On Communication
Family Life

Gary Combs ·
July 24, 2022 · communication, family · Ephesians 4:15-16 · Notes


How are you and your family doing with communication? If you’re single, do you have good communication with your parents and siblings? What about with close friends? Do you ever feel lonely with no real family to talk to? If you are married, are you and your spouse experiencing the joyful oneness and intimacy that God designed for marriage? Is there unity in your family with mutual understanding?

How can we learn to communicate for mutual understanding in our families?In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he taught them to communicate for mutual understanding as the family of God. We can communicate for mutual understanding in our families.


Below is an automated transcript of this message

Alright , good morning, church! It’s good to see you this morning. We’re in part two of our series called, “Family Life, Family Lessons from the book of Ephesians.” Today, we’re going to be talking about communication. It doesn’t matter if you apply this to the family or to any relationship that you’re in this morning. We’re going to be talking about what the book of Ephesians says about our communication.

I want to show you two images of two different families; look at the two cartoons and just take note of the difference. Look at the first cartoon; you see the family with all of their iphones, ipads and other devices. They’re sitting in the same house on the same sofa, but they’re not communicating, are they? They’re communicating with somebody, but not each other. Look at the second family; you can see they’re sitting around the table and they’re engaging. They’re actually talking to one another. Which one best describes your family? Which one most looks like your household ?

Today, we’re going to be talking about the importance of family communication; communication in your life. How are you doing with your communication? It doesn’t matter if you’re single or married; wherever you’re at, you have to communicate with people. I know that some of you might be single; maybe, you have a roommate. You’ve got to get along with them. Maybe you’re married; you definitely have to get along with your spouse. Maybe there’s something going on in your house today and you are thinking, ‘If we could just communicate; if we could just talk it out.’

How are you doing today? Here’s what God wants for us. He wants us to have the experience of mutual understanding; He wants us to have joy in our communication. When I talk to families, when I talk to parents, they might be talking about their teens. They say, ‘We used to be so close. Then, he became a teenager and we just can’t seem to talk to him anymore. I asked my 16 year old, ‘How was school today?’ He replied, ‘I don’t know.’ We just don’t talk like we used to.’ Maybe, the teen feels the same way about his/her parents, that all the only time they talk to me is when they’re correcting me or they want me to do something different than what I’m doing and so every talk turns into an argument.

Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, “Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage,” says, “When divorced couples were asked, ‘Why did your marriage fail?’ 86 percent said, ‘Deficient communication.’ If that is true, then communication in marriage must be extremely important.”

Today, we’re going to be looking at what the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus about communication and about mutual understanding, He taught them that they could communicate with the goal of mutual understanding as a family. I believe, today, that we can do that. He wrote this book to the church at Ephesus, six chapters, to talk to them about how to be the family of God. I think that we can apply it to our own families, and as we do, I think we can see four principles here today on how to communicate for mutual understanding.

Let’s look at the text. I’m only going to read two verses, but I think you’ll agree that they’re packed with great insight. We’ll start at verse 15, reading verses 15 and 16 of chapter four.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV) 15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love .” This is God’s word. Amen.

We’re looking for four principles on how to communicate for mutual understanding in your family. Here’s the first principle:

1. Make Christ the Head.

Do you see it in verse 15? “…who is the head…” Who is the head? He’s Jesus Christ. I like the fact that Paul uses the metaphor of head and body to describe the family of God. It’s an organic term. It’s not an institution, it’s not a CEO, but it’s a head and a body. So the body is the family of God or it could be referring to your family because I think we can apply these principles to your house. It begins with a goal or a principle that says, ‘Who’s the head of your house?’ When we think about the word, “head,” we might look at it as a kind of metaphor for who’s the boss, who’s the master or who’s the leader and that would be right.

Have you decided to put Him in charge of your house, your family and your finances? It might, also, mean source. You’ll hear this phrase when someone is talking about a river, ‘What’s the source of that river?’ They call it the “headwaters,” to mean the source.

