The Power of the Truth
#1 Truth's ability to change people
We first note that the Ephesians came to know God by hearing the 'message of truth' (Eph 1:13). The message of truth is the gospel of their salvation. This message if believed upon can radically change a person by the power of the Holy Spirit.
"In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise", (Ephesians 1:13).
Our confidence in spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is in the Holy Spirit working behind the scenes and His equipping us to speak forth His truth. When we rightly listen to its message, then we can speak it.
We find it interesting on how the next time truth is used in Ephesians (4:15) that it is referring to the former unbeliever now speaking forth God's truth. The very one formerly ignorant of the truth is now passing it on to others, both non-Christian (evangelism) and Christian (edification).
Once a person believes, his life is shaped by this truth. It has been integrated into his own belief. He went from believing to verbalizing what he now knows to be true.
We must ask what is this message of truth? What is it that the Ephesians have heard and then later spoke to others? Verse 4:20-21 gives us the answer to this question. The truth is in Jesus.
This is an interesting statement because Paul wrote to the Ephesians which was a long way from Israel where Jesus lived. How where they to "hear Him" and "taught in (by) Him?" We must conclude that "heard Him" means that through the Spirit of God they had a faith to believe and respond to Jesus. They came to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him.
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Here in 4:24 we find what has happened inside that person who has received God's truth. We are not thinking of what physical changes happened to his body but what spirit changes happened to his soul. By hearing the message of truth they gained a new self. A new creation was formed by the joining of the Spirit and truth. This new self has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.
This is its very nature. This new life has been given to us to associate and communicate with God. Just this morning my mixer died. The motor burnt up. I called up and they offered to pick up the old one and give me a new one. As non-Christians, this is what each one needs. A new nature. A new heart to love that which is pure and lovely. Its nature will replicate itself through actions and thoughts that are righteous and holy. Ephesians 5:9 affirms this same message in the context of light and darkness.
The Christian must train himself with God's truth to totally activate and follow this new nature. The nature - the appetite is there, but in a sense it must be programmed with the truth. A person does not just need to become a Christian but live as Christ.
We see one fruit of this new nature is to speak truth. This new nature will always and only speak truth. We must speak only those things that are consistent with God's revealed Word. It cannot do anything else. But if we give in to the old nature, it has power to control us. In this case, we would speak falsehood.
Falsehood is a pretend world for the purpose of manipulation and concealing. The evil one gains power by falsehood. He counters God's truth and through devious means steals power and recognition. He did it in the garden and still does it today. His nature is to lie. This is the exact opposite to Christ Jesus who is truth. God will never lead us in a way that requires deception. Truth is one firm pillar in discerning God's will for our lives.
We discover the full power of truth and its place in the godly man's life in Ephesians 6:14. This is last time the word truth is used in this small but pertinent book.
Part of the dress of the Christian soldier is to 'have girded your loins with truth.' Barnes says,
The girdle not only kept ones robes tied in place but was the organizer for his whole outfit. For example, the girdle is where he would place his sword. Truth is the foundation of our lives. This is why compromise with the truth greatly and immediately weakens any Christian. On the other hand, the more we embrace God's truth, the stronger we will be. The reason truth helps us so much is that it gives us faith in what God wants. The more we see how God's will is connected to God's person, our faith and courage grows.
Truth is the key component to our Christian lives. We only will grow as much as we have our lives well founded on the truth of God. Perhaps I need to elaborate a bit because of much confusion. I have seen some brothers who profess with their life that the truth is very important to them. However, in battling for truth, they seem to knife every Christian that disagrees with them. Jesus clearly disagreed with some people and at times vocalized His disagreements with different leaders. (1) If we are to be like Christ, then we at times will need to speak forth the truth even if others are offended. However, we must not think truth is just doctrine. Truth includes doctrine but it also includes the doctrine on how to live! Christ not only argued God's principles but lived them out. He not only talked about sacrificial love but nobly gave Himself up for our sins. This is the reason "Speak the truth in love" is mentioned in several places including in Ephesians.
The truth of God is powerful. Once it enters our lives through the Holy Spirit, we are changed in our inner souls. We become a new creature. From this new heart, we are able and desirous of being like Christ. When we speak, we will speak truth. We have put all lying away from our lives. Truth has become the foundation of our lives.