How often do you hear people half quote the scripture and say, “Well, now brother…sister…we need to speak the truth in love.” But how often has that out of context phrase been misused to sacrifice truth and to justify people’s sinful lifestyle all in the name of fake love. It is what the old preachers used to call “sloppy agape” or it is “grease” instead of grace. We know how often Satan is prone to misquote scripture when he employs his choice weapons of compromise and deception.
But we know that truth refers to the holy book of the scriptures (John 17: 17) and Christ is the truth personified (John 14:6) and the real church guards that truth (1 Tim 3:15).
The context is as follows:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:14-16).
That phrase will somehow seem different in light of the other verses with which it is associated.
It is clear from this passage that God calls people to stop acting spiritually childish or immature and in order for that to happen the truth must be expressed in love.
1. People who act spiritually childish are (v. 14):
- Fluctuating: Their hearts and minds are in disorder like the surf on the beach they are back and forth. They are double minded (James 1:6-8).
- Restless: The word used here periphero where we get the word peripheral. They are easily moved by the winds of side or surface issues. They love the latest spiritual fads and trends and reject biblical tradition (2 Pet 3:16).
- Unstable: No matter the wind whether a gentle breeze or tornado, because they are not firmly anchored to the pure doctrine they are easily blown away (2 Tim. 2:18).
- Cheated: The sleight of men is kubeia which means they roll the dice by taking chances on the methods and formulas made up by false teachers (Jude 12, 16).
2. Speaking the truth in love means (v. 15):
- The truth needs to be spoken, the clear, unvarnished truth of scripture. It represents things as they are.
- The truth spoken in the original language means “truthing in love” it is seen as walking or holding up the plain truth of scripture in Calvary love or agapao love (3 John 4).
- The truth must be spoken without a sour, unfeeling disposition and a genuine concern and love for others spiritual welfare.
- The truth has a goal of maturity of the hearer which has for its model Jesus Christ who is the truth (John 14:6).
- The truth is necessary because we are members of one body and when one part is infected all are in danger of being hurt (Eph. 4:25).
3. Christ is the head and body of all pure teaching (v.15-16):
- Incorporated: The truth incorporates us into Christ who is the head and Lord of everyone and everything (Eph. 1:22).
- Positioned: The truth of scriptural teaching brings organization and body’s parts are anatomically correct. It represents Christ (1 Cor. 12:12, 27).
- Consolidated: The body is united and connected by the truth of scripture and Christ (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 John 2:19).
- Proportioned: The body is supported and not one part overworked, every part is in exact proportion to its strength in Christ (1 Cor. 12:24).
- Edified: The body grows and builds itself in strength and maturity all by the principle and power of Christ’s love (1 Cor. 14:5).
We need to speak the truth with “Calvary love” to those who are easily affected by waves of doubt on the inside and winds of deception on the outside. They are being cheated by false teachers and lying spirits who use the methods of men and extra-biblical practices to mislead them and by hurting the immature and weaker brethren they hurt us and they attempt to steal the glory from Christ.
We speak the truth with the love of Christ, not human compassion or understanding but in light of the truth. This is an hour where unity cannot be based on the LOWEST common denominator but the high standards of scripture and the loftiest model of Jesus Christ head of the body, his church!
“When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” Abraham Kuyper