Caring Christians love one another. We have already looked at and emphasized the statements in scripture that tell us to "love one another" (John 13:34-35). Loving one another is not only a matter of words; it is a matter of deeds. It is one thing to say to someone, "I love you," but quite something else to prove it by our actions. Notice the word "edify" in verse 19. The word means "to build up." It comes from the Latin word which means "to build." Christians who care edify one another; they build one another up in the faith. We can be used of the Lord to help "build up" others, or be used of Satan to tear down, to destroy. It is much easier to be a destroyer than to be a builder. God has given us several spiritual tools that we can use for building up one another!
I. Our Example.
The first tool for edifying one another is our example.
We see this is in Romans 14:14-21.
A. Verse one says "receive ye," and verse nineteen says "edify one another," and we are told in verse thirteen that we are not to judge another.
B. A ‘stumbling block’ is conduct or action that is offensive - actions that hurt or discourage another.
C. We also see in verses 14-17 that the example of the strong Christian should encourage the weak Christian to grow
D. God uses our Christian example as a tool for edifying one another: Is our example tearing people down or building them up?
II. Our Speech.
The second tool that we have is our speech. See Ephesians 4:29.
A. As we speak to others, we are either using words that build them up or tear them down.
B. We should choose our words carefully and use words that encourage, that strengthen, that build up - edifying one another - rather than words of discouragement.
C. We are to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15).
1. As we speak the truth in love, we are able to build people up.
2. Our words should minister grace to the hearers.
3. See Colossians 4:6.
D. Jesus said in Matthew 10:16 that we are to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves," Notice what He said about the words we use in Matthew 12:36, and 15:8-11 and 18-19.
E. The psalmist also wrote about our speech.
1. See Psalm 19:14, 139:23-24 and 141:3.
2. James wrote of it also in James 3:5- 8 and 4:6-10.
III. Our Spiritual Gifts.
God gives us a third tool for the edifying of the church - the ministry of our Spiritual gifts.
A. We see this in l Corinthians 14:12 and 26.
1. Unfortunately the Corinthian church was using their gifts as ‘toy’ to play with and ‘weapons’ to fight with, and not as ‘tools’ to build with.
2. God has given each one of us spiritual gifts to build up other Christians.
3. Verse 26 tells us that when we gather together, we should be edifying one another.
4. "Let all things be done unto edifying" This means that every activity, every meeting, every function, every class, every service, every social event ought to be for edifying, building up the saints, encouraging, and strengthening one another.
B. When we go to church, our attitude ought to be:
1. "What can I put into it?
2. How can I better use my Spiritual gifts for the Lord Jesus?
3. Can I help someone grow?
4. How can I encourage another, minister to another?
5. Take time to encourage others, speak words of encouragement.
6. Say to yourself, "I want to help others grow today!"
IV. Our Love.
God gives us a fourth tool for building up one another. (1 Co. 8:1)
A. Love edifies!
1. Paul was saying in 8:1 that knowledge without love can tear down.
2. "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth."
3. Knowledge without love will puff up and inflate your ego.
4. But love will build up!
5. Love always builds up!
6. This verse (8:1) is saying that we should use our knowledge in love.
7. Whatever we do, it ought to be done in love.
8. This relates to what Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 13:34-55.
V. Our Prayers.
We build each other up by our example, by our speech, by our ministry of spiritual gifts, by our love, and by our prayers.
A. As we pray for people, then God is able to work and build them up!
B. We build up one another through prayer.
1. Why not use the prayer list!
2. Pray specifically for people by name.
3. In 2 Thess. 3:1-5, Paul requested prayer for himself, his ministry, and his personal safety.
VI . God’s Word.
A. In Acts 20:32, we see that the Word of God is a great tool for building up one another.
B. Always use the Word of God when discussing problems with people.
1. Because the Word of God edifies, it builds people up, it has the answers to the problems of life.
2. God’s Word solves problems!
Are we a destroyer, or are we a builder? Is God using us to build up His people? Christians who care ‘love one another’ and ‘edify one another’. If someone had to describe our church would they say that we edify one another?