Unified in Truth
In today’s world, truth is treated as subjective. The world believes truth is what one makes it and how it applies to oneself. They believe there is no singular truth, and it is relative to the situation.
Scripture teaches the exact opposite. Truth is foundational, it is fixed, it is unyielding, and it was set in stone by God (cf: Exod 20). Without truth we are hopelessly lost. Imagine an airplane flying in thick clouds at night with no working instruments. No reference to earth, sky, speed, or course. The ending is fatal. And such is life without truth.
In the NASB translation, the word ‘truth’ is used 203 times. Many times, truth and love were used together – they go hand in hand, whether in the love of God or the love of others (cf: 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:8, etc.). And remember that Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the life, and also that the truth will set you free (John 14:6, 8:32). Truth matters!
In today’s passage, Paul also reminds us of the importance of truth:
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Eph 4:14-16 NASB
Paul begins by giving us some examples of what happens when we ignore or outright reject truth. We are carried away by false teaching and doctrine, tricked by men, and deceived by schemes. Paul is not talking about worldly trickery and schemes; he’s talking about what is taught by wolves hiding inside our churches. Spotting the world’s deception is pretty easy; spotting it from the pulpit or in a small group is often much harder. Remember how Satan tempted Eve and even Jesus? He’s very crafty and skews God’s own words to deceive his prey (see Genesis 3, Matt 4).
As we saw last time, God gave the church the gifts of good, loving pastors, teachers, and evangelists. As a result of this gift, Paul says we are no longer to be like children, meaning that we are to live by, obey, love, and submit to truth. And where do we find truth? Scripture!
While there are countless amazing pastors and teachers, there are also many who are not fit to be in such a position. We can’t fix that, but we can be on guard. Jesus repeatedly warned us about the dangers of deception in His Olivet discourse (Matt 24-25). All the New Testament authors cautioned and exhorted us to beware of false teachers and not to allow ourselves to be deceived. This is a very potent theme throughout all of Scripture as God repeatedly tells us to be careful of such people, and to instead unify as a body under the truth of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of it (cf: John 16:13). In essence, rejecting the truth found in Scripture is a rejection of Jesus Christ and His saving grace (2 Thes 2:10-11).
Once we believe and trust in Scripture as our one source for truth about God, we can unify as a Church, and then become properly fitted and held together by what every joint supplies. Each one of us was created for a specific purpose. You’re good at something because God gave you that talent to bless Him and the Church. It doesn’t matter how small or big your gift is – just use it for the glory of God and the edification of other believers (Matt 25:14-30).
But without being unified in truth, which harmonizes us with the body of Christ, our service, gifts, and talents are not valuable to the Kingdom. A hand or foot severed from the body is of no use to anyone. Therefore, we must remain fitted and held together in truth, so that we are not tossed around by waves of deception and deceit, and instead stand firm on the foundation of Christ and be able to resist any trickery or false doctrine the enemy throws at us.
Know His word. Believe His word. Trust His word. Love His word.