Have you made Christ the source for your family, the source of your wisdom, the source of your power, your strength to lead your family? The source of your communication is what we have in view right now. That makes sense, if you think about it.

Here’s what John says in his gospel; he starts off this way. You can tell John really liked the first book of the bible because he starts it off the same, “In the beginning.” That’s how it starts, “In the beginning was the Word…” And if you’re looking at that in your bibles, you’ll notice the w is capitalized because he’s talking about Jesus. John 1: 1-4 ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” Then, if you go to verse 14 in that same chapter, it says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” He’s the word. He’s the highest form of communication revelation of God. If you want help with your communication, make Christ the head. He’s the Word. He’s the greatest communicator of all and He can reside in your life and help you communicate with those you love. Make Him the head.

Notice that verse 15 says, ‘in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” So, give every area of your life to Christ; I would say this to you. You might say, ‘Well, I’ve done that. I’ve made Christ the Lord of my life.’ May I say to you, that if there is one area that you’ve been holding back and saying, ‘No, I’m good on this one. I got this one. I don’t need the Lord on that one,’ then He’s not Lord of all. Let me say it like this, “He’s either Lord of all or He’s not Lord at all.” In every way, make Him head of your family so that your whole family is under Christ.

Here’s what it says in Colossians 1:18 (NLT) “Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” To make Him head means to put Him first in all things.

We used to have a plaque hanging in the kitchen. I really didn’t notice that it was missing until recently when I was writing this sermon. The plaque said this, “Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal. The silent listener to every conversation.” It is a cool plaque to have in your dining area or in your kitchen. I wondered where that plaque went and then I remembered we changed themes. I don’t know about you, guys. I don’t know about your wife, but you can’t have inconsistent themes. We used to have a country kitchen. Now, we’ve got a more modern kitchen and apparently the plaque was a country plaque, but it doesn’t matter if we have a plaque hanging on the wall. What really matters is that Christ is head of the house and the head of your heart.

Have you put Him first in your life? Have you made Christ the head of all of your relationships? Have you put Him first in all things? I don’t know if you remember this, you would have to be probably close to my age. Maybe some of you have seen these, but we used to call them “clackers.” It was a stick with a string on the end that had two balls. It would “clack” at the bottom and “ “clack” at the top if you were good at it. If you weren’t good at it, you could knock yourself out. If you grew up in the 60s and 70s, we played with a lot of stuff that’s not allowed anymore. The thing about crackers was, if you pick the stick up, the strings would drop and the balls would click together. If you focus on each other, you end up noticing each other’s differences. You kind of begin to look for faults. Believe me, you can always find them because none of us are fault free, right? If you focus on one another, you’ll always find what’s wrong. But if you’ll focus on Christ and making Him the head, it’s kind of like those “clackers.” You bring your focus up and the balls just click together. Make Him the head; make Him head.

Here’s the second principle:

2. Make love the motive.

The first principle is to make Christ the head. The second principle is to make love the motive. You don’t have to go far in this passage to see that it begins with love and ends with love. Look at verse 15, “ Rather, speaking the truth in love…” and then, at the final part of verse 16, “…makes thebody grow so that it builds itself up in love.” This passage begins and ends with love. Let love be the motive of your communication.

The word, “love,” is in view here. The Greeks had four words for “love;” this is the Greek word, “agape,” which is unconditional love, God’s kind of love. There are many Greek words for love: “phileo” is friendship love, “eros” is sensual love. In English, we have one word; I “love” my cat, I “love” chocolate and I “love” my wife, but that just doesn’t seem right, does it?

Here, we have the word, “agape,” which is unconditional love. It means, I love you; not so much because of, but in spite of. I love you because I have the love of Christ inside of me. I’m able, in my communication, to let love be the motive for the way I communicate to my family members and to one another.

