Are you building others up? What does it mean to build others up? In th previous post I mentioned that there are Christian phrases that we use but maybe don’t fully understand. Today we’re looking at the phrase “build each other up.” Are you building others up in the faith?
Yesterday we began our series on Jude 17-25, studying another Christian phrase Jude mentions: last times. As we continue in this post, Jude talks about what we will see in the end times. Take a look at what he says in verses 18-19. There he briefly repeats a description of the ungodly impostors he talked about in verses 1-16, which we studied last week.
Jude describes them as scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires, divide the church, follow mere natural instincts, and who do not have the Spirit. What Jude is saying is that the church should not be surprised by the presence of ungodly impostors among them because the apostles had predicted it would happen.
When we discussed this in our sermon roundtable (a kind of weekly Bible study that discusses sermons 10 days before they are preached) a few weeks ago, one person asked an interesting question: “What might make a church vulnerable to people like this?” Think about that. You have a church filled with Christians, and those Christians allow ungodly scoffers to be a part of the church. How can that be?
Last week I mentioned that perhaps we could question Jude by asking, “But shouldn’t we want ungodly people in the church so that they can learn about the Lord?” On one hand I get that, and I would generally say, yes, we do want everyone to come to our fellowship to hear the good news about Jesus. But there is more to the story. Look at the way Jude describes these ungodly impostors. They divide the church. They are malicious. They are not genuinely interested in seeking truth. Instead they are actively seeking to tear down the church. So while the church should be a place where people can meet Jesus, there are some people who are simply malicious in their intent, and Jude is saying that the church needs to deal with them.
With that said, are there aspects of a church that would make a church vulnerable to being infiltrated by people who are malicious? At sermon roundtable we speculated that if church has spiritual boredom or apathy, or maybe poor teaching, it could be susceptible to this. Thus that church would be showing that they are not ready for the last times, as Jesus taught us to be. And that is exactly where Jude goes next.
In verse 20 we see how Jude begins to answer the question, how do we show we are ready for the end times?
First he says, build yourselves up in the faith.
Discipleship is all about building up yourself and others in the faith. It requires regular immersion in Scripture, applying God’s word to your life. Not just reading it or listening to sermons, but doing what it says, as Jude’s brother James writes in his letter (see James 1:22).
We also build each other up through Christian fellowship and community, encouraging one another. This is why it is so important that everyone in the church belong to a small group of some kind. In the old days of the evangelical church, they had weekly home gatherings called class meetings, and they would ask one another, “how goes it with your soul?”
Are you a part of a group like that? Here are some questions that a group could be asking one another:
- What are you reading in your Bible?
- How is your prayer life?
- What is something you are thanking God for this week?
- What is something God is convicting you of right now?
- How are you choosing joy this week?
- What can we pray about?
If this is totally foreign to your group, perhaps you could make it a goal to work towards, implemented slowly and gradually. Additionally, group members could check in with each other at least once between meetings (text, call, email, face-to-face, etc.) to see how they are doing, again utilizing these questions as a follow-up to what was brought up at the face-to-face meetings. Do you see how questions like these can encourage growth in discipleship to Jesus? Participation in a group like that is one of the best ways to build each other up in the faith.