Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
(Ephesians 4:15 – ESV)
(Ephesians 4:15 – ESV)
We are all on a bridge and we are traveling one way or the other, toward the truth or toward a lie, toward maturity or toward apostasy. We reach maturity by allowing more and more truth to connect into and with our lives. The problem comes when we know the truth but it hasn’t connected with us yet. We have the conception but it has not made the connection into our life. This is a real concern because we can correctly identify something but then fail to apply it correctly. Perhaps we know some bible but not enough of it, just enough to be deadly to ourselves and to others who we poison. Also, a big reason why we misapply scripture is because we are only looking for a way out of sacrifice when Jesus is the way in. We are looking for scripture to perform for us, for God to perform for us, instead of us performing to the dictates of scripture regardless of what happens.
When teaching truth or in receiving truth, we must bridge the gap between conception and connection. Here in this passage of scripture from Ephesians, and especially in this verse, is a true key for our understanding. The bridge between conception and connection is compassion. We need to teach with compassion and we need to see that God is compassionate in giving His truth to us, even when it seems hard. However, we must emphasize the truth that true compassion is not some wishy-washy, feel good, no confrontation so we always compromise thing. True compassion must be undergirded by true, real conviction, and this will help people make the connection with real truth for their lives.
Conviction with compassion brings conception into connection for people. You can see all of that demonstrated here in this 15th verse. We are supposed to speak the truth (conception) in a loving way (compassion) so that we may grow up (connection) into the likeness of Christ (conviction). Passion for Christ is passion for truth is compassion for people. You have to know the truth, live it, and be convinced of it, you have to want the other person to grow up, and that isn’t real unless you are growing up too.
You can have the truth (conception) but it still not make you grow up (mature, connection). Looking at Ephesians 4:22 we see that sin is deceitful. One of the dangers of sin is the deceitfulness of sin; every sin ruins a bit of your mind. As this text progresses we see the pattern, the danger of sin, deceitfulness of sin, and the disobedience of sin. It is like our bridge but backwards, in a sense. The bridge between conception (danger of sin) and connection (disobedience of sin) is compassion (deceitfulness of sin, we love it, we have passion for it), which is held together by conviction (hard heart). When someone’s heart is hardened they want to believe a lie and so they will follow teachers who will only tickle their ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4 / 2 Thessalonians 2:9-13). You are going either one way or the other on the believer’s bridge.