Notice here, that is says, “in love” at the beginning and the end, and then it begins to describe what that looks like it. It says, “speak the truth in love” and “builds itself up in love.” If you let love be the motive, you’ll become more mature in your communication because, now, you care more about the hearer than you do yourself. You care more about them understanding what you’re talking about than you do winning the argument, making your point or looking intelligent. You care more that they get it. Love motivates you to be able to communicate in a way that they can understand, so it’s more mature and you’re growing up.

Verse 16 says, “when each part is working properly.” Love is work, marriage is work; relationships take work. Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I’m looking for a marriage that’s that’s got a 50/50 relationship.’ Or, ‘I have a 50/50 marriage relationship.’ May I say to you, that that’s a terrible idea. For my wife and I to be married for 43 years, it’s been 110% from both of us all the way and all the time. If you say, ‘I’m going to put in my 50 %,’ I know what you really mean by that. What I’m saying is to put your all in all in your communication and relationships. I have bad days and you have bad days. You’re grumpy, you’ve worked too hard, you don’t feel well; whatever it is, that’s the day that the other person, motivated by love, “cuts you some slack,” right? It makes it easier on you. If it’s just 50/50, they’re only matching your level. It doesn’t take long before you match the level all the way down to no relationship, but if you keep pouring in, motivated by love, then things begin to work properly, every part .

This is the picture of the whole body joined and held together. That’s the oneness of all of us together as a family; as the family of God. It speaks to every part, working properly, so each of us are putting in the work, motivated by love.

Verse 16 says that it builds itself up in love. Does your communication build up the hearer? Does it edify the one that you’re speaking to? Does it build them up or does it tear them down? How do your words affect your children? How do the words that you speak affect your parents? How do the words that you speak affect your spouse? How do the words you speak affect your roommate? How do the words you speak affect your fellow church family? Just think about that. We live, I would say at least in my lifetime, in the most “coarse” or rough language of any generation. It’s in the media ; it’s everywhere you go. There’s no such thing as “child friendly.”

I can remember, when I was growing up, that we only had two television channels. After 8pm was what was called “prime time.” Kids were supposed to be in bed by that time. Now, there’s no such thing; everything is on tv. Everything is on at the movies. The language is just so course, unwholesome and difficult. There’s this loss in the way that we speak to each other. If you’re motivated by love, it’ll clean up your language. It’ll change the way you speak and it’ll cause you to listen before speaking, too. It will really affect your life.

The first thing I would say about loving communication is that it brings people together. Unloving communication drives people apart. Notice what it says in Colossians 3:14 (ESV) And above all theseput on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Love is like the glue that joins us together. If you’re motivated by love, when you speak, it brings people closer together.

I can remember when my daughter was two or three years old and she would climb up in my lap while I was watching television or reading a magazine. She would pull the magazine down and look at me or she would get her face between me and the tv. If I didn’t look at her immediately, she would take my face with her hands and just look at me and I would say to her, “Well, look at those pretty brown eyes looking back at me.” She would look at me as if to say, ‘Please say more. Give me more of those words. Tell me what you think of me, that you love me and you think I’m beautiful. I need some more of that, daddy.’ We are all born like that, where we want people to edify us and build us up. Love makes you one; it brings you together in harmony.

1 Corinthians 8:1 (ESV) “…knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” If you’re just trying to be smart when you talk, you’re trying to let people know you’re intelligent. Everybody knows that you have the “big head;” you are all puffed up. Love builds up. Love gets down on one knee to talk to a child, so you’re not towering over them when you’re talking to them. Love builds up.

Ephesians 4:29 (NLT) “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.” Love listens before speaking.

