Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last Sunday’s Epistle reading from Ephesians, chapter 4, was jam packed with good stuff. Let’s consider just a portion of that reading. Ephesians 4:15-16:
ESV 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
It’s not easy to speak the truth in love, as
Maybe one way we can work on speaking the truth, is to work on hearing the truth. That is to say, if the church is made up of people who examine themselves according to God’s Word (the truth), it will be filled with people who are constantly hearing the truth. And of course, no honest hearer of the Word can look at their life in comparison to God’s Word and think that they have it all together. On the contrary, the mirror of God’s Word will reveal our failures and faults—our sin—and kill the Old Adam living within.
When Christians are self-examining people, we are used to hearing and knowing the truth, and when we hear that truth spoken to us from a friend or family member, we are more likely to say, “Yeah, I know, it’s bothering me too.”
But knowing our sins, and hearing the truth concerning our sin is only half of the coin—and it’s definitely not the pretty side!
Having the Old Adam killed by the Law, points us to Christ, and the forgiveness and life that we have through the cross. Killing sin, brings the new life of repentance and faith—a life that “makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” The church grows strong when Christians are able to hear the truth spoken in love, and be built up by it. And ultimately, I think it does something even greater.
A person that has been shown mercy is more likely to show mercy to another. A person, who has felt the sting of the law, is more likely to speak the truth to another IN LOVE. You see, when we know our own sins and have received the wonderful blessings of the Gospel, we will be quick to show that mercy to others—and to speak the sometimes harsh truth, with the love and concern of a brother or sister.
Speaking the truth in love, is one example of a beggar showing another beggar where to find bread, as Luther said. And that, my friends doesn’t have to be so hard.
After all, it is God’s Word—I think He knows what’s best.
Dying and Rising in Christ. Amen.