I Corinthians – Heaven’s Gold

People fight for it. Live for it. Die for it. The quest for gold never ceases. Yet how many enjoy it? For how long? Paul introduces how to invest and remain invested in eternal treasures.


  • Introduction
  • Investors
  • Detractors
  • Destroyers
  • Man’s Responsibility
  • God’s Sovereignty
  • Understanding Doctrines
  • Discussion

Heaven’s Gold

1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.



During the study of Romans, “The Transformation Journey” we asked ourselves – have we really changed? If there has been no major change why not?

  • Has the Spirit of God not done enough?
  • Or have we not done enough?
  • How does transformation work?


Summary of the Book

The Apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians about 56 A.D.[1] Paul’s purpose in writing this letter to the church in Corinth was to guide them into:

  • Experiencing Life in Christ contrasting 3 types of people:
    • Investors (on “heaven’s gold”)
    • Detractors
    • Destroyers
  • Addressing various issues and key doctrines.

Background of Corinth

  • In Paul’s time, Corinth is the most important boomtown city in Greece
  • Freed slaves, veterans, merchants, and trades­men stream in. [2]
  • After one and a half years of Paul’s stay, the church is formed.
  • It comprises around 100 people – some Jews, mostly Gentiles with lower income folks. There were three or four wealthy families.
  • Paul supports himself by tentmaking/ leather working, later taking full time support

Types of People - Levels of Transformation

Man’s Responsibility

Investors have faith on God’s sovereignty but fully leverage man’s responsibility to proactively:

  • Build foundation – 1 Cor. 3
  • Remove Evil – 1 Cor.  4
  • Flee sexual immorality – 1 Cor.  6
  • Run to win – 1 Cor.  9
  • Pursue love – 1 Cor. 2,13
  • Overcome temptation – 1 Cor.  8,10
  • Labour steadfastly –1 Cor. 14,15

And much more…..


Man’s Responsibility - Build a Foundation

1 Cor 3:12.13 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

Man’s Responsibility - Remove Evil

“You must certainly remove the evil person from among you (your church)” 1 Cor 5:13

While we may complain that the “Church” is tolerant, how are we indirectly supporting that?

Man’s Responsibility - Flee Sexual Immorality

I Cor 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.

How does a “mental” sin affect our investment?

Man’s Responsibility - Run to Win

1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

What tough disciplines do Christian investors need to adhere to?

Man’s Responsibility - Pursue Love

Keep on pursuing love..1 Cor 14:1a

How can we “pursue” love persistently – even with the most difficult people?

Man’s Responsibility - Overcome temptation

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor 10:13

Man’s Responsibility - Labour steadfastly

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Cor 15:58

God’s Sovereignty

Detractors get too lazy and rely largely on God’s sovereignty:

  • Revelation – ch.1,2
  • Inspiration – ch. 11
  • Commission – ch. 6,7,
  • Sanctification – ch 10,11,12
  • Unification – Ch 12,14

How many of us can say like Paul “I worked harder than all the rest”? 15:10

God’s Sovereignty - Revelation

1 Cor 27But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

God’s Sovereignty - Inspiration

  • 1 Cor 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
  • 1 Cor 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

God’s Sovereignty - Commission

1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 

God’s Sovereignty - Commission

1 Corinthians 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

God’s Sovereignty - Sanctification

1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial. 1 Cor 10:23

God’s Sovereignty - Sanctification - Where do we draw the line?

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Cor 6:12 NLT

How does the unbelieving spouse get sanctified?

  • They are exposed to a spiritual environment.
  • The believing spouse should gently start lifting their partner up, not get pulled down.
  • This requires immense strength from the Lord

God’s Sovereignty - Unification

1 Cor 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.


14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2

We like to feel good, We like to feel God; When all the feelings go, That’s when we really know, How firmly we have stood.

Investors, Detractors, Destroyers

  • Investors maintain a balance between God’s Sovereignty and Man’s responsibility. Paul “worked harder than all the rest”.
  • Detractors swing very high on God’s Sovereignty with very little effort on their part
  • Destroyers swing completely onto man’s responsiblity, as they have not have a personal relationship with Christ

Where do we stand?

Understanding Doctrines - Context

Base your understanding of doctrine on the context:

  • Most of the context in 1 Cor. are clear instructions from God throughout the ages eg. No divorce, resurrection, spiritual gifts, unity in Church, love, tongues, prophecy, etc.
  • Some of them are Paul’s personal opinion eg. “better to be single” than married
  • Others culture and context specific, with core principles commonly applicable eg. Women covering head in church, food offered to idols


  • Types of People – Investors, Detractors, Destroyers. First two are Christians. Investors build up gold in heaven.
  • Man’s Responsibility has to leverage God’s sovereignty by discipline and hard work. To: Build Foundation, Remove Evil, Flee sexual immorality, Run to win, Pursue Love, Overcome Temptation, Labour Steadfastly, etc.
  • God’s Sovereignty available to all who believe are the great gifts of : Revelation, Inspiration, Commission, Sanctification, Unification
  • Understanding doctrines require understanding long term principles behind the context which may be general or specific.


  • How do we know what are the right investments and not diversions?
  • How can we handle detractors in the church?
  • In what ways do we tend to take God’s grace and sovereignty for granted?
  • What specific steps/actions can you take to take “responsibility” for making better investments in yourself and others?




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