James 1:19 (NLT) “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all bequick to listen, slow to speak…” Now, God actually helped us with that in the way he built us. He gave us two ears and one mouth. He imprisoned the tongue behind two rows of teeth. That’s why we say that you better bite your tongue whenever you’re talking too much, talking wrongly or unlovingly. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. If you’re motivated by love and communication, listening is key: it’s part of communication. Jesus liked to say. over and over again, “He that has ears to hear. Let him hear.” I don’t think people were missing a lot of ears back then; I don’t think there was like an epidemic of missing ears during Jesus’ time. What He meant by that was people just weren’t willing to listen. Are you willing to listen? Love motivates us to listen.

Let me tell you a story; I got this from a Christian counselor who heard this from a wife who was talking about her husband . I’ll just read it to you as he reports it. She says, “Joe and I were deeply in love when we got married. We struggled during the first few years, especially with financial problems. I knew that we loved each other very much, though. But then, something changed. He got a promotion about five years ago that required him to work longer hours. We needed the money so we didn’t mind, but it never stopped. Now he comes home late every night. He is so tired” that I can actually hear his feet dragging as he comes to the door. I look forward to him coming home ‘cause I have so much to tell him, but he doesn’t feel like talking. So I fix his dinner and he eats alone, ‘cause the kids and I have already eaten. After dinner, he makes a few phone calls and works at his desk. Frankly, I like for him to use the telephone just so I can hear his voice. Then he watches TV for a few hours and goes to bed. Except on Tuesday night, he plays basketball and sometimes he has a meeting at the office. Every Saturday he plays golf with his buddies. Then Sunday we are in church most of the day. Believe me there are times when we go for one or two months without having a real, in-depth conversation. You know what I mean? And I get so lonely in that house with three kids climbing all over me. There aren’t even any other women in the neighborhood to talk with ‘cause they have all gone back to work. But there are other irritations about Joe. He rarely takes me out to dinner and he forgot our anniversary last month, and I honestly don’t think he’s ever had a romantic thought. He wouldn’t know a rose from a carnation, and his Christmas cards are just signed, “Joe”. There is no closeness or warmth between us and yet he wants me to be intimate with him at the end of the day. There we are lying in bed, having no communication between us in weeks. He hasn’t tried to be sweet or understanding or tender, yet he expects me to be affectionate and responsive to him.” Poor Joe and poor unnamed wife here, who is not named in this story. I hope this doesn’t sound like your house. They started out in love, but communication has broken down and, with it, other things are beginning to break down, but communication seems to be the first place where things begin to fail.

It might begin with just poor listening habits or what I would call unloving listening habits like “pseudo listening.” You know what “pseudo listening” is? It’s when you fake interest, like you’re really not interested in what they’re talking about. You would respond with an “uh huh,” until she asked you to tell her what you were talking about. Then you knew you were caught . “Pseudo listening,” selective listening, tunes in only points of interest and tunes out everything else. “Protective listening” tunes out threatening messages. Teenagers are good at that. If you’re telling them to make their bed and clean up their room, they look at you with , what I used to say about my teenagers, “fish eyes.” Nobody’s home. They are looking at you, but they aren’t listening. Good listening listens with the attitude that what their family members are saying deserves your complete attention. You cut off the T.V. You put down the smartphone and you look at the person and actually talk to him because loving listening actually looks at the person, listens, asks clarifying questions and really wants to know what the person is saying. Sounds like work, doesn’t it? Well love works. Love works; it works at it and works for it. Love works. Love is the key. It’s the motive.

I’ve heard it said, and I don’t know which sociologists or psychologists measured this, but they say that only 7% of communication is verbal and the other 93% is nonverbal. I think my wife would would tell me that because she’ll say, ’why didn’t you like that?’ I didn’t say anything. She goes, yeah, but you rolled your eyes and you frowned.’ So, if I’m talking to my wife, because my wife picks up every non-verbal, I have to really make sure that everything is communicating properly. Trust me, you need the Lord for this guys; you need help. Non-verbal communication is really important. If you love the person, it will change your nonverbals in the way that you communicate love, the motive of your communication. Are you willing to listen before speaking? Here’s the third way to communicate for mutual understanding in your family:

3. Make truth the content.

Make Christ the Head. Make love the motive. Make truth the content. Notice how it starts off, in verse 15, “rather speaking the truth in love,” Literally, here in the Greek, it doesn’t say speaking, it actually says, rather “truthing” in love. Wellm we don’t have that verb in English. We don’t have the word, “truthing,” but that’s what it literally says. “Truthing” in love. Speaking the truth. You see, we need the balance. Not just this sentimentality, this “syrupy” love. That’s not really love. That just means you can do whatever you want to. But, that’s not real love.

