Ephesians 4:14-16 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight 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:  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.
We live in a loveless and often disrespectful world.
I was reading an article the other day entitled “What Jesus Said About Homosexuality”. It was a well written article by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr. He’s got an alphabet soup of letters following his name showing the man is well educated and has been an Associate Professor of Ministry and Biblical Studies at Heritage Christian University. As I read the article it seemed very well balanced. Here’s a quote:
“ … the claim is still made: “Jesus never spoke about homosexuality.” While the Lord never directly addressed homosexuality, his statements about marriage clearly rule out homosexuality. When asked about marriage, the Lord said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6). … Did Jesus ever say anything about homosexuality? Maybe not directly, but his statements concerning marriage unmistakably prohibit same-sex relationships.”
That’s very clear. It’s very truthful. Furthermore, it’s very Biblical. And yet as I read the “reader’s comments” following the article I noticed several comments that attacked the author. One such comment was:
“How can anyone who pretends to be so religious, or christiansic, or whatever other label you place on yourself, be filled with such hate?”
The way that people attack truth today is to call truth hate. As a Christian I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and it’s teachings to be “truth”. It is no surprise to me that our Lord Jesus describes marriage as between one man and one woman – after all, He is the God Who created all things:
Colossians 1:16 (ESV) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
So if this is true, what should I do and how should I respond when any expression of Biblical Truth is labeled hate by a lost and dying person? I must nevertheless speak the truth in love.
1 What Is “Truth”? If we are to be “speaking THE TRUTH in love” then we need to know what truth is. When our Lord Jesus Christ stood before Pilate – accused of treason – Pilate asked Jesus “Are you a King?” Our Lord replied:
John 18:37a… THOU sayest that I am a king.
“YOU say I am a King – I’ve not declared this just yet.”
There will be a day when Jesus Christ is revealed as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16). Jesus Christ IS King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To Him “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Romans 14:11). But Jesus did not come the first time to be the King. People tried to make Him a King, but He refused. Jesus said …
John 18:37b …. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Jesus Christ came to “bear witness to the Truth”. Jesus told His disciples:
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Jesus bears witness to the truth. Jesus calls a people to Himself that will hear the truth. Jesus frees people by their hearingand doing of the truth. What is the Truth? The Truth is the Word of God. The Truth is what God says is True in His Word!
People today think that “truth” is what feels good or what we think. God says NO! Truth is His Word. The Bible declares “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
My wife and I love to hike, to walk through the woods and enjoy nature. We haven’t done much of this lately because it is so hot ….. darn this global warming (yes, I am being sarcastic). We usually follow the well worn paths and the posted signs in the natural parks where we hike, but sometimes we go off the path. When we do that I do not just use my judgment! Before we go off path I take out my compass and see which direction I am going. If I leave the path going NORTH I know that to return to the path (and safety) I need to go SOUTH on my exit. The compass insures that I do not get dangerous lost. Now there are times when I think that this way or that way is the right way, but when I look at the compass I realize I am terribly mistaken. My focus is on the compass. The compass tells me true. Not what I feel, but what is true.
The Bible is the compass of the Christian and of the Church.
We are told in
Ephesians 4:11-12 And he (God) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
God gave to His people – to His Church – Apostles and Prophets. These are individuals that God spoke His Word through. The Prophets spoke God’s Prophetic Word. The Apostles spoke and recorded God’s Revealed Word. The Scripture says that the Church of Christ is built …
Ephesians 2:20-21 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord:
The writings of the Apostles and the Prophets – collected and presented to you in this Holy Book – are the foundation of the Church. A “foundation” is what something is built on. The Church is built on – not FEELINGS – not OPINIONS – but on the Word of God. The Word of God is from God. The Scripture confidently declares:
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
God inspired men in both Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament was written by Prophets, men moved by God who looked forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament was written by men that Jesus Christ, the Revealer of Truth, hand picked to be His Apostles. Apostles and Prophets wrote Scripture. Then God gave His Church Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers who do not INVENT the Truth but who DECLARE the truth that is written. Evangelists focus on the Truth of Salvation. Pastors and Teachers on sharing the Truth of God’s Word with His Beloved Church.
Truth does not come from us, but from God’s Word.
