But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other foundation can a man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 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. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (I Cor. 3:10-15)
By the time God is done with us, all that is going to remain is that which is OF CHRIST. You will note that the works done TO build do not pass through the fire. No. Works done ARE in the past. What passes through the fire is the temple that is built by those historical works. Only that which is built of eternal materials – gold, silver, etc. – abide – only what is OF CHRIST abides. All that is not of Christ, but of man, are obliterated.
Now ask: How do I build that which is of Christ? — in myself, let alone do it in others? Paul said, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.” (II Cor. 4:10-12) This is how: That which is OF CHRIST cannot be built out of the materials found in man. Instead, that which is OF CHRIST is built through the dying of what is of man, that His life might be released in ourselves and others.
The life of Christ that is formed in us is the basis for all ministry – it is His life through which we edify, or build up, others in Christ. All else will be, “burned up.” Thus, the starting point is the personal Cross: “Death in us, and life in you.” This is how ministry builds the temple of God, which is ourselves personally, and His Body as a whole.