Friday, January 30, 2015

NTDS (57): Speaking The Truth In Love

Eph 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. NIV

Beginning in Chapter four of Ephesians, Paul lays out many instructions on Christian living. In this verse, he indicates that we are to “speak the truth in love.” I am positive that there have been many sermons on this topic, but I wonder if we really get it.

I think, to have a fuller understanding of this verse, we need to dissect it carefully. It starts with the word instead. Instead of what? Going back to verse fourteen, we see that Paul says instead of being tossed about by false teaching and the craftiness of men.

If you follow what Paul is saying, you realize that there are those who do just the opposite of speaking the truth in love. Think about what that means. It means that they speak “untruth,” they speak “without love” or both. Let’s examine this.

The phrase “speaking the truth” here, not only has the idea of what is being said must be accurate, but that nothing is concealed. You might think of it as “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Often times, hiding part of the truth is just as misleading as being completely dishonest. If I am filing my income taxes and it asks for all income to be listed, is it enough to just list that amount that has been reported or do I need to list unreported as well? Full disclosure would be a good way of thinking of Paul’s instruction here.

What does it mean to speak truth without love? It is when something true is spoken, but the motivation is to just hurt another person or to get satisfaction for one’s self. It often comes from a heat of pride. It is not meant to help the other person. Some people take pride in “always being brutally honest,” however it is only intended to make themselves feel better.

In context of this passage, Paul is speaking about unity in the church (v3). He first encourages those who are gifted and called into leadership, to prepare the rest of the body to fulfill their own call to “good works (v 11-12).” When this happens, unity occurs in the body (v13). This means that the call to speak the truth in love goes out first to the leaders of the church, especially teaching pastors.

If that is occurring, then the body will not fall to the lies and scheming of deceitful men (v14). So then all of the members in the body can speak the truth in love, one to another. We can all lovingly encourage each other with the truth of the scriptures. We can help restore one who has fallen (Gal 6:1). We can exhort each other to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24). We can “correct, rebuke and encourage one another with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Ti 4:2).

What is the result of this? Look at the second half of our key verse. …”, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
In other words, we mature in our relationship with Jesus. Can you now see the importance of speaking the truth in love? It may not always be an easy thing to do, but the end results are worth it.

There are two more important points we need to know. You cannot speak the truth if you don’t know it and you cannot speak in love (agape- selfless, unconditional), if you don’t have it! That’s why we need to sit under teachers who teach the absolute truth contained in God’s word and then, be like the Bereans, studying the Word ourselves to confirm it. Then we must be submitted to the work that the Holy Spirit does in our hearts, changing them from a heart of stone (Eze 11:19) to a heart filled with the love, grace, mercy and compassion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

If you are not in that place, it’s time to get there! If you are a believer in Christ, God wants you to fulfill your part in His body. Learn the truth and surrender your heart completely to Him, so that you can help the entire body of Christ reach full maturity!

God bless you


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