In our study of I Corinthians we have seen how the Apostle Paul energetically and carefully planted the church in Corinth. He did this not by his own power, but by the “grace” given by God:
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:10-11 NIV)
The Apostle Paul, when preaching to the Corinthians, was careful to preach to them only what was true, and thus He laid a foundation as a wise builder. There was someone else who Paul says is building on it. This other builder is Paul’s friend Apollos, who came to Corinth and helped the Corinthians grow in their knowledge of God after Paul had left (I Corinthians 3:6, Acts 18:27). Paul does not view Apollos as his enemy or competitor, but as his helper and co-worker. They are both on the same side, doing the individual jobs that God has given them to do, neither angry at nor jealous of the other.
Paul warns us here that when you are planting a church or discipling a group of young believers you need to make sure that you build with care. You must be certain to teach them the truth. You cannot change the gospel message for the simple purpose of adapting to their culture. You must preach Christ crucified for no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. When a godly preacher preaches the gospel he must not invent his own “foundational” truths, but he must preach the truth that God has already revealed to us through His Word. This “foundation” is not actually laid by the preacher, it is “already laid” by God. All preachers must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, namely, that only the shed blood of Jesus can cleanse us from our sins and we are all accountable for believing in Him and repenting of our sins. This is the only “foundation” that can save our souls: the only way that our relationship with the one true God of the universe can be destroyed. Any other “foundation” is no foundation at all, because nothing of value can be built upon it. If you make money the foundation of your life, you will go to hell, you because you are a selfish person who has not repented of your sins. If you make good works the foundation of your life you will go to hell, because you are a self righteous hypocrite who has not repented of your sins. If you make religious rituals or ministry the foundation of your life you will go to hell because you are a self-righteous hypocrite who has not repented of your sins. If you make sex, power, influence, popularity, etc the foundation of your life you will go to hell. There is only one foundation that is of any value, and that is Christ. Your belief in Christ must be the defining factor of your whole life: it is what you base your life’s value on. Jesus Christ is the only reason for living. If the foundation of your belief system is not Jesus Christ than you are not a Christian and you are not a friend of God.