Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.Holy Spirit
“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” (Eph. 4:11-16, emphasis mine).
That sums it up, doesn’t it? Pastors and Bible teachers are “charged” with equipping the children of God for ministry. For the building up of the Body-of-Christ to maturity (completion, perfection, fullness). To the intimate knowing of Jesus Christ. Why? Because there are false doctrines, false teachers, liars, half-truths, with cunning and deceptive ways trying to influence the Church. These are like winds blowing through the Church. And they abound! Together with these, there are those with “good intentions” but without “discernment” who are leading the “sheep” of Jesus today. And because they themselves lack discernment (I am convinced this is due to the abundance of “new” perspectives on scripture) they are leading the sheep in the same way.
So, how do we avoid being “led astray” by various doctrines and the cunningness of the “wisdom of man” instead of the wisdom of God? By speaking the truth in love. Because “if” we …are willing to… speak the truth in love. But first, to define truth: Jesus said of His Father, “…your word is truth” (Jn 17:17). And now to define love: Doing whatever is in the “highest good,” or best interest of another. And the greatest love is to lay one’s life down for another (Jesus). With that, if we are “willing to” speak the truth in love we will help each other in the Church to grow to maturity through knowing Christ. And what, according to the text, is part of that growth? Correct doctrine and teachings regarding all things pertaining to what it means to be a “Christian.” And so, if Pastors and Bible teachers are “doing their job” they will be “equipping” the Body with knowledge, unto growth, so that each part will “do” its part and end up looking like Jesus Christ on earth. This “each one” doing its part means every single believer has a gift from the Holy Spirit to be active within the Body-of-Christ to help it grow.
Now, it says we are to grow in the “unity of the faith.” But how are we to grow in unity if we are disconnected both, in our views on love, and in our views on truth? We can’t. In order for us to grow to maturity and “look like” Jesus we must be agreed upon what is truth and what is love. And this is exactly what Pastors and Bible teachers are supposed to be equipping the saints with. They are to be fixed to the Holy scriptures as the authoritative Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. And ONLY in this way will they retain the discernment to lead the sheep in the way they should go! But as soon as the leaders begin to shift from the foundation of truth (God’s Word) they also will begin to shift regarding what it is to “love,” and what it is to speak the “truth.” Wisdom comes from God. And the wise person will “heed” the Word of God. But if that individual begins to shift due to “new” voices with “new” ideas regarding that which is “authoritative” in the Word of God, then …Satan just got his foot in the door.
Therefore, what do we do now? We return to the “whole counsel of God” and in this way spiritual discernment will again return. Then the “lightbulb” will go on, we will see the problem at hand, and we will shove Satan’s foot out the door. And this is the truth of scripture. Returning to the whole counsel of God (as Paul put it) is the foundation for everything else. And when we build on the foundation of truth, God’s Word (all of that which applies to both the individual Christian and the collective Christian) which is at the “very least” everything in the New Testament …then we will rightly discern how to love one another. Then we will no longer be divided on what it means to “speak the truth in love” because the scriptures explain what it means.
So, my prayer and plea is that the Pastors and Bible teachers would teach the whole truth without compromise because this is the only solution for us to get back on track with God and His agenda for humanity and for the Church Body. Since the problems started back at least in the 60’s when people began to question the authority of the Word of God, bringing many things into question, believing they were “smarter” than God, and leaving the whole truth as absolute authority. We must stop “picking and choosing” what we will accept as authoritative in God’s Word and go back to where the problems started and uproot the weeds. Let me give a quick historical overview for a moment regarding the downward spiral of society. This is how it began: A rejection of the absolute authority of the Bible…the breakdown of the Church…the breakdown of the family…the breakdown of the individual…the loss of truth regarding decisions…loss of discernment personally and corporately. Then the breakdown of society. This is just a vague overview. Now, look at the very first thing that happened. It is exactly what Satan got Adam and Eve to do in the Garden of Eden. To question God’s authority. So, the way to “fix” this is to return to God’s “whole” truth, and this must begin from the pulpit with the Shepherds who are teaching the Sheep.
And this is, “speaking the truth in love”