Ephesians 6:19-24

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Paul’s closing requests and prayer

 

As we come to close this book, we notice we have come far.  We have traveled throughout this epistle on a journey that has brought us many changes with challenges along the way; brought us many new thoughts, and many new ideas regarding our walk with Christ. 

As we talked about prayer in the previous lesson, we touched the tip of the iceberg.  John MacArthur puts it better than I think I could ever state it:  “It’s more than an additional weapon; it is the atmosphere in which all our living occurs, all our fighting and all our arming ourselves. It is pervasive in that sense.” (MacArthur Praying)

Prayer is the way we have fellowship with God.  We were told in Colossians 4:2 that we are to “continue in prayer” also to never to cease (1Thessalonians 5:17).  And in 2Timothy 1:3, Paul says that he constantly remembers them in prayers, “night and day”.  Here is where we pick up.  We focused in on us praying for ourselves to win the battle and ended with the call to remember the saints in prayer.  Now Paul has a special request.

We begin this section with Paul asking that along with praying “for all the saints…pray also for me…” (Ephesians 6:19).  There is a reason though.  Paul is asking for us to not just pray for ourselves, but for others too.  It is not just a general prayer; it is a prayer that has a call for obedience, guidance, and “fearlessness”.  Paul then answers anyone’s questions as to how he is doing by referring to Tychicus bringing this news and also so that “he may encourage…”.  Paul closes the last two verses with peace and grace which is how he actually started (Ephesians 1:2). 


I.     Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.  Pray that I might declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

Paul is making known that we are to pray for him—asking with special requests.  Paul is not being selfish here.  Paul is asking for godly guidance in the area of speaking. 

Paul is asking for intercessory prayer but not for physical needs but for spiritual needs.  He is asking for strength for the battle.  Paul knows the depth Satan will go to deter one from being fruitful in the kingdom of God.  Paul has been (see 2Corinthians 11:23-33)

  1. In prison
  2. Flogged
  3. Exposed to death again and again
  4. Five times received forty lashes minus one
  5. Three times beaten with rods
  6. Stoned
  7. Three times shipwrecked
  8. Spent a night and day in the open sea
  9. Constantly on the move
  10. In danger from rivers, bandits, his own countrymen, Gentiles, in danger in the city, country, sea, and in danger from false brothers.
  11. Labored and toiled so much that he went without sleep
  12. Known hunger and thirst and often gone without food
  13. Cold and naked

If all this is not enough he says that he has the daily pressures of concern for all the churches.  Paul knows what Satan can do.  Paul knows that without prayer his strength and theirs is limited.  God is the only one who can help get them and him through to the end for the prize. 

No Paul is not asking for something selfish, Paul is actually selfless when asking to have no fear in spreading the Gospel.  When the waves and wind get stirred we may be like Peter whose faith waned that day when he got out of the boat, but Christ was right there to pull him back up and bring him to safety. 

Through prayer it can bring miraculous things to our lives.  We can be like Paul who survived many trials and hardships.  So we may not go through all Paul has, but many trials we suffer daily and prayer can get us through.

Paul was in leadership and we need to see our pastors need our prayer to remain strong and not wavering in giving in to the many temptations Satan can bring.  One is pride.  One is envy.  And even selfishness.  There are more of course but the point being that the more fruitful our leaders are, the more they are subject to Satan’s attack.  Satan will use any situation to “weaken, distract, and discredit God’s gifted men in their work of ‘equipping of the saints for the work of service’ (Eph. 4:12).” (MacArthur 384)

We are to pray for our leaders and the Word of God agrees.  1Timothy 2:1-2 says we are to pray not only for everyone but “for kings and all those in authority”.  In 1Thessalonians Paul does several things at the end of the book.  He calls for us to “build each other up”, “respect those who work hard among you”, hold those who work hard in high regard, to pray continually, and Paul asks for prayer (1Thes 5:11-25).  James calls us to pray for one another (James 5:16), Samuel did not give up praying for the people (1Sam 12:23), and Hebrews asks for prayer too (Hebrews 13:18).

Prayer can even protect others from death.  In Genesis 20:7, Abraham was to pray for Abimelech for his life.  Indeed the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16) because in Genesis there is the story of Abraham praying for Sodom.  It turned out that only four people left that city but only three lived (Genesis 18 and 19). 

Many things can be said but prayer does seem to have a positive effect for everyone involved.  How can you who see so much in Scripture deny this wonderful gift from God?

II.     Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing.  I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. (Ephesians 6: 21-22)

Paul was sending Tychicus to them but also to the Colossians.  He carried both letters to them for the same purpose to give everyone news and updates (Colossians 4:7).  This also helped the Ephesians pray more effectively but also gave encouragement to them too so hear that Paul remained faithful to furthering the Gospel message. 

