“But each one should be careful how he builds… If any mans builds on this foundation (Christ) using gold, silver, costly stone, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” (I Corinthians 3:9-17)
Paul teaches that we will all be held accountable before God as to how we build upon the foundation of Christ. Since both the Christian Church and individual Christians are likened to a building or temple in which God or the Holy Spirit dwells (I Corinthians 3:9, II Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:21) till the return of Christ from heaven, those who, by action, instruction, exhortation, comfort, promote the Christian wisdom of others and help them to live the correspondent life are regarded as taking part in the construction of that building…!
We have been given the privilege and power to help “build up” or construct His house! We can help to embolden our brethren by coming to their aid or defense and to help support them when they feel weak, fearful or discourage, through the power of encouragement and so bring comfort. We have been given the ability to build up our brothers or sisters in the faith with the aid of our Helper, the Holy Spirit. As the life of the Spirit flows out of us, He enables us to minister to others in godly fruit and power. Jesus is building a triumphant Church and has said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Paul himself set an example for the Churches under his apostolic care. He wrote of his authority as an Apostle of Christ and stated that he used it in a godly way by building the Church up and not tearing it down. He told the Corinthians that although he used this authority to correct, it was only for the purpose of building them up as a body. He wrote, “This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in the use of my authority- the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” (II Corinthians 13:10, also 10:8) So we learn from this passage of scripture that godly correction and truth, when spoken in love can also build up the Church as well.
Faith Child, many do not realize that they are party to this building program of the Church universal. We can help bring living stones to Jesus by obeying His command to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and leading souls to salvation. When we lead them to Christ, He can then place them into the Church . After He has placed them in the body where it pleases Him, we can then help to build up, confirm, strengthen or embolden new converts and in so doing help build up or strengthen the Church. We can do this when we are gathered together by reading scripture, teachings, tongues and interpretation, prophecy, revelation and most importantly by loving one another and walking in the Spirit. (I Corinthians 14:26, Ephesians 4:16, Galatians 5:22-23) . “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as in fact you are doing.” (I Thessalonians 5:11 NIV . How are we to help build up? By supporting, strengthening, serving, encouraging, confirming and giving courage to one another as we have opportunities. This is something that we should do not only when we are gathered together as a local Church, but as we are led by the Spirit and whenever someone is in need of it. All of this of course is to be done out of a spirit of love. Our ministry to others will only have a great impact when we exercise love. (I Corinthians 13).
The antonym of building up is tearing down. Sadly, in some local Churches there are brethren that are tearing each other down leading to rotten fruit within a body of believers such as unrest, division, strife and a whole host of other ugly works of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:19-21) When we tear others down, we are grieving God’s Spirit as well as bringing harm to the body of Christ. If one part of our body is in pain, the rest of our body knows it and so does the head (in this instance, Christ).
If we are truly members of the body of Christ, connected to our Head and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we will feel the suffering and pain of those within our local Church body as well. Sometimes that hurt, pain or suffering may come from outside sources. . Yet there are those in the body of Christ that inflict harm and pain (knowingly and unknowingly) on other members of the Body of Christ without giving it much thought. We allow our flesh to be ruled by our emotions, our sinful nature and at times, our adversary the devil. If we think in terms of protecting our brothers and sisters in Christ from harm like we do our own bodies, we would most certainly have less tearing down and more building up going on.
We must nurture the body of Christ as we would our own to have spiritually healthy, happy and loving Churches. Spiritually healthy Churches will confront and deal with situations where there is tearing down instead of building up. Local fellowships that choose not to deal with such problems (thinking that they will just go away by themselves) will only be extending an open invitation for the devil to join them by giving him place. (Ephesians 4:27) When the works of the flesh are practiced in a local Church instead of the fruit of the Spirit, much damage will be inflicted upon that fellowship, if it is not corrected.
God wants us to love, help and encourage one another, not destroy each other. Sadly, I have witnessed the damage that gossip, backbiting, envy, jealousy, discord and strife can do in a local Church. We are servants to whom we obey, whether to our sinful flesh or to the righteousness of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit can only work in the lives of those who are yielded to Him. If you happen to find yourself in this environment you can do two things. First, do not be a partaker or participant in helping to tear down the house of God. Secondly, pray and seek God for wisdom on how to handle the situation and follow His guidance.
We are used to negating the efforts of brothers and sisters, with confrontations about petty issues which in the long run do not build the people of God.
What are you doing with
- Vision, passion, risk and personal validation,
- The capacity to trust,
- The ability to discern and call out potential in other leaders,
- Having a close relationship with your brothers and sisters
- Teaching them to observe all things
- Engaging in ongoing action and reflection,
- Working alongside them
- Confronting and speaking truth in love where there is err or lack of order,
- Taking brothers and sisters from the known to the unknown in the Word,
- Pushing each other to the limit for Christ,
- Presenting brothers and sisters as leaders
- And letting go and letting them function to the best of their ability!
Are we recognizing and embracing the values of a community, seeking spiritual transformation of the community together, and creating the opportunity and freedom to evangelize in the context of this growing positive spirituality of the community.
If you are involved in evangelism, social services, advocacy, community development and community organizing you must build up and not tear down.
What are YOU doing?