"...for the edification of the church..."
I Cor. 14:12 says, "Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let in be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel." Paul here in speaking to the church at Corinth encourages them throughout chapter 14 to seek to edify the church. The term edify means to build up. When we assemble together we are to seek to edify our brothers and sisters. We understand of course that number one reason for our worship is to glorify God, to show our love, devotion, and thankfulness to Him. But we must also understand that the Bible very clearly tells us that we have a responsibility toward one another as well. I Cor 14:26 states, "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." God in his awesome foreknowledge, knew that we as individual Christians would need the help of other Christians in order to overcome the world and the wiles of Satan. When He designed the church this is one of the purposes He designed it for. In Acts 20:28-29 Paul is speaking the elders of Ephesus, notice his instruction to them, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (29) For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock." The devil is so cunning and so evil that he will try to use even those in the church to sow discord among God's people and try to destroy the church. Certainly elders have that responsibility to ensure and to be watchful that these "savage wolves" do not destroy the whole flock. But we also as individual Christians, even if we are not in the position of an elder still have a responsibility to help the rest of the flock recognize and overcome sin. The ultimate desire of every baptized believer ought to be the eternal reward of a home in heaven. If that is our goal then we must understand that we need each other to help us achieve it. Hebrews 3:12-13 says, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; (13) but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." The encouragement and edification we receive from one another is essential if we, as individual followers of Christ, hope to overcome sin and prevent ourselves from falling prey to Satan. I Thess. 5:9-11 says, "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (10) who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (11) Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." Each one of these commands and instructions quoted in this article in instructed to the brethren, to the believers, to those within the church. As we have opportunity we have a responsibility, not to be neglected, to assist one another. We must possess the proper attitude that will allow us to willingly seek the best for our brothers and sisters. We must be watchful for one another and willing to put forth the time and effort required to help a brother or sister who may be struggling in sin. God did not suggest that we do these things, He commanded them. Therefore, let us be diligent in our duties lest we neglect, in any way, those things that God has commanded.
- Garrett Alsip