Go read Philippians 1:7-11
Now go read Ephesians 4:11-16
<> Who are given the responsibility to perform works of service?
<> What is the end goal of these works of service?
<> Go back to last Saturday’s personal study – what are areas in your life that are not yet matured to the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ”?
<> What are the two possibilities for our church family according to Eph. 4:14-15?
A Difficult Task: Speaking the truth in love is never an easy task. There are huge self-heart-analysis issues that need to be addressed. There is pride and incorrect assumptions that need to be accounted for and prayed against. The entire notion of speaking with grace when someone is walking in sin is not an easy or natural concept. Our natural emotions are sadness or anger; hurt, surprise and frustration. I haven’t even mentioned the actual part about looking someone in the face and telling them that part of their life is against what God’s Word says is His will for their life. Speaking the truth in love takes nerve; Nerves that are lined with love and grace and courage – nerves that are sensitive to the Spirit and the ability of someone to receive correction and the form that rebuke needs to come in. I’m not trying to scare you off. I’m trying to help you understand some things:
1.) You’re probably going to blow it the first time you try it.
2.) You will get better with practice and consistent obedience.
3.) You will learn over time when you are being legalistic and when the Holy Spirit is prodding you to say something.
4.) YOU MUST BE CAREFUL AND PRAYERFUL. PLEASE DO THIS.
Go reread Eph. 4:13 and 15
<> What is the result of speaking the truth in love?
Growing Towards Jesus:
The most beautiful thing about learning speaking the truth in love is that we all grow towards Jesus as a result. Vs. 13 says that the goal is that we would be built up in our faith and knowledge in Jesus and vs. 15 says this happens WHEN we speak then truth in love to each other. Reconciliation between people is a secondary goal and benefit of rebuke and correction. Growing towards Jesus is the ultimate goal. The reason this is beautiful is that according to vs. 16, when we are all connected to Him we learn how to build ourselves up in love. We will never properly operate as a family until individually we are connected to Jesus, the head and until all of us little body parts learn to do our part and to tell each other the truth.
<> When has someone confronted you in a way that helped you grow towards Jesus?
<> What was your initial reaction to their confrontation?
<> Has anyone confronted you about an area of your life that you are refusing to deal with Jesus about?
Balance: One of the reasons that speaking the truth in love is such a difficult task is because it requires GREAT amounts of balance. There are seemingly thousands of factors to call into play and it’s situations like these that help us understand why Suggestion #4 isn’t a suggestion. IT’S A DESPERATE PLEA. If you don’t pray through the task of correcting someone in love, you will almost surely ruin the situation, say the wrong thing, and do it all with a prideful ignorant attitude. This attitude is almost never responded to in a beneficial way. Another issue of balance is that speaking the truth in love does not ONLY speak to issues of confrontation, correction and rebuke. It also speaks to regularly encouraging and praising and recognizing Jesus at work in people. In other words, speaking the truth in love can’t ONLY happen when someone is screwing up. If this is the case they will assume that you hate them, and are watching them waiting for them to make a mistake. You earn a stage with someone by loving them and walking through life with them. The more regularly you speak truth of all kinds (good, mundane, bad) and the more often you demonstrate love (sacrifice, hanging out with them, random acts of kindness, random gifts, etc.), the easier it will be to confront that person with VERY difficult truth. Real Love is awesome.
<> How can you develop balance in the way you communicate in your relationships? Are you capable of pulling this off on your own?
<> Do you generally struggle more with speaking the truth or being loving? Are you more of an angry person or a pansy?
<> How often do you take the time to tell and show people how much you love them?