Building up believers and the New Testament church

The Family of God

Speaking the Truth in Love

If we are going to grow up, there must be a supply. Often we think that this supply is going to come through just a few members, such as the ministers or the elders, or some person we esteem. But have we read Ephesians 4:15,16 carefully? "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things in Him who is the head--Christ--from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." Notice the emphasis on "every joint," or every member. God's thought in the family is on every member, because we are all children. There is only one Father, and He is in heaven. He has given the Holy Spirit to every member; thus no member is above any other member, and no member is unimportant. Has this revelation broken upon our hearts?

The growth is going to come as each member speaks the truth one to another in love. That is demanding. It means that every member is going to be a supply of the Spirit. If we do not know this place, then we will not know the supply. Listen to the words of Paul to the Romans: "Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another" (Romans 15:14). How can we be full of goodness? The answer is found in the preceding verse. "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Only God is good, so the only way we can be full of goodness is to be full of God. That means a personal, intimate, continuing relationship with God by the Holy Spirit. Only in that place will we be able to be a supply, and admonish one another in the right spirit.

Some have seen how demanding this is, and have excused it away. "Let the pastor do it," would be the response of some, or "Let God do it," others would say. But neither the pastors (elders) nor God can do what each member must do. If we are sons, we can do what sons must do, and that is to be full of God and let that life overflow to others. Everybody benefits when there is an overflow. The supply coming through every member is the secret of growing up into God.

The key to speaking the truth in love is only speaking what the Father tells us to speak. He is love and truth. If we speak on our own authority, it will not be in love and it will not touch the heart of the matter in truth. Our words and thoughts only agitate and irritate, touching surface matters, void of true godly care and concern. This is sensed in the spirit, and although we may not be able to put it into words at the time, the words are not unto edification and do not give grace to the hearer. When we speak under the control of the Spirit, however, our words will be seasoned with salt, and will minister life to the hearer.

When we begin to see this place of responsibility before God, our first reaction may be to pull back to "a safe place" and just be quiet. This is not a place of safety, however, but a place of death, because it is not a place of faith, believing that God can uphold us. The only place of safety is "out on the water with Jesus." Sitting in our boat of "safety" leaves us void of spiritual experience with Jesus. Jesus is out walking on the water. He is moving in this world to save men from destruction and bring them into the safety of God's love. Are we part of what God is doing, or are we sitting in the seat of the unbelieving? There is no middle "safe" ground. The only safe ground is to be moving in union with our Lord. Let us not be those who draw back in unbelief, but those who press forward and please God by faith.