Many people refer to the building where believers assemble as a church. But the people that assemble are the church, not the building. You do not go to church; you are the church. Or perhaps more correctly, you are a member of the church. Someone had to edify or build the assembly building. In a figurative sense, you are instructed to edify or build up your fellow Christian. Romans 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” You are to seek the things you can do to build up your fellow Christian. Romans 15:2 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” This describes an act of love on your part for you to encourage your Christian neighbor and make him or her stronger.
The assembly is one of the better opportunities to edify one another. Before the assembly starts and after the assembly ends, visit with your fellow Christians. Find out what is happening in their lives. Share what is happening in your life. Find out what their needs are and how you may be able to help. Discover how you can encourage and pray for each other. I have been to assemblies where people come as late as they can and leave as soon as they can. I have also been to assemblies where the brethren come early and stay after just so they can enjoy the fellowship, get caught up on what is happening in the lives of their Christian brothers and sisters and provide encouragement. These are using the time of the assembly to edify one another.
The first way that edification should occur in the assembly is addressed in 1 Corinthians 14:3 “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” Prophesying signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God. Men today who preach or teach from the Bible are prophesying. The speaker in the assembly has the responsibility to edify, exhort and comfort his listeners; this is a big responsibility. If you are a speaker in the assembly, seek to excel in edifying your listeners; be open to constructive criticism on how you can improve in your edification. What you speak about, how you present the word, how long you speak, and how prepared you are all contribute to whether your message is edifying or not. Put yourself in the shoes of your listener; decide what they need to hear and how it can be best presented to edify them.
A second means of edification in the assembly is in the singing. Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Do you realize that you are speaking to one another when you sing in the assembly? The music portion of the assembly is not meant for the listeners to sit back and be entertained, as occurs sometimes in denominational churches. You are making melody in your heart to the Lord and you are speaking to each other. You sing songs of praise and worship to God and songs of faith and hope and encouragement. You can truly edify your brother and sister in Christ by your singing with them and to them. Learn the words and the melodies of the songs. Make your voice as pleasing and beneficial as you can so that your singing will be edifying and encouraging to your fellow Christian.
1 Corinthians 14:26 “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.” All these things that you do in the assembly are to be done for edification of each other. Since that is true, I conclude that one of the primary purposes of the assembly is to build up or edify all believers who are assembled. Many people come to the assembly because they believe that this is how God wants to be worshipped. It is true that we worship God in the assembly, but God wants your whole life to be spent in serving and worshipping Him; the assembly is only a small portion of that worship. Others come to the church assembly because they feel they are commanded to come. I encourage you to desire to come to the assembly because this is an opportunity to edify your fellow Christian. Hopefully, at the same time, you will be edified as well.