Speaking the Truth Sermon – Ephesians 4:25-32 Sermon

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday May 23 2021.

SERMON NOTES

  • Well isn’t Ephesians just a cracker of a book. Victoria was wonderful last week as usual.
  • She continued this pivot in the Book of Ephesians from the wonders of the Gospel to now how we walk out the life of the gospel!
  •  And that is what we have been saying… that in light of the Gospel story of grace and forgiveness and redemption…
  •  We are called to live a life worthy of that calling. We come into balance…And so we come today to some pretty direct, honest, confronting truths or exhortations for how we should live.

– As we put off the old self and put on the new self, made new in the attitudes of our minds and created to be like God.

Everything that Paul will say links to what has gone before… right?

  • If you read these rules for living, or these moral guidelines for life in community without the remarkable good news that has gone before
  • It would be easy to slip into legalism or to become judgemental of everyone’s life…

– But Paul is going to talk about how to live, as allowing the Gospel story to reshape every part of our stories.

So verse 1 of chapter 4, “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

  • The Gospel story that he has reminded them of should be something that we feel compelled to want to come into balance with, in how we now live our lives.
  • And Victoria quoted the message version of Ephesians 4:23-24… It says;“Everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
  • So good… so good… all of this good news brings you in…
  • allowing for the possibility of a life renewed from the inside.So let’s have a look at today’s passage. Ephesians 4:25-3225 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, 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 amazing passage of contrasting ways of living, is generally summarised by scholars as being about truthful speech.
  • The encouragement, or exhortation from Paul in light of putting off the old self and putting on the new, is live a transformed life compared to what went before.
  •  I like in the Bible Project schematic that we have been following how they summarise this.
  •  Old self vs new self… what we take off and what we put on…
  • Take off lies. Put on truth
  • Get rid of anger. Live in peace.
  • Stop stealing. Be generous.
  • Don’t gossip. Use your words to encourage.
  • Don’t seek revenge. Practice forgiveness.
  • And the next two weeks. Don’t be promiscuous. Walk in the way of love.
  •  Don’t get drunk on wine. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.It’s brilliant right. Who wouldn’t want to live this life?

  •  And when we meet people who embody this kind of life, you can’t help but respect and honour and look up to them.
  • And the promise as Victoria said last week, is that as our minds are renewed… as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • These imperatives about how to live aren’t, “Because God has… you must…”
  •  But instead they are “because God has… you now can…”So we might read this section starting with… Ephesians 1:3 “Because God has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing in Christ…”
  • You can now take off lies. Speak the truth
  • Because God has, you can now get rid of anger. Live in peace.
  • Because God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, you can refrain fromstealing. Be generous.
  • Because God has, you can now stop gossiping. Use your words to encourage.
  • Because God has, you can choose to not seek revenge. Practice forgiveness.
  • Right? And we can read any moral imperatives in light of what God has done…Let’s go another round of this… Ephesians 1:19 “Because of God’s incomparably great power for us who believe…”
  • You can now take off lies. Speak the truth
  • Because God has, you can now get rid of anger. Live in peace.
  • Because of God’s incomparably great power for us who believe, you can refrain from stealing. Be generous.
  • Because God has, you can now stop gossip. Use your words to encourage.
  • Because God has, you can now choose to not seek revenge. Practice forgiveness.One more round… Ephesians 1:7-8 “Because God forgave our sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us…”
  •  You can now take off lies. Speak the truth
  • Because God has, you can now get rid of anger. Live in peace.
  •  Because God forgave and lavished grace on us, you can refrain from stealing. Be generous. Because God has, you can now stop gossip. Use your words to encourage.
  •  Because God has, you can choose to not seek revenge. Practice forgiveness.Are you with me?You see shame is an awful motivation for changing our behaviour.
  • Condemnation is an awful motivation for changing our behaviour
  • Fear of punishment is an awful motivation for changing our behaviour
  • But receiving every spiritual blessing in Christ. Being given great power. Being forgiven andlavished in grace…
  • That can compel and empower us to want to live a life worthy of the calling we havereceived.So let’s talk about some of the way Paul calls us to now walk as the children of God.
  • And I think it is good to remember that this letter was written to a community… these are ethics for how to live together…
  • Someone from this church was chatting with me the other day… and it was very encouraging what they were saying about what has formed here at Manly Life…
  • Particularly referring to all of the young families… and the sense of community and fun… and how great the services are…
  • And he said to me… “I mean what could go wrong from here…”

And I felt like such a party pooper… because what came to mind was the incredible human capacity to muck things up!

