Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday, May 9th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 19-20; Psalm 93; Acts 4
Today's scripture focus is Ephesians 6:21-24

Ephesians 6:21-24

English Standard Version (ESV)

Final Greetings

21 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. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all wholove our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Man With the Message
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Praying at All Times

Surprisingly, MacArthur covers these 3 verses in the end of his sermon about v18-20.  He does bring up a good point.

Paul sent Tychicus so that the church at Ephesus would be informed.  It's really hard to pray for people when you don't know what's going on.  Obviously you can pray for people generally.  But it's wonderful to be able to pray specifically and intelligently.

Legge, however, devoted an entire sermon to these 3 verses, and it was well worth the read.

First a quick summary (summarized from MacArthur)...
Ephesians has taught us the wealth of our blessings in Christ. Ephesians tells us that we are blessed, loved, forgiven, redeemed, given wisdom, made rich, made secure, sealed with the Spirit, alive with new life, objects of eternal grace, God's masterpiece, called to a life of good works which God will do through us, one with God, one with fellow believers, members of God's intimate family, indwelt with the Holy Spirit, powerful beyond our imagination, able to glorify God.

And that's just the first 3 chapters.

It goes on to teach us that we possess the living Spirit of God inside us, we are members of the body of Christ, we have received gifts and gifted men to teach us to serve, Jesus Christ teaches us to walk a new life, we've received the love of God so we can walk in love, we've received the light of God so was can walk in light, we've received the wisdom and truth of God so we can walk with discernment, we've received the power of the fullness of the Spirit of God, we've received resources to make every human relationship all God intended it to be, we've received invincible armor that Satan is powerless against if we use it, climaxing in the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

The danger of knowing all this is that we may become smug and think that we no longer need God. So Paul reminds us that yes, we have it all, but it all depends on Him.

Paul gives a bit of a summary of these blessings in v23-24, but he also gives the Ephesians a gift - the personification of everything he has taught them, lived out in the life of Tychicus.  Paul sent them Tychicus, yes to talk to them about Paul and how he was doing, likely many things that aren't contained in this book.  He also sent Tychicus to comfort them, encourage them, strengthen them, and challenge them to put into practice the words of this book.

Tychicus is that gift to us as well.  We need to be challenged to let the doctrine of this book change the way we live.  We need to be comforted, encouraged, strengthened, challenged.

Tychicus was from Asia, likely Ephesus itself.  He was likely a convert of Paul's and travelled with him on his journey from Greece to Asia (Acts 20:4) and likely right to the end of his missionary journey in Ephesus.
When Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, then he was imprisoned in Caesarea, and all of those dramatic appearances that he had before kings and before governors, all of his miserable experiences, his terrible voyage across the sea, the shipwreck en route to Rome, his residence in the Roman house arrest, and all of those trials that Paul faced, all of the dangers - the likelihood is, and the word of God would lead us to believe, that this man Tychicus went through all of it with Paul. If that is the case, we can say he experienced a great deal!.....Not only did Tychicus go with Paul as an ardent supporter right throughout all of those experiences with him, but we believe that just as he was the messenger for this particular letter, he was also the apostle's messenger at Colossae - you can find that in the book of Colossians chapter 4 and verse 7. The likelihood is that he took the letter of Philemon from the little prison where Paul was, and he took it to Philemon and probably stood and verified the conversion of his slave Onesimus, as he gave the letter over to Philemon. We're led to believe also that he went to minister to Titus in Crete, from Titus 3 and verse 12. Assuming, as we did at the very first study of the book of Ephesians, that the book of Ephesians is a circular letter - in other words, it wasn't just specifically for the church at Ephesus, but it was going to go around all the churches of Asia - Tychicus was the postman that took it round all of those churches.

We're speaking of a mighty man tonight.

Legge notes that Paul refers to Tychicus both as a beloved brother and a faithful servant.  It's not always common to find both qualities in one person.  Sometimes people are well loved but it's often because they don't stand for anything so they never ruffle anyone's feathers.  Sometimes people are faithful servants but they can be legalistic to the point of arrogance and obnoxiousness.  But Tychicus was both faithful to the Word of God, but also a man of love.  And that should be a picture of us as well, because really it is a reflection of Jesus Christ and His Spirit dwells within us.  Do we speak the truth in love?

Paul loves the Ephesians and as he closes this book he blesses them with peace, love, faith, and grace.
Peace with God and peace with each other.
Love for one another.
Love with faith - both saving faith and practical day-to-day faith.  Staking our lives upon the truth of the Word, knowing we have the confidence and boldness to come before God.
Grace - acknowledging that ALL this is a gift of God.  Which should cause us to love and pursue Christ with an undying devotion.

Legge ends his last prayer on this book with this:
Lord, we pray most of all that You will give us a love for Christ that is an undying, incorruptible, imperishable love - a love that will say: 'For me to live is Christ and to die is gain'. We thank Thee for this book, and we thank Thee for all Thy blessings. We pray that in our own individual lives and in the life of this church in the days that lie ahead, that we will be given grace to implement these things to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 1:1-5
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Samuel 21-22
Sunday's passage: 1 Samuel 23-24
Monday's passage: 1 Samuel 25-26, Psalm 94, Acts 5

1 comment:

Miriam said...

Wow, it's amazing what can be pulled out of a few phrases of farewell. Excellent post.