Title: Build Others Up (1)
Scripture: “Say only what helps” (Ephesians 4:29 MSG)
The apostle Paul writes, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT).
Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this way: “Say only what helps, each word a gift.”
Think of the people you most enjoy spending time with.
How would you describe them?
Of course not!
They’re celebrators, not complainers.
They’re passionate about life.
As you live this day, realize that everyone you meet, you will leave:
- Better off;
- Worse off;
The way to build others up is to see them as opportunities instead of obstacles or obligations.
One leadership expert writes: “One of the best things you can do for people – which also attracts them to you – is to expect the best of them.
I call it putting a ‘10’ on everyone’s head.
It helps others think more highly of themselves, and at the same time it also helps you.
A survey of one hundred self-made multi-millionaires showed only one common denominator.
These highly successful men and women routinely looked for the best in people.
Benjamin Disraeli, one of Britain’s finest Prime Ministers, put it this way: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”
And you do that by appreciating, encouraging, and helping others to reach their potential.
Napoleon described leaders as “dealers in hope.”
He understood that hope is one of the greatest of all possessions.
If you can be the person who bestows that gift on others, they’ll not only be attracted to you, they’ll be forever grateful.
Let’s learn what the Bible has to say about building others up as we examine more in Ephesians 4:17-32 of Scripture:
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:17)
The natural tendency of human beings it to think their way away from God – leaving them “hopelessly confused.”
Intellectual pride, rationalizations, and excuses all keep people from God.
Don’t be surprised if people can’t grasp the Good News.
The Good News will seem foolish to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding.
18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:17-24)
People should be able to see a difference between Christians and non-Christians because of the way Christians live.
We are to live full of light (Ephesians 5:8).
Paul told the Ephesians to leave behind the old life of sin since they were followers of Christ.
Living the Christian life is a process.
Although we have a new nature, we don’t automatically think all good thoughts and express all right attitudes when we become new people in Christ.
But, if we keep listening to God, we will be changing all the time.
As you look back over the last year, do you see a process of change for the better in your thoughts, attitudes, and actions?
Although change may be slow, it comes as you trust God to change you. (For more about our new nature as believers, see Romans 6:6; 8:9; Galatians 5:16-26; Colossians 3:3-8).
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Our old way of life before we believed in Christ is completely in the past.
We should put it behind us like old clothes to be thrown away.
When we decide to accept Christ’s gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10), it is both a one-time decision as well as a daily conscious commitment.
We are not to be driven by desire and impulse.
We must put on the new nature, head in the new direction, and have the new way of thinking that the Holy Spirit gives.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:25)
Lying to each other disrupts unity by creating conflicts and destroying trust.
It tears down relationships and leads to open warfare in the church.
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[a] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:26-27)
The Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t get angry, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger properly.
If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships.
If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within.
Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them.
If we nurse our anger, we will give the devil an opportunity to divide us.
Are you angry with someone right now?
What can you do to resolve your differences?
Don’t let the day end before you begin to work on mending your relationship.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[b] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:30)
The Holy Spirit within us is a guarantee that we belong to God. (For more on this thought, see the Ephesians 1:13-14).
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Reflection: (Ephesians 4:32)
This is Christ’s law of forgiveness as taught in the Gospels (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:35; Mark 11:25).
We also see it in the Lord’s Prayer – “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4).
God forgives us, not because we forgive others but solely because of His great mercy.
As we come to understand His mercy, we will want to be like Him.
Having received forgiveness, we will pass it on to others.
Those who are unwilling to forgive have not become one with Christ, who was willing to forgive even those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34).
Reflection: (Ephesian 4:28-32)
We can bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the way we live.
Paul warns us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, harsh words, slander, and bad attitudes toward others.
Instead of acting that way, we should be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us.
Are you bringing sorrow or pleasing God with your attitudes and actions?
So, here is what I want you to do; Act in love toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, just as God acted in love by sending His Son to die for your sins starting today and watch the difference it makes in your life.
May God bless you this day… Amen.