Real love would help a person if they were headed the wrong way. If they were offending you and you never tell them that they’re offending you and you just decided to write the relationship off . You isolate, separate and leave that person because you’ve never really had a true conversation. Be a truth teller but doing it in love, which means you care more about mutual understanding than you do being heard. Your goal is not, ‘Well, I gotta get this off my chest.’T hat’s not love. Love is, ‘I want you to understand me and I want to understand you, but in order to really understand you, you have to speak the truth , you have to be “truthing” in love.’

Notice, it says to grow up into Christ here. To grow up, to be mature. If you want to have a mature relationship, it means you start telling each other the truth,

I’ve told you that I’ve been meeting with local pastors and praying together for the past three years now. There’s a group of five of us that meet; even more than that, to talk about how to share the gospel with our whole city so that every man, woman and child has repeated opportunities to see, hear and respond to the good news about Jesus. We’re praying about that. The thing about it is, we’re from different denominational backgrounds because some of us are white, some of us are black and some of us are brown and we have different cultural ways of worshiping. Some of us are two handed worshippers and some of us are one handed worshippers. Some of us are no handed worshipers. We all have different backgrounds. We’ve been careful, when we get together, not to offend each other, but we’ve been so careful that we haven’t grown as close as we could be, but, the last two months, especially the one that we had last Thursday. It all started with a question, “About what we’re doing right now, what do you think could derail it?” We did some “truthing” in love and said, “Well, I’m concerned about it, but I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to offend anybody.” Then, we started talking. There was a short period of time there I was concerned that the whole thing could blow up; the wheels could fall off and someone could quit. But that’s not what happened, because we had built a bridge of trust. Listen to me; we had built a bridge of trust that would bear the weight of truth. We knew we loved each other because we’ve been praying together for three years. It just took us a long time to be “truthing” to each other completely. We’re aligned to each other. We were just holding some information back and what happened was we got closer.

Do you understand what I’m saying? Some of us have a facade on; we’re pretending and we’re not really getting close to people. There are married couples here who haven’t had a real conversation, a truthful conversation in a long time, where you really talk. “Truthing” in love; telling the truth.

May I say to you that one of the best ways is to learn to speak in a new way. There’s an old language that comes from the old lifestyle before you came to Christ. Then, there’s a new language you can learn from God’s word .

Notice what Jesus said in John 8:31-32 (ESV) “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He says that there’s an absolute truth and the truth is not a philosophy. The church is, the truth is a person. His name is Jesus; He’s the truth and what He says is true, I believe it to be true. What He says is false, I believe to be false because I’ve made Him the head of my heart and the head of my family. What He says is true I believe and so if I live by His word. In other words, I rewrite the hard drive of my thinking and my communications, so these are the words that salt and spice up my language so that that my language is salty with God’s word when I communicate to my wife, when I communicate to my kids and when I communicate with you so that we speak the word of Christ to each other. We have a new way of communicating, so that we have the truth as the content.

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…” We’re sharpening each other so that we have the truth living in us. We speak the truth to one another in love with understanding as the goal. It, also, means to be honest with your communication; not to lie.

Now, we know that one of “God’s top 10” is “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” In other words, ‘do not lie.’ You shall not lie. That’s one of God’s top 10. That’s one of the 10 commandments. And so you’re like, I knew that. I knew that. We do it all the time; we call it “exaggeration” or we call it, “a little white lie. Maybe, we were trying to make a point.

