The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:14,15 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (speak truth)
The goal expressed by the apostle Paul is that we might “grow up” or become mature as disciples of Christ. Children are immature, they lack understanding, and they can be easily influenced. One of the real dangers to those who are babes in Christ is false teaching. Such teaching is like strong winds blowing a small craft through the water. There are those who promote false doctrine, and they often prey on the untaught and deceive them through crafty means. False teachers do not fly under their true colors. They may be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Matthew 7:15.
Unlike false teachers, mature Christians speak the truth in love. They do not “lie in wait to deceive,” as the false teachers did, but rather their speech is characterized by truth and soberness. Most noteworthy, three things are emphasized by the apostle.
First of all, Christians must SPEAK. It was never meant for them to remain silent. Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 4:13 “We also believe, and therefore speak.” If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we must speak. Jeremiah once grew discouraged and resolved not to speak any more in the name of the Lord, but he said the word was like fire in his bones and he could not hold it in. Jeremiah 20:9. Paul urged Titus to SPEAK things which befit sound doctrine. Titus 2:1.
Second of all, Christians must speak TRUTH. It is the truth that makes men free John 8:32. No inspired man ever said that error of false doctrine would make men free. In fact an inspired apostle said to “mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:17. The apostle John declared: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” 2 John 9. Our souls are purified by “obeying the truth.” I Peter 1:22.
Therefore Christians must speak the truth in LOVE. Sometimes it is difficult to tell people they are wrong and need to make a change. It is easier if we can “persuade men” 2 Corinthians 5:11. Many people can accept a correction if they can see it is offered in love. The servant of the Lord must “be gentle unto all men,” 2 Timothy 2:24. SPEAK. Speak TRUTH. Finally, speak the truth in LOVE.
In Christian Love,
Bill Arnold, Minister
Ridgeway Church of Christ