Ephesians 6:24


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Ephesians 6:24

We have arrived at the last of 155 verses of marvel and wonder. The book of Ephesians has been a beautiful presentation of Christ and our expected conduct in Him. Paul has opened up treasures of knowledge never before presented to the human mind. The mysteries have now been made known, and the prospects of eternity in the presence of the Lord, shaped as livings stones in His building, have been revealed. These and many other wonderful truths have been unveiled to us. Now he closes out the epistle with words to those at Ephesus (and thus to us!) which are intended to grant us a special blessing as we pursue Christ, ever going forward in the love and knowledge of Him.

He ends the epistle here as he ends all of his epistles, by penning a request for grace. What is of note is that the epistle to the Hebrews also ends with grace, but none of the letters from James through to Jude state it. However, the Bible finishes with the same note of grace –

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21

As Paul’s letters are doctrine for the church age, the age of grace, it is appropriate that this expected blessing would be given. However, he qualifies the anticipated bestowal of grace by adding in the thought that it is to be “with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” Anyone can claim to be a follower of Christ, but not all truly are. There are countless people who are under the control of the power of the devil, and who fill and infect churches around the world. His qualifying words are meant to exclude them, and they are certainly given as a reminder to his readers that this is exactly why we are to “put on the whole armor of God.”

We need to be prepared to defend ourselves against such perverse people, and we are also expected to go on the offensive, challenging them concerning the false teachings and cutting apart their heretical words. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and thus Christ’s spokesperson to us, would have us do no less. Those who are insincere in their hearts towards Christ are not included in the grace He bestows upon those who love Him in sincerity.

Finally, he closes with “Amen.” The word signifies “truth,” or “so be it.” And may it be so in our lives as we seek after, and even pursue, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Life application: As you go back and reread the epistle to the Ephesians in the future, remember that the words which are written are directed to you as well. Hold fast to the promises, be careful to ponder and apply the exhortations, and be pleased to share the wonderful marvels of this word with others – to the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the book of Ephesians. It is a book which is filled with marvels and wonders for us to consider. It is a book which asks us to reflect on the work of Jesus Christ, and it is a book which admonishes us to hold fast to Him and His commands and exhortations for us. Help us to be faithful followers of You by applying the words of that precious book to our lives. And may we be sincere in our love and devotion to Christ Jesus our Lord always. Amen.



Ephesians 6:23


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 6:23

Paul’s final words are given verses 23 and 24. He begins with “Peace to the brethren.” The subject of “peace” seems heavy on his mind during his time in prison. He seems to have found an understanding of peace which filled his life in a way he didn’t fully realize until he was bound with his chain. This is most especially expressed in Philippians 4 –

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7

He wishes this peace to those in Ephesus, and to any who would read his letter and apply its contents to their continued walk with Christ.

He next says, “and love with faith.” Peace with God come first, through receiving the work of Christ. In that moment, a propitious relationship with God is restored, and peace and harmony are realized. When that occurs, God can then pour His love out on us in a way which was not previously possible. And this will grow as our faith grows. Thus he says, “and love with faith.” His words are a petition to continually grow in faith, and thus receive the love which comes “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

God the Father is the Source of these good blessings; Christ is the One through whom they come. There is no hint of subordination noted in Paul’s words, but rather a logical process by which the love with faith is lavished upon us. To grasp this, we could look at the love as a future anticipation (the source). When the moment comes that we exercise faith (which is in the present), the love is received. The present then would be the logical progression of time from future to “here and now.” There is no subordination of the present to the future. Rather, one follows logically after the other, coequal and yet having a different aspect. Such is true with the nature of God towards us.

Life application: Let us be grateful to God for the perfect Gift which is Christ Jesus our Lord, and through whom come all of the many blessings which God sends upon His favored children.

Lord God Almighty, how grateful we are to You for the Gift of Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Him, You have lavished upon us peace, love with faith, mercy, and grace. Reconciliation is found, harmony is realized, and we are brought into Your marvelous family. What an honor to be granted these beautiful blessings because of the blood that was shed on Calvary’s cross. All hail the great and exalted name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!



Ephesians 6:22


Friday, 25 November 2016

…whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts. Ephesians 6:22

“Whom” is speaking of Tychicus of the previous verse. The words, “for this very purpose,” relate to what Paul just said to them – “…that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing.” He had sent Tychichus to Ephesus with his epistle, entrusting him to fill in all of the information about him which was unstated in the letter. This then explains why the book of Ephesians lacks the usual personal greetings, general well-wishes, and other such messages which are found in some of his other epistles.

Tychicus was obviously faithful in his ability to recount anything that Paul passed on to him. If there was a personal greeting, he would relay it. If there was a note of commendation, he would relay it. If someone needed correction, Tychicus was competent and faithful to ensure it was passed on. For the most part though, the duties of Tychicus were to relate how Paul and those with him were faring, “and that he may comfort your hearts.”

They certainly would want to know how Paul was getting along while in prison. They would want to know about his care, any visitors, how he was treated, and so on. With this knowledge, their hearts would be comforted.

It appears that Tychicus was eminently suited to this task, because a word for word parallel of this verse is found in Colossians 4:8. The whole thought concerning him and his special duties says –

“Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.” Colossians 4:7-9

This then is a statement of complete confidence in Tychicus which stands as a personal commission concerning him.

Life application: It is always good to know that a person can be completely trusted. Is this how others see us? Are we willing to conduct our lives with such high integrity that we can be relied upon with even the most sensitive or personal material? Let us endeavor to be such people at all times.