Here’s what it says in Ephesians 4:25 (NLV) “So stop lying to each other. Tell the truth to your neighbor. We all belong to the same body.” We all belong to the same family. Stop lying.

Can I give you an example of how you’re lying to each other? That’s why you came to church today, right? I get to tear you down a little bit before I build you back up, so hang on. Okay, we speak untrue words to each other because we try to make a point, so we exaggerate.The wife says to the husband, ‘You never pick up your clothes. I always have to pick up your clothes.’ When he hears that ‘you never pick up your clothes; I always have to pick up your clothes. What do you think he hears? He hears, never and always. He remembers the time last year when he picked up his clothes. So. an argument begins, because of the word never. Not because of clothes being picked up, but because it’s an argument about the definition of words and the frequency of the behavior. She was exaggerating to make a point because she was angry. She had a right to her anger, probably. What could she have said instead of saying ‘you?’ That was her first mistake in her communication, which is challenging. This is language that wasn’t loving. She could have said, ‘I feel hurt and used when I have to pick up the clothes all the time, honey. If you would pick up after yourself, it would really help me.’

Now, ladies, I’m probably giving you power over your mate that your husband’s going to ask me about, ‘Now, why did you give her that power?’ Well here’s the thing – God has put this in men that we hate to see women cry. We hate for her to come to us and say, ‘I’m hurt,’ because we are “fixers.” We are built for that. Mencan hear this language; now, you’re communicating in a way that he can understand. You began with the word, “I.” You cut out those “nevers” and “always.” In fact, I’m going to give you a conundrum that’s a good principle: “Never say never and always avoid always.” That will really help you in communication. Stop beginning your sentences with “you,” which is like poking somebody in the chest. Begin with “I” and be truthful. Say how you’re feeling and what’s really going on because your goal is not just to get the clothes picked up. It’s mutual understanding so that you’re loving each other and becoming more at one with each other. It’s not to win the argument. You can win the argument and lose the relationship. That’s not the goal. “Never say never and always avoid always.”

The goal of of communication, of truth telling is not to be the most intelligent person in the room, but to be the most loving person in the room and in the truth you’re telling. Just think about the timing of it. I would say you might think about three things about the timing; not when it’s, I got to get this off my chest, or when it’s best for you, but when is the best timing for them. Are they a morning person or a night person? Think about the right time to talk to them. Am I being truly transparent or am I lying or holding back some of the information? I’m not really being truthful.

Remember what I said earlier, “Building the bridge of trust that bears the weight of truth.” It’s important that they know that you care and that you love them. When you’re trying to tell somebody what you mean, don’t be mean. You’re trying to communicate to somebody what you mean. When you tell somebody what you mean, you don’t have to be mean about it. You can be gentle and truthful. You can be “salty” with scripture.

We’ve given you three of the principles: Make Christ the Head, make love the motive and make truth the content. Here’s our fourth principle.

4. Make oneness the goal.

We mean, “unity,” but we mean something more than that. It’s what God does for us because we’re believers in Jesus. We become one with Him and one with the Father. As we grow to maturity, becoming more like Jesus, we also begin to become one with each other. It is so important to us that we are careful in our communications, so that the result of a conversation is not division or separation, but more oneness and that we become closer and closer.

As you look at the scripture here, notice in verse 16, it says, “from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” This is oneness and love is the glue. “Truthing” in love is even more important because it’s transparent and it reveals our hearts to each other. As you grow up into Christ you become more at one with each other. You have more oneness; you’re growing up in this oneness and you’re growing to maturity in it.

