Lesson 32 - A Firm Foundation

Lesson 32 - A Firm Foundation

The Christian Way of Life is a life of learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.  In order to properly execute the plan of God, the believer must learn to think divine viewpoint.  Divine viewpoint is found only in the Bible, the source of absolute truth.

God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it.  God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit.  Both are grace functions for every believer in this age, regardless of education or I.Q.  Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it.

At salvation all believers are placed into union with Jesus Christ and become complete in Him, positionally (our standing before God). (Colossians 2:10)  However, experientially (our standing before men) we are not complete because we still have a sin nature.  For this reason all believers are commanded to grow spiritually and to advance toward spiritual maturity. (Ephesians 4:14-15; II Peter 3:18)  Spiritual maturity and a stabilized mind should be the goal of every person who has trusted Christ as Savior.

Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight.  It takes a lifetime of persistent and consistent study to learn Bible doctrine.  God’s Word likens spiritual growth to building a house.  Often expressed as edification, the concept in Greek is to build or to build up.  For the Christian, this occurs in his soul as he exposes himself to accurate Bible teaching and applies the truth that he learns.  As with any building, we must be careful to first “lay” the right foundation before we build on it.  The Scripture is clear that the only foundation for the believer is Jesus Christ Himself.  We know that the Word of God is the mind of Christ. Therefore, the foundation is the written Word (Christ is the living Word).  The written Word of God is meant to be understood and utilized as a blueprint for the Christian Way of Life.  God’s Word is meant to be understood.

The Biblical Usage of “Edification”

The Greek word for “edification” is “oikodome” and literally means the act of building or erecting a structure.  (Ephesians 4:11-29)  Like any structure, our “building” in the soul must have a firm foundation and properly-constructed “floors”.  Our foundation is Jesus Christ and the “floors” are categories of Bible doctrine. Once the foundation is in place, then the believer can begin to build upon it with full confidence that it will stand. The foundation is received at salvation, but the floors must be built over a period of time, as Bible doctrine is learned, believed and applied.  (Ephesians 4:12,16,29; Colossians 2:7; I Timothy 1:4; James 1:4) 

The Basis for the Edification Complex

The basis for any system from God is always GRACE.  The word grace itself makes it clear that God’s system for the spiritual building is void of any human merit, human works, human ability or human viewpoint thinking.  The reason that God planned it this way is to eliminate human viewpoint thinking and human production as the means for building anything spiritual.  Instead, He provided a non-meritorious system for both perception and execution of the Christian Way of Life: FAITH.  We learn how to erect this building in our souls by faith and it takes faith to put into practice.  This method is the only one that can bring honor and glory to God. (Hebrews 11:6)

Glorifying God on earth is one of the reasons we are here and is never accomplished by overt activity.  It is our spiritual lives that bring glory to God, not our Christian lives.  The difference is that our spiritual life is our relationship with God and our Christian life is our relationship with others.  As we allow the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, we reflect the glory of God to the world.  The Bible declares that the believer is the light of the world.  As light, we are to shine into dark places, which means we are to exhibit the character of Christ. (Matthew 5:14-16; Colossians 1:27, 3:16-17)

The Formation of the Spiritual Building

The spiritual building is built using the stored Bible doctrine in the soul.  Consistent study and application over a period of time is the method for developing our complex.  This building is literally Christ being formed in the soul of the believer.  Positionally, Christ is “in” every believer, but He is not “formed” in every believer.  Jesus Christ had this spiritual building formed in His soul.  He had all the characteristics of spiritual maturity:  1) He was full of grace and truth 2) He had a relaxed mental attitude 3) He was free from mental attitude sins 4) He had capacity for love and 5) He had divine inner happiness.  Christ erected the spiritual building in His soul as a demonstration to all believers that it is possible for us to do the same through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 4:19; John 1:14)

As a believer-priest, we have the opportunity to build a spiritual building in our soul.  With Christ as our example, we simply follow His pattern.  Christ built this building under the filling of the Holy Spirit as He learned and applied the Word of God.  As we abide in Him (fellowship with God) and His word abides in us (Bible doctrine) we are allowing God the Holy Spirit to produce the character of Christ in our lives.  (John 15:10)  The Bible uses a number of terms to refer to this building process.  For example, walking in the light (I John 2:3-11), walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-23), imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1), Christ at home in your hearts (Ephesians 3:17), and Christ formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)

Building the Spiritual Building

(Ephesians 4:21-32)

