Ephesians 4:14-16 Keeping One another in the Truth
14 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. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 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.
Paul encourages the members of the church to establish a culture of speaking the truth to one another and not to be influenced by false teachings. In the culture of speaking the truth in love, we help one another grow in Christ-likeness and cause the church to fulfill God’s calling, which is her eternal reward. Growing in Christ-likeness is not an individual affair, but it involves the whole community in keeping one another growing in the truth.
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.
The way to counter the influence of false teachings is to speak the truth in love. What is the truth? Truth stands for God’s principles for living life, the reward of obedience and the consequences of sin. Paul urges the church to teach the truth that leads people towards a Christ-like or Christ-centered life: we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Teaching the truths about Christ-likeness, the rewards of obedience and consequences of sin will lead people towards a lifestyle of love as opposed to a lifestyle of the flesh. Paul makes that comparison in Galatians 5:16-24:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Therefore, speaking the truth in love involves encouraging one another to live godly lives and to remind one another of the rewards of obedience and consequences of sin.
… 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.
Speaking the truth must be inculcated at a community level: from whom the whole body, joined and held together. The church must develop a culture of speaking the truth and receiving it. Hence, where there is a love for the truth and trust among her members, the church is primed for grow. Therefore, in an environment where truth is spoken in love, each member begins to realize his calling and role in the church.
- Christ-likeness is the ultimate purpose for all believers, and blessings are its by-products. What made Christ most blessed in all of creation is because of His sacrificial love for God and for others. It is because of what Christ did at the cross; His humility; His obedience that made Him Lord and Master of all. Similarly, God will honor and bless those who put on the likeness of Christ.
- Growing in Christ-likeness is not a personal matter, but it involves the community. Paul says, “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up…, from whom the whole body, joined and held together…” Unless individuals give the community the permission to hold them accountable, he will be left alone to face an uphill task of change. Hence, it requires the whole community of believers to be joined together in the endeavor of growing in Christ-likeness.
- Promises remind us of God’s part in providing and protecting, truths reminds us of our responsibility in obeying and in persevering. The human tendency is to encourage others by focusing on the promises rather than the truths. Promises inspire, but truths bring promises to fruition. In order to encourage one another effectively, we must understand if a brother needs inspiration or instruction? A healthy and balanced doze of promises and truths are needed to help a brother in an effective and meaningful way. The below checklist is helpful:
- Promise: Understanding one’s identity in Christ. God is responsible for His sons’ development and well-being and will provide for his every need.
- Truth: Understanding his commitment to Christ. A son is responsible to obey his Father’s words and to fulfill his calling.
- Truth: Understanding the wisdom and the principles of life that is able to prosper you.
- Truth: If you hear from God what you need to do and obey, God will do His part to help you succeed.
Approach your fellow believers and give them permission to speak the truth into your life and hold you accountable. Take their feedback without offense and give yourself a time frame for change.
Dear Lord, help me open my heart to Your voice of truth and correction. Send others to speak to me so that I may be aware of my weaknesses. Use me to speak to the truth to others in order to encourage them on the journey of sanctification. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.