Devotional # 120. 1/19/15. Ephesians 6:18-24.
Intro. Last week we talked about the “Armor of God” and I talked a little bit about verse 18 but it’s important that we go back over it before we finish out the book of Ephesians in this devotional. Several times during these devotionals I have mentioned that there is a difference between the first 3 chapters of Ephesians and the last 3 chapters. If we put our finger anywhere in the first 3 chapters we’ll see the doctrine of what God did for us. Until we understand this, we can understand how to have a Christian walk (chapters 4-6).
vv. 18-20. As I just said last week we went over 18 and Paul had been speaking about the weapons of spiritual warfare that we have at our disposal and he caps it off with the thing that we should be doing “always.” Prayer. Why? Because it is the foundation and boost for all other weapons. The word “supplication” is an action of asking for something humbly. The keywords there are: “action” (we must get off the proverbial couch and sacrifice our time), “ask” (recognizing that it’s not us who make the difference but the One to whom we ask) and “humbly” (leaving our pride and capabilities) * .
As I asked last week who are we praying for? Other believers (“all the saints”) not just the Christians you like –but everyone in our family! I love that Paul asks for prayer for himself and his ministry. No one had more training or understanding on religion and evangelism (sharing Jesus with others) than Paul. No one is considered bolder or more knowledgeable about Jesus – but that’s the point, it was all about Jesus, not about Paul. And Paul was just a man, he needed encouragement both because there were time he felt timid and because he was in prison. Can you imagine knowing that you should be bold about Jesus but knowing that being bold would just get you beat and thrown in prison? I definitely would ask for prayer too!
vv. 21-22. Paul never tried to hide information. Here he told the church in Ephesus that he was sending a guy named Tychicus to tell them everything that was going on. Tychicus was “a beloved brother” and also a “faithful minister in the Lord.” A lot of times we wish that there was a pastor who would be open and honest with us. I have been very fortunate with most of the missionaries and pastors I know being great, open Christians. And I understand the importance of speaking face-to-face. Paul was imprisoned (“chained”) and he didn’t just want to write to them about this stuff so the next best thing was to send a reprehensive. Just last week I had the opportunity to speak with a missionary from England. The specifics of both of our ministries were better communicated face-to-face then in an email or even Skype.
So Tychicus’ sole “purpose” (v. 22) in going was to share with them what God was doing with Paul (“my affairs and how I am doing”) (v. 21). It is important that we communicate with our brothers and sisters what God is doing. But also to be able to openly share how we are doing physically, mentally and spiritually. It is this kind of openness that builds relationships that we need to have PRIOR to heaven. God is less interested in us raising money for a new building or inventing new games for our youth group then in having real, authentic relationships with other Christians.
vv. 23-24. Paul finishes his letter with wishes of “peace” and “love with faith” not simply from Paul but, as a spokesman for God, here it is the Son and the Father who send these things to the Church. We know what “peace” is but it’s important that regardless of whether the things mentioned in this letter convicted people or hurt their feelings that both Paul and God didn’t desire to leave on a sour note. However, God is less concerned with our comfort and more with us knowing the truth and going to heaven. That is why I love that the word “sincerity” is used. We don’t often see people that are sincere. When elections happen there are lots of babies kissed and gas prices dropped but is that sincerely to benefit mankind or is it to win a position of power? But God is sincere with us and doesn’t just desire that we be sincere with Him but that we “love” Him “in sincerity.” When I was little I told God I would never be a missionary and I thought that because I was being honest with Him that was good enough. But He didn’t care if I was sincere – He cared that I loved Him sincerely. So finally, at 29 years old, I went to England to help out at a Hungarian English camp. That’s where this devotional came from. God truly blesses many people when one person loves Jesus with sincerity. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back because I fail at loving Jesus most of the time but I figured the story would help you apply this to your life.
Regarding “grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity”, I really like Guzik’s correlation to the beginning of this book: “Paul ends by pronouncing a blessing – his way of helping the Ephesians to walk in ‘every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:3)” (Source 1).
Conclusion. Again, as mentioned above, the “sincerity” that we portray towards other Christians starts with a “sincerity” towards our first love – Jesus. And that’s really the way to end the book of Ephesians. I challenge you to re-read the book of Ephesians, there are many good and meaningful things. Its only 6 chapters and I find after you have studied something in depth when you re-read it, it can really help you to see things even more clearly. Next week we’ll be starting Philippians – feel free to read ahead!
*For more on “praying with supplication” see this site: http://www.gotquestions.org/prayer-of-supplication.html
Source 1: David Guzik, http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Eph/Eph_6.cfm?a=1103001