2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching."
One of the mandates of the church is to edify one another. It simply means to grow stronger in your walk with the Lord through the teaching and preaching of the Word within the church. This basic idea takes several different shapes when we think about it practically. This is what 2 Timothy 4:2 is essentially talking about. In other words, what does edification look like? What does the exercise equipment look like that we use to grow stronger?
Forms of Edification
If we continue this illustration of fitness training, then the muscle we are growing is our knowledge and confidence in the Word of God. This touches every aspect of our lives and so it is an important thing for a Bible believing church to get right.
Firstly, we preach the Word. This happens on a Sunday morning, in our small groups, and Sunday’s school classes and adult elective classes. One of the spiritual gifts given to the church is in fact teaching. Another way to edify one another is through reproof, rebuke, and exhortation. Reproof in this context is describing a process of discipline or to expose something. To restore a brother or sister who has gone astray due to sin, the church must first help that person repent and accept responsibility for their actions. This is what it means to reprove someone and, when done in love, can strengthen the whole church.
The rebuke and to exhort are two sides of the same coin. The one tells us what not to do. The other tells us what to do instead. To discourage certain actions and lifestyles or ways of thinking and encourage others instead. Growing stronger in the Word means that it will affect every aspect of our lives. When we live for God, the Bible is a rich source of guidance. When we help each other along on our parallel journey through rebuke and exhortation, we grow stronger as a church.
A Journey of a Lifetime
Growing stronger as a church is a marathon, not a sprint. It must be central in the minds of every church member to individually grow in the Word and collectively bring others along. On the day of glory, we can all cross the finish line together. From Colossians 1:28, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”