By Tim Shoemaker
The word “edification” is from the Greek word oikodome which denotes the act of building. It is a compound word oikos (house) and demo (to build) and may be used in the literal and figurative sense. However in the New Testament it is used only figuratively in the sense of building someone up spiritually. It has to do with the promotion of spiritual growth. W.E. Vine says that it is used “metaphorically in the sense of edifying, promoting the spiritual growth and development of character of believers by teaching or by example, suggesting such spiritual progress as the result of patient labour.” We can edify people by words of encouragement for the good they have done and the service they render but the real edification comes to us from the word of God.
We see this a number of times in the New Testament. In Acts 9:31 we are told, “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” This was after the conversion of Paul when he began preaching boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus. Brother McGarvey believed that this edifying done by Paul in his teaching was in the sense of building up the church in Christian character and brother H. Leo Boles concluded the edification was in the growth in their knowledge of Christ.
That the edification of the church is the result of studying the word of God is clear from Paul’s statement to the elders of Ephesus as recorded in Acts 20:32. “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (NKJV). The word of God studied and obeyed builds up the character that God desires in our lives and gives us that inheritance among those who are sanctified.
The church here is blessed in having a number of programs that are important to building up the church. Our gospel meetings are exceptionally good at building up the membership here as we have had some great preachers here to instruct us in the gospel of Christ. In the most recent years we have had brothers Philip Hines, Jerry Barber, Charles Box, Neal Pollard and David Lipe. In the future we are looking forward to having Jeff Jenkins, Andrew Philips and David Shannon.
The Lads to Leaders Program is an important work is helping develop leadership among our young people. When I look at those involved in this work it is interesting to notice that some of those leaders are those who had their start in the program when they were preteen and teens. Some are now serving as deacons, preachers and Bible school teachers in the Lord’s church.
The youth campaigns have presented our young people with a number of opportunities to participate in working for the church. They have knocked doors in a number of cities across the United States and in Canada inviting people to attend gospel revivals and to take Bible Correspondence Courses. This helps in building up strong Christian character in each of them as well as encouraging them with the knowledge that they are important in God’s church and in His work.
With God’s help and a strong purpose on Sunday December 11 we hope to continue these efforts to provide the edification that we all need. Let us be praying and planning now for what we hope to be giving each Sunday of 2017.