Ephesians 4: 14-15
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
SUMMARY OF SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
Communication is foundational to all relationships. Relationships can’t form, develop or deepen without healthy communication.
Paul is saying that if we are people who are genuinely moving towards spiritual maturity, if we are becoming more like Jesus, then our speech will be characterised by truth and love.
Most of us, by personality or background, will veer towards either truth or love, but Paul says that these are two things we cannot separate if we are to represent Jesus well with our words. Truth without love is brutal; love without truth is sentimentality.
WORDS HAVE POWER: Words connect us to God and words connect us to each other. The words we speak are incredibly powerful. God created the universe with His words and as men and women made in His image and likeness, He has given us the ability to create or destroy, build up or tear down, with our words. As Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says: "Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit -you choose.”
In many ways, the quality of ours lives depends on the quality of the words we say.
Words, used in the wrong way, can cause tremendous damage and destruction. In verse 14 Paul has just been talking about false teachers who are using words in a cunning, crafty, deceitful and scheming way within the church. He wants to contrast their negative speech with how words can be used in a way that brings life, growth, maturity, hope, blessing and encouragement.
Why is it important that our words are always expressed from a place of truth and a posture of love?
(i) TRUTH SPOKEN IN LOVE WILL LIBERATE US FROM LIES
Some of us sadly have been affected by relationships which have been toxic and where words have been used against us in ways that have been negative, abusive, hurtful and deeply destructive. Words that have been filled with neither truth nor love and we may still experiencing the results of those words in our lives today.
Prov 12: 18 says: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords…” The words we speak over people, and the words that have been spoken over us, may have only taken a few moments to say, but the wound, the imprint and scars can remain long after the words have been uttered.
Many of the problems in our lives come from lies we have believed. Lies about ourselves, lies about God, lies about other people, lies about life. The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies and very often, the way he seeks to gain access into our lives is through having us believe a lie. These lies then often become part of our identity and rob us of our freedom, joy and peace. They keep us stuck in a place of wrong thinking and harmful behaviour patterns. And often we don’t even realise it. These lies need to be replaced with words of truth, spoken in love.
We all have blind spots in our lives. Hangups and habits we aren’t aware of. Ways of behaving that are sabotaging our future and working against who we really want to be. We need people in our lives who will consistently and constantly speak the truth to us in love.
John Ortberg says: “Trying to grow spiritually without hearing the truth about yourself from somebody else is like trying to do brain surgery on yourself without a mirror.”
Jesus said: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 32)
Lies keep us bound and trapped and imprisoned. Truth applied to our lives liberates and brings healing.
(ii) TRUTH SPOKEN IN LOVE WILL RELEASE US INTO OUR FUTURE
If negative words, criticism and lies have the ability to tear down, destroy and wound us, then the truth spoken in love has the power to bring life, light, hope, freedom, joy, encouragement and to release destiny.
“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Eph 4: 29)
“...encourage one another and build each other up...” (1 Thess 5: 11)
What if we were to intentionally seek out people every day that we could speak blessing and encouragement over? That we would prophesy positively over them, helping them see themselves as God sees them.
In 1 Cor 14 Paul says: “…one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.” (vv. 1 & 3) At the heart of prophecy is simple encouragement, looking for the treasure in the clay pot, the gold hidden in the dirt, speaking blessing where you see greatness in an other's life, even if it’s only in seed form. Express heavens heart for them. Release the Father’s desires over them.
Many people who would never say a negative word about someone else, speak about themselves in such a critical way. When we do that we are prophesying negatively over our own lives. Why not speak life-giving words over yourself, declaring God's blessing and favour, words that reflect the way He sees you? Align your words with God’s truth.