Summary: Many Christians are weary and worn by this life. Edifying ¡V building-up by Christian brothers is the only hope some of us have!
October 14, 2001
¡Kand edify one another, even as also ye do.
Out of ancient Greek history we find the king of Sparta boasting to a visiting monarch about the mighty walls of Sparta. The guest looked around, but he saw no walls. I¡¦d like to see those walls. Show them to me! The Spartan ruler pointed with great satisfaction to some disciplined and well-trained troops, part of Sparta¡¦s mighty army, and exclaimed, There they are! Those are the walls of Sparta!
The point is well made that each man¡¦s devotion and discipline to Sparta was a brick in that invisible wall.
The church is also a building in progress. Jesus is building His church one person, or one Christian brick, at a time. Paul gave the imagery of us as God¡¦s building:
¡Kbuilt upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:20b-22
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Bill and his Aunt Caroline were at odds with each other. Bill was jealous because Caroline was the number one society leader in town. Caroline was jealous because Bill got more money when the family fortune had been distributed at the reading of the last will. Bill had received 100 million dollars. Caroline had only received 50 million. (Poor baby!)
Until the mid 1890¡¦s, Bill and Caroline¡¦s dispute was confined to childish, snide remarks at high social gatherings. But then the warfare intensified and became much more visible. In fact, it became the talk of the entire city.
You see, Bill and his Aunt Caroline lived right next door to each other. All that separated them was a beautiful and spacious garden. Caroline¡¦s splendid 4-story house was easily the nicer of the 2 dwellings. This galled Bill. He had more money - he should have the nicer home.
So Bill tore down his house and built a beautiful 13 story hotel in its place as his home. This hotel would be the most elegant in the nation - and most importantly, it would dwarf Aunt Caroline¡¦s puny house next to it. On March 14, 1893, Bill¡¦s hotel was completed - and it, of course, was named after him.
For a while it appeared that Bill had triumphed over his Aunt Caroline - that is until her construction began. One day, Bill came home to find her house torn down. And in its place, an hotel began to be erected - bigger than Bill¡¦s, with more rooms, more baths, and more stories.
Bill was incensed - and he immediately announced his plans to add on to his hotel, making it taller than his Aunt Caroline¡¦s. Of course, Bill and Caroline¡¦s childish game was the talk of the city. And how far it might have progressed we will never know ¡V for, happily, for all concerned, Bill¡¦s hotel manager showed more maturity and wisdom than Bill or Caroline did. He began a process of mediation between the 2 warring family members. After all, he reasoned they were family. And they were making fools of themselves before a whole city. Couldn¡¦t they possibly work out an equitable agreement?
Bill and Caroline finally accepted his compromise. The two hotels would be joined physically. They would operate as one. And Bill and Caroline would share the profits equally. Instead of squandering their fortunes on childish rivalries, they both could become even richer.
The suggestion worked - and who can even count how many people have enjoyed the luxuries of that hotel that remains in use even to this day in New York City. The hotel that was a combination of buildings built by Bill Waldorf and his Aunt Caroline Astor - known today as the Waldorf-Astoria. (1)
To "edify" means to build up. At the center of Paul¡¦s message to the church is that we are not to tear each other apart like Aunt Caroline and Bill ¡V our mission is to build each other up.
Paul is calling for strong Christian relationships. The importance of relationships between believers is vital...
THE IMPORTANCE OF STRONG CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS
The church¡¦s destiny is to spend eternity in the presence of God. When Jesus rose from the dead, he went back to heaven to prepare a place for His bride, the church. The Bible tells us He is coming back for us. There will come a time when the Father will say, Son, go get your bride.
Those who are part of His glorious church ought to live like it; we need to practice being in His presence! We need to practice what we will be doing together in heaven for eternity.