Ways Of Building One Another Up
When you become a Christian, you give up the right to put yourself first. The more you think of others first, the more blessed you will be.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, my radio friend. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Oh, I trust so. You know, before I begin these broadcasts, I pray for you and I pray for myself. I pray for me, that I might have God’s love in my heart and God’s truth in my mind, and that it might come out in my voice because that’s all that you have to go by. And I pray for you, that God may give you something that’s just especially suited to your present need. Now, there’s no way that I can know what you need, but God knows. The Holy Spirit of God perfoms what my brother Franklin Logsdon used to call the “miracle of the ministry.” He performs the miracle of meeting someone’s spiritual need through a word that is spoken by someone who doesn’t even know about it, but who is ministering the Word of God. I like that, don’t you? May God answer both those prayers today, making my heart and voice right and full of His love, and making your heart receptive to whatever you need.
You and I are looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:11. “Edify one another,” said he, and that means “build up.” And we noted that it starts with an attitude. “Knowledge puffeth up.” “I’ll show you how this ought to be done.” That doesn’t build anybody up. “Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.” All things are lawful, but all things edify not. There are some things you can get away with, but they don’t build the other person up. Watch out for that. Paul said, “If meat cause my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world stands.” I’m willing to give up anything if it tends to tear down another person’s faith. Make this matter of building up people your life’s pursuit. “Follow after those things wherewith one may edify another.” And so, the last time we got together, we ended with 1 Corinthians 14:26, “Let all things be done to edify,” and that wraps it all up. Anything I do needs to pass the test, “Will this build up other people?”
I’ll tell you, it’s a big assignment in that to become a Christian, you give up the right to think of yourself first. “I want to enjoy this. I want to be me. I want to have a little something for myself.” A friend of mine some years ago who was living, as we say, high, wide, and handsome, was going, you might say, just beyond the borders of respectability in the number of ways he was indulging himself. I ventured to mention to him that he was a little different than he used to be. Oh, he said, “I’ve taken care of others all my life; now I’m going to take care of myself and enjoy myself.” Well, I doubt that it made him any happier. To be a Christian, you give up the right to think of yourself first.
Joy. Jesus first, others second, yourself last. Put that down as one of the great benchmarks of your own spiritual progress. The more you think of others, the more blessed you will be yourself. Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall find it. The way up is down, the way to keeping is giving away. You know the truth, don’t you? Well, that’s what this is all about here. Let all things be done edifying. Don’t make slavery out of it; it doesn’t have to be something that puts chains upon your own possibilities. What it does is to make you productive, so that what you do is helping other people, and building them up.
So that leads us, then, to think of Ephesians 4:12. The gifts that God gives are edifying. Ephesians 4, Verse 12. All of God’s gifts to you are for edifying, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, until we all come in the unity, the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect (that means grown-up) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Grow up into Him in all things, the one who is the head, even Christ from whom the whole body fitly join together, maketh increase of itself in love. That’s Ephesians 4:12 in some of the following verses.
The gifts that God gives…apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the gifts that He gives are for edifying. Do you have a special gift that God has given you? It’s not yours in a proprietary sense just to use and enjoy, it’s yours to use so that other people may be built up. Now, keeping on in that same fourth chapter of Ephesians, he said, “Speaking the truth in love,” the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:15: “Speaking the truth in love, grow up into Him.” It’s the edifying of itself in love.
Now, the way to help another person to grow is to speak God’s truth from a loving heart, a heart that’s filled with the love of God. Romans 5:5: “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Speak God’s truth in the love that God puts in your heart, so that the other person can grow up not to your standard, but to Christ, to grow up into Christ.
Now, it takes a little thinking to get hold of that, but here is the picture: you are a Christian. The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in your heart. When you got saved, the Spirit of God came to dwell in your heart. It is then, as you wait upon God and yield yourself to Him, it is He who sheds abroad God’s love in your heart to the point where you can say, as Paul did, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” It makes us do what we do.
Now, you’re dealing with another human being, and the first thing that human being has to feel, if there’s going to be any benefit at all, is God’s love flowing through you. Then, the second thing that happens is that you speak God’s truth in the atmosphere of that love. And, the blessed Holy Spirit makes the connection and the other person starts to grow into Christ, to grow up into the fullness of the stature of Christ. Don’t ask me how it works; I’m just telling you that it works. Start with a heart full of love. Speak God’s truth concerning any subject whatsoever out of that heart full of love. And the Holy Spirit who dwells within you and within your fellow believer will make that truth bear fruit. “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you,” Jesus said. Bearing fruit is a spiritual miracle performed by the Holy Spirit when He finds a vessel that is usable, that He can fill with God’s love so that the truth can come out of that reservoir of divine love. Can you take that in today? Speak the truth in love, and the other person will grow up as a result.
Now, in this same Fourth Chapter of Ephesians, he gives us a warning. He said, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying,” (There you have that word again) “that it may minister grace to the hearers.” Now you have the negative and the positive: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Corrupt: you know what that is: untrue, unclean, dirty, not glorifying God, dishonest, critical, mean…corrupt. He says, “Don’t let it proceed out of your mouth.” That rules out a lot of the things that we often say thoughtlessly, doesn’t it? But that’s the standard. Now, why? He says, “but that which is good to the use of edifying.” What I say needs to be capable of helping the other person, that it may minister grace to the hearers. See, the grace of God is not only something that saves me. It’s something that I transmit to another person through the miracle of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Minister grace.
This is a profound truth, but it’s absolutely dependable. Make it your own. Your words, directed by the Holy Spirit, minister. That means “extend to, offer to, present to, share with.” They minister God’s grace to the people who listen to you. After they’ve listened to whatever you say, they become aware of the fact that they’ve had an experience with the grace of God. Oh, I want that. I want that for Bob Cook, and I want it for you, that when we speak out of a loving heart, full of the love of God, the blessed Holy Spirit will perform that miracle of the ministry so that other people will have had an experience of God’s grace. Oh my. That’s way beyond me, humanly, and it’s beyond you, I am sure. But God is able. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, Paul says in Ephesians 3. I can trust him for this. And where my human nature gets to the end of itself, I can say as Martha Minnick used to say, “I’ve trusted Jesus not only as my Savior but as my Creator, and when I come up short on something, I say, “Jesus, Creator, create what I need in my life and supply it.” And He does. You can trust God to create in you that kind of attitude that builds up others, instinctively reaching for the encouragement of others. Be an encourager. Be a builder, not a person who tears down.
Well, that’s quite a package, isn’t it? Start with love. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth. You don’t have to tell people, “Look, you don’t know anything about this. I’ll show you.” No, don’t do it that way. Come with love. Don’t specialize in getting away with things and explaining them. Specialize in doing that which you don’t have to explain, which builds the other person up. Let everything, said Paul, be done unto edifying. Make your life atmosphere that which evaluates every word and every action in terms of its effect on other needy hearts. Speaking the truth in love, minister grace, God’s grace to people who hear you. Big order, but we’ve got a big God, haven’t we? Hallelujah.
Holy Father, it’s a big order, and we’re not able for it. But Thou art able to make us people who edify others. Please do it, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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