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Never give up… Speaking

(“Never Give Up” is a series of posts on what we do together in a Sunday service. You can find all topics here.)

How does the church grow to maturity? How will we be able to distinguish truth from error, reach complete unity and grow into Christ? We just need to listen to sermons, right? We need preachers to explain the Bible to us, and tell us what’s what and how to live in response. And then we’ll be sorted. Well, not really. Ephesians 4:7-16 answers those questions – let’s take a look at v11-12:

It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service

There it is. Jesus has set some people aside, including our “pastors and teachers”, to teach the Bible (do you notice these are all word-based ministries?). We need to listen to the experts, and then we’ll be prepared for works of service.

That’s alright as far as it goes, but the surprise comes when we dig into what exactly those works of service are. Look at v15:

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

Do you see what we’re to do? We are to speak the truth – that is, the truth of the gospel – in love. And it is only as we all do that to one another, that the church will grow up into Christ.

It’s absolutely true that we all have to listen. We have godly and skilled pastor-teachers who work hard to give us the Bible that will equip us to serve one another. But it’s just as vital that we all have to speak. We can’t just be passive in our listening, we all have a responsibility to speak the gospel to one another, to remind each other of the blessings we have in Christ and to encourage one another to carry on.

Of course we can speak the truth in love every day, but what a great opportunity the Sunday meeting gives us! So…

  • Can you share something that you have learned or been encouraged by from the Bible that week?
  • Can you take some time after the service to discuss the sermon and how it applies to you before moving onto lectures and TV?
  • Can you be honest about your failures, so that the rest of us can be as well?
  • Can you pray with someone about the things you’ve been talking about?

Those are just my thoughts, what else can you do to speak the truth in love to someone next Sunday? Whatever it is, let’s not give up speaking to one another!