Edification, Exhortation, and Comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:3 “But he that prophetieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
Paul is speaking concerning prophesying….or preaching what is on God’s mind for His people.
1 Corinthians 14:4 “….but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
As preachers, we are to bring before the people we preach to, three things:
Edification….which is to build up.
We are to preach the Word of God in such a way that the people will grow in grace. That they will grow from children…tossed to and fro in doctrine…..to grown men of God.
Ephesians 4:13-15 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things which is the head, even Christ:”
God’s Word is full of “building blocks”….that will fortify us against this world’s tricks and allurements….for through His Word, and by HIs Spirit, we will know our God.
Daniel 11:32 “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Psalm 61:3 “For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”
Psalm 62:2 “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”
To know the Lord, and HIs Word to us….builds us up. We are not tricked….for we know HIs Will.
We are not “greatly moved”….it does not say we are never moved by emotions, troubles, or adversity…..but we are not greatly moved….because Christ is our Rock and fortress.
Then we are to Exhort.
Exhortation is to awaken….
Hebrews 13:22 “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation : for I have written a letter unto you in few words.”
When we exhort, we are preaching to wake our hearers up. It is so easy to fall asleep, or settle down in what we consider a time of rest.
The Adversary of our souls, the devil, never rests….but seeks to trick or beguile us.
So we must be watchful of our souls….and awake to hear the calling of our Lord for the next step.
Paul wrote the Ephesians in the early part of his first imprisonment….a letter of affection….reminding them of the Will of God from “before times eternal”….and the blessings He has for us. But he exhorts them to be awake….not comfortable in their spiritual lives….but staying in the light.
Ephesians 5:14 “Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
Paul wrote the Romans about the Purpose of God….and the importance of continuing in it.
Romans 13:11-12 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
Exhortation is an important element in our growth in grace….for it we are not awake to Christ’s call and direction….we may surely take a wrong turn.
Then we are to Comfort.
How important this is to godly growth in grace! For to comfort a Christian is to turn their eyes upward to Christ….and His love and peace.
Romans 8:35, 38-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…
….For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
To see and feel the needs of others….their grief, sorrow, pain,….tiredness even. As a Christian, we are to pray for….and speak the words of Christ which will heal, and give something to lean upon.
For God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Paul, when the Thessalonians were sorrowful about those who had died already…thinking that perhaps since they were dead, the Lord would not raise them up when He came….wrote to them.
1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16-18 “But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter (John 14:16, 26)….for He abides with us forever.
The scriptures are for our comfort…..
….”…that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”(Romans 15:4)
And we are to comfort each other.
2 Thessalonians 5:11 “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
Comfort your hearts and stablish you in every good word and work.”
We are called help each other grow in grace…..
Maybe you can not preach or teach…..but you can witness to God’s grace and comfort to you….and pray for His people, that they may know Him as they should.