“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” Ephesians 4:25
In our text above, the apostle Paul, encouraging the Ephesian brethren, draws from the deep well of the inspired exhortations of the prophet Zechariah.
Culled from chapter eight, verse sixteen in the book of Zechariah, the passage reads: “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another (his neighbor); judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.” (NAS) The context surrounding both passages (Ephesians four and Zechariah eight), are specifically talking about interaction among God’s people. However, the principle still applies in all our actions towards others who may be our “neighbors.” The inspired “theme” of Ephesians four is preserving unity through strong leadership delivering sound doctrine, supplemented by speaking the truth in love so that the church would work effectively together while being built up. After a warning not to walk any longer as the Gentiles walk, the chosen of the Lord are reminded how they had been “taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph. 4:21-24 NAS) On the heels of these verses comes the citation by the apostle Paul from the prophet Zechariah. Seems like a whole lotta truth being emphasized here, eh? Faith, hope, and love are critical tenets of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 13:13), but those would all fail were they not based upon truth. But did you notice that one can fall victim to the “lusts of deceit” if you don’t lay the old self aside? Remember the Devil’s modus operendi brethren? Deception, deceit. He is the father of lies and is a liar from the beginning. The body of Christ will not function as planned if the truth isn’t spoken to one another (remember, in love). There’s no argument that laying aside the old self can be difficult, however no argument is valid in letting your neighbor (in Christ) believe in or hold to some form of a lie. Brethren, that impedes the putting “on the new self.” Truth is truth, and we are to be the pillar and support of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15) Let’s backtrack now to the context of Zechariah chapter eight from which the Spirit moved Paul to quote. “Then the word of the LORD of hosts came saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.” ‘Thus says the LORD, “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain. ” (Zech 8:1-3 NAS) Brothers and sisters, this is another prophecy about the church that should excite you. Confirmation comes from these verses: ” ‘But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ declares the LORD of hosts. ‘For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. And it will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. Do not fear; let your hands be strong.’ ” (Zech 8:11-13) We know from Hebrews 12:22 that we have “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” What does Zechariah prophesy? “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them, and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem, and they will be My people and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’ ” (Zech 8:7-8) Yup, sure sounds like what the New Testament says. That’s the kingdom, that’s us and it’s all about truth. You want help in putting on the new self, renewing the mind? Wrap your mind around the truth of the prophecies concealed in the Old Testament concerning the church and let the New Testament reveal who you are in Christ Jesus! Brethren, our stance should be, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with the help of the word of God!” Amen!