by Seattle ALC
“But speaking the truth in love,” is a part of the 15th verse of Ephesians chapter 4, written by the Apostle Paul to encourage the Church in Ephesus, and the Church today in unity. He was personally aware of how important this was to the spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. He had formerly been involved in an attempt to destroy fledgling church of Christ, because he did not have either Truth or Love as defined by the scriptures. He knew the scripture inside out, but was devoid of the Truth because he had not come to know the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
I have appreciated the Gospel and Epistle texts on the church calendar the past few weeks. It is amazing how all of the scriptures on the calendar are able to unite the Old and New testaments. But the last two weeks in particular, the Gospel, in Luke chapter 4, begins the revelation of Jesus, as the Truth, spoken of by the prophets hundreds of years before He was born. The Epistle text, in I Corinthian chapter 13 opens to us Love, that united with Truth, is what the Good News is all about, and the message that we are to share with the entire world. It is only in Jesus Christ that Truth and Love are joined together. The charity, or agape love, in I Corinthians 13, is what has come down from God in the form of His Son. The complete work of the redemption of man fulfilled in Jesus, because God is Love.
In the opening part of I Corinthians 15, Paul twice uses the phrase “according to the scriptures.”. What an important phrase that is, especially in our day. We hear a lot of ideas about what love is and we hear a lot of thoughts about truth. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to unite these two for us. To take the Truth of the scriptures, Jesus Christ, and reveal the great Love of God in bringing us the forgiveness we all need. When we take these two individually, they quickly become self-serving and ultimately destructive. Paul verifies that in his experience on the Damascus road. He met Love and was physically blinded. He, that was using the Holy Scripture for his own purposes, was stopped from going down that road. It was Grace that opened his eyes to Love, and Grace that caused him to see Truth. The Grace of God, unmerited favor to one that was going down the wrong road for the wrong purpose. How many times we read from Paul about the forgiveness he received from God through Jesus Christ.
In Acts, chapter 9, it is recorded about how difficult it was for Ananias to go and visit Paul. Paul had been terrifying the believers in the fledgling church, but we thank God that Ananias was obedient to the Spirit of God. He shared the Gospel, spoke to him of Jesus and laid his hands upon him. This is what we are called to do as His Church. To speak the “truth in love.”, like this faithful servant did to Paul. It is God that works humility in both the servant and the one being served, a humility rooted in Jesus Christ. I’ll leave you with this from Philippians chapter 2: 1-13:
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Lights in the World. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. “