two or three particulars more we are to instance in by which it may appear in what Christ is laid a foundation. Seventhly, He is to be preached as the Fountain of all the happiness, joy, and spiritual content the godly hearer can have. Eighthly, Christ is to be preached as the Person with whom we are to close in all ordinances. Lastly, we are to preach Christ, not only as the foundation of our approaches to God, but of all God's gracious actions and visitations to us. In the next place let us consider the reasons why we ministers are to lay no other foundation but Christ: to make Him all in all. First, it is the main end and scope of the Scriptures only to exalt Christ, and the end of the ministry should be the same with the end of the Scriptures. Secondly, as the Scripture, so God's great purpose and counsel from all eternity was, to set up Christ and to have Him glorified. Thirdly, we must preach Christ the foundation, because in Him there is such a treasure of the riches of God's grace and God's love. Fourthly, therefore are we to exalt Christ in our ministry, to lay Him the foundation, because in heaven, though Christ will then lay down the exercise of His mediatory kingdom, yet the glory and honour must be given unto Him for ever. Fifthly, the necessity of preaching Christ the foundation ariseth from the ignorance of people who do grossly err about Christ both doctrinally and practically. Sixthly, the necessity appeareth because of the subtilty and enmity of Satan, who has continually set himself against Christ and His Church. Seventhly, we have the more need to exalt Christ because there is proneness in every man to trust to his own work.

(A. Burgess.)

Apollos, Cephas, Corinthians, Paul, Peter
Able, Addition, Already, Base, Besides, Building, Christ, Except, Foundation, Laid, Lay, Namely
1. Milk is fit for children.
3. Strife and division, arguments of a fleshly mind.
7. He who plants and He who waters are nothing.
9. The ministers are God's fellow workmen.
11. Christ the only foundation.
16. You are the temples of God, which must be kept holy.
19. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Corinthians 3:11

     2422   gospel, confirmation
     5971   uniqueness

1 Corinthians 3:9-11

     5478   property, houses

1 Corinthians 3:9-15

     5240   building

1 Corinthians 3:10-11

     7024   church, nature of

1 Corinthians 3:10-13

     5207   architecture
     8237   doctrine, false

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

     4516   straw
     5212   arts and crafts
     5317   foundation
     8426   evangelism, motivation

1 Corinthians 3:11-14

     9413   heaven, inheritance

Twenty-Third Day. Holiness and the Body.
The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. The body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you; therefore glorify God in your body.'--1 Cor. iii. 16, vi. 13, 19. 'She that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit.'--1 Cor. vii. 34. 'Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.'--Rom. xii. 1. Coming into the world, our Blessed
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

November the Ninth the Holy Spirit as Emancipator
2 CORINTHIANS iii. 4-18. In the Holy Spirit I experience a large emancipation. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." I am delivered from all enslaving bondage--from the bondage of literalism, and legalism, and ritualism. I am not hampered by excessive harness, by multitudinous rules. The harness is fitting and congenial, and I have freedom of movement, and "my yoke is easy and my burden is light." And I am to use my emancipation of spirit in the ministry of contemplation. I am to
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Temples of God
'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?'--1 COR. iii. 16 The great purpose of Christianity is to make men like Jesus Christ. As He is the image of the invisible God we are to be the images of the unseen Christ. The Scripture is very bold and emphatic in attributing to Christ's followers likeness to Him, in nature, in character, in relation to the world, in office, and in ultimate destiny. Is He the anointed of God? We are anointed--Christs in Him. Is He the Son of God? We in Him receive the
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

