If you peruse the posts (old and new) on this blog, you’ll find that I write often on the subjects of church gatherings and mutual edification. Why? Well, for one thing, for my PhD dissertation I am studying mutual edification as the purpose of the church gathering together from the perspective of Scripture. For another thing, well, I think the church should all work together to build up one another in maturity in Jesus Christ whenever we meet together. (Which, of course, is why I’m studying that subject for my dissertation…)
Earlier this week, Dave Black wrote a short post that touches on this subject. This is part of his post from Monday, November 14, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.:
Paul made it clear that all of the Colossian believers were to teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16). The author of Hebrews makes the same point when he writes, “Exhort one another every day” (Heb. 3:13). The message is clear. All Christians are Body-builders (they are to “edify”), but we do not all build in the same way. The New Testament envisages that all Christian disciples will be involved in the “work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). According to Paul, every member ministry is the normal Christian life.
As he points out, there are many exhortations, principles, and examples in Scripture that indicate that all believers should work together (“mutual”) to build or strengthen the church (“edification”). (By the way, Dave only lists a few of the many passages that point toward mutual edification.)
Similarly, and as he also points out, “we do not all build in the same way.” This is especially clear in the passage of Scripture in which the authors discuss spiritual gifts. But, there are other examples as well.
Think about these two points carefully. There is a reason that we do not all “build” in the same way. We all need to be “built” in different ways. Some may need more of one kind of construction and strengthen than another kind, but we all need many different kinds edification.
We need different kinds of “construction” so we also need different “construction workers.” One person cannot and must not attempt to do all of this work. The body of Christ is not designed to work in this way.
Imagine a dilapidated house… a shack perhaps… about to fall in on itself. It needs much work. It needs carpentry work, electrical work, plumbing work, roofing work, etc. A carpenter cannot do all of the work. An electrician – even a master electrician – cannot do all of the work.
In the same way, in order for the church to be built up (edified), it is necessary for every follower of Jesus to take part in the work of building up.
When you gather with the church, do those gathered understand that the goal is edification of the whole body? Who is expected to do the work of edification? Who is allowed to do the work of edification?