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Forward: Have You Edified Your Church Lately?

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Have You Edified Your Church Lately?

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The words “edify” and “edification” appear as action words for Christians in a number of New Testament passages. By definition, to edify is to “instruct or improve (someone) morally or intellectually” (Oxford English Dictionary). The word “edifice” comes from the same root as “edify” and is a synonym for a building. In a Christian sense, it means to promote growth in wisdom, affection, grace, virtue and holiness.

Paul said, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19 Romans 14:19Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.
American King James Version×
). Not only that, we are admonished to “let no corrupt word proceed out of [our] mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
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We have a Christian responsibility to build our church and maintain a peaceful environment. Paul writes that what we say to others in church imparts God’s grace on the hearers and helps them grow. You have an important part in building and promoting the health of your church, be it in your local congregation or through your relationships with people around the world.

In order for you to build up the Church, there are a few things you need to think about. For example, Paul mentions thought for others and self-restraint: “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Romans 15:1-2 Romans 15:1-2 1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.
American King James Version×
). And similarly: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 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.
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Everyone—even Christians—has a deep-down desire to seek their own way without thinking about other people’s feelings and needs. It was true in the earliest Christian churches, and it’s true now. But a person seeking for peace will always be asking what’s best for the entire Church and be willing to submit to others in a godly way.

Even using personal abilities and gifts needs to be for the building up of the Church and not for selfish reasons. Writing to the talented Corinthians, Paul reminded them to think of the purpose of their skills: “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (1 Corinthians 14:12 1 Corinthians 14:12Even so you, for as much as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church.
American King James Version×
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It is important to think about your words, behavior and example, because you have a significant role in the growth of the congregation you are in. You have the power to bring about a peaceful, loving spirit among your brothers. You can listen carefully to and care deeply about others. You can draw them out and give thoughtful, caring responses. It’s often this kind of sacrifice that brings about behavior in kind.

Paul mentored Timothy and advised him to watch for useless talk that brought conflict and not edification in the Church: “Charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith” (1 Timothy 1:3-4 1 Timothy 1:3-4 3 As I sought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might 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.
American King James Version×
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How many times have we become distracted with useless wrangling and disputes, pettiness, uncontrolled ill will and unresolved conflict? How many unpleasant and unnecessary divisions have taken place over the decades because someone tore down the Church by violating the simple yet clear instructions about what it takes to build? People became self-willed, careless with words, filled with self-importance and nonsensical conversation.

We have a wonderful opportunity to become Church-builders—those who edify and promote peace by following what Paul wrote to his congregations.

What are you doing to promote the building of your congregation? Your words and actions have far more impact than you think.  

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