  • I have this incredibly high view of church community but also a very realistic view of church community.
  • Right? I absolutely believe that this is the place where people get saved and transformed and find friends and learn to forgive and share and be compassionate. I see it all the time.
  • But this is also a community full of broken people like me.
  • You know what could spoil this church community? Well I could… You probably could.
  •  If we are not committed to putting off the old self and putting on the new we can do allkind of damage. And it is in Paul’s list here.I mean we can tell lies to one another… we can let anger at a real or perceived relational hurt consume us.
  • People can fall out because of bitterness, rage and slander.
  • Right? Because we are doing life together, because we do become friends… we are rubbingup against each other… all the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • And it is so easy to make a judgement on another person and then talk about them behindtheir back.
  • In verse 27, Paul says this is giving the devil a foothold.So we daily, need to be reshaped in every part of our lives by the Gospel story.
  • It is why on the huge one of forgiving each other in verse 32, it is explained that we do this, “just as in Christ, God forgave you!”
  • Right? There it is again – it is the gospel story that reshapes our story. It is because God has… we now can too!Ok, I just want to finish today with truthful speech.
  • Interesting to me that in getting to some of the morals or ethics or ways of living out the Christian faith, Paul starts with speaking the truth…
  • And I think that is because of the absolute centrality given to truth in the Christian faith.
  • Truth is the Greek word Aletheia which means without concealment. Or out in the open.
  • In John 1 it says Jesus came in grace and truth.
  • He came without concealing anything… he revealed who God is. Fully, openly, perfectly.Isn’t that a great way to think about it…
  • He come to fully reveal who God is. Nothing hidden.
  • And his words are what you would consider the perfect conceptualisation of goodnesss.
  • Right – that is the Sermon on the Mount – pure unconcealed truth.
  •  That’s why he says in the sermon on the mount “be perfect as your Father in heaven isperfect.”
  •  Right? This is the absolute highest conception of moral truth…
  • It’s why Jesus says in John 8, know the truth and the truth will set you free…So Paul says put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour!
  •  So as Christians, as followers of Jesus we have a fundamental commitment to the truth and speaking the truth.
  • And why? Because truth speaks life into being… and lies speak hell into being…
  • The clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson… talks about our words tilting the world a bitmore towards heaven or a bit more towards hell.That’s a mic drop moment… truth speaks life and tilts the world towards heaven…. Lies and any co-operation with it speak hell into being.
  • So that is a good question to ask: Do your words tilt the world a bit more towards heaven or hell…
  • You see as we move towards the truth everything comes together… when we lie everything begins to fall apart…I find this such a challenge, but here is the reality… when we lie to each other, we find ourselves often having to lie more to cover up previous lies.
  • We end up entrapped by our own falsehoods…
  • And you can see why truthful speech is a great way to start for a transformed life.
  • See if you are committed to speaking the truth, then all the other stuff flows on…
  • You aren’t going to blow up in anger… which often leads us to say things we regret,.
  • We won’t steal because that involves fundamental dishonesty.
  • Instead, we begin to (verse 29) speak only what is helpful for building others up.Right? So then everything that then follows is in one sense a derivative action of telling the truth.
  • Bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander. These are all things related to the old way of living in which self preservation and getting ahead and selfishness rules our hearts.
  • But as we put on the new self… as our story is reshaped by the Gospel story… it says
  • “Instead be kind, compassionate and forgiving.”Again Jordan Peterson, he has written so much on the importance of speaking truthfully.
  • He says, “Use your words carefully and wisely and truthfully.”
  • He says the thing about telling the truth is that it is so adventurous… I like that.
  • You say not what you think will benefit me… or what will get me ahead in a situation.
  • But instead you speak what is true in every situation… and see where the chips fall…
  • I mean yes there is a think called tact… that’s important… but imagine prioritising truth!
  • Sometimes I counsel people… and the temptation is so strong to tell them what they wantto hear… you know “yeah leave your wife” or “yeah it’s all someone else’s fault.”
  • But I try and commit myself to speaking the truth. Of course in love. But the truth.As we finish… and I want to do some ministry at the end of the service… let’s just consider 3 places we can speak the truth.Firstly, In our workplace. I wonder what your work place is like? Good? Bit toxic?
  • I met with someone from church just this week who has just quit their job because the culture of their workplace was so oppressive.
  • And we spend so much time in the office or at school or the hospital or the shop…
  • And I wonder as a child of God whether you are titling it towards heaven or hell with yourwords?
  • You have an unbelievable opportunity right where you are to stand for truth and to speak the truth.
  • Selfridge story….
  • So shaped by the truth, be a person in your place of work who is committed to speakingthe truth.Secondly, At Home. I wonder what your home life is like and how words are used?
  • Most marriages that disintegrate have the common cause of truthful speech being an early casualty. (repeat that)
  • Starts maybe with little lies over where you have been, or what you have done with the finances or covering up addictions or bad habits.
  • And then lies are said to cover up lies… So a regenerated heart and renewed mind… leads to truthful speech.
  • My guess is you wont cheat on your partner if you are committed to truthful speech.
  • Imagine instead using your words only to encourage and build up and to speak truthfully.Victoria and I had a bit of a blow up one night this week. I think we were both tired and a few things had probably niggled each other the previous week.
  • And it wasn’t our finest moment…. But in the heat of an argument, your words can really sting!
  • Anyhow, the kids went to bed and we got a chance to talk… and we cleared the air and both committed to doing better.
  • And then bless Victoria, the next day she message me apologising for being a snappy turtle.
  •  And then I messaged her about how much I love her and how much she does and brings to the family.Right… but that is the power of following Jesus. Grace is a circuit breaker…
  • Instead of following the path of destructive words downwards and getting bitter and then slandering each other.
  • We forgive as the Lord forgave us in Christ Jesus…

– We then get to build each other up instead of tearing each other down.

And then finally, at church! This needs to be a place of truth!

  • So this is going well… this is a great church… what could possibly go wrong?
  • Hahahah!
  •  Look… listen… we need to come as we are… broken and real and with all of our mess…
  • But we need to come, so ready to bless and encourage and build each other up!
  • We have such an opportunity for this to be a house of honour and grace and truth! But it takes every single one of us to be on guard and to watch our words!
  • Imagine walking into this place and being bathed in encouragement?

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

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