Romans 14:13 says, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”
Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
I put these three scriptures together because they all speak of our relationship with or toward one another. Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into two –
“Love the Lord Thy God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”, says Luke 10:27.
These then are the most important commandments and they cover all of our relationships; with God and one another.
I want to look a little more into what precedes Ephesians 4:25. Starting in Ephesians 2:11 and continuing here through Ephesians 2:22 which says, “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peach to those who were near.
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
Ephesians 3:4-6 says, “In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit of God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Next Ephesians 3:10-13 says, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
Ephesians 4:1 says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (There are no denominations, we are one church!)
Verse 14 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Now, back to reading Ephesians starting with verse 25, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
“In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
Whew! That’s a lot of scripture, and it seems as though I have let the Word of God do all the talking or writing, however, God says it best and God’s word is truth! If I may, let me paraphrase all of this in my own words – “The point is that ‘we are all members of one body’…so, Stop it!”
If we must, we should go back through all of this scripture and make a “pros and cons” list of all the things he says we must stop doing, and all the things he says we should do! Maybe we should paste the list on the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror, lest we forget. Remember that these things were written over 2,000 years ago to the early (just starting out) church. Yet, we have learned very little. Our world today in the year 2016 – soon to be 2017 – is a mess!! Maybe we as the church should have paid more attention to the “Therefores!”
Next week I will focus in on the words of Paul in Ephesians 3:6 concerning “This mystery…”
See you then,