Those Members Who Build Up
And Bless The Church
The church is made up of many different members. Paul's inspired illustration was that of a body with different parts. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) There are members who build up and bless the church. It should be the goal of every member to be that kind of person.
The members who build up and bless the church are characterized by steadfastness. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42) Just think of what could happen if members of the church would be or become steadfast. Steadfast means firm or immovable. To be steadfast means "to continue all the time; to persevere; or to be devoted to." Paul challenged the brethren at Corinth by saying, "My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58) There may be many great needs in the church but none is greater than the need to have members who build up and bless the church. Paul wrote to the Colossians and said, "Though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ." (Colossians 2:5) Members who live well ordered lives and are steadfast in the faith will build the church. Peter gave the following warning to brethren concerning the danger of falling from their steadfastness. "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked." (2 Peter 3:17) Never quit being members who build up and bless the church. Let us observe the importance of this kind of church members.
We must have a strong influence if we are to be members who build up and bless the church. Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16) The influence of the church can only be strong, as the members are faithful and loving. From Acts 2:42 we observe that the early Christians were steadfast. "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." They had much love for one another. (Acts 2:43-46) This caused others to look favorably upon God's people. "Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47) The challenge for every Christian is to be a member that will build up and bless the church.
We cannot be lukewarm and be members who build up and bless the church. Christians who fail to be strong, solid and committed fail to be what God intended them to be. The member who is faithful a while and then unfaithful; can be counted on for a while and then cannot be counted on; is dependable for a while and then undependable is a poor example of Christianity. Instead of being a member who would build up and bless the church their lukewarmness means that they are unstable. The Bible says, "He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8) Strong Christians are steadfast and faithful in their service to God. "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:2) The challenge for every Christian is to the kind of member who builds up and blesses the church.
We must understand the principles of faithfulness if we are to be members who build up and bless the church. We must realize that we are made partakers of Christ only by being faithful, steadfast and always in His likeness. "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." (Hebrews 3:14) Christians must be firm in their faith; set and settled in their convictions about Jesus the Christ and His church. They must be planted, fixed, strong, anchored and faithful in their relationship with the Master. Those members who build up and bless the church have "hope" as an anchor for their soul. (Hebrews 6:19) The challenge for every Christian is to be a member who builds up and blesses the church.
We must recognize things that produce faithfulness if we are to be members who build up and bless the church. Christians must recognize the contribution made to being a blessing for Christ as we learn the truth. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Christians must learn, know, perceive and understand God's will. No one will be useful for long in the service of Christ who does not have an ever-deepening knowledge of God's word. Peter said, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)
Attending "all" the services of the church is another contributing factor in our becoming members who build up and bless the church. In order to seek God and His kingdom first we must be faithful at every service of the church. (Matthew 6:33) To seek God first means that we think about, meditate on, crave, require and demand that the kingdom be first in our lives. God and His kingdom must be first in rank or time or place in our heart and life. Those who willfully forsake any assembly of the church are not putting God first. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) Why do not we have as many for Sunday morning Bible classes, Sunday night or Wednesday night as we have for Sunday morning worship? Why?
Associating with strong Christians helps develop that spirit that makes you able to build up and bless the church. Those with whom we associate pull us in their direction. "Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits." (1 Corinthians 15:33) Basement people pull others down; balcony people pull others up. You can be strengthened by good men or corrupted by evil men. "He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed." (Proverbs 13:20)
If we are to be members who build up and bless the church we must be people of strong, personal faith. The Bible says that Abraham was strong in faith. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." (Romans 4:20) Christians must likewise be steadfast, firm, and fixed in the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Circumstances and situations of this life must never shake our faith in the glorious gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Because He lives we can live also. Let us be unshaken in our hope of being raised incorruptible and immortal. Find those things that contribute to spiritual strength in the Lord and grow in them. The Hebrew writer said, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." (Hebrews 3:14)
Being a Christian is a serious responsibility. Your Christianity may affect hundreds or even thousands of others. To become a Christian, you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of every sin (Acts 2:38), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After baptism the challenge for every Christian is to be a member who builds up and blesses the church.
By Charles Box, 306 Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama USA