Summary: In order to grow up and mature as the body of Christ, we must learn to speak, to speak the truth, and to the speak the truth in love to one another.
Oikos tou Theo IV: Speaking the Truth in Love
Text: Ephesians 4:17-32
BEING ONE BODY UNITED IN CHRIST SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL, NICE AND MAJESTIC – BUT IT ISN’T EASY. A LOT OF WHAT WE TALK ABOUT IN GOD’S WORD SOUNDS GOOD TO OUR EARS, BUT PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE IS MUCH, MUCH, MUCH MORE DIFFICULT!
o For the past three weeks we’ve been looking at the identity, purpose and calling of the church. We’ve been looking at how we who once were enemies, outcasts and separated from God and his people were brought near by the blood of Jesus. He is our peace who has destroyed the dividing wall of hostility and has made us one in Christ.
o Then we looked at how this new thing called the church required that we somehow co-exist without separating from each other. And so the eye cannot say to the hand that he doesn’t need him nor the ear to the foot I don’t need you – for we are all one body consisting of many different parts.
o Then last week we looked at how God’s intention is to not merely bring us together for the sake of unity, but that through our unity we might each mature and become like Jesus Christ and that each part of the body would be deployed into a functioning whole whereas together we might build something – to be a fully functioning unit called the Church who exists to glorify and honor the Lord.
DOESN’T THIS SOUND AWESOME AND AMAZING AND GRAND? LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN. LET’S COME TOGETHER AND BUILD A CHURCH THAT GLORIFIES AND HONORS GOD AND MAKES A TANGIBLE DIFFERENCE IN THIS FALLEN WORLD! LET’S JUST DO IT BABY! YEAH!
But before we fall in love with the idea of coming together and building something together, we need to face reality and start to practically and tangibly learn how to be one body together. Yes, God has made us into one family, but learning how to be one family is the task that we face as a church.
Because unlike robots or mechanical pieces, you don’t just whip up a church like a machine – each of us are real human beings with real feelings and emotions and thoughts.
WITH A CAR, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TAKE IT INTO THE MECHANIC WHO DIAGNOSES THE PROBLEM AND FIXES IT SO THAT YOU CAN BE ON YOUR WAY, BUT THE CHURCH IS A SPIRIT LED-HUMAN COMMUNITY AND WE’RE NOT MACHINES WHO ARE EASILY FIXED AND MENDED...IT TAKES GOD’S PRESENCE AND MERCY AND THIS THING CALLED SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE WITH ONE ANOTHER IN ORDER TO BECOME A FULLY-FUNCTIONING, FRUIT BEARING PEOPLE.
• You Must No Longer Live as the Gentiles
Back in verse 1 Paul called us to live in a manner worthy of the Lord or to walk in this way. Here in verse 17 he says that in order to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, you need to stop walking like the Gentiles and the futility of their thinking. This futility has led to a hardening of their hearts and a deadening of their sensitivity. And so in order to regain what they have lost, they pursue sensual things in order to remedy that which they are missing. But this only leads them to being deeper in the hole they were in.
• Futility in Thinking; Darkened in Understanding
Last week we looked at how we mature in Christ through unity in the Body. And as we mature we become wiser. But here Paul states that Gentiles or those who remain un-reconciled to God become futile in their thinking...darkened in their understanding. Although they might possess degrees and diplomas, their ability to discern truth has been handicapped. They become spiritually dull or blind or undiscerning...and so the chasm between those who are in Christ and growing in wisdom is contrasted with the ignorance and futility of thinking by those apart from Christ.
• Put Off Your Old Self / Put On Your New Self
These words are probably very familiar to us – they speak of an actual change or call to turn away from our old life and a new way of life. And using the image of changing one’s wardrobe, Paul calls us to put off our old self and to put on the new self.
The remainder of the chapter spells out practical ways to do this...
• Put off Falsehood / Put on Speaking Truthfully
The first thing Paul calls us to put off is falsehood. The word here is pseudos from which we get words like pseudonym or pseudo-community – and it means a lie or a deception. To take on a false name or to convey a false impression of oneself to others. It goes beyond telling lies to becoming a lie to others.