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Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 4:7-16


Speaking the Truth in Love



1.  Our speech tells a lot about us (Lk. 6:45; Matt. 5:37; 26:73).

2.  Eph. 4:15 – The Christian’s assignment in speech involves two things:

  a.  An absolute:  Speaking “truth”.

  b.  Application of the principle:  In “love”.

3.  Whenever the Christian speaks it must be the truth & it is to be done in love (to our children, spouse, with brethren, strangers, teaching the gospel…).

4.  Things that are required to speak the truth in love.



  A.  Our Speech must be Brought & kept Under Control Jas. 3:2-5, 8.

    1.  Requires constant surveillance.

    2.  1:19 – Need for deliberateness vs. rashness.

    3.  1 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 2:7-8 – Our speech is to be exemplary.

  B.  We must be Willing to Speak When it Would be Easier to Remain SilentCol. 4:2-6.

    1.  Paul in bonds, yet he would not be silent with the gospel.

    2.  Gal. 2:14 – Silence is easier, but when sin is involved…damaging.

    3.  When a brother sins (Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1); When error is advocated (2 Tim. 4:2); when offenses occur…speak wisely – Col. 4:5-6.



  A.  “What is Truth?”  (Jno. 18:38)

    1.  “Unconcealed, manifest” – That which is real, reality, nothing hidden.

    2.  When we speak truth, we do not hide reality (including our intentions, motives, agendas, etc.) Matt. 15:7-9; Acts 5:3-4.

    3.  “Ideal, genuine” – That which is right & just – cf. Prov. 12:17.

  B.  Speaking Truth is a Trademark of the Christian – Matt. 5:37; Col. 3:9-10; Phil. 4:8.

  C.  Speaking Truth is Anchored in “the Truth” of the Gospel Jno. 17:17; 8:32.



   -HOW we speak the truth is also important, as is the truth we speak!

   -LOVE:  To do what is good for the one loved (cf. Jno. 3:16 with 1 Cor. 13:3).   (cf. Matt. 7:12)

  A.  Requires Addressing the Need of the Listener.

    1.  Eph. 4:29 – Assess & address.

    2.  Acts 20:20 – When the topic that which is needed is spoken / preached, love is doing its work.

      a.  Unbeliever:  Speak to him about Jesus (Acts 17:16-17).

      b.  Erring brother:  Bring truth to bear on problem (Jas. 5:19-20).

    3.  Use your opportunity to help the spiritual condition of hearer.

    4.  “Love” is not “compromise”:

      a.  Love does not mean never reproving, rebuking, denouncing sinful conduct or doctrinal error (2 Tim. 4:2).

      b.  Love never intentionally inflicts pain (not its purpose).

      c.  However, pain is the occasional by-product of love – Prov. 27:6 (2 Cor. 7:8-11).

  B.  Requires Speaking for the Right Reason 1 Cor. 16:14; Eph. 4:14-16 (Gal. 2:14; 4:16).

    1.  Love regulates its reasons for speaking

    2.  Our motives (why) & procedure (how) must be pure:  Not to “get even”; to inflict pain; to elevate ourselves; etc. - Phil. 1:15-17.

    3.  1 Cor. 13:1, 4-7 – Motive of our speech.

  C.  Requires that We Seek to Speak in the Most Effective Way Possible – Col. 4:6.

    1.  Gospel is powerful (Rom. 1:16), but power in the wrong hands is dangerous!  Gospel truth must be used responsibly.

    2.  cf. Nathan & David (2 Sam. 12:1-15) – Nathan could have romped with righteous indignation – But he wanted David’s salvation (not personal satisfaction).

    3.  Without misrepresentation – Jno. 7:24. (Truth doesn’t need to!)

    4.  What do we want when we speak the truth: to vindicate ourselves or to vindicate & support truth?



1.  Speaking truth in love is expected of God’s people.

2.  Be ready to speak (when needed), to speak truth (without deception), & to do so in love (for the lasting good of those who hear us).