GET TOGETHER – Growing in Truth Growing in Love
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
I love the Book of Ephesians. It is sometime referred to as the manual for Christian living. Certainly, that could be said about all 66 Books in the Bible, but the Book of Ephesians is loaded with Kingdom principles on how to live the Christian life.
This Book was written to a church that was made up of Jews that had been brought up in the Synagogue and former idol worshipers who had worshiped the goddess Artemis, or Diana. Those who had been brought up in the synagogue would have to learn how to grow in grace. And for those who had worshiped the goddess Artemis, they would have to learn a completely new way of life. All would have to understand that as new creations in Christ Jesus that there was still growth for them to become more like Jesus Christ. For all of us today no matter what back ground we may come from there is always more growth for us. That is a good thing! It means that we are alive in Christ!
We see in Chapter 4 some ways that we need the Holy Spirit to help us as we grow in Christ. First of all, we have to realize that we are different from the rest of the world. In Eph 4:17,18 ¶ This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.” The world looks at things through the carnal, natural, fleshly eye. Meaning the worlds response to situations and circumstances will be different from the response of a born-again Christian’s response. The heart of the unbeliever is blinded to the spiritual aspect of what is happening in the world. The Apostle Paul said it like this in 2Co 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,” (NKJV)
Back to our opening verse. The world believes that truth is subjective. Meaning that an individual can say “well this is what my truth is.” For the Christian truth is objective meaning that God is truth and that God is the source of all truth. When Jesus was brought before Pilate, he asked Jesus “what is truth?” I had a Professor that told us one time in class that Pilate was looking at truth right there in front of himself and did not know it. He was spiritually blind.
For us to grow as Christians we need to hear Him today by spending time with Him in His word. We are told in Eph 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.” We spend time listening to Him in prayer. Prayer isn’t just us doing the talking. It is God speaking to us through the small still voice of the Holy Spirit. He will speak to us anywhere and at anytime that we are listening. We are told in Isa 30:21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.(NKJV) As New Covenant followers of Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us we can hear Him as He gives us direction, comfort, and speaks to us about many things. He sometimes speaks to us through other believers. We are told in 1Co 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
To grow in Christ, we need the Holy Spirit’s help to deliver us from desires that are contrary to God’s will for us. We need His help to deliver us from sinful desires. We are told in Eph 4:22 “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” The Greek term for lusts here is epithumia, ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah. It is a desire, or craving, and a longing, for what is forbidden. The Holy Spirit helps us to go after Christ and to no longer go after those things that God forbids. God doesn’t forbid them because He desires to ruin our lives. He forbids them because when we grow in Christ, we experience something much better.
I don’t know about you, but before I came to Christ, I thought that some little white lies are ok. As Christians we get in some situations that the enemy will try to get us to lie. I remember when I was applying to Asbury Seminary. I was going to be taking on line classes. At that time, I was not very computer literate. When the person in charge of admissions asked me was I efficient on a computer the enemy tried to get me to lie. He was telling me that if I didn’t lie that I would not get in. I told the truth. The woman that I was speaking with said that is okay Brother Headrick we have a tech support person and all you have to do is call him anytime that you need help. I probably still hold the record for calling him.
The last one that I believe that the Holy Spirit would have me to mention is in Eph 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” We are not told that we can’t be angry and grow. But what we are told is that when we are angry that we are not to express that anger in a sinful way. Many times I have heard some Christians reference that Jesus got angry when He turned over the money changers table in the Temple. His anger was a righteous anger. His anger was concerning how the House of God has been made a den of thieves. He stated that the Father’s House was to be a House of prayer. His anger was about something not being right in the House of God. By the way he had absolute authority to express His anger in that way because He is God the Son. For all of us when we express our anger, we are to express that anger in a way that is not sinful and in a redemptive way that will glorify the Lord. We speak the truth. But we speak the truth in love.
Finally, when we grow in Christ and practice these Kingdom principles it will keep us from what we are warned about in Eph 4:27 “nor give place to the devil.” The devil is always looking for a chink in the Christian’s armor. He is always wanting to keep the Christian from moving forward in the faith and becoming more like Jesus Christ. Because when we become more like Jesus, we bring the light to where there is darkness. We bring hope to where there is hopelessness. We are taking back ground for the Kingdom that the enemy thought was His.
Let Us Pray
Lord today we praise You that You have delivered us from the power of darkness. We know that where there is growth that there is life. Today I pray for all of us that we will continually grow to be more like You. Help us not to be drawn and enticed to things that the enemy would use to harm our witness. Help us to direct our anger at the real enemy. His name is Satan. Help us to turn that anger into prayer. Help us to speak the truth in love. Help us to point a lost, frustrated, hurting, angry, world to the only One who can give true peace. And to the Only One who can give eternal life.
In Jesus Name
We love you all!