Ephesians 4.25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
26 “In your anger do not sin”[*]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
This is our eighth time sharing the thoughts of B. J. Rutledge pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, Texas. Click the somewhat provocative title below to read at source.
I am camping out in the book of Ephesians right now and it’s rich! Here are a few thoughts from my reading yesterday and this morning.
If we’re not careful we become part of a big con game that’s played out week after week in church. We lie to each other; we act like everything is ok when it’s not, or we won’t confront a problem we have with someone, but share it with others. We’ve become pretty good at disengaging with portions of Scripture that don’t fit with how we feel or think at the time. Pastors can be guilty just like the people in the church can be guilty.
So here are 5 simple reasons to go ahead and lie to each other.
- We don’t really want to build community.
To grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ we have to connect relationally in a place that is safe; where we can be authentic and real.
Real community in a local church can’t be built without us taking the risk of getting rid of falsehoods and lies and begin to share with each other truthfully because we belong to one another. (Ephesians 4:25)
- Because we’re OK giving the devil an opportunity
In every relationship we’re going to be hurt or offended; whether intentionally or unintentionally. Expectations aren’t going to be met. People aren’t going to measure up, or they’re going to fail us in some way. An offense takes place and we get angry. That’s going to happen. But when we’re unwilling to go to the person who offended us we’ve put a match the hand of Satan. If we take the offense to someone else, Satan lights the match and pours a little gas on it. (Ephesians 4:26-27) Because we’re members of one another (the same body of Christ) we’re to go to each other and work things out in the right spirit. The principle Jesus shares in Matthew 18:15 would solve so many problems.
- Because we’re fine with the church being torn down.
When we talk badly about someone, and we usually don’t have the whole story unless we talk to that person – lies get involved because truth gets twisted. When that happens, we steal from one another; we steal the reputation of the person(s) involved or even the reputation of the local church. Ephesians 4:28 says to stop stealing and start doing good. Listening to Tony Evans yesterday, he said we’re to quit stealing from one another and do all we can to build up the church. We’re to build up because we’re members of one another as Christ’s body the church.
- Because we don’t care if we grieve God’s heart.
Ephesians 4:29 is pretty clear that every word you say should build up others and build up the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:30 says when we violate this principle, we grieve the heart of God. The words you and I say should give grace to people and build up the body of Christ (the church). Not only are we members of the same body, we have the same Father, and every parent I know wants people to treat their kids right. It grieves God’s heart when we talk about or treat His kids the wrong way.
- Because we really don’t care what God says.
Ephesians 4:30-32 is clear; we’re to put aside things that hurt others and do things that are kind. We’re to be tender-hearted and forgiving because that’s what we’ve experienced in Christ. Lying is a sin because it always hurts someone and violates the law of love that Jesus said was paramount in our lives. The truth is; lying hurts the liar and the person(s) being lied about.
So what’s the solution? Submit your pride and opinions to God. Man up or Woman up and talk to people when you have an issue. Don’t spread discontent or speak without thinking.
What Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 is a sobering truth; He said you and I will give an account for every careless word we speak.
Most of the time, problems we have are really spiritual issues; Ephesians 6:12 says our real fight is not with flesh and blood. Go to people you have a problem with and be mature; don’t give Satan an opportunity.
As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:14-16 (NLT)
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
[*] Psalm 4:4 (see Septuagint)