Speaking the Truth in Love

Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 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.”

By Every Wind of Doctrine

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – gave ministers and spiritual gifts and ministries to the church. And he gave us godly people who love the Lord, who will speak his messages, who will help us to grow to maturity in Christ, and who will equip (prepare, train) us for the work of the ministry. And “the work of the ministry” is not just something that official “ministers” do. It is something that all of us who believe in Jesus Christ are to be doing.

But sadly, not everyone who calls himself a “minister of the gospel” is one. Wolves in sheep’s clothing abound! They are charlatans, who by their cunning and craftiness in deceitful scheming are leading many people astray and straight to hell on the promise of heaven when they die. For they are not teaching them the truth of the gospel but an altered gospel message based largely in Scriptures taught outside their context and then twisted.

So, we who are following Jesus Christ with our lives need to be discerners of truth and lies, and we need to be students of the Scriptures who study them in context and who compare them with other Scriptures, and to do so prayerfully, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that we correctly handle the word of truth and so that we do not end up teaching what is false. And I know many of us as children were taught some things wrongly.

And one of those things that comes to my mind is that little poem we learned as children, which came with hand motions, which says something like this: “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.” It was instilled in many of us as children and then reinforced in our adult years that the church is the building, that it is God’s house, and that we enter God’s house when we walk inside the building.

But as I began to study the Scriptures for myself I learned that the church is the people of God. We who trust in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior are the church, the body of Christ. We don’t “go to church.” We are the church. And the church is universal. It meets in lots of different locations throughout the world, but the locations are not the church, i.e. for example, the church at Laodicea is the church, the body of Christ, in that specific location, but Laodicea is not the church. The people are the church.

The Truth of the Gospel

Another thing I learned when I was young was a gospel presentation called the “Four Spiritual Laws” and other such presentations which presented the gospel by taking a few select passages of Scripture out of their context to fit with the plan of salvation they were presenting. But out of context, not all those Scriptures were taught in truth. And it wasn’t until I began reading the Bible in context, verse by verse, that I began to see some of these discrepancies between what I had been taught and what I was reading.

One example of that is Romans 6:23. I think Romans 3:23 came first to show that we are all born sinners who are separate from God and who are not capable in ourselves to be acceptable and approved by God. And then came this: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And then they taught that we just needed to pray a prayer to invite Jesus into our hearts and now we had eternal life.

But that is not what that verse is teaching. All of Romans 6 is teaching us the truth of what it means to be “in Christ.” If we believe in Jesus with genuine faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in Christ. For our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be ENSLAVED to sin, but so we would now be slaves to God and to his righteousness. By his grace we are saved through faith.

Therefore, and here comes the warning, we are to not let sin continue to reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin will have no more dominion over us because we are under grace. God’s grace does not free us to keep on sinning deliberately and habitually only now without guilt. God’s grace frees us from our addiction to sin so that we will live our lives in freedom from the control of sin over our lives.

Therefore we must know that we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to DEATH, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness leading to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.. In other words, if we continue in slavery to sin, in deliberate and habitual sin, which is what many are doing, it will end in death, not in eternal life with God, for the free gift frees us from our slavery to sin and empowers us to live godly lives.

So, if we do what it teaches us here in Ephesians 4, we will be people who will speak the truth of the gospel to one another, not the lies, and we will be those who expose the lies for what they are, and for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in Christ, which involves daily dying to sin and daily walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). And this will happen if each part of the body does its work assigned by God in ministering to one another the truth and by exposing the lies.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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