By Christopher VanDusen
In Ephesians 6:18-24, the apostle Paul says this:
“. . . [pray] at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” (ESV)
In this passage, Paul finishes his letter to the Ephesian Christians by exhorting them to prayer, introducing his messenger, and expressing his final prayers for them.
In the first paragraph, Paul instructs the Ephesians on how to pray like the Christian soldiers he has just called them to be. After this, he closes out the letter with five deliveries:
- He Sends a Personal Report (v. 21a)
- He Sends a Person of Reputation (v. 21b)
- He Sends a Preacher of Refreshment (v. 22)
- He Sends Peace and Faithful Love (v. 23)
- He Sends Prosperity to the Righteous (v. 24)
First, Paul says that “Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell [them] everything”, with a personal report,
“So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing . . .”
Why does he tell them this? First, because they were brothers and sisters in Christ, and they loved one another. However, a practical reason for this has to be so that they will know how best to pray for him, since he has just told them to pray for him. In addition, since he couldn’t work while in prison, he also relied upon churches to provide him with his financial and/or material needs. In at least one of his letters he thanks a church for giving him money to support him while he was in prison.
However, Paul isn’t just sending a personal report, but also a person of reputation, whom he calls “Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord”.
Who was Tychicus? Well, in Acts 20:1-4, Luke tells us that he was a missionary co-worker with Paul:
“After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.” (ESV)
Here, we see that Tychicus was an Asian, or a native of the Roman province of Asia, in modern-day Turkey. This was the same place that the Ephesian church was located. Thus, Paul is sending someone that is very similar to the Ephesians.
However, Paul doesn’t point out the fact that Tychicus is an Asian, but that he’s a “beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord”. His first commendation is that he’s a brother in the family of God whom Paul and others love. His second is that he’s a faithful minister in the Lord. What does this mean? The Greek word translated “minister” is diakonos, and literally means “servant”. Thus, Paul is calling Tychicus a faithful servant in the Lord. And what does it mean that he’s a servant “in the Lord“? That he’s a faithful servant for and because of the Lord, or Supreme Authority. In other words, the only reason he’s a faithful servant is because he’s serving the Lord.
The last thing that Paul says about Tychicus is that he’s sending a preacher of refreshment in him:
“I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.”
First, Paul reiterates that the reason he’s sending Tychicus is so the Ephesians can know how he and his missionary co-workers are doing. However, he ends his introduction of Tychicus by saying that the goal of sending him is to “encourage [their] hearts”. The word “encourage” is translated from a Greek word that literally means “come alongside to help”. Tychicus was to come alongside the Ephesians to help their hearts, or souls, to learn and apply Paul’s apostolic teaching to them, in order to help them become more like Christ.
The fourth package that Paul “sends” is peace and faithful love:
“Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
First, Paul says that “the brothers”, or brothers and sisters in Christ in the Ephesian church, have “peace”. This is supernatural and spiritual peace “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. By sending the Ephesians peace, Paul is borrowing from the common Jewish greeting of “peace”, which was rooted in the Old Testament use of the peace of God. In the Old Testament, it not only involved peace among a community or inner peace of soul, but also spiritual prosperity and health. In the same way, when Paul says that the Ephesians have peace from God their Father and their Lord Jesus Christ, he’s saying that they have inner peace, peace with each other, and also spiritual prosperity, which manifests itself in growth in Christlikeness.
The second thing that Paul sends to the Ephesians is “love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. Why does Paul say that they have love with faith, rather than just love? Because love without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ isn’t love that pleases God. In order to love like Christ, Christians must love because of their trust in God and Christ. Another way of calling this kind of love is faithful love, or love that is full of faith. Paul says that God and Christ gives this love with faith to the Ephesians.
Finally, Paul closes this letter by sending prosperity to the righteous:
“Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”
Who does Paul say have grace? “All who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible”. What is this love? Love that can’t be corrupted, or destroyed. The only kind of love for Christ that can’t be corrupted is the love that comes from God.
And what does Paul promise for these incorruptible lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ? Grace. The Greek word translated “grace” in the New Testament is charis, which literally means “benefit” or “favor”. In this case, the grace that Paul promises is the grace of God, which is the source of incorruptible love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preserver of such love.
So, do you have such a relationship with other Christians that you share with one another how you are and what you’re doing?
Are you a faithful servant in the Lord?
Do you encourage the hearts of your brethren in Christ?
Do you desire that your brethren in Christ have more divine peace?
Do you desire that your brethren have more love with faith?
Do you desire that your brethren have more grace?
Do you have peace from God?
Do you have love with faith from God?
Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love?
If you don’t serve the Lord by obeying Him, have any peace, love with faith, or incorruptible love for Christ, then you are an enemy of Christ, but there’s good news. God’s grace is sufficient to forgive all of your sins, and to give you peace with Him. He sent His eternally divine Son to earth to become a man, to willingly be hung on a cross to suffer and die for our crimes against Him, to raise Him from the dead, and to take Him into heaven as our King. He’s now commanding everyone to change their minds and trust in the risen Christ and His death for our sins as the only grounds of His forgiveness of our sins because He’s going to judge everyone perfectly by everything they’ve said, thought, and done, and punish those who reject His command for eternity in the lake of fire and outer darkness. Please make sure you’ve changed your mind and are trusting in Christ, His death for our sins, and resurrection as the only grounds of God’s forgiveness and peace with Him. He promises to forgive all who trust in His Son as their Savior and Lord.
All Scripture quotations are taken from:
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.