Summary: Ephesians 6:21-24 shows us Paul's view of others.
Today we shall conclude our sermon series on “The Whole Armor of God” in Ephesians 6:10-24. Previously, we examined our spiritual warfare, our terrible enemy, our only strength, our shining armor, our mighty weapon, and our secret resource. I would like to conclude with Paul’s final greetings to the Christian believers in his letter to the Ephesians.
So, let’s read Paul’s final greetings in Ephesians 6:21-24:
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 who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Ephesians 6:21-24)
Some of you may recall Dr. Peter Smuts, a visiting preacher we had about 16 months ago here at the Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church. And you may also recall that Pete and I have been friends since we first met in 1978 as university students at Driekoppen Residence at the University of Cape Town. After a few years in Driekoppen we shared an apartment with two other students. We were involved in campus ministry together, attended the same church, were involved in the same campus ministry, had many of the same friends, and I was Best Man in his wedding in 1981. We have been friends now for more than 40 years. And yet, even though we only see each other about every four years or so, our friendship seems to pick up just where we left it off several years earlier.
And yet, Pete and my friendship seems to pale in comparison to the friendship that Paul and Tychicus enjoyed. They had a profoundly deep friendship. And, of course, the Apostle Paul also had a deep love for the believers in the church at Ephesus. And so, as he comes to the end of his letter to the Ephesians, we learn about Paul’s view of others.
Ephesians 6:21-24 shows us Paul’s view of others.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Bearer of the Letter to the Ephesians (6:21-22)
2. The Blessings in the Letter to the Ephesians (6:23-24)
I. The Bearer of the Letter to the Ephesians (6:21-22)
First, let’s look at the bearer of the letter to the Ephesians.
Paul usually dictated his letters to a secretary. In order to let his readers know that he was the one in fact dictating the letter, Paul often wrote a sentence or two in his own handwriting at the end of the letter. He did that in his letters to the Galatians (6:11), the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 3:17), the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:21), and the Colossians (4:18). And he did it again in this letter to the Ephesians.
It seems that Paul’s secretary was Tychicus, whom Paul mentioned in verse 21. Interestingly, Tychicus is mentioned five times by name in the New Testament (in Acts 20:24, Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4: 7-8, 2 Timothy 4:12, and Titus 3:12). Kent Hughes makes the following comment about Tychicus:
Though the mentions are brief, we can draw some revealing conclusions about his experiences and place in life. Tychicus first appears at the end of Paul’s missionary work in Ephesus, and since he was a native of the Province of Asia (Acts 20:4), of which Ephesus was the major city, we surmise that he was almost surely a convert of Paul’s long ministry in Ephesus. Thus, he likely witnessed the great Ephesian silversmiths’ riot against Paul, which prompted the apostle to leave Ephesus for Macedonia (Acts 19:35–20:1), and as an ardent supporter of Paul shared his danger and bravery.
A short time later, when Paul decided to return to Jerusalem where he would ultimately be arrested, Tychicus was one of the seven who accompanied him as traveling companions (Acts 20:4). Tychicus was probably the one who actually carried the offering for the poor in Jerusalem. When Paul was arrested, Tychicus, along with Dr. Luke and others, stayed with Paul through his epic journey to Rome, which included his arrest and imprisonment in Caesarea, his dramatic appearances before kings and governors, his miserable voyage and shipwreck en route to Rome, and his residence (under house arrest) in Rome awaiting trial.
Tychicus shared an immense mutuality of experience and of soul with Paul. When Paul said, “I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:26, 27). Paul was saying it for Tychicus too!