God's Fellow-Workers
'Labourers together with God.'--1 COR. iii. 9. The characteristic Greek tendency to factions was threatening to rend the Corinthian Church, and each faction was swearing by a favourite teacher. Paul and his companion, Apollos, had been taken as the figureheads of two of these parties, and so he sets himself in the context, first of all to show that neither of the two was of any real importance in regard to the Church's life. They were like a couple of gardeners, one of whom did the planting, and
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Death, the Friend
'... All things are yours ... death.'--1 COR. iii. 21, 22. What Jesus Christ is to a man settles what everything else is to Him. Our relation to Jesus determines our relation to the universe. If we belong to Him, everything belongs to us. If we are His servants, all things are our servants. The household of Jesus, which is the whole Creation, is not divided against itself, and the fellow-servants do not beat one another. Two bodies moving in the same direction, and under the impulse of the same
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Servants and Lords
'All things are yours; 22. Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23. And ye are Christ's.'--1 COR. iii. 21-23. The Corinthian Christians seem to have carried into the Church some of the worst vices of Greek--and English--political life. They were split up into wrangling factions, each swearing by the name of some person. Paul was the battle-cry of one set; Apollos of another. Paul and Apollos were very good friends,
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Sanctified for Service.
"We are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building."--1 COR. iii. 9. In this passage St. Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for that spirit of party which was dividing them into followers of this or that teacher and so destroying their unity in Christ. You do not belong, he says, to Paul or to Apollos; we have no claim upon you; ye are not to be called by our name: you are God's husbandry, and God's building, not ours; we are but labourers in His service and
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

On the Wisdom of this World
"The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."--I Cor. iii. 19. It is remarkable that about the time of our Saviour's coming into the world all kinds of learning flourished to a very great degree, insomuch that nothing is more frequent in the mouths of many men, even such who pretend to read and to know, than an extravagant praise and opinion of the wisdom and virtue of the Gentile sages of those days, and likewise of those ancient philosophers who went before them, whose doctrines are left
Jonathan Swift—Three Sermons, Three Prayers

On the Interpretation of Scripture
IT is a strange, though familiar fact, that great differences of opinion exist respecting the Interpretation of Scripture. All Christians receive the Old and New Testament as sacred writings, but they are not agreed about the meaning which they attribute to them. The book itself remains as at the first; the commentators seem rather to reflect the changing atmosphere of the world or of the Church. Different individuals or bodies of Christians have a different point of view, to which their interpretation
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World

The Existence of Merit
1. HERETICAL ERRORS AND THE TEACHING OF THE CHURCH.--a) The medieval Beguins and Beghards held that man is able to attain such a perfect state of holiness here below as no longer to require an increase of grace or good works.(1226) Luther, holding that justification consists in the covering up of sin and the external imputation of the justice of Christ, consistently though falsely asserted that "the just man sins in every good work,"(1227) that "a good work, no matter how well performed, is a venial
Joseph Pohle—Grace, Actual and Habitual

The Objects of Merit
After defining the existence of merit the Tridentine Council enumerates its objects as follows: "If anyone saith that the justified, by the good works which he performs, ... does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,--if it be so, however, that he depart in grace,--and also an increase of glory: let him be anathema."(1320) Hence merit calls for a threefold reward: (1) an increase of sanctifying grace; (2) heavenly glory; and (3) an increase of that
Joseph Pohle—Grace, Actual and Habitual

The Christian Church
Scriptures references: 1 Corinthians 3:11; 3:6-9; Colossians 1:18; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:23-27; Matthew 16:16,18; 18:17; Acts 5:11,12; 13:1,2; 14:23; 16:5; 1 Corinthians 11:18-34; 12:28-31; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:14; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 12:22,23; Revelation 1:4,11,20; 2:7,11; 22:16; 22:12-15,17. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH What is the Christian Church?--One of the best definitions is as follows: "The church consists of all who acknowledge the Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, the blessed Saviour
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian

Carnal Christians.
1 Corinthians 3:1.--And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. The apostle here speaks of two stages of the Christian life, two types of Christians: "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." They were Christians, in Christ, but instead of being spiritual Christians, they were carnal. "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet are ye able, for ye are
Andrew Murray—The Master's Indwelling

The Indwelling Spirit Fully and Forever Satisfying.
The Holy Spirit takes up His abode in the one who is born of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul says to the believers in Corinth in 1 Cor. iii. 16, R. V., "Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" This passage refers, not so much to the individual believer, as to the whole body of believers, the Church. The Church as a body is indwelt by the Spirit of God. But in 1 Cor. vi. 19, R. V., we read, "Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is
R. A. Torrey—The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit

