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Sunday, September 28, 2016 am                                                Others 2016 IndexOthersIndex.html

 

OTHERS 2016
EDIFY ONE ANOTHER
1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

The past few weeks we have addressed a number of passages that remind us that we are to be concerned about each other as Christians.  As we continue our study of these “one another” passages, we now want to address our need to edify one another. 

 I.                     What is edification?

a.       Defined – οἰκοδομέω, (oikodomeō) a word that means: (BDAG) 1) literally to build something or the building itself (Luke 6:48 – like a man building a house, Matthew 21:33, a man built a tower, etc.)
2) Building in a transcendent sense (symbolic) – in scripture there are passages that refer to the church as being built or being a building – Matthew 16:18 – Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My church…”    1 Peter 2:5, “You, as living stones are being built up a spiritual house,…”
1 Corinthians 3:9-10, you are God’s building.. , take heed how you build
Eph. 2:21 speaks of the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
3) As used in scripture the idea is building us up spiritually – “to help improve ability to function in living responsibly and effectively, strengthen, build up, make more able.” (BDAG)
“To increase the potential of someone or something, with focus upon the process involved…” (L&N, 74:15) 
IT is in this third sense that we are focusing upon edifying one another. 

b.       What edification is NOT –
The place where we meet – the church is the people.  In many of the above passages we see clearly this is not about a building.  It is about the Christians who comprise “the building” of Christ.
It is not about the church providing for the social needs of the body – A study of the New Testament, as we shall see, shows that edification is about building us up spiritually.   It is not about catering “to the whole man” as some say.  While Christians certainly are to care for and to prefer each other over the world (not just when we assemble, but in our lives – cf. Acts 2:46, etc.), when we come together as the church it is about building us up in the faith.  
Study the usage of the word edify (edification, built up, etc.) and the church as used in the New Testament you will see limitations as to the work she can do. 
While edification IS a work of the church (cf. 1 Cor. 14:12, 26, Ephesians 4:16, etc.), along with worship, evangelism and some benevolence, there is simply no command, example or inference of the church catering to social needs.  And as such, she has no authority to build projects to appeal to these social needs – i.e. fellowship halls, family life centers, gymnasiums, etc.   To do so is using the Lord’s money for a function that is not authorized.
NOTE that this is not about whether or not such is a good work, per se and beneficial to Christians, it is a question of authority. 
 (NOTE: Next year we are going to focus on what the Bible says the church is and is not.)

c.        God’s word builds us up – Acts 20:32, 1 Peter 2:2. 
Ephesians 4:11-12 – notice that every worker “given” involves those who handle the word of God – which equips the saints for the edifying of the body of Christ.  As we continue our study of edifying one another we will see that God’s word and our spiritual well-being is the focus.
1 Corinthians 14:4 also deals with how we seek to build up (either ourselves or others) with God’s message.

 II.                   Edifying one another as brethren

a.       Scriptures call for us (and demonstrate) to edify one another  
1 Thessalonians 5:11- Christ died so that we might obtain salvation eventually to live together with Him.  Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing.” (NASU, ESV – encourage and build up one another…)
2 Corinthians 12:19, Paul and those with him noted that “we do all things for your edification.”
Churches edified – Acts 9:31 – after Paul ceased persecuting, churches had peace and were edified.
  1 Cor. 14:12, 26 – in our worship, “let all things be done for edification…”

b.       Edifying one another:

                                                   i.      Promotes peace Romans 14:19, 15:2 – pursue the things that make for peace and by which we may edify one another; let each please his neighbor leading to edification

                                                 ii.      Promotes growth of the body Ephesians 4:11, 16.  NOTE: Today many churches are resorting to social activities in the name of edification (and perhaps evangelism), but if truth be known such activities do NOTHING to spiritually strengthen one as the text teaches.
ALSO worthy of note here is that as we individually do our part (i.e. grow spiritually and in His word) it causes the church to grow.  And HOW does the church grow?  Spiritually – greater knowledge and purity (not tossed to and fro, etc.)
1 Timothy 1:4 – Paul warned Timothy as a young evangelist to charge all there to teach the truth only (no other doctrine), nor give heed to fables, endless genealogies “which cause disputes rather than edification which is in faith.  Again the context makes it clear he is dealing with God’s word being taught and applied.

                                                iii.      Leads to controlling the tongue Ephesians 4:29.  When we seek to edify one another, we will weigh our words carefully and guard against corrupt words (notice how guarding our tongue is a recurring theme as we deal with “one another”).

                                                iv.      Leads to loving our brethren and being sensitive to their conscience - 1 Corinthians 8:1 – Paul said that knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.  His point is addressing matters about which you can with good conscience engage in even though others cannot (NOTE: We are NOT dealing with compromising the truth).  For example: You may with full confidence know that eating meat offered to idols means nothing (except to fill you stomach), but if that causes your brother to stumble, you will NOT eat it for his sake BECAUSE of love.  

Similarly, 1 Corinthians 10:23 reminds us that while something may be lawful for you to do, it may not build up or be helpful (for others, or perhaps even yourself).  When we seek to edify our brother we will think about him in our conduct.

                                                  v.      Is a product of proper worship 1 Cor. 14:12, 26 – in a text where Paul is dealing with conduct within the worship, he notes that it is to be done for edification.  Our acts of worship, while all directed toward God, are designed to build us up.   That’s why it’s not about being entertained.  Think of Colossians 3:16 where we teach and admonish one another in our singing.

                                                vi.      May involve discipline - 1 Cor. 5:4-7, while not using the word edify, does relate to our spiritual growth as the body of Christ.  Where there is no discipline and weak teaching, the body is in danger of the leaven of impurity and ignorance which will destroy the body of Christ.  The warnings are many! 

As with so many other subjects we have addressed, let us resolve that as we consider one another, our goal will be to edify one another.   Is this your goal?  Think about it!