Summary: In these last few verses of Ephesians, Paul blesses his readers with grace, peace, love and faith - all of which are themes running through the whole letter of Ephesians.
The End to an extraordinary letter
Well we’ve finally arrived. We are at the end, the end of Ephesians. I don’t know if you’ve been counting, but guess how many sermons we’ve had on Ephesians this year? 22. This final one will bring it to 23. 23 sermons on 6 chapters. In most Bibles, Ephesians is 4 pages. There is so much in 4 pages. In 4 pages of a nearly 2000 year old letter from Paul to the church in Ephesus. But what a letter - an extraordinary letter. This letter is like gold, worth far more than its four pages would suggest. This four pages is part of the Bible - Holy Scripture. God’s revelation through Paul – to us. And what a weight it punches
In Ephesians, so much of the Gospel is covered. It covers our problem – sin and separation from God. It covers the solution. Jesus died for us. It covers the result. Eternal life with Him and what it means to live as a Christian. A life of holiness as the people of God – the church. And as the church our task is to preach the Good News of Jesus to those who haven’t yet heard.
Today we look at Paul’s closing remarks. Last time we spoke about Holy War -spiritual warfare. That was Paul’s summation, reminding the Ephesians of what it is live the Christian life and that living the Christian life is no walk in the park, no recipe for an easy life, but a holy war. Spiritual warfare.
So today’s final four verses are Paul’s final closing remarks. The first two are very personal.
Ephesians 621 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.
These couple of verses remind us that originally Ephesians was a personal letter - that Paul sent to the believers in and around Ephesus. The postal system was not like ours today so Paul sent this letter with a friend – Tychicus. Not only would Tychicus deliver the letter, but as we see, Tychicus would pass on news to the Ephesians believers about how Paul was going.
And the next two verses are the final verses of the whole letter.
Ephesians 623 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.
Now Paul’s summary of Ephesians was back in verses 10-20 which we covered last week, where he reminds us that the Christian life is a spiritual battle. These last two verses of the book are not Paul’s summary, but they are his closing greeting and blessing. The words are very similar to the closing greetings in his other letters. And they are not just greetings, but a blessing where Paul blesses – or prays - for his listeners to have certain things.
What are those things? Money? Leisure? Status? Thrills? No! They are: Grace (vs 24), peace (vs 23), love (vs 23) and faith (vs 23). Each of these four things features strongly throughout the letter, and we’ve covered them in our last 22 sermons. “Grace” is mentioned 11 times. “Peace” is mentioned 7 times. “Love” is mentioned 15 times. “Faith” is mentioned 8 times. That’s a lot of mentions. And we’ve talked a lot about those things – grace, peace, love, faith - as we’ve gone through Ephesians. But it is interesting that in the introduction to Ephesians:
Ephesians 12 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note how similar it is to the last verse of the letter! In the second verse Paul also blesses the Ephesians – and us - with grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace. For those who remember back to the first sermon on Ephesians, you might remember that you coud just about sum up Ephesians with those words: grace and peace. The British preacher Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “Grace is the beginning of our faith, peace is the end result of our faith.” Or as we said in the first sermon on Ephesians, “Through God’s grace we are saved from our sins in order to receive His peace: peace with God and peace with each other.” So today we are going to review the book of Ephesians using those two themes in the blessings in the first and last verses of the book – grace and peace, and also looking at the role of love and faith.