Speaking the truth in love to our brothers and sisters in Christ is not the poke in the eye as we see so often today. The word of God will knit us together in unity. But when a person allows the Devil to use him to poke others in the eye or create different doctrines of separation they are actually allowing their flesh to rule their own spirit.
Ephesians 4:15 & 16, 15, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- 16 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.
We all grow together. That may not sound profound to you, but when you realize that the unity of the church is where its true strength lies, then you will recognize that the church is like a chain; it is only as strong as its weakest link. Knowledge of the word of God is good, but without wisdom and understanding, the ability to speak the truth with love is not present. Sure we can see our brother in the Lord stumble and more often than not we will point out his sin to him and probably tell others in the process. We need to look at ourselves first. (Matthew 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?) I recently heard a very good pastor visiting the US from Nigeria tell the church he was visiting, that America was not in a financial recession, but a spiritual recession which started in the pulpits. I wish I could argue with him, but knowing firsthand what I have heard from different preachers over the years, his words both hurt and made since. This is all the more reason I encourage people to study the word for themselves. Not to argue with what is preached, but to understand the truth. We must remember that all of us are broken clay vessels, pastors included. We all carry pressures of life around in us, and often pastor’s fall into the thinking that they cannot confide in or even go to be refreshed by another pastor. We can only grow up together by refilling our tanks daily. We can look at Americans and see that we do not miss many meals, but will miss church several times a week, and only carry the bible to church with little reading of it for ourselves.
Jesus paid a high price for our salvation and wants His church to grow up into a light to the world. We seem to have lost some of our glimmer. The light of the church has not gone out however; we can become that light again by fulfilling verse 16. We first must recognize that we are all one with Christ. What we bring to the table, so to speak, either builds up or pulls down the body. Every one of us supplies the church with something. If we bring in doubt, despair, anger, mocking, or any other sin into the church, than that is what we are supplying. However, even if we are stumbling in any of these areas, but bring in a heart’s desire to learn and grow up in the Lord, than we actually become partners with the pastor. A good Spirit filled pastor will always purpose to bring God’s word to the church and in their delivery they are handing it to us. Think about this, if I hand something heavy to you, at the furthest point from my body is when I am in the greatest physical strain. If you do not reach out to receive it I hold all of the weight, but if you reach out and take it from me then at that point we are joining our strength. As you pull it to yourself than I am freed up to pick up more and hand you more. The same works in church, you’re choosing to receive the preached word and go study it for yourself is partnering with the pastor. Only by growing up in the Lord can we truly encourage each other. In Ephesians 5:21, Paul tells us to submit to each other. He is not telling us to put ourselves in submissive positions to one another, but rather to share our hearts with each other so that we may pray for one another, encourage from one another, and build each other up in Christ by what each of us supplies. The more of God’s word and understanding is in you the more you can build up your brother in Jesus. The body can only grow with what “each” member supplies. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 is a beautiful word picture of how the body of Christ supports and grows together. 1 Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter in that it teaches us that anything done without love is actually nothing at all. By building up our knowledge in the word and asking God for both wisdom and understanding we can learn to walk in the love toward each other, the same love God has for us.
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