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Sermon #4117

Speaking the Truth in Love

A Sermon on Ephesians 4:15


Ephesians 4:15 ESV KJV
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (ESV)

Sermon Description

In this sermon on Ephesians 4:15 titled “Speaking the Truth in Love,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks of one of the most misunderstood and misapplied statements in all of Scripture: to always speak the truth in love. Many use this verse to argue against criticizing the views of others on the basis that it is unloving. They say that to criticize other Christians is to disrupt the unity of the church and God’s people. But this grossly misses the point of both what it means to speak in love and what it means to live in unity with other Christians. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out, the apostles and Jesus never hesitated to criticize false teachers and refute their teachings. In fact, many of the New Testament epistles were written just for this reason, to correct false teachings that had infiltrated the church. Not only this, but the whole history of the church has seen many creeds and confessions drafted in order to lay out clear doctrine and by this, protect the unity of the church. Because God has revealed the truth about Him and His Son in the Bible, the church must proclaim the truth and refute all that contradicts God’s word.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon text is Ephesians 4:15 - "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."

  2. This verse is often misinterpreted and abused. It does not just mean being nice and loving.

  3. The context of the verse is important. Verse 14 warns against being tossed by every wind of doctrine. Verse 15 contrasts this by telling us to hold onto the truth.

  4. In order to hold onto something, you must know what it is. The truth here is something that can be defined.

  5. There are certain essential truths we must hold onto: The authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the atonement, justification by faith alone.

  6. Throughout history, creeds and confessions have been written to define and defend these essential truths. They were written to save the church from error.

  7. Today, many object to creeds and confessions. They believe Christianity is just a vague spirit of love and niceness. But this contradicts Scripture and history.

  8. We must hold onto the truth, but we must do so in love. This means:

  9. Watching our spirit, especially toward other believers.

  10. Not being rigid, legalistic, intolerant or argumentative.

  11. Having a desire to persuade and win others, not just prove them wrong.

  12. Approaching others with humility, recognizing our own fallibility.

  13. Starting by explaining the truth, not attacking others.

  14. Having sympathy and compassion for those in error.

  15. Not compromising the truth, but holding it in love. Love means desiring the best for others, even if it requires rebuking them.

  16. Paul's letter to the Galatians shows this approach in practice. He rebuked them strongly for their error but did so out of love for them.

The Book of Ephesians

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.