Gathering Together and Building up

 

Just added – a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie, at Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock, from 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 23:

1 Corinthians chp 10 vs 23 – Gathering Together and Building Up – J Stewart Gillespie – 25083015

 

Outline notes available from this message:

 

1 Corinthians chapter 10 approaches this issue of freedom and guidance in the decisions we make by asking 4 key questions in the exercise of freedom:

  1. Does it build me up? (v23)
  2. Does it bless others? (v24)
  3. Does it bring Glory to God (v31)?
  4. Does it bring others to Gods Glory? (v33)

 

  1. Does it build me up? (v23)

all things are lawful” – Christian behaviour is not founded on the principle of law

Restricting Christian behaviour cannot be done on the basis of law

That Christian behaviour is not constrained by law is not to say that Christian behaviour is not constrained!

expediency‘ : sumpheo: ‘sun’ – together and ‘pheo’ – to bring – to bring it together

edification‘ : oikodomeo: to build, construct

  • bring it together
  • build it up

 

You might think, well that is all very well, Christian behaviour not dictated by law, but surely in reality there are rules, surely it makes sense, surely its easier if there is a kind of agreed code of conduct:

  • places you don’t go
  • things you don’t do
  • jobs you can’t do

Lets just stick to some basic laws!

The greatest building projects in the Word of God have been accomplished, not by law but by Grace:

  • The law did not build the tabernacle – many details given in the law and yet many details absent! What does a cherubim look like? How were the colours arranged in the curtain; blue, purple, scarlet and fine twinned linen? What were the dimensions of the lampstand? Consider Exodus 25:31-40 – the lampstand – notice anything important missng? How big was it? I mean how can you build it if you don’t know how big it is? Illust: Not that long ago, needed a new back door, had some work men out, first thing they wanted to know – what size was it? No point in saying, well all I need is a back door! The cynic, skeptic and unbelieving mind would rejoice in this, there is plenty for us all to rejoice in, in the Word of God! Here is a tabernacle they could never build because the basic detail ain’t in the rule book! The tabernacle wasn’t built purely according to the rule book. Let me show you how the tabernacle was built. For this Bezaleel must be filled with the Spirit of God (Exodus 31:2)
  • The law did not build Davids Kingdom – The Spirit did (1 Sam 16:13; Ps 51:11)
  • The law didn’t build Zerubabels temple – The Spirit did (Zech 4:6)
  • The law did not build Christs church – The Spirit did (Acts 1:5, 7-8; 2:1-4, 38, 41, 47)

 

A second word is used here:

expediency‘ : sumpheo: ‘sun’ – together and ‘pheo’ – to bring – to bring it together

I was asked a very good question; ‘what’s the difference between ‘expedient’ and ‘edify’?’

  1. ‘expedient’ – is a horizontal word
  2. ‘edify’ – is a vertical word

that whilst:

  1. Expedient – has to do with gathering together
  2. Edify – has to do with building up

The order is significant

The distinction is real

They are distinct but complementary

We can discern them going hand in hand right the way through the Word of God:

First the gathering together and then

The building up

 

 

David brought together all that was needed for the temple (1 Chron 22:14)

Solomon would build the temple from that provision (1 Chron 22:6ff)

 

The Israelites would bring all the raw materials for the tabernacle (Exodus 25:1ff; 35:29)

Bezaleel would then build it (Exodus 35:30ff)

 

A little lad would bring of his 5 loaves and 2 fishes

The great miracle of feeding would be performed by the Lord

in this miracle there was in a sense a double gathering together and building up:

John 6:13they gathered them together and filled 12 bushels with the fragments of 5 barley loaves…”

and a second building up:

12 baskets – one for each disciple (Luke 9:17)

 

Whilst it goes beyond the context of 1 Corinthians chp 10; in the Christian life, individually, personally, we can see this pattern being worked out:

First – you gather together

Then – you build up

If we are going to build up we must first gather together

On a personal / individual way if we are going to build up one another, if we are going to build up the church, if we are going to preach the gospel, teach the younger ones, do a work for the Lord, there must first be a gathering together!

If there is no gathering together in time, prayer, study, then there will be no building up.

1 Corinthians 10:23 does not really have personal preparation as the context, although we can see this as a pattern and as an application.

The context in 1 Corinthians chp 10 was that of friction in the church, the bringing together then of verse 23 has an eye on that which would bring together the body of Christ (cf chp 1, 3 &12) rather than that which would cause schism and friction!

Their behaviour was splitting and fissuring the people of God apart (chps 1,3,8,10).

Here is a practical and sobering thought for these Corinthians:

personal vertical growth

is founded upon

collective horizontal growth

we first:

gather together

and then we

build up

In despising one another with schism (chp 3) and trampling over one anothers conscience (chp 8 + 10) and envying one another (1 Co 12)

In causing all of that schism and disruption we destroy the very best environment for our own spiritual growth and prosperity.

We are part of the body of Christ; “and wither one member suffer all the members suffer with it.” (1 Co 12:26).

In despising one another, they destroy their own spiritual growth.