Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 24 Number 2 February 2022
Page 9

Ephesians 4:15 – Amazing!

Ernest S. Underwood

“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 NKJV). Some verses in the Bible are simply amazing in the many lessons they contain. Ephesians 4:15 is one of these verses. This passage speaks about truth – the truth that makes one free from sin. Let us notice some of the lessons contained in Ephesians 4:15.

The Message of Truth

Biblical truth, in order to be effective in the lives of men, must be spoken or proclaimed. Jesus commanded, “…Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Why? Because the Gospel – the Truth – is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16). It is by this Truth that the soul is purified. Peter stated, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…” (1 Peter 1:22). Paul affirmed that those in Rome were “set free from sin” by their obedience to the doctrine (Romans 6:17-18).

A second thought is that Truth must be spoken. Each week, the general public is subjected to a variety of religious discourses. As one compares many of these religious speeches with the Bible, he learns that much of what is taught is not truth but simply the doctrines and feelings of men.

We also learn of our individual responsibility to teach Truth. Paul wrote to the saints at Ephesus, not just to preachers, elders or other leading brethren. To these saints he gave the commandment to ‘speak the truth.’ The question is also asked in another place, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). May each of us realize and fulfill our responsibility to speak the Truth.

The Manner of Truth

The manner in which the truth is to be spoken is “in love.” This word “love” invokes some strange thoughts to many people. Some seem to think that love means being willing to compromise with error and those who teach it. Others view love as a sentimental, giddy, emotional feeling about God, the cross, sin and salvation. None of these convey the concept of true biblical love.

True biblical love expresses a genuine concern for others. It causes one to desire the highest good even for an enemy – that highest good being the salvation of the soul. It involves telling one the Truth when the risk is great that such action will bring about alienation of friends. Jesus angered the scribes and Pharisees when He told them the Truth about themselves and about God’s attitude toward them in their present condition. Yet, this same Jesus looked upon them with love and lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).

If we speak the Truth in love, we will call upon men to obey. To fail to tell men the Truth, to fail to call them to obedience to that truth or to allow them to believe that they are saved short of that full obedience is nothing short of spiritual homicide. Men who would do such, although claiming to love the souls of their hearers, actually express a hateful contempt for them. A casual reading of Matthew 15:8-14 and the entire second chapter of Second Peter substantiate that.

The Motive of Truth

The proper motive of spiritual Truth and those who proclaim it is that the recipient “may grow up in all things into Him… Christ.” Motives simply to increase the numbers, the contribution or the prestige of the proclaimer are impure and shameful motives. It is a sad but true fact that some teach Truth so that they may manipulate those to whom they preach. They teach Truth that results in a following, commonly known as preacheritus. “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel” (Philippians 1:15-17).

True Christians teach the Truth so that souls may be saved. These do not first survey the racial, economic or social standing of the ones to be taught before deciding if they are worthy. True children of God see the lost. They recognize that anyone who has not obeyed the Gospel is lost, and they want to give them the opportunity to be saved. For this reason, they seek the lost. They are willing to sacrifice time and money in an effort to search out and tell the saving Gospel to the lost. Having found the lost, they save them by the preaching of the Gospel. Unfortunately, many who have been sought out and had the Gospel preached to them turn a deaf ear to it and remain in their lost condition. However, the faithful saint will continue to see, seek and save the lost as he has opportunity and ability.

There are other lessons that can be gleaned from our text, but these should suffice to make us appreciate the value of taking a text and studying it for our own benefit. May each of us have the zeal to do so.

Let’s Work Together

Mark T. Tonkery

Mark T. TonkerySeveral years ago, there was a football team that became famous. It had a backfield that rang up so many touchdowns that the backfield players became somewhat conceited. One day the coach decided they needed to be taught a lesson, and so he pulled out the first team and sent in a string of substitutes. Very quickly the opposing team crashed through the substitute line and stopped the backfield cold. They were not the unbeatables they thought they were. After a few plays, they frantically signaled the coach for help, and the first-string line went back in again. The backfield players learned that without the support of a strong line they could not score touchdowns. It takes all eleven men to win a football game.

The same is true of the church. Although not called a team in Scripture, the church is called “the Body,” and the same principle applies. First Corinthians 12:12-27 teaches that there must be cooperation of every member if we are to accomplish the goals of our Lord here on earth. The Bible continues to teach us that each member must work together with God (2 Corinthians 6:1). This means we are to not only pull together, but we must pull in the right direction.

Thomas Carlyle said, “Ten men banded together in love and unity can do what ten thousand separately would fail to do.” This quote points out that there is strength in unity and working together. Jesus said in Matthew 12:25 “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (NKJV). These two quotes are very applicable to the church today. The church faces many trials from Satan. One is individualism, “doing what I want to do regardless of what anyone else tells me to do.” This is a dangerous attitude and doesn’t get us very far when trying to do the Lord’s work. It’s like the backfield of the football team thinking they do not need the front line to win football games. It will not work.

More can be done as a team effort or as a “body” than can be accomplished solo. Everything we do as the church takes teamwork and trust. Every person in the congregation is valuable and needed. The church is a team, and together we can build for the Lord. So, church, let’s work together!

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