Truth is not devised by us, but by God’s Word.
Psalm 33:4 (NIV) For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Proverbs 30:5 (KJV) Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
The Bible, the Word of God, is True and Right and Pure.
a It Is The Word Of God In The Heart That SAVES The Soul. The Word of God informs us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. The Word of God tells us that Christ is the Only Savior (John 14:6).
Acts 4:12 There is NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN UNTO MEN whereby we might be saved.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word (of God), which is ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOULS.”
Psalms 19:7 The LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT, CONVERTING THE SOUL; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;”
The Word of God must be spoken in love to those who are without, lost and strangers to God. They must hear that God loves them. They must hear that Heaven is not the default destination of every soul. They must hear that salvation comes only by hearing God’s Written Word, and by believing on God’s Living Word. They must be told – speaking the truth in love – that
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
b It Is The Word Of God That SANCTIFIES The Soul. Jesus prayed to the Father …
John 17:17 (KJV) SANCTIFY them (the Church) through Thy Truth: Thy WORD (O Father) is Truth.
A Christian does not grow spiritually unless the Word of God is in his HEART and HAND. The Bible declares without apology:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
You cannot do the deeper things of God until you do the simpler things. You cannot be “perfect” or “mature” as a believer until you hear, understand, and DO the Word of God. You cannot “speak the truth in love” if you do not KNOW the truth. The Holy Spirit of God is promised to every believer. Why? The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is the SEAL of salvation.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (ESV) And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and Who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
But the Bible also tells us that Christ gave us His Spirit to guide us in the Truth, the Word of God. Jesus said:
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
The Word of God is the Truth of God. The Holy Spirit is in you (if you are saved) to guide you in the Truth of God’s Word. If you’re not IN God’s Word you are wasting the resources of the Spirit.
Let me give you an example. When Sherry and I and our kids were stationed overseas in England we wanted to go to London and see the sights. So I picked up a guidebook on London, read it, studied it, and carried it with us when we went to London. We didn’t just go to London and wander around until we chanced on the Tower of London. We looked at the guide book. We took the train to Kings Cross. We got off the train, went to the subway, and heeded the guidebook. Every step of the way we followed what was said until we got to our destination. We never got lost in London because we followed the Book.
God gave His people His Holy Spirit to guide us in His Book. His Bible is His directions for life. He knows what is best for us, and if we want to grow up to be like Christ then we need to heed the Book!
2 As Believers We Are To Be Speaking The Truth In Love Even When It Is Not “Politically Correct”. The Word of God is the standard of the believer, but it is not the standard of the world. Yet we are to be “speaking the truth in love” even when it is unpopular.
Jesus spoke the truth in love. When a woman was brought before Him – taken in adultery – Jesus said:
John 8:7 (NLT) … let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!
Every one of her accusers went away that day dissatisfied, but Jesus spoke the truth. And when He told the woman “I do not condemn you” He followed up with this statement:
John 8:11 (NLT) … Go and sin no more..
Jesus did not justify her sinful lifestyle, but told her “what you were doing was a sin. STOP IT!” Jesus did the same thing with the Woman of Samaria, a woman at a well. As He is talking to her about salvation He tells her ..
John 4:16-18 (ESV) … “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
Jesus did not justify her sinful lifestyle, or modify the Word of God so as to not offend. The Word of God, pure and holy, is an offense to a sin sick world.
There was a man who was crippled who lay near a pool for thirty eight years. Time and time again he tried to get into the pool when the waters stirred, believing that those stirred waters would heal him. Jesus passed by and asked “Do you want to be healed?” The man said “Yes, I do”. And Jesus told him
“Get up, take up your bed, and walk”.
The man was healed that very day. Later on Jesus found the man in the Temple and told him:
John 5:14 (ESV) … “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The reason you were sick – debilitated for 38 years – was because of sin. SIN NO MORE. STOP IT! Lest something worst come on you. Our Lord NEVER justified sin. He NEVER said that a wrong thing was right.