Building our spiritual complex is a process of transformation (not reformation), which takes place in the mind of the believer as he thinks the mind of Christ, which we call Divine Viewpoint Thinking.  As our spiritual complex is being built, happiness, stability and blessing are being produced by God the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

Ephesians 4:21-24

v. 21 

“But” - sets up the contrast between the believer and unbeliever

“ye have heard him” - heard the truth about Him; learning Bible doctrine is hearing Him

“and have been taught by Him” - by His example and by Him as the Word of God (John 1:1)

“as the truth is in Jesus” – absolute truth is found only in Jesus Christ

v. 22

“That ye put off” - Greek “Apotitheimi” - to put away or lay aside

“concerning the former conversation” - Greek “Tropos”- manner of life

“the old man” - the Sin Nature

“which is corrupt” - Greek “Phtheiro” - moral decay

“according to” - Greek “Kata”- norm or standard

“the deceitful” - Greek “Apate” - to cheat; to give a false impression

“lusts” - Greek “Epithumia” - desires

v. 23

“And be renewed” - Greek “Ananeoo” - to make young; to reinvigorate

“in the spirit of your mind” - by means of the Spirit that is in your mind; the Holy Spirit control of your soul (mind)

v. 24

“And that ye put on” - Greek “Enduo” - to take as yours

“the new man” - the New Spiritual Nature

“which after God” - after the likeness of God

“is created in righteousness” - Greek “Dikaiosune” - God’s perfection (II Corinthians 5:21)

“and true holiness” - Greek “Hosiotes” - a right relationship with God; God’s holiness

The Results of the Edification Complex

(Ephesians 4:25-32)

v. 25

“Wherefore” - because you have a new spiritual nature

“putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor”

“for we are members one of another” - we are all part of the body of Christ as believers; joined in union with one another

 v. 26

“be ye angry and sin not” - Greek “Orgizo” - to be provoked; righteous indignation

“let not the sun go down on your wrath” - do not allow your angry to fester into sin

v. 27

“Neither give place to the devil” - Greek “Topos” - occasion; opportunity.  Do not give Satan or his cosmic system an opportunity to lead you into sin.

v. 28

“Let him that stole, steal no more” - reference to any type of stealing, even stealing time at work

“but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good” - a reference to the work place

“that he may have, to give to him that needeth” - a generous spirit of giving

v. 29

“Let no corrupt” - Greek “Phthora” - destructive

“communication” - Greek “Logos” - spoken words

“proceed out of your mouth” - reference to your speech

“but that which is good to the edifying” - divine good spoken to build up one another, not to destroy one another

“that it may minister grace unto the hearers” - a good word, especially God’s Word, does a service to the one that hears it

v. 30

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” - Greek “Lupeo” - to cause pain or distress; to cause sorrow

“whereby ye are sealed” - Greek “Sphragizo” - an emblem of ownership and security

“unto the day of redemption” - the Rapture; Ultimate Sanctification; fully removed from the presence of sin

v. 31

“Let all bitterness” - Greek “Pikria” - mental attitude of animosity or irritation towards another person

“and wrath” - Greek “Thumos” - emotional anger; “boiling mad”

“and anger” - Greek “Orge” - mental attitude of antagonism

“and clamour” - Greek “Krauge” - to cry out or scream in anger

“and evil speaking” - Greek “Blasphemia” - blasphemy; maligning; slander; defamation of character

“be put away from you” – Greek “Apotithemi” – cast off

“with all malice”- Greek “Kadia”- evil; wickedness

v. 32

“And be ye”- Greek “Ginomai”- to become something you are not

“kind”- Greek “Chrestos”- gracious

“one to another”- Greek “Allelon”- another of the same kind; other believers

“tenderhearted”- Greek “Eusplagnos” - good emotions; compassionate

“forgiving one another” - Greek “Charizomai” - put away resentment graciously

“even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” - our forgiveness of others is supposed to be in the same manner as God’s forgiveness

When a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit and building his own spiritual building the following will result:

  1. Divine viewpoint thinking will replace human viewpoint thinking (v. 25)
  2. You’ll be able to discern between true and false doctrine (anger towards false doctrine) (v. 26)
  3. There will be no room given in the soul for satanic doctrine (v. 27)
  4. There will be the production of divine good in business (v. 28)
  5. Avoidance of sins of the tongue (v. 29)
  6. Avoidance of grieving the Holy Spirit (v. 30)
  7. Avoidance of mental attitude sinning, leading to overt sinning (v. 31)
  8. A gracious, compassionate and forgiving attitude (v. 32)