Building Each Other Up
Jesus never intended that we would “lone wolf” the Christian life as an individual! Rather, He planned to use the local church “community” to sanctify and change us! If you have doubts, just read Paul’s letter to the Church of Ephesus; especially, chapter 4. It was NOT his intent that we view “the Church” as some “universal body” out there somewhere! He spoke to the body of faith that made up that specific local Church of Ephesus. In v.16 he tells this church that it’s the “WHOLE BODY” that ministers to the “WHOLE BODY.” And, he says that spiritual growth happens in the corporate life of the church when all the individual members are working together properly— “In LOVE, building each other up!”
Smoothing Out Our Rough Edges
The “each other” referred to the believers in the Church of Ephesus; not, some “universal church” on the other side of planet Earth. We can pray for believers on the other side of the planet; but, it’s simply impossible to build up believers in their faith with whom we have no physical contact or interaction! Jesus intends to use all the different people, with their diverse personalities & traits, to change us! He uses the difficult people, the annoying people, the “special grace” people, and, the sinful people to smooth out our rough— and, sometimes sinful— edges! “From Him, the whole (“local church”) body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the (“local church”) body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part (of the “local church”)” v.16. It is by our unique, diverse, spiritual experiences, with God, that together— as a “local church”— we have the opportunity to provide rich counsel & support to each other!
Mutual Support Within The Body
For the one struggling with alcohol addiction, there are believers, in the body, who’ve been delivered from it! For the one struggling with sexual sin, there are believers, in the body, who are winning that battle with the Spirit’s help! So, there’s someone who will stand with you & encourage you in the fight! For those who admit they are a gossip; or, a liar; or, have anger issues; or, a cursing tongue; or, they’re bitter— someone in the local church body has been there; or, they’re fighting the same battle; and, together there’s mutual support! The illustration of the church as a “body” is a perfect example of how the church is supposed to work. What do you do if you cut yourself? Or if you sprain an ankle? The rest of your body comes to the rescue, right? You don’t just leave the cut finger to itself; to get infected! You bandage it! You wrap the sprained ankle so it’ll heal!
There’s An App For That
Jesus designed the Church to be a body, a community, or a family, that meets one another’s needs! Someone, in the local church family, has either overcome the sin you are struggling with; and, can offer support; or, someone is fighting the same battle & together you can keep each other accountable & see God do a sanctification work in your lives! In summary, here’s what Paul is telling the local Church of Ephesus: God makes us stronger “collectively” than we will ever be “individually.” It’s the lone ranger sheep, not engaged in the community life of the Church, that the wolf goes after! He’s easy prey! Now, perhaps you are wondering where you can find this kind of church! I’m afraid they are few; and, far between! Pray! Ask God’s Spirit to direct you! Search out this kind of church; and, BE that kind of church member! God Bless!