To say our church purpose is to love God and others but yet to communicate in ways that fail to demonstrate that love is a contradiction which people will pick up on. We are to “walk in the way of love” (Eph. 5:2) which includes our communication. To walk in the way of love is to keep in step with our primary purpose.
The Means: Gifted members of the Body “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (v. 11-12).
The Objective: “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (v. 13)
The Evidence: When we become mature we will not be deceitful nor fall for deceitfulness. Rather, we will speak the truth in love (v. 14-15). As everybody does their part, the Body “grows and builds itself up in love” (v. 16). Our purpose to love God and others permeates all we do in increasing measure.
How to Keep Our Communication in Step with God’s Purpose to Love Others
The remainder of Ephesians 4 exhorts us “put off your old self … and to put on the new self” (v. 17-24) with examples of what that looks like (v. 25-32). Then we get “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph. 5:1-2) The word “therefore” suggests it is based on what came before which signifies that the examples given in Ephesians 4:25-32 are what we need to do to walk in the way of love.
- Be honest with people, not deceitful or manipulative. (v. 25)
- Deal with anything that makes you angry so it doesn’t escalate and become a tool of the enemy. (v. 26-27)
- Don’t take advantage of people. Work at giving to people rather than taking from them. (v. 28)
- Build up rather than tear down people by what you say. (v. 29)
- Remember that if what you have to say would offend the Holy Spirit, it would not be in step with God’s love. (v. 30)
- Guard against letting resistant people get under your skin, needing to be one up on them, always right, defensive, or rude. (v. 31)
- In place of bitterness or malice, extend kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, remembering God’s grace toward you. (v. 32)
We can so easily slip back into the default mode of our “old self” rather than the “new self”. We can let our personalities dictate attitudes and responses if we fail to keep our communication in step with God’s purpose for us to love. Let’s “walk in the way of love” (Eph. 5:2) “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).