Ephesians 4:25 ESV
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
Truth is something severely lacking, not just in our culture, but in the church, too. It seems commonplace today for people, whether Christian or not, to lie to others. Some of it they will call “white lies,” but they are still lies. Or they will claim that by lying that they are being “nice” or “polite.”
Or they might not tell what they consider to be an outright lie, but they willfully deceive others by implying certain things or by withholding information that is necessary or required from those to whom it is due. Or they will do the non-denial denial thing.
Some lies are told in advance as a cover-up for evil that is being plotted, and in order to try to throw off suspicion that the liar might be doing something evil. Others are told after the fact, but again to cover-up evil behaviors or to try to cast the blame onto someone else.
Some lies are told for the purpose to destroy other people’s reputations, to make them appear in a bad light to others so that others will not like them, and as a way of getting even with the people, usually out of some jealousy, bitterness, or unforgiving spirit. And this is also hating.
But lies hurt people. They destroy people’s lives and reputations. They break down trust. They lead people astray. They ruin relationships. And they lead many people to hate people who are not their true enemies, not knowing that their true enemies are the ones telling the lies.
So, we need to not be people who tell lies, not even to be “nice,” for there is nothing kind about lies. Instead, we need to be truth tellers, not in an unkind or nasty way, but in ways which are helpful and beneficial to others. We need to be those who speak the truth, in love, to help others.
Ephesians 4:29-30 ESV
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
What is “corrupting talk”? It can mean saying something to someone that is demeaning to that person, that is hateful, unkind, unloving, and purposefully hurtful. It can also be speaking in a way which perverts or distorts the truth, such as what many are doing today to the truth of the gospel of Christ.
For, they are distorting and altering the truth of the gospel to make it more appealing and acceptable to the people of the world and to human flesh. They are misrepresenting the truth of the gospel in order to willfully deceive others into believing lies which are then leading them astray.
And what they are doing, in reality, is willfully giving people a false hope of salvation from sin and a false hope of heaven when they die, while they leave them still in slavery to their sin, living to please the flesh, and still headed to hell, not to heaven. And this is cruelty.
Instead, we are to speak the words of life to people, for their good, for their true salvation from sin and for building them up in the faith in Christ Jesus to maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We are to teach them that God’s grace instructs us to say “No!” to sin and to live godly and holy lives (Tit 2:11-14).
And, in this way, we will not grieve the Holy Spirit, but we will please the Holy Spirit, because we are speaking the words of life, we are not lying to people, we are not corrupting the truth of the gospel, but we are telling them the truth, for their good, for by it they will find life.
Because now we will be telling them not necessarily what they want to hear but what they need to hear. For, the truth is that if we live to please the flesh, we are going to die in our sins, but if we live to please our Lord, we will have eternal life (Rom 6:1-23; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 8:1-17).
Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
The Scriptures teach that what proceeds from our mouths comes from what is within our hearts (Lu 6:45; Matt 15:17-20). For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander, bitterness, wrath, anger, and malice, etc.
Many times, people do not resolve these issues because they do not deal with these sin issues at the heart level. They work on behavioral modification, which may have some temporary success, but if the heart remains the same, and it does not change, those behaviors will resurface because they are being prompted by what is still alive within the heart.
So, we can’t deal with such issues on a surface level only. If we have hate and bitterness in our hearts towards someone, we are not going to be able to resolve the problem with getting angry or with making unkind remarks to them if we don’t first get rid of the sin issue at a heart level.
So, our hearts must change, which the Lord has the power to do, and is willing to do, if we are willing to be changed by him, and if we are willing to let go of the bitterness, hate, resentment, jealousy and unforgiveness which is behind the outward expressions of those inward sinful attitudes.
Then, instead of having sinful attitudes, thinking, and feelings stacked up inside our hearts coming out through our words, actions, and other outward expressions, we are now able to be kindhearted, forgiving one another, and we are able to show true unadulterated love to others.
And there is no peace like the peace of having been delivered from all those evils that were once in our hearts controlling our thinking, believing and behaviors. There is an awesome peace from God which comes over us when we surrender it all to the Lord, and we submit to his will and purpose.
So, if you are struggling with sin issues, habitually giving in to them, and you keep repeating the same offenses over and over again, let the Lord examine your heart and show you what is in there and then let it go and release it all to the Lord, and let him change you from the inside out.
In the Hour of Trial
Lyrics by James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Music by Spencer Lane (1843-1903)
In the hour of trial, Jesus, pray for me,
Lest by base denial, I depart from Thee;
When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.
With its witching pleasures, would this vain world charm
Or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane
Or, in darker semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.
If with sore affliction, Thou in love chastise,
Pour Thy benediction on the sacrifice.
Then upon Thine altar, freely offered up,
Though the flesh may falter, faith shall drink the cup.
When in dust and ashes, to the grave I sink,
While heaven’s glory flashes o’er the shelving brink,
On Thy truth relying, through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying, to eternal life.
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