Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ephesians 4:15-16 comments: the church

15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

What does it mean to speak the truth in love? Remember that the context is the edification and growth of the church. 

First, we completely reject sneaky behavior and clever speech designed to deceive, particularly when using God’s word.

2Corinthians 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Christians should reject feigning and hypocritical speech, attempting to deceive. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be clear and without a hidden motive.

Romans 12:9  Let love be without dissimulation.

There is no more room for hateful and mean-spirited speech or vulgarity. Also, if you think your f-bombs are a sign of manhood when you’re with your buddies away from church you are a pathetic fool who has a rude awakening in store for him.

Colossians 3:8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

The church is the body of Christ on earth with the head, Christ, in heaven. Paul goes into further detail on this subject in other places.

Romans 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

It is good to read 1 Corinthians 12 on this subject realizing that the chapter on charity, the love  between brothers and sisters in Christ, is the very next one.

1 Corinthians 12:12 ¶  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14  For the body is not one member, but many. 15  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19  And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20  But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 ¶  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

The Christian church is not a political action committee or a social club like those in Germany that gather together to sing on weeknights. It is Christ’s body on earth and our actions together are for the purpose of doing His work on earth; edifying, caring for, and uplifting each other, and glorifying Him. He has provided offices and callings for just that purpose and we do err when we try to make the church something other than it was intended. People will be drawn to the church by how we see that we care for each other on a purely human level.

Do you feel that you can confide your burdens to someone else in the church without being judged or condemned? Do you feel that you could go to your church for help if you were in dire straits and truly needed help? Does the very idea of telling anyone in your church body that you are in need or hurting make you shudder in terror or even disgust or shame?

The biggest problems in the church today are judgmental people, people who exploit others for selfish gain or pleasure, and control freaks. They may not even be saved. Rather than being part of the body they just might well be a tumor, an unnatural growth, on the body. A person who has stopped coming to church may have a reason and that reason may be sitting in a pew near you.

Let us carefully follow Christ’s commands for His church and that, more than empty words, will glorify Christ to the world.

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