When I think about the way that I love my wife today, in comparison to the way I loved her when we got married in 1979, I was crazy head over heels in love with her when we married and today, it’s like the “hot coals in a fireplace.” Even if that fire goes out, the coals keep putting off heat. We’ve both lost our parents; we’ve both been to those funerals. We’ve cleaned out those houses. We’ve had babies and grand babies together. Both of us have had to be in the hospital at certain times and the other one had to take care of the other. Over time, the “oneness” feels, after 43 years, like I can’t think of myself without thinking of her. I can’t think of myself without thinking of us, the kids, their spouses and the grandkids. I remember asking an older pastor, “My kids are starting to get married, how do I treat the son-in-law and daughter-in-laws?” I knew that the daughter-in-laws would be easier for me. It was that son in-law that I needed some real advice on men, do you know what I’m talking about? This older pastor said, “Treat them like they are your children. Take them out to lunch. Get to know them one on one. Treat them like your kids because they are.” We seek mutual understanding. We seek “oneness” as our goal. We communicate and we guard what we say, so that we don’t say things to hurt but in order to be at one.

You see, that’s really the theme of chapter four. There’s six chapters here about how to be the family of God. But chapter four is about oneness, it starts off like this in Ephesians chapter four, inverses four through six . Earlier in the chapter, there is one body, one spirit just as you are called to be one. The one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

This chapter is about oneness. It’s about becoming one. Satan always wants to divide and conquer. He wants you to isolate. He wants you to run away. He wants you to divorce and break down. Jesus wants you to stay at the table and work it out, “truthing” in love.

Speaking of tables, something amazing happens when a family eats together. This is from an article written by Jill Anderson in the Harvard School of Education Journal, it’s called “The Benefit of Family Meal Time,” “Regular family dinners are associated with lower rates of depression, and anxiety, and substance abuse, and eating disorders, and tobacco use, and early teenage pregnancy, and higher rates of resilience and higher self esteem.” The benefits of family mealtime mean putting down your smartphones and your ipads and circling around the table. It’s saying, ‘We’re going to eat together.’

I’ve been preaching this for years. If you’ve been coming to church here for very long, you know that I talk about this all of the time. Eat together. When we were raising our kids, I can remember my wife saying, “All right, preacher, you’re the one standing up on Sundays, telling everybody who has families to eat together.” She would remind me of this when I was rushed to go out the door for a meeting and be tempted to just eat and run. I’m just one of you. The only good thing about me is I’ve made Jesus the head of my life. Sometimes, I need my wife to tell me that we’ve made a commitment that we’re going to eat together. This is the mutual understanding that we have.

How are you doing? Are you communicating well with the people you care about? Have you made mutual understanding your goal? If you have Christ in you, He will empower you to do that. If you don’t have Christ in you, this will be an area that you’ll continue to struggle in for the rest of your life. He is the key to having the kind of communication that Paul is talking about in the book of Ephesians.

Let’s pray. Lord, first of all, I pray for that person that’s here this morning that’s never made You head of their life. They’ve never decided to make You their Lord and Savior. You came in here this morning and maybe it’s your first time or maybe you’ve been coming for a while. Maybe, you’re watching online right now. Right where you are, you can talk to Jesus. He’s listening . He’s always listening and you can talk to Him. What really matters is the faith of your words, not so much the specific words, but that you believe this. You might pray like this, ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and I have made some bad choices. Lord, I believe You died on the cross for me, You were raised from the grave and that You live today. Would you forgive me of my sins? I want You to be the head of my life and Lord of my life. Come into my life, forgive me of my sins and make me what You want me to be. Lord, I pray for my family. I pray for my communication. I pray that You will save me and make me a child of God.’ If you’re praying that prayer, believing, He’ll do it. That’s why He came. Others are here and you have a relationship with Jesus, but as you’ve been listening, you’ve been thinking of places that you’ve offended somebody you care about. Right now, would you just say to the Lord, ‘Lord show me how to get forgiveness and reconciliation with that person. Lord, show me how to clean up my mouth so that I care more about mutual understanding and oneness with those that I love.’ We say it all now in the name of Jesus. Amen.