Building Up The Church
By Rich Carmicheal
Jesus is coming again, not for a lukewarm Church, but for a bride that has made herself ready (Rev. 19:7). He "gave Himself up for her to make her holy…and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (Eph. 5:25-27). He desires a holy and pure bride and is calling the Church today to prepare herself for His return.
Unfortunately, the spiritual condition of the Church in many instances falls well short of all that the Lord desires. Like the church in Ephesus, many of God’s people have "forsaken their first love" (Rev. 2:4). Like the churches in Galatia, some members of the church are promoting a watered-down and distorted gospel (Gal. 1:6-7). Like the churches in Corinth and Thyatira, some people in the Church are embracing immorality (1 Cor. 5; Rev. 2:20-22). Like the church in Sardis, much of the Church today has little spiritual depth (Rev. 3:1). And like the church in Laodicea, the Church has become too self-sufficient, trusting in her own resources rather than in divine resources (Rev. 3:17). In other words, much of the Church is marked by worldliness, sin, complacency and powerlessness.
On the other hand, there certainly are many people in the Church who love the Lord and who are walking faithfully with Him. They understand and appreciate the great price that Jesus paid for their salvation. They strive to serve Him and please Him in all things. They eagerly anticipate His return and desire to be found holy, blameless and faithful when He comes again.
Hopefully, you are counted among this latter group. If so, then the Lord has a special ministry for you. He desires that you help Him build up the Church, helping prepare others for His return. Although He is ultimately the only One who can bring about spiritual growth (1 Cor. 3:6-7), His Word makes it very clear that you have an essential role in building up the body of Christ. As the Apostle Paul writes, "…the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Eph. 4:16, italics added). The Church’s spiritual health, therefore, is directly dependent upon the work the Lord wants to do through you.
Throughout the New Testament we read about how the Lord wants to use our lives to build up others in the Church. For example, He wants us to pray for one another (Jam. 5:16), instruct one another (Rom. 15:14), accept one another (Rom. 15:7), honor one another above ourselves (Rom. 12:10), forgive one another (Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32), bear with each other (Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:2), restore one another (Gal. 6:1), serve one another (Gal. 5:13), love one another deeply (1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:11), be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32), speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19), admonish one another with all wisdom (Col. 3:16), encourage one another daily (Heb. 3:13), spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24), and use our spiritual gifts to build up the church (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:12). He also wants us to use our words carefully, speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) as we seek to say only that which "is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Eph. 4:29).
On the other hand, the Lord does not want us to provoke or envy each other (Gal. 5:26), lie to each other (Col. 3:9), grumble against each other (Jam. 5:9), nor to devour one another (Gal. 5:15). He also does not want us to "…give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing." Instead, we are to "encourage one another—and all the more as we see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:24-25).
The Lord deeply desires to bless the Church through you. While other people may be quick to criticize and condemn, He wants you to be one who blesses and builds up. I encourage you to be one of His key instruments for revival in your local congregation and beyond.
I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who are partners with Herald of His Coming as this ministry seeks to build up the Church. As you probably know, the Lord established Herald of His Coming in 1941 in order to help prepare the Church worldwide for Christ’s return. With your help, this ministry has been and continues to be used by the Lord to bring much encouragement to the Church all around the world. We consider it a glorious privilege to be working alongside you in this grand calling from the Lord. May He continue to bless the Church through all of us as we work together!