Lord God, Your word says that a good name is better than precious ointment. Help us to be people of integrity, who seek after a good name that can be trusted in all matters. Help us to have such high integrity that we can be relied upon in all ways, even in the most sensitive matters that arise. Because we bear Your name, our actions ultimately reflect upon You. And so help us in this Lord. Help us to be people of peak integrity. Amen.


Ephesians 6:21


Thursday, 24 November 2016

But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; Ephesians 6:21

This verse begins with the words, “But that you also…” This is an indication that other churches were apprised concerning Paul’s affairs and his condition. This would have been the understood meaning of these words. This is then made completely evident in the words of Colossians 4:7 –

“Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.”

Tychicus would have been sent out with Paul’s letter(s) of instruction, and he would have carried along other information about how Paul was and what he was up to. This Tychicus is mentioned several times in the New Testament. He is found in Acts 20:4. There he is described as being a person “of Asia.” He was also accompanying Paul from Corinth to Asia. He is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:12, and in Titus 3:12 as well.

In this letter, he is called “a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.” The word used for “minister” is diakonos. This is the source of our word “deacon,” and it comes from two separate words – dia, meaning “through,” and konis, meaning “dust.” Therefore, it is someone who scurries through the dust, and is thus a servant or a minister. In this verse, he is doing exactly what the name implies. He is travelling with the message through the dusty streets of cities for the benefit of the saints. This term is probably not being applied to him in the technical sense of a “deacon,” but rather it points to the duties which he is carrying out. He is ministering to Paul as a friend, a brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant.

It is this hardy soul who was with Paul in such a close relationship who “will make all things known to you.” Not only would he bring the beautiful epistle in his hands, and not only would he tell about how Paul was doing, but he would also answer any further questions that would come about concerning Paul and his ministry.

Life application: How willing are you to relay the good news concerning the gospel to others? Tychicus was willing to travel by land and sea in order to get the news out to those who were hungry to hear it. Are you at least willing to share it in the circles you travel? Do the people at the restaurant you frequent even know that you are a Christian? Get the news out!

Lord God, we have favorite places that we often go to. Some of us have a special restaurant that we go to every chance we get. We go to the same bank, week after week. There are other places that we frequent, and the people know us well. But do they even know of our faith in Jesus? Have we ever once asked if they wanted to hear about why Jesus came and how important this is to know? Are we so afraid of sharing the only means of salvation to the people we see the most? Help us in this Lord. Give us boldness to speak about the most important issue humanity will ever face. Amen.


Ephesians 6:20


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

…for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:20

The words “for which” are speaking of “the mystery of the gospel” which Paul just mentioned. It is for this marvelous message from God, and which speaks of peace between Him and man through the work of Christ, that Paul found himself “an ambassador in chains.”

His words here are an oxymoron, and even a paradox. Paul claims to be “an ambassador” but he also states that he is “in chains.” The very nature of being an ambassador signifies one who is granted outward splendor and high honor. This was, and continues to be, a law of nations. A violation of this honor could then, as now, spark immense outrage and even war. An ambassador represents a leader. Thus Paul was a representative of Christ, and yet he was bound as if a criminal. The word for “ambassador” here is  presbeuó. It “means to act as an established statesman (diplomat) – a trusted, respected ambassador who is authorized to speak as God’s emissary (represent His kingdom)” (HELPS WORD Studies). It is found only here and in 2 Corinthians 5 –

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20, 21

The ambassador of Christ, who represented the One who knew no sin, but who was made to be sin for us, was also accounted as one who had committed an offense. Paul emulated His Lord well in order to bring the word to the world. Even today, he is despised by Jews, his words are attacked by world leaders and college professors, and his life and work is even diminished by ill-informed Christians as to the nature of what his writings mean. He is often ignored by churches, and yet it is his writings which establish proper doctrine for all churches during the Gentile-led church age. As Christs’ ambassador, rejecting him and his word is thus a rejection of Christ and His word. But in his life, the Lord allowed him to be so bound.

The word translated here as “chains” is actually in the singular in the Greek. Paul would have been bound by a manacle connected to a chain, and that may then have been connected to his Roman guard. Or, it could be that his chain was bound to a ring on the wall next to him, or even loose. If loose, it could easily be grabbed by the guard as he tried to escape. No matter what, Paul was free on one hand so that he could move about, write, and so forth, but he was still bound. It is this chain which he is now considering the badge of his ambassadorship. Unlike other ambassadors who were considered immune from prison, Paul found his ambassadorial duties intimately connected to his confinement.

In this state, he asks for prayer and supplication (see verse 18) “that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” As can be seen, his request for prayer wasn’t just some arbitrary desire, as if he was looking for people to unnecessarily recognize him. Rather, he truly needed this prayer because of the abnormal state in which he was placed. He, an ambassador bound to a chain, was a representative to the Gentile world of the grace of God which is found in Jesus Christ.

Life application: Christ Jesus was made a public humiliation in order to reconcile us to our heavenly Father. Paul followed Him in this and became an ambassador of Christ who was frequently afflicted with trials, imprisonments, beatings, and the like. Should we not consider that oppression and trial for the sake of the name of Christ is also a badge of honor if we so suffer? Let us not forget that our faithful testimony in such circumstances will be rewarded by the Lord when we face Him on the day of our judgment.

Lord God, there are many faithful Christians, even right now in the world, who are being persecuted and even martyred for their faith. Help us to remember them in our prayers, help us to not be ashamed of their afflictions, and help us to be likewise faithful in such trials if that time comes for us as well. Let us bear the reproach of the world gladly for the sake of the exalted name of Jesus Christ our Lord. For even He took our reproach upon Himself so that we could be reconciled to You. Help us to emulate Him in all ways that the circumstances of our surroundings call for. Amen.