The Edifier

West Allen Church of Christ

The Edifier Index

The Goals of the Christian


(Ezra 7:10)


In our society today, young people are beginning to be categorized as "party animals" by the media. They are portrayed as people who constantly rebel against their parents, the law, and any other form of authority. The "age gap" has become wider and wider. Older people seem to look down on young people as those who are irresponsible, who are immature, and who exist for the sole purpose of having fun. This is a very sad indication of man's blindness when it comes to looking at the heart. In the church, however, there should be no "age gap". All Christians are one in Christ Jesus. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim 4:12 to "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe" (NAS). In order for us to grow and become better Christians, as well as to be an example, there are three goals that we must accomplish.

1. To Study:

The first goal is found in Ezra 7:10 , which says, "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord...". The example of Ezra in this verse can teach us many things, the first being that we are to study the law of the Lord. In 2 Tim 3:16-17, we are told that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, thoroughly equipped for every good work. If the word of God is able to make us complete, what else would we need to study? The Bible is our only way of salvation, and it is by that that we are shown HOW we are to study. The Bible says "Ezra had set his heart to study." It is one thing to make up our MINDS to study, but it is quite another to set our hearts to do so. How is it that we come to set our hearts to study? It is by learning to love God. How do we learn to love God? By coming to a knowledge of what he has done for us in sending his Son to Earth that we might have the offer of Salvation (John 3:16). In loving God, we love truth, for God is truth (John 14:6), and if God is Truth, his Word is Truth (Psalm 119:160). In Psalm 1:2 it is said of the righteous man that "his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night." In order for our study to be fruitful, we must have a love for truth.

2. To Apply What We Have Learned:

The next part of the passage in Ezra says Ezra set his heart "to practice it"; "it" meaning God's Word. James 1:22 tells us that we are to prove ourselves "doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." If we do not practice the things that we have learned, mere hearing cannot save us. If we do not exercise our physical body, it becomes harder and harder to perform tasks than it would be if we did exercise. By practicing truth and growing, our faith and ability to see and understand is increased. In 2 Pet 1:5-7 we are told to "add to faith moral excellence, and to moral excellence, knowledge; and to knowledge self control, and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love." We are to be constantly growing in wisdom as Luke 2:52 tells us Christ did, for by applying the truth to our lives, not only are we made complete, but our guard against sin is strengthened. Eph 6:10-17 describes the armor of God that is to be used to "stand firm against the schemes of the devil...that you may be able to resist in the evil day." Each piece of armor is made of things that come from our study and application of the Word of God; our loins are to be girded with TRUTH, the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, the PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, the helmet of SALVATION, and the shield of FAITH. The application of the things we learn serve as our defense against the youthful lusts mentioned in 2 tim 2:22. If we spend our time studying and doing God's Word, what time do we have left to be tempted? The last piece of armor, the sword of the SPIRIT, brings us to the last goal.

3. To Teach:

The last piece of the passage in Ezra describes the third goal we should have as a Christian, for it is said, "Ezra set his teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." If you saw a friend standing in front of an oncoming car, would you not shout to your friend to move out of the way? So many of our friends are in the path of an oncoming car called Death and Judgment, possibly left only with us to warn them of that danger. By studying and applying God's Word, we come to know the things that we are to teach. Recall the passage in 2 Timothy that tells us that the Bible is profitable for teaching. If the Apostles and disciples of the early church had never studied/applied the Scriptures, they would never have been able to teach them. Jesus commanded them to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." If we do not study and apply, we cannot teach without being hypocritical. Our motivation? To save those whom we love, and to bear fruit for God.


In closing, each goal builds upon the others. Without learning, we cannot know the things we are to apply, and without applying, we cannot teach without hypocrisy as the Bible has instructed us. Without these goals, we are not complete. Paul shows us by his example that we should pray to be "filled with the KNOWLEDGE of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, SO THAT you may WALK in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please him in all respects, BEARING FRUIT in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:9-10). And if you read the verse before our text, Ezra 7:9, we see that because of Ezra's goals, "...the good hand of his God was upon him."