Dedicatory Letter.
To the respected and worthy NICOLAUS VON AMSDORF, Licentiate in the Holy Scriptures and Canon of Wittenberg, [14] My particular and affectionate friend. Dr. MARTIN LUTHER. The Grace and Peace of God be with you! Respected, worthy Sir and dear friend. The time for silence is gone and the time to speak has come, as we read in Ecclesiastes (iii. 7.) I have in conformity with our resolve put together some few points concerning the Reformation of the Christian Estate, with the intent of placing the same
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Alcuin on True Missionary Labours.
THE cause of the first failure of the mission amongst the Saxons, may serve as a lesson and a warning to all times. It was this: that they sought to introduce from without what can only be effected from within; that worldly aims were blended with the diffusion of Christianity; that men did not follow the example of the Apostle Paul, who, in preaching the Gospel, allowed the Jews to remain Jews, and the Greeks, Greeks, and knew how to become to the Jews as a Jew, and to the Greeks as a Greek. The
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Certain it Is, Albeit all this Disputation Go from Side to Side...
38. Certain it is, albeit all this disputation go from side to side, some asserting that it is never right to lie, and to this effect reciting divine testimonies: others gainsaying, and even in the midst of the very words of the divine testimonies seeking place for a lie; yet no man can say, that he finds this either in example or in word of the Scriptures, that any lie should seem a thing to be loved, or not had in hatred; howbeit sometimes by telling a lie thou must do that thou hatest, that what
St. Augustine—On Lying

It Follows after Commendation of the Trinity, "The Holy Church. ...
14. It follows after commendation of the Trinity, "The Holy Church." God is pointed out, and His temple. "For the temple of God is holy," says the Apostle, "which (temple) are ye." [1801] This same is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the catholic Church, fighting against all heresies: fight, it can: be fought down, it cannot. As for heresies, they went all out of it, like as unprofitable branches pruned from the vine: but itself abideth in its root, in its Vine, in its charity. "The
St. Augustine—On the Creeds

Now it Has Been My Wish on this Account to Say Something on This...
22. Now it has been my wish on this account to say something on this subject, by reason of certain of our brethren most friendly and dear to us, and without willful guilt indeed entangled in this error, but yet entangled; who think, that, when they exhort any to righteousness and piety, their exhortation will not have force, unless the whole of that, wherein they would work upon man that man should work, they set in the power of man, not helped by the grace of God, but put forth by the alone choice
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

Homilies on the Statues.
Abel, beloved of God, yet slain, [466]342; more blessed in his death than Cain, [467]374; died the first to instruct Adam, [468]414; his sacrifice good, [469]422. Abraham, rich but not covetous: entertaining angels, [470]349; tent of, stronger than Sodom, [471]456. Absolution, [472]356; at the altar, [473]443. Accused at Antioch, tortured, [474]474. Acrobats, [475]470. Actions, few, for their own sake, [476]379; end of, [477]459, n.; the proof of philosophy, [478]465. Adam, fell when idle, [479]353,
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood

Epistle Xlvi. To Isacius, Bishop of Jerusalem .
To Isacius, Bishop of Jerusalem [159] . Gregory to Isacius, &c. In keeping with the truth of history, what means the fact that at the time of the flood the human race outside the ark dies, but within the ark is preserved unto life, but what we see plainly now, namely that all the unfaithful perish under the wave of their sin, while the unity of holy Church, like the compactness of the ark, keeps her faithful ones in faith and in charity? And this ark in truth is compacted of incorruptible timber,
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Epistle Xlix. To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch .
To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch [35] . Gregory to Anastasius, &c. I received the letters of thy Fraternity, rightly holding fast the profession of the faith; and I returned great thanks to Almighty God, who, when the shepherds of His flock are changed, still, even after such change, guards the faith which He once delivered to the holy Fathers. Now the excellent preacher says, Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor. iii. 2). Whosoever, then, with love of
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

How the Wise and the Dull are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 7). Differently to be admonished are the wise of this world and the dull. For the wise are to be admonished that they leave off knowing what they know: the dull also are to be admonished that they seek to know what they know not. In the former this thing first, that they think themselves wise, is to be thrown down; in the latter whatsoever is already known of heavenly wisdom is to be built up; since, being in no wise proud, they have, as it were, prepared their hearts for supporting
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

First Sunday in Lent
Text: Second Corinthians 6, 1-10. 1 And working together with him we entreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain 2 (for he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee, and in a day of salvation did I succor thee: behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation): 3 giving no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our ministration be not blamed; 4 but in everything commending ourselves, as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

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