Lesson 25: The Foundation of Edification – Education | Biblical Foundations for Living

Why am I here? I am here to worship God, serve His children, and reach the lost.

Introduction to the Objectives of the Church

We learned in Lessons Twenty Two through Twenty Four that the believer is part of the body of Christ, that this body is composed of local assemblies, and that the purpose of these local assemblies is to bring glory to God through the ministry of His Word.

Having determined the purpose of the church, we can now move on to address its objectives and how to accomplish them. In other words, having answered the “why” question, we are ready to answer the “what” and the “how” questions. What should a local church be doing and how should it be doing it? The Great Commission answers the “what” question by giving three objectives for the church: edification, evangelism, and expansion. The New Testament epistles answer the “how” question by giving detailed descriptions of how to meet each of these objectives. This second section on the doctrine of the church will focus on the objectives of the local church.

Lesson 25: The Foundation of Edification — Education

In previous lessons, we have learned that the three objectives of the local church are the spiritual growth of its members ( edification ), the salvation of the lost ( evangelization ), and the growth and management of its physical and human resources ( expansion ). Of these three, edification is primary. In order for edification to take place, there are three activities the local church should pursue. These are education , worship , and fellowship .

[Follow the flow: The purpose of the church is to glorify God through the ministry of the Word. We accomplish this purpose by means of edification, evangelism, and expansion. Edification is produced through education, worship and fellowship.]

The first of these [education] is the foundation of edification, while the other two are expressions of it. The fact that education is the foundation of edification is seen in Paul’s statement that the teaching ministry of the pastor is

to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up [edified] until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.   Ephesians 4:12 13

In this lesson, we will examine the following aspects of education in the local church:

1. Its nature [what it’s like]

2. Its goals [or purposes]

3. Its means [how it’s purposes are to be fulfilled]

4. Its students [who is to be educated]

I. The Nature of Education in the Local Church [i.e., what ed. is like]

The educational ministry of the local church involves teaching both the content and practice of biblical doctrine to successive generations.

[That is, the goal of education is to teach what the Bible says (content) and what should be done about it and how (practice).]

A. Education is the local church’s first priority .

Since the edification of believers is the primary objective of the local church, and education is the foundation of edification, one must conclude that education is the most important activity of the local church.

[Obviously, one cannot fulfill the objectives of the church until one is educated about what they are, how to fulfill them, etc. In other words, education must precede everything else. C.f. 1 Tim 2:2.]

B. Education in the local church should be Bible centered .

1. Bible centered education is comprehensive .

A local church that focuses only on selected teachings of the Bible while ignoring others is unbalanced and vulnerable to doctrinal error.

For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.   Acts 20:27

2. Bible centered education is theological .

Education is more than the memorization of facts. Though the knowledge of facts is valuable, a Bible centered education is not intended to produce Bible trivia buffs. Rather, it is intended to produce believers who can correlate biblical truths and properly apply them.

[Correlation of biblical truth is the goal of systematic theology. It seeks to discern what the overall teaching of the Bible is concerning various topics. ]

C. Education in the local church should be practical .

Many believe that doctrine is impractical. However, Paul believed just the opposite.

All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.   2 Timothy 3:16 17

Because what one believes affects what one does, doctrine is extremely important. Correct doctrine more often than not leads to correct practice.

[Someone once said, “Ideas have consequences.” This is true. Most actions stem from beliefs. In order to act right/correctly, one must understand correctly. Improper belief leads to improper practice. E.g. tongues/healing/health-and-wealth, etc.]

II. The Goals of Education in the Local Church

A. Education in the local church is designed to produce theological stability .

In Ephesians 4:13, Paul describes pastors as educators whose teaching results in the edification of the church. In the next verse, he shows that edification results in stability.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.   Ephesians 4:14

[If you understand correct doctrine, you’ll be able to spot false doctrine, and are much less likely to accept it. We should develop biblical discernment, the ability to evaluate an idea to determine whether or not it is truly biblical. ]

B. Education in the local church is designed to produce transformed thinking .

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.   Ephesians 4:22 24

When a believer is properly taught the Word of God, his thinking will be transformed [Rom 12:1-2] . As a result, he will have a discriminating mind. “Discrimination” means to make an evaluation or assessment about something. Although the word has a negative connotation in our society, appropriate discrimination is a mark of spiritual growth. It is the ability to evaluate all things in light of God’s Word.

