Christian Universe ™
Edification: Building Up
June 26, 2011
I have seen too many preachers and teachers attack and tear down the rest of the congregation, or those of another congregation, when our efforts are to be directed toward edification. To edify literally means to build up. That is the opposite of tearing down, or destroying. If our efforts go to build up the individual believer and the congregation, there will be spiritual growth resulting in spiritual maturity.
Edification: Building Up
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 06-26-2011
Presented to Load church of Christ on 07-03-2011
Too many followers of Christ have complained to me of the way that they feel after attending an assembly of the believers in their area. Many times they feel defeated, betrayed, and disgusted. Some are hurt, some are angry, and some are bitter. The messages that they are hearing during assembly seem devised to tear down and destroy them. This is sad, and worse than unfortunate – it is shameful.
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
When our actions are negative, tearing one another down, there is danger that we will be totally consumed, or destroyed. The antidote to this is to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh.
1 Corinthians 14:3 "But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort."
The apostle Paul identifies preaching as words spoken to edify, exhort, and comfort. This is the opposite of what appears to happen in too many cases. To edify means to build up, to exhort is to urge strongly, and to comfort is to give strength and hope. These are all positive terms, not negative ones. According to Paul, the purpose of preaching is to build up, urge strongly, and give strength and hope, not to tear down, abandon, and make weak and hopeless.
1 Corinthians 14:26 "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."
Brothers may offer edification through one of several ways of teaching God’s will, but it is all for the same reason – the building up of the individual believer, and the whole congregation.
Ephesians 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
The goal of teachers and preachers in the body of Christ is to bring each one to individual spiritual maturity, and in so doing, grow and strengthen the body of Christ as a whole.
2 Corinthians 10:8 "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:"
Not only is the speaker to edify the congregation, but all believers are to edify, or build up, and comfort one another.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."
Romans 14:19 "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Comforting one another and building one another up results in peace. If we love one another, and come to one another’s assistance in times of need, there will be a bond of love and peace.
Ephesians 4:2 "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."
If we care enough to look after each other’s well-being, we will want to say and do that which makes our brothers and sisters stronger and helps them to grow. Our goal is to all grow together spiritually so that we will mature into the measure of Christ, our head.
Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
The apostle Paul had the following advice for Timothy regarding what edifies and that which destroys. Men who do not understand the word of God can cause untold damage.
1 Timothy 1:3 "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."
Verse 5 above shows that charity is the end of the commandment – it is that for which we are reaching, and when we do, we will have achieved spiritual maturity. Our function is not to harangue and harass our brothers and sisters, lest we destroy one another.
Colossians 2:6 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."