Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ
God wants us to grow up in all things concerning Him, and there is a way that He has ordained for this to take place. If we look at this section of Scripture, we see that Paul is talking about growth within the body of Christ and how that happens. Growing is really not an option, anything else is stagnation. Stagnation is not something I want for my life, and I believe most people if asked, would honestly say that they don’t want it for their life either. However, many have found themselves in this place not really knowing how they got there or how to get out, yet they have a deep desire to do more for the kingdom of God.
If you have a hunger for more, and want to be all that God has called you to be, then lets look to the Word of God to see some of the necessary steps that God has ordained for all of us to take in order to fulfilling that calling.
Let's read this whole section of Scripture starting with vs. 11.
Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13. till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14. that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive,
15. but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ
16. from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This is a blueprint or template for growth that I believe is ignored by many Christians. Not necessarily because they are wanting to be disobedient, but because they haven't seen the profound importance of what is being said. We all have to start somewhere, so lets start where we are now, and begin to grow in God through Christ as He has ordained.
We can only walk in the light that we have, but as we just read we are being told to speak the truth in love so that we can grow. Truth is more than just an attribute of God, but Who and what He is. Jesus called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. (John 14:17)
Truth is absolute and unchangeable. Receiving truth is what allows us to come to a place of freedom, but before we can walk in that freedom we have to receive it. God has set up the body in such a way that we are to build up one another by speaking truth in love. Growth has been ordained by this method, and this is how we are supposed to function.
In order to speak the truth in love to others to build them up, we have to have first received truth ourselves. The more we receive the more we can help others. After all, the ultimate goal is to help people isn’t it? We each have our own special gifts and purpose within the body of Christ, don’t we? What we share with others is not necessarily going to be what others are sharing. However, every part is vital to growth. As you help others to succeed, you yourself help the body. Helping others in essential to the health of the whole body which in turn is helping yourself as well. It should be our goal to grow and help others grow. Every part does its share in supplying, which in turn causes the whole body to grow.
We are all in this together, so the one whom we effect could be the one who will eventually effect us. You can see how this can have a domino effect that continues on to others. Whether others are healthy or not will eventually in turn effect you and so on. Let’s always be mindful of others. I would like to say that this kind of growth is not all about numbers, although that can be a part of it. The growth I’m talking about is growing up in all things unto Him. Let’s remember, this is the main thing.
Having said all of this, it should always be our goal to help others who are weak or going through things, and that can really only be accomplished when we are walking in love.
I am reminded of a testimony I once heard where a small town pastor was publicly accusing another local pastor of stealing his flock. The truth was, that this simply was not the case. This pastor was shoving the blame for all his problems onto others. The 1st pastor eventually had to shut down his church for lack of attendance and was going to leave town. The 2nd pastor stopped by to see him before he left. The 1st pastor got violent and grabbed him by the tie and was accusing him of stealing his flock among other things. The 2nd pastor finally freed himself and told him firstly that these things were simply not true, and secondly that he loved him and had been praying for him, and that he only wanted God’s best for him. The 1st pastor at this point just broke down and confessed the truth, and repented to the second pastor. Restitution happened and God restored this man. This could have never happened if the 2nd pastor had not walked in love. We must speak the truth in love at all times regardless of what others say or do. If this 2nd pastor had not walked in love toward the first, both of their ministries would have been effected. Instead, God was able to heal a deep hurt that would have continued to fester, and restore one of his ministers in the process. God is merciful, let’s not short circuit the mercy of God by refusing to walk in love especially toward our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
If we refuse to walk in love then even the truth that we speak will not have the same effect. This also means we are to esteem others above ourselves. That is something I believe we have lost in today’s society, even simple politeness often seems to be a thing of the past.
We should remember that whatever we sow unto others we will also reap in our own lives.
We all grow together when this happens, we all come up to a higher place together. This puts us in a place when we walk this way, and speak the truth in love to one another, revelation will start to flow which in turn will allow us to act on the truth we have received, which in turn will bring God’s will to pass. I realize that’s a mouthful, but Glory to God just the same!
It is vital that we as the body of Christ keep these things in mind. I’ve often seen the lesser parts get less honor and suffer because of it. However, the Bible says that we should bestow greater honor on these so that we can keep harmony within the body. Each part has a very important part to play in sustaining the whole body. Without all the parts working together we will not function properly and ultimately this will have a negative effect on us all. It is also something we will be held accountable. That is a very sobering thing to consider.
1 Corinthians 12:23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24. but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25. that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
The part that you may think is not that important very well could be the part that in turn sustains you in your time of trouble. We should care for that part even more. Lets look again at part of our opening text.
Ephesians 4:16. from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
The New American Standard says it like this.
Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
As we have just seen, it takes us all together to have successful and sustained growth. Since this is true, then we should all be willing to do our part and use the gifts that God has placed within each one of us. There are no unimportant parts within the body of Christ.
As we develop this mindset and begin to look to the needs of others for the purpose of building them up, we will all be stronger because of it.
I would like to leave with some Scriptures as an exhortation.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
Hebrews 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
13. but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today,'' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
The Olive Branch