Have you noticed how much society has moved on traditional beliefs such as marriage, or homosexuality, or even sin of any kind, in the last 40 years or so? Sadly, it has been the wrong way. What has happened? Could it be that down through the years that not enough people have held to the traditions?
Paul told the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word, or our epistle.” It is our duty as Christians to know and keep the Word of God. Paul also told Timothy to, “…commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also”(2 Timothy 2:2). One of these traditions that seems to have been lost in the church’s race to modernization is mutual edification.
Mutual edification strengthens the church through shared responsibility and teaching. It starts with strong, faithful men, elders in particular. Paul gave specific qualifications for elders to Titus and to Timothy. One of these is apt, or able, to teach (1 Timothy 3:2). They are to feed the church (Acts 20:28), and “by sound doctrine may be able to exhort and to convince the gainsayers”(Titus 1:9). This teaching that they are to do extends beyond just themselves. As they are overseers, they will be working with the young or new converts to begin helping them to grow, learn, and teach others. In order to do this, studying is essential, but growth in the “grace and the knowledge”naturally follows. After all, are these new converts not the next generation that the church has?
This pattern and tradition was taught by the apostles. The duty of keeping the church growing spiritually is all of our responsibility, not just one man’s job.
Paul called for the elders of the church of Ephesus. As Brother Jay Graham mentioned in his article (“The Gospel Message,” Volume 60, Number 4, April, 2018), there is no hint at Ephesus of any one minister of the church. The teaching was put in place as Paul and the other apostles established the churches.
It is a beautiful system we have that the Lord intended for His church. It is how faith is passed on to the next generation (Romans 1:17,“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith”).
Paul warned Timothy that the “time would come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”(2 Timothy 4: 3-4). We have seen this in man’s churches and denominations and the results of it. But thanks be to God that as the brethren are growing and sharing the Word, His truth is never sacrificed, and the church continues to be the light on the hill to bring others to Christ!
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”(Hebrews 10:23-24).