Tag Archives: Edification

Preaching as Position

 

Foxworthy Preacher

Photo from Randy Boyd via Levi Sisemore

Generally, I love the comedy of Jeff Foxworthy.  This time I am both laughing and crying.  I was a preacher for a long time and I know the pressures of the profession.  When the congregation is not growing/happy/interested/involved/etc., the preacher is the first one blamed and, very often, sent packing.  Maybe a new preacher will be more dynamic/younger/pretty/gregarious/educated/entertaining/etc.  Sorry, Jeff, that’s not really his job.

Most of this pressure is because we have become assembly-oriented.  “Going to church” is the expected and almost exclusive activity of the majority.  Because of this, it had better be well-orchestrated (maybe even have an orchestra).  If “going to church” is not interesting/exciting/ entertaining, then attendees will drift to a more appealing (I almost wrote, “appalling”) venue.  Consequently, all kinds of shenanigans are pulled to draw the crowds away from one congregation to another.

It never seems to cross our minds that our purpose is not to have the biggest congregation, but simply to follow Christ with the strength and wisdom that God provides.  It doesn’t seem to occur to us that assemblies are for edification and encouragement.  If we restore assemblies to their scriptural purpose, we won’t need smoke bombs, rock bands and a new preacher to keep folks coming back.

The light that we are commissioned to bring to all the world has nothing to do with electricity.  It has everything to do with letting the light of Jesus shine through our words, actions and attitudes, bringing glory to God.

Nowhere in the instructions of Jesus and the apostles is there even a hint of having preacher as a position, much less heaping upon him primary responsibility for the state of the congregation and the quality of the “worship service” (a term not found in Scripture).

With church affiliation declining across the denominational spectrum, it is high time to take a fresh look at Scripture.  Are we truly following Christ into the world or leaving him in the uncomfortable streets while we attend another comfortable “worship service” in our well-appointed “church buildings?”

May God forgive me (us) for participating so long in something so foreign to Scripture and deviant to our purpose.

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Filed under "Worship Services", Assemblies, Change Agent, Christlikeness, church, Church Buildings, Churches, discipleship, Edification, Encouragement, Evangelism, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Missions/Evangelism, Restoration

The Imperative of Edification

Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification (Romans 15:2)

So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 14:12).

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).

…love edifies (I Corinthians 8:1).

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase (Acts 9:31).

The Greek word translated “edify” (oikodomeo) implies “building up.”  As used in the writings of Paul and Luke, it simply means that we help each other grow spiritually in the things we say and do.  This is not a mere suggestion, it is an imperative.

If I understand the above passages, in all of our interactions edification must be paramount.  Whether it is an assembly, Bible class, business meeting, a potluck, a conversation over coffee, an encounter on the street, grocery store…wherever…the goal is to build up one another, to encourage spiritual growth.

We have lost sight of this in so many ways…to our detriment.  Is edification the goal when we file into our assemblies?  Do we file out edified?  Too often we leave our assemblies having listened to an irrelevant sermon, sung to the backs of those in front of us and communed with no one in particular.  It is even worse where the use of loud musical instruments makes singing to one another impossible.  Could that be why we are commanded simply to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)?

Edification is an act of love.  It gives grace, produces peace, respect for our God, peace and comfort.  Churches where edification is paramount “increase.”

Edification is imperative.  “Let all things be done for edification.”  Those of us concerned with restoring primitive Christianity must add edification to the list.

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Filed under church, discipleship, Edification, Kingdom Growth, Love, Peace, Preaching/Teaching, Restoration, Scripture