Ephesians 6:21-24, Paul’s Final Word:
- Tonight’s closing section has to messages to the Church in Ephesus
- Paul’s Report, v21-22
- Paul’s Benediction. V23-24
1. Paul’s Report: (21-22)
- Paul introduces Tychicus. Paul, in detail, refers to Tychicus in Colossians 4:7–9:
- Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. (emphasis added)
- These words are almost exact to our passage. Paul describes Tychicus as “the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord.” Colossians adds “fellow servant]” (4:17). Clearly showing us how close they were. He joined Paul in his third mission trip (Acts 20:4). Tychicus will be sent by Paul to deliver this and a handful of other letters (Colossians, Philemon). He isn’t going to pastor; he’s just going to be a delivery boy.
- Tychicus was a servant. Paul has three things to say about him. 1) He “was a beloved brother.” 2) He “was a faithful minister.” 3) And he “was a fellow slave in the Lord.”
2. Paul’s Benediction: (23-24)
- This closing benediction of Ephesians repeats the dominant themes of the letter: peace, love, faith, and grace. It echoes the greeting in 1:2, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” though adding love into the mix, and given the centrality of love throughout the letter (1:4, 15; 3:17–19; 4:2, 16; 5:1–2, 25, 28, 33), this addition comes as no surprise.
- Then there is the use of “brothers” in the benediction is unexpected in two ways. First, up to this point Paul has not addressed his readers as “brothers,” something he did in all of his other letters sent to more than one person. The lack of this address points to a kind of formality throughout Ephesians.
- Second, when Paul uses sibling language in verse 23, he does not say “peace to you brothers” but “peace to the brothers.” This also reveals a lack of familiarity between Paul and his readers and the likelihood that his letter was going to many brothers and sisters throughout a wide region rather than to one church.
- The final verse confirms this observation. Rather than saying something like “grace be with you” as he usually does when closing his letters (see, for example, Gal 6:18; Phil 4:23), Paul writes “grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:24). This is both more inclusive and less personal than Paul’s standard benediction.
- Also, Paul adds “with love incorruptible.” Paul has not used this language before in Ephesians. Most translations link this phrase with the love that people have for Christ. However, God’s grace is present for us forever, without being corrupted.
- What’s interesting is that our letter began with God choosing us before the foundation of the world. Now it ends with the hope of an endless future, one that is indeed filled with God’s grace for us and our love for Christ.
- I have a rather unexpected application tied to tonight’s text, which I want to share with you from a pastoral perspective. You see, Paul assumed that the recipients of his letter would want to know how he was getting along. Which might be mainly about his imprisonment.
- But as we read through Paul’s letters, we find he was often filling in his readers on his personal life, his travel plans, and his struggles and victories. He assumed it was not enough for him to deliver the message entrusted to him, whether in person or by letter. Rather, he sought also to share his life with his readers, even those who don’t know him.
- Paul explained this practice in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 in a description of his ministry in Thessalonica. We read, “because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
- However, Ephesians contains relatively little about Paul’s personal life, no doubt because of its unusual nature as a circular letter to churches, several of which Paul did not plant. But to compensate for that, Tychicus, as he delivered the letter, let the churches know more about Paul.
- I believe that we need to be intentional about sharing our live, perhaps not as intentional as we should share the Gospel, but still. If the Gospel truly changes us, then our lives should we shared as we experience that change.
- In this way, the church can pray for us more specifically, we bear one another’s burdens, and we share the load of care.