1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 – These are instructions to every member of the church in Thessalonica to comfort one another. Always pursue what is good for both yourselves and for all. Do all of these things in patience.
Some churches would say, and would actually have it written in their constitution, that church member problems are the work of the deacons. In many Anabaptist churches that is “the ministers work” to get fixed.
What can often happen is when a member notices a problem or an issue, they go to a minister and expect them to take care of it. Paul didn’t say that troubles between church members are the leadership’s problems, he says that addressing these things are the role of anyone, and everyone.
Brothers and sisters looking out for each other, the brotherhood is a mission and a concern and a burden for all of us.
Ephesians 4:11-16 – To the church God has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers.
The purpose of all of these is for the equipping of the saints. Teaching, inspiration, encouragement, helping to feel a burden, providing tools with the goal of a unity of faith in Jesus and the knowledge of Jesus the Son of God. There is a second purpose, growth and becoming more and more like Christ.
We are not to remain children and continue in the struggles that we’ve had all of our lives. We are meant to grow in Christ and bear spiritual fruit for the Kingdom. Some grow in leaps and bounds, others grow more slowly… we all have room to grow.
God makes the whole body fit together perfectly. The whole body can be healthy and growing and full of life. Here we have numerous members of a church, there are points of contact, ligaments that hold us together, blessings can flow through those points of connection. These are meant to flow in both directions, sometimes it’s me in great need and someone encourages me. Sometimes, maybe I even bless someone else!
What Are The Characteristics of People Who Edify Others
Jude 1:20 – Keep yourselves in the love of God, building yourselves up… it isn’t really us doing the work, but it is us taking the steps and doing the things necessary for God to live in and work in our hearts. To be effective we need to start by edifying ourselves.
Love – If you go throughout the New Testament this is mentioned over and over again. All of these other characteristics are rooted and founded in love.
John 13:34 – Love is the thing that sets the Christian apart.
Romans 12:9-10 – Love needs to be genuine, it needs to be worked out.
Galatians 6:2 – Prayer for others, for ourselves for their and our burdens. Ask God to help you see the needs and burdens of others.
Philippians 2 – Humility, look out not only for the interests of yourself but also the needs of others. Don’t compare yourself to them, be interested in them, be a servant, someone who washes the feet of others. A person who is an edifier is a humble person.
Romans 16:1 – Appreciation is something that is usually very evident in those who are edifying others. When we acknowledge that someone blessed us in some way beyond ourselves, it is a good habit to acknowledge the effort of others. It does something for us, and it does something for the person we are commending.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 – Patience, be patient with all. We can become irritated at people, impatient with people, etc. This is not a helpful attitude. How patient and gentle has God been with us?
Galatians 6:1 – Empathy, being able to sympathize with others. Considering yourself, and your own problems, you can identify with this brother, listen, care, encourage, firmness, but all with sympathy.
Luke 10:25-37 – The Samaritan had compassion. He had empathy, he cared for the man, he cared about him. He engaged with the man who had been robbed.
Ephesians 4:32 – Mercy… don’t set up conditions before you will forgive someone. We must have a forgiving attitude even if the wrong is not acknowledged or asked for. We can have peace by extending mercy and forgiveness, this is true everywhere, but especially effective within the church between brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 12:14-15 – We all affect others, God has called us to the high calling of edifying and encouraging one another in the brotherhood. If we don’t it is possible to have a very harmful effect, even in the church!