1 Corinthians 3:18-4:5
Remember all the way back to yesterday? For some of us, this isn’t as ridiculous of a question as it seems!
Yesterday, the Lord was teaching us that we are His holy Temple and His Church: the people that He inhabits through His Holy Spirit. Because this is who we are, God works through us to redeem the world and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Paul extends his teaching at the beginning of Chapter 4, when he says “Let a man consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (verse 1-2.)
Putting 2 and 2 together, let’s see what we get (hopefully 4!):
1. We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (3:16.)
2. We are God’s fellow workers (3.9.)
1. We are stewards of the mysteries of God (4.1.)
2. Stewards must be faithful (4.2.)
= 4. We are to faithfully share the mystery of Christ in us with others.
There are other answers we might get when we add Paul’s teaching together, but this is one important one: that since we are both God’s Temple and the builders of His Temple, and since we are stewards of the mysteries of God (which is Christ in us through the Holy Spirit), we must faithfully share with others the mystery of Christ in us.
Think about it. Jesus Christ lives in you and in us through His Holy Spirit. He has entrusted His treasure, His mystery to you and to us. This is strange language that I am using – “you and us,” but it’s the only way I can think of to help you and us remember that there is both an individual and a corporate stewardship that God has given us. The Temple of the Holy Spirit is most fully the Church, and yet you and I are each microcosms of the entire Body in that we, too, are the Temple.
If God has entrusted His riches to us – which is Himself – then He expects you and us to be faithful stewards of Him to others. If God has truly given Himself to you and to us, then He expects us to do the things that He is doing, and what He is doing is redeeming the world by making disciples of the nations.
Out of love, God has shared Himself with us, and now, out of love for God who is in us, He commands us to share Him with others. But how can we do this unless we are faithful disciples ourselves?
God has entrusted Himself to you and to us, and we must be faithful in this stewardship.
God is in you and us. What are you and we doing to guard this treasure? Too many have this treasure and go and bury it. But the treasure of God is not like gold or gems, which, if you bury them, will still be there intact a century later. No, the treasure of God in us is much more like the treasure of children, a living treasure that must be treasured and cultivated each and every day.
What happens to children if they are not treasured? They wither and die. And this is what happens to the treasure of God in us if we don’t treasure it every day. This, then, is our sacred task: to remember that God is in us, and to act accordingly.
The secret to making disciples of the nations is for you and us to first be faithful disciples. Only those who are faithful disciples will make more disciples. Only those who have treasured the treasure will multiply this treasure by sharing it with others.
That treasure is God Himself.
We all know to what great lengths people go to in order to treasure the earthly treasure they’ve accumulated. Here’s some information I read about how Fort Knox is guarded, which has also been used to guard the English crown jewels, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the U.S.:“The two-story basement and attic building is constructed of granite, steel and concrete. Its exterior dimensions measure 105 feet by 121 feet. Its height is 42 feet above ground level. Within the building is a two level steel and concrete vault that is divided into compartments. The vault door weighs more than 20 tons. No one person is entrusted with the combination. Various members of the Depository staff must dial separate combinations known only to them. The vault casing is constructed of steel plates, steel I-beams and steel cylinders laced with hoop bands and encased in concrete.
The outer wall of the Depository is constructed of granite lined with concrete. Construction materials used on the building included 16,500 cubic feet of granite, 4,200 cubic yards of concrete, 750 tons of reinforcing steel and 670 tons of structural steel. At each corner of the structure on the outside, but connected with it, are four guard boxes. Sentry
boxes, similar to the guard boxes at the corners of the Depository, are located at the entrance gate.
A driveway encircles the building and a steel fence marks the boundaries of the site. The building is equipped with the latest and most modern protective devices. The nearby Army Post provides additional protection. The Depository is equipped with its own emergency power plant, water system and other facilities. In the basement is a pistol range for use by the guards.” [For some picture of Fort Knox, go to: http://www.solarnavigator.net/geography/geography_images/usa_fort_knox_gold_reserves_america.jpg OR http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://188.8.131.52/work/samples/knox03.jpg&imgrefurl=http://184.108.40.206/work/samples/sampFortKnox.html&h=338&w=500&sz=45&tbnid=rWt9WBKOIXXgyM:&tbnh=88&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfort%2Bknox%2Bpicture&start=3&ei=cuzdReCdI5uysAKWwoSqBg&sig2=n4amQZoTwdP-DCms3vQDRA&sa=X&oi=images&ct=image&cd=3 . Personally, I’m kinda worried about the security of our national treasure: the guards at the second website look a little like Gumby or Homer Simpson to me!]
If only we would treasure the treasure of God in us as much as we treasure our earthly treasure!
If you and we really believed that God was in us, that we are His Temple, and that we are stewards of His mysteries, how would we live? That’s the question God leaves with you and with us this morning.
[One hint: Whatever discipline you’ve established for yourself during the season of Lent is one way of guarding the treasure!]
Prayer: O God, who has entrusted to us Your heavenly treasure in these earthen vessels and has dared to dwell in sinful, humans like myself, I ask that You guard the treasure you have entrusted to me. Remind me of Your presence with me and of my sacred obligation to guard that treasure. Through Your Holy Spirit may we be Your presence to all we meet today. Amen.
Point for Meditation:
If I truly believe that God lives in me and desires to use me to do His will, how should I choose to live?
Resolution: I resolve to meditate today on the treasure of God in me and us. I resolve further to use my Lenten discipline as a means of guarding this treasure.
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