Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
(Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)
In yesterday’s passage we learned that there are many false teachers whose lies lead people astray from God’s truth. But in contrast to that (“Rather”), God’s children should “speak the truth in love”.
True born-again believers are God’s children as John 1:12 tells us. No one else is a child of God. And, as we’ve already learned, God shares His truth with His children [Ephesians 1:9; Matthew 11:25; John 15:15]. We are to convey this truth to those who don’t know it and we are to do so in a loving way.
The Greek word translated “speaking” here is αλετηευο (pronounced: al-ayth-yoo’-o) which implies more than just speech. It also encompasses lifestyle. Everything we say and everything we do should proclaim God’s truth to those around us.
In our postmodern world, few people believe that such a thing as spiritual truth exists. Just this morning someone cynically accused me of having a hotline to God, implying that God is unknowable. He stated that anyone who claims to know any absolute truth about God is arrogant. Sadly, this is the world we live in. So many people are falling for the cunning schemes of false teachers.
God is all about knowledge. No where in the Bible does God ever appeal to man’s emotions. He always, and only, appeals to our intellect. In fact, the Bible was written so we would know the truth [1 John 5:13]. God cares about us. And certainly, caring about people means being honest and open with them. There is truth. That truth is Jesus [John 14:6].
But that truth needs to be presented with love, especially in our world where having a definitive opinion of truth is considered arrogant and closed-minded. The Greek word for “love” here is αγαπε (pronounced: ag-ah’-pay). This is the same word God uses to describe the love He has for us. Isn’t it interesting that God commands us to love others the way He does?
We should be patient, kind, and sensitive toward others [1 Corinthians 13:; Colossians 4:6]. We should show compassion to those who are lost and alienated from Christ [Matthew 9:36]. In all things, our heart’s motive should be to win people to Christ and to build them in the faith.
To that end, the attitude of a Christian toward non-believers should not be “I’m right, you’re wrong”. We are saved. Nothing is about us anymore. Its all about them. Our attitude must be one that is 100% focused on their need for God and the love He has for them.
That is how Jesus lived. Everything He did was out of love for others. He brought the gospel message to the world out of love and with love [John 3:16; 1 John 3:16]. God calls on us to do the same.
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