Study the Word: Bulletin Articles

Study the Word: Bulletin Articles

“Understanding Expediency”

Categories: Authority

Understanding Expediency

Let me start by saying that this is a Biblical lesson. The concept of expediency is taught in God’s word and it is vital that we understand what it means. We shall first start with the apostle Paul speaking on this when he wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful to me, but all things edify not.” (I Cor. 10:23). The word expedient means to be helpful; however, not all things are helpful.

The easiest way to understand what is considered expedient would be the place of worship. Local churches are required to assemble on the first day of the week to worship God (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Heb. 10:25, etc.). The scriptures reveal that brethren set up a time and place for them to fulfill the Lord’s desire (I Cor. 11:17-18). Knowing that it is expedient for the brethren to rent or purchase a place to assemble, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Would it really be in the best interest of a local church consisting of two families to go out and build a million dollar facility? The answer is obvious – no, this would not be helpful. Having a place to meet is expedient, but there are times wisdom dictates that something that is lawful, in and of itself (finding a place to meet) can be the wrong thing to do.

The same thing can be said for a congregation that wants to evangelize. It’s an expedient to use TV as a tool to share the gospel. But if a local church cannot afford to fund such an effort, it would be unwise to engage in it.  This is why the Lord Jesus stated clearly the need for His followers to use “righteous” judgement (Jn. 7:21-24). 

Keep in mind that expediency is not some sort of loophole for the local church to do whatever they want with church funds. Staying with the discussion of the church building: it’s one thing to rent or buy, it’s another matter altogether for a church to rent or buy a meeting place to use it for social events. It’s the lack of discernment that has opened the door for religious groups to use the building for a daycare, Boy Scout meeting place, providing chicken dinners and celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Folks, these do not fall under the area of expediency. They fall under the realm of being unscriptural.

The best way to clear this up is by looking at two passages of scripture. First, in I Corinthians 11:22, after rebuking the brethren for turning the Lord’s Supper into some sort of meal, Paul said, “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”  Now, before we examine this, let’s now note a text in Romans 16, where Paul speaking about Priscilla and Aquila, mentioned, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house.” (vr. 5). 

Now, can brethren have social events in their own homes? Of course they can. I don’t know where the brethren were meeting when they were rebuked by Paul for turning the Lord’s Supper into a feast. Could they have been meeting in someone’s home? Possibly. Even so, does that mean the apostle could not have said what he did in I Corinthians 11? Not at all. Brethren could just as easily turn the Lord’s Supper into a feast even if meeting in someone’s home. The fact is, the church comes together to worship God His way (Jn. 4:24). When brethren have finished their worship, the brother and sister can now go back to the regular use of the home and even be hospitable (Rom. 12:13).

When brethren own a church building, it was bought with the purpose for which it is to be used. The local church doesn’t use its funds to build a kitchen or gymnasium onto the meeting place. Why not? It’s because it isn’t expedient. It doesn’t aid in worshipping God. In other words, it is not a help, it’s a hindrance. You don’t mix the two. Those who don’t understand expediency fail to see the error in using their church building for whatever use they see fit. This doesn’t respect the word of God.