podcast

#813 – Speaking the Truth in Love (Ephesians 4:15–16)

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Ephesians 4:15-16, “Rather speaking the truth in love, we were to grow up in every way into him who is the head and to 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.”
(Ephesians 4:15–16)

The picture here in Ephesians chapter four is talking about how Christ builds up his body, how the church, how you and I are the body of Christ and we’re being built up. And did you notice like were being built up in love? And how are we being built up in love? And there’s so much here that Ephesians four is talking about how we’re growing in maturity in Christ, how we’re working together, each part of the body working properly.

May we not be those who speak about others, but may we speak the truth in love. This is God’s design for the church in Christ.

And verse 15 says, we do this as we speak the truth in love. And this I think is a challenge for many of us in the body of Christ to love one another enough to speak truth into one another’s lives. Later in this chapter, we see clear warnings against slander and gossip and any kind of talk about others that does not build them up in Christ, but if we’re honest, I think we’d have to admit that we are prone to speak about others in ways that don’t build them up, instead of speaking to others in ways that will build them up. When we see a brother or sister struggling in this way or that way? We have a responsibility in the body of Christ to speak the truth to one another in love. So out of love, just like when I think about my kids and I see them doing something that I know is harmful for them, it would not be loving for me to sit back and not say anything.

It would not be loving for me to tell you or anybody else about what they’re doing but not go to them and say, “This is not helpful.” And when it comes to members of the body of Christ, friends, church members, whatever this looks like, sometimes that’s not easy to speak truth to others about things that you might see are harmful, and obviously we have clear exhortations from Jesus to make sure that there is. And we’re not pointing out a speck in somebody else’s eye when there’s a log in our own eyes, so yes, to do this by examining our own hearts, but then he says, once you’ve removed the log from your own eyes, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. So it’s not that we’re just to ignore a brother or sister who has something that they’re struggling with or is doing that something that is not helpful or is harmful to them, to others, we have a responsibility from God as members of the body of Christ to speak the truth to one another.

In love, with the compassion of Christ, with the meekness and gentleness of Christ, and as an expression of his love for them. So let’s pray accordingly. God, we pray that you would help us as followers of Christ, as members of the body of Christ, to speak your truth, not our ideas, not our opinions, not our thoughts, our preferences, but your truth to others around us in the body of Christ in love. Lord we pray for people in our lives. God, I pray for people in my life who will speak the truth to me in love. God, I pray that I would not be surrounded by people who speak about me and not to me, who tell others this or that, that they’re seeing wrong in my life, but will not say that to me.

God, please don’t let me be surrounded by those kinds of people and don’t let me be that kind of person. And God, I pray this for each one of us. We pray that you would surround us with brothers and sisters who love us enough to speak truth to us, and we pray that you would give us this kind of love for others. Even right now, that you would help us to see any ways that we can help others grow in Christ. To grow into greater maturity in Christ by us doing the hard work of speaking truth to them in love. God, please help us not to neglect this please. Yes, guard us in every way from what you talk about in Ephesians 4:29-32. Let no corrupting talk come out of our mouths. Only that which is good for building up. Don’t let us grieve the Holy Spirit with our words.

Let bitterness and wrath and anger and slander be put away from us. All malice be put away from us. Yes, God, and help us. Help us to speak the truth to one another in love and surround us with a body of members who will speak the truth to us in love so that we all might grow up into the image of Christ and experience the full life you’ve designed for us in Christ. God, we pray that Ephesians 4:15-16 would be true in us, among us, speaking the truth in love, that we would grow up in every way into you, who are the head, Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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