Knowing someone is doing well puts our minds at ease and we become thankful both to the person sharing and to God.  Have you ever asked someone out of genuine concern how they were doing?  Maybe a friend of yours has been struggling and you see their mother or father or brother or sister.  Hearing good news take a certain weight off our shoulders and Paul knew having this information would relieve some of that pressure and help them continue living obediently for Christ.

III.     Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Ephesians 6:23-24)

Paul ends this epistle pretty much the same way he started it, with grace and peace

Peace pictures this great and grand idea that what once was separated or divided is now one.  It was that at one time we were separated from God and at enmity with Him and now through faith there is peace and joined with God forever.  We are heirs of a better place receiving that share (Ephesians 1:11). 

Sin puts up a barrier; it doesn’t allow us to experience peace that was achieved because of the cross.  We are prone to commit sins (1John 1:8) and yet we are to “live a live worthy of the Lord and…please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).  Achieving peace, Christ now expects us to live differently and that is what these last three chapters have been about.

Love and Faith in conjunction with peace come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a dual source blessing.  In Ephesians 1:3, Paul says that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ and here we see reiterated again three blessings. 

Peace starts a work in our hearts, love is extended because of this peace and faith is the natural outworking of peace and love.  Again we could say this: Faith comes from peace achieved at the cross, and love results from realizing these two.

Grace now is mentioned last when typically it is mentioned first.  We normally read grace and peace to you but here it is reversed.  Why?  I believe Paul wants us to see the true focus of how peace with the enemy is achieved.  We discussed the enemy’s tactics and the armor of God that we have, with prayer being the centering of all we do.  Who was/is at the center of it all?  God/Christ! 

Grace comes to us as the natural extention of what Christ did for us.  He gives us something we don’t deserve and out of that again we see love as the natural binder.  We love Christ with an undying love because of the peace and grace given to us.

Grace here is also Paul’s way of giving a blessing for those who walk in Christ whose love is incorruptible or undying.  It is the love that lacks the ability to die off, to decay, an immortal love continuing forever.  In 1Corinthians 15:42 we see the word is translated imperishable. 

The love here Paul uses is that perfect love: agape.  In Ephesians 3:18-21 I talked about that undying love.  I said that we can’t grasp love unless we are rooted and grounded in it.  Once Christ comes into our lives and He is at home (Ephesians 3:14-17) and we then are established and the natural expression of our lives should be love for Christ in living for Him.  This kind of love true love gives continuously and unconditionally.  Agape gives even if it means getting nothing in return.  Love is an action word, a verb.  It carries with it lifestyle.  It is to be who we are.

 


 

Application:  Do you know someone who you find it difficult to love unconditionally?  Is there someone in your life that needs shown what true love looks like?  It is in this way we show Christ’s love for the world.  It is in this way we let our “Light” shine in “darkness”. 


Isn’t it fitting to end an epistle with Love that began with Love?  Isn’t it fitting to know that God’s love motivated Him to choose us even before the foundation of the world, provide for us redemption from sins, the forgiveness of sins, and give us an inheritance? 

Paul told us that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3) and spent the rest of the book showing us these blessings and started chapter one by telling us that God has taken care of our past, present and future. Here is a small list of these blessings:

  1. Forgiveness of Sins (1:7)
  2. An inheritance (1:11, 14)
  3. Sealed by the promised Holy Spirit (1:13)
  4. “Were” objects of wrath (2:3)
  5. Alive with Christ (2:5)
  6. We have received grace—the gift of God (2:8)
  7. We are God’s workmanship (2:10)
  8. We were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship (2:12)
  9. We have been brought near (2:13)
  10. We have peace (2:14)
  11. We have access to Christ (2:18)
  12. We are member’s of God’s household (2:19)
  13. We have a calling and gifting (4:1, 7)
  14. We used to be “darkness” and now we are “light” (5:8)
  15. We have been given spiritual armor to help us fight the enemy (6:14-17)
  16. We have been given the gift to be able to commune with God through prayer (6:18-20)
  17. God has given us an undying love with eternal peace and grace (6:23-24)

All this and yet I could list even more just from the book of Ephesians.  What else can we say in response to all God has done for us?  Knowing all these things God has done for us why wouldn’t we be motivated to share and live rightly for Him?

Paul started getting us to see that God got us walking in Christ, and Paul ended in getting us to know we need to stop too and kneel down to pray in both thankfulness and help to continue walking for both us and others.

Don’t give up the fight!  Don’t quit while Satan seeks to put lies into your heart.  Stop, look and listen.  Stop walking, get on your knees and look up asking for help, and listen for what God wants you to knowThen go and live it!

 



Works Cited:

MacArthur, John. “Praying at All Times” Grace To You. 24 Jun 2012. 12/07/2012 <http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1962/praying-at-all-times>.

MacArthur, Jr., John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1986. Print.

About Ernest Grogg

First and foremost I am married to Olesya and looking forward to the rest of our lives together. Marriage is a journey and it is interesting and fun. Saved at the age of 25 and while salvation has been a challenge, God has always been faithful.

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