All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 1 Corinthians 10:23
The word for edify is oikodomeo (oy-kod-om-eh’-o) and it means to build a house, erect a building, to restore by building, to rebuild, to repair. It also means to found, establish, to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness and blessedness.
When you look at the same verse with this in mind it might read
All things are lawful, but not all things establish, or
All things are lawful, but not all things build up, or
All things are lawful, but not all things restore, or
All things are lawful, but not all things promote growth.
The church building, the sanctuary, is meant for two purposes. One is to worship the Lord God with all your heart, the other is for the building up of the saints. The church was not established to debase or condemn people, but rather to help them grow to understand God’s love so they may share it with others.
The building up of the saints is an important function of the church.
A preacher can preach his until his face turns blue and the Lord returns, but if he isn’t preaching according to God’s words, then he is only doing it to edify himself, or to serve another purpose other than God’s will.
The job of a pastor is to lead and feed the flock. That means to show them how to use their gifts in order to edify and build up the church. It also means to guide the people in order that they may continue to grow according to God’s words. The food which is fed should be to teach how to love, not to judge, condemn nor debase. Good food is meant to edify in order to strengthen and draw people closer to God, not to shove them away.
Think of a seed. If you cast the seed off to the side, it will never have the opportunity to even sprout. When you plant a seed in the ground hoping one day it will bring forth a harvest, if you do not feed the seed, what do you think will happen? It will eventually wither away and die. But when the seed is firmly planted, is watered and fed nutrients it grows into a beautiful plant, which has a bountiful harvest. It is the same way with Christians. Christians need to be planted and nurtured in order to grow.
Now you might ask, “How can a person be nurtured? Whose responsibility is it to feed this person?”
Well technically it is the responsibility of all Christians to feed each other. However, the bulk of the responsibility lies with the leaders in a church.
Even though each of us has been given a gift to edify the church, there are also certain responsibilities within the church. God puts people in certain positions in order to have leadership, authority and order within the church. They are called overseers.
These are the ones who teach the Word of God. The ones who teach are the ones that God raises up to keep people on the path of righteousness. They include apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There is a warning for anyone who feels they are called to teach the Word. Anyone who teaches the Word of God is more strictly judged. That is because God doesn’t like his Word being distorted from the truth.
We have power through the words we speak to either build up or to destroy. This is a little excerpt from a thought put on my heart recently about James 3:6-8
Even though we cannot tame the tongue, we can change what comes out of our mouth, by what is in our heart. We have the ability to change hate into love. With hate we have the power to destroy, but with love we have the power to heal. With hate we have the power to curse, but with love we have the power to bless.
It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. Matthew 15:11
This was spoken to the Pharisees when they asked Jesus why the disciples did not wash their hands before breaking bread as was the tradition of the elders. Jesus called them hypocrites because they themselves did not keep the command of God, but instead twisted it to fit the need.
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man. 27:19
We each have the ability in us to make a difference in others people’s lives. We can choose to use this ability for good, or for evil. We can choose to reflect love, or we can choose to reflect hate.
If you truly have the love of God in your heart, then the reflection you bear would be a reflection of love. If you are not reflecting God, then who are you reflecting? It’s time to take a look and see.
For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 1 Peter 4:17-18
God will start with the family of God first! These are the people who have come to know the truth of the word and have tasted the sweet goodness of God’s grace.
God put it on my heart that He will start at the top and work His way down through the ranks because those who are at the top are the most accountable for their words and actions. They are the most accountable for the way they lead others in their daily lives.
Those who are acceptable in God’s sight will have rewards, but those who are not acceptable will be removed so that the ungodly and sinners will have an opportunity to see the truth.