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Authority for Building Up

September 1st, 2017

…the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down. (2 Cor. 10:8 NIV)

Opposition to the work of the Lord can be frustrating to deal with. Its mastermind is, of course, Satan, as the scripture says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Eph. 6:12). Any human face that tends to be one that frustrates us is not our real problem, nor should they be treated as such.

Paul’s words here speak to all of us in the church a message we need to hear. It not only applied to Paul and his companions, but to every minister and to every believer. We should never think that our calling or our goal should be to damage or destroy other people. There may be times when we must rebuke one another, but never in a spirit of hopelessness. But even then, rebukes are ordinarily last resorts. It is better to serve as examples and encouragers to others.

To Timothy Paul told him:

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. (1 Tim. 4:4-6 NIV)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching… (1 Tim. 4:12-13 NIV)

In this way Paul commanded Timothy to be biblical, positive, to avoid needless confrontations, and to set an example of how to live and what to believe. And he said similar words to the entire church in Romans: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God…” (Rom. 14:19-20a).

Our authority is the same as Paul’s in this area - the authority to build others up, not to tear them down. The word for “building you up” is oikodome which means to construct a house or a building, so it is properly translated “edification.” We can edify one another by:

  • Being an example of doing what is right
  • By teaching and living the positive commands of scripture
  • By patience with and confidence in one another and our spiritual growth
  • By listening to one another and being sensitive to the hurts, concerns, fears, and worries of others
  • By being sensitive to the weaknesses of others and not putting stumbling blocks in their way
  • By teaching and encouraging the pure love for Christ.

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