I love the story of USAF pilot Captain Lou Curdes. Captain Curdes flew a P-51 Mustang in World War II, and he was what was known as a Flying Ace. An “Ace” is someone who has five or more kills – downing enemy aircraft. Each time a fighter pilot shoots down the enemy he is allowed to paint the flag of that enemy on the side of his cockpit. I was looking at a picture of Curdes sitting in his cockpit, and looking at the “enemy flags” painted on the side. He had:
Seven SWASTIKAS for seven German aircraft destroyed
One Wing Roundel for an Italian aircraft destroyed
One Rising Sun for a Japanese aircraft destroyed
But then there was something I’d never seen on an Allied Aircraft. There was ..
One American Flag for an American Aircraft destroyed
Was that an accident? No, it wasn’t. It was deliberate. Was the aircraft hijacked? No, it was being flown by American Forces. Curdes not only shot down an American C-47 Transport Plane – he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross – the only one EVER issued for shooting down an American aircraft. So what happened?
On February 10th 1945 the Philippine Island of Bataan was under Japanese control. Captain Curdes and three others were flying over Bataan destroying enemy landing strips. Out of the afternoon haze an airplane appeared – a C-47 transport plane – and it was headed toward a Japanese airstrip. Curdes came alongside the aircraft, warning them that the island was occupied by the enemy, but received no response. Curdes knew if the aircraft landed that all aboard would be killed or, at best, made POWs. Having been a POW before he knew the horror of that fate. The pilot would not reply nor respond. So Captain Curdes opened fire on the unarmed transport, systematically taking out first the left then the right engine. The plane splashed down in the water, and all 12 men aboard made it into inflatable dinghies to be rescued by Allied Amphibious planes. The C-47 was low on fuel, and thought they were landing on an Allied Airstrip. At first they were FURIOUS at Curdes. But after learning the truth they heralded his actions.
He knew the truth, and acted accordingly.
We live in a lost and fallen world that cares nothing for the Cross other than as jewelry. The Gospel is foolish to the lost. The preaching and teaching of God’s Word is archaic and outdated to the sinner. They hate the Word of God, and disagree with it’s precepts.
Yet we are nonetheless to stand on the truth. Having been a POW of Satan, I want no man to go down that dreadful path – and neither should you! If you love people you will stand on God’s Truth even if you are the only one in the room that believes it.
God’s Word is always TRUE!
3 It Is Our Calling And Our Commitment As Christians To “Be Speaking The Truth In Love”.
The word “speaking” in verse 15 is the Present Active Participle of ἀληθεύω alētheuō meaning “to speak and keep on speaking”. The Christian Standard is to keep on speaking TRUTH in LOVE.
When challenged (and we will be challenged) we must not forget neither the “Truth” nor the “Love” part of this command. The Apostle stated at the beginning:
Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
I love this. Paul said “I am a prisoner OF THE LORD”. Imprisoned, heading toward certain death in Nero’s Court for preaching the Gospel the Apostle said “I’m not a prisoner of ROME. I’m a prisoner OF THE LORD”. He was doing God’s Work in a world filled with Satan’s works. Yet Paul was not bitter at those who imprisoned him. He looked beyond this and, believing that God is in control, kept on doing that which God commanded him to do.
If you are walking worthy of the vocation to which you are called then you will be speaking the truth in love. You will not compromise the Truth because you love Christ. You will never make it about yourself, but about God. Speaking the truth in love means to avoid arrogance. To speak with all lowliness and meekness, with LONGSUFFERING or PATIENCE knowing that God is with you.
And God is with us.
Let love be our standard as we share God’s Gospel with others. Let us live according to God’s standard regardless as to whether it is popular or not. Let us keep on loving God and others enough to keep on speaking the truth in love.
And let’s quit WHITEWASHING THE GOSPEL!
God is calling as many as will SURRENDER to Him to Eternal Life. Adrian Rogers once said:
“After a splendid victory at sea, Lord Nelson confronted the French admiral who was surrendering. Dressed in all his regalia, the French admiral approached Nelson to surrender. With his sword swinging by his side, the admiral put out his hand to the British commander.
Lord Nelson stepped back and said, “Your sword first.”
There are a lot of people who think they can walk up and glad-hand the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, “Your sword first.” Surrender first! Jesus is not an appeaser, and He will never make a truce with sin. Never! We have to abdicate the throne. We have to surrender.”
May God touch your heart with His Word.