The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.   1 Corinthians 2:15

[What have we called this kind of discrimination? A Bible-soaked logic or a biblical mindset. That is, making evaluations and decisions based on biblical principles.]

C. Education in the local church is designed to equip believers .

The teaching/learning process is not intended to be an end in itself. It ought to be the means whereby believers are prepared to serve the Lord.

It was he who gave some to be . . . pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.   Ephesians 4:11 12

III. The Means of Education in the Local Church

A. Education in the local church is accomplished through formal instruction.

1. Formal instruction involves the authoritative presentation of biblical truth.

The teaching of the early church was authoritative. That is, the apostles’ preaching was strong, direct, and uncompromising. This style of preaching is unpopular in our society. However, the Word of God must be authoritatively preached, even if doing so is unpopular.

[Titus 2:15 – “Encourage and rebuke with all authority.”]

2. Formal instruction takes place in the assembly .

As learned previously, the word “church” means “assembly” or “congregation.” The church assembles to hear the Word of God preached, among other things.

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. – Acts 20:7

[This is one of the primary things church is all about. Since the preaching/teaching aspect of church is so important, it is vital that you attend a church where the pastor teaches the Bible correctly.]

B. Education in the local church is accomplished through informal instruction.

1. Informal instruction takes place through personal relationships.

Part of the reason that local church members are to assemble regularly is to develop relationships. Believers learn from one another by exhortation and example .

[Exhortation is verbal (preaching, classes, testimonies, etc.), example is non-verbal (others see and are influenced by your behavior). ]

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another  and all the more as you see the Day approaching.   Hebrews 10:24 25

[Most of us learn much by example. Remember that as adults are examples to you, you are examples to those younger than you.]

2. Informal instruction takes place through familial [or family] relationships.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.   Deuteronomy 6:6 7

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.   Ephesians 6:4

The educational ministry of the local church equips parents to accomplish this task.

[Strong families are the basis of strong churches. Thus it is in the church’s best interests to promote strong families.]

IV. The Students of Education in the Local Church

A. All local church members are students.

One of the synonyms for a believer in the New Testament is “disciple,” which means a learner . Learning, therefore, should be a pursuit of every believer.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.   1 Peter 2:2

[“All” includes teens. You should be serious about learning biblical truth at church. You may be indifferent/apathetic about other subjects, but you should be an avid, serious student when it comes to biblical instruction. ]

B. Suggestions for pupils

1. Attend church faithfully.

2. Read and study the Bible daily.

3. Take notes during sermons.

4. Discuss what you are learning with others.

5. Read biblically-sound literature.

6. Take advantage of teaching opportunities.

7. Take part in other biblically-sound learning opportunities, such as Bible Institute classes.

Learn to Live It

1. A fellow youth group member says, “I don’t study by myself. My youth leader is such a wonderful teacher that he gives me all I need.” Is this a healthy attitude? no

What would be some of the dangers of such an attitude?

What if the youth leader leaves? What if the youth leader is wrong? You follow him/her into error. You become dependant upon someone else to “feed” you. You cannot “feed” yourself.

What should you tell him?

that he needs to become a “self-feeder.” He shouldn’t be overly dependent upon leaders.

2. You hear a fellow youth group member say that he wishes the class would quickly finish a doctrinal study in order to move on to more “practical” issues. What false conclusion has he made?

that doctrine is not practical or that it’s unimportant

What might you tell him about the relationship between doctrine and practice?

They are inseparable–Doctrine determines practice. Incorrect practice is the result of incorrect belief. Mind (belief) directs the will (behavior). He should be concerned as much about doctrine as he is about practice.

Speak Your Mind


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