Morning Sermon: Ephesians 6:21-24: Grace Be With You All

Old Testament Reading: Numbers 6:22–27

“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.’” (Numbers 6:22–27, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Ephesians 6:21-24

 “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. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” (Ephesians 6:21–24, ESV)


[Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church, but without the benefit of proofreading.] 


To me, it always feels bittersweet to come to the end of a study through a book of the Bible. I spend a lot of time in study, and the scriptures do impact me before I proclaim them to you. I told you at the beginning of this study that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is among my favorite books in the Bible, and that is still the case as we bring this study to a conclusion. I think you would agree that this book is very rich both in its doctrine and in its practical application. 

This is the 25th sermon in this series. If you remember, the first sermon was preached back on March the 15th, which was the first Sunday that we were affected by this government shut down. And so Ephesians has been used by the Lord to guide and comfort us through some trying circumstances. It is has served us well, I think.

As we come now to the last four verses of Ephesians, I wish to draw your attention to Paul’s love and concern for the church. Paul’s love for God and Christ was of course supreme. He lived for the glory of God and as a bondservant of Christ. But that love for Christ was shown in his love and concern for Christ’s church. His life was devoted to the building up of Christ’s church. He preached the gospel, he planted churches and saw to it that they were properly formed. And after these churches were planted — after he continued on his way to plant other churches in other regions — his love and concern for the churches he had previously planted remained. Indeed, Paul suffered greatly for his devotion to God, and to the church of Christ. 

Paul’s great love and concern for the church is displayed in these final words to the Ephesians. This morning I wish to consider verses 21-24 and to ask, what did Paul think of the church? How did he view the church? Stated differently, what did Paul see in the church that would move him to suffer so greatly, and to labor so diligently for her success? 


Paul And His Companions Suffered For Christ’s Church

First, let us consider Paul’s remarks concerning this fellow Tychicus, and as we do, let us consider the value that Paul and his companions had for the church of Christ. 

In verses 21 and 22 we read, “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. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts” (Ephesians 6:21–22, ESV).

These verses are very revealing. 

One, we are reminded that Paul was in prison when he wrote to the Ephesians. He mentioned his imprisonment in the previous verse when he asked for prayer for boldness to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, saying, “for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:20, ESV). Ambassadors — that is to say, representatives of rulers and kings — are typically treated very well by the kingdoms they visit. Not so with the ambassadors of Christ. Paul was an “ambassador” of Christ, but he was put “in chains” by the Jews and the Romans. 

Two, we learn that there were others besides Paul who were willing to suffer for the sake of Christ and his church. Tychicus is mentioned by name here in Ephesians, but we know there were others who associated with Paul in his suffering. In verse 22 Paul tells the Ephesians that Tychicus will let them “know how we are”, indicating that others were with him. He does not list their names, but leaves it to Tychicus to mention them in person. The end of Colossians reveals some of their names. The letter to the Colossians was written at the same times as the letter to the Ephesians. You will notice that this fellow Tychicus is also named in Colossians 4:7. There we read, “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7, ESV). We don’t know much about him. He was obviously a close and trusted companion to Paul. He is listed as one of Paul’s traveling companions in Acts 20:4. In that passage, both  “Tychicus and Trophimus” are called, the “Asians”, meaning that they were from the region called Asia Minor, that is, the region of Colosse and Ephesus, situated on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. In 2 Timothy 4:12 Paul informs Pastor Timothy (who was a Pastor in the church of Ephesus), that he has sent Tychicus to Ephesus. And Paul also wrote to Pastor Titus saying, “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:12, ESV). Though we don’t know much about Tychicus, he is often mentioned as a companion to Paul. He was to him a “beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord”. As I have said, at the end of Colossians Tychicus is mentioned. Evidently he was entrusted with both the letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the Colossians. But in Colossians others are mentioned too. Paul mentions “Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.” He says, “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God…. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas” (Colossians 4:7–14, ESV). This is fascinating, I think.  We speak often of Paul the Apostle, and rightly so. But we should not forget that many others suffered alongside him for the sake of Christ and his church.

Three, as we read Paul’s concluding remarks to the Ephesians we should recognize the great effort and risk that Paul and his companions took in seeking to strengthen the churches. Writing this letter to the Ephesians (and the Colossians) required effort. Paul would have dictated the majority of this epistle to someone who functioned as a scribe (he probably took the pen and wrote these last few lines with his own hand). Perhaps Tychicus himself was that scribe. And from there the letter would need to be hand delivered. We should remember that the journey from Rome, where Paul was imprisoned, to Ephesus would have been arduous. It would have taken Tychicus and his traveling companions no less than three weeks to reach Ephesus! The journey would have been expensive, uncomfortable, and dangerous. And yet it was worth it to Paul and his companions. In their estimation, the churches in Ephesus and Colosse (along with many others) were so important that the effort, cost, and risk associated with bringing instruction and encouragement to them were worth it. Once in Ephesus, Tychicus would have spent time with the church. He would have read this letter from Paul, or perhaps recited it from memory. His presentation of the letter would have served as a proof that the letter was in fact from Paul. The Ephesians knew Tychicus and trusted his word, just as the Colossians knew Onesimus and trusted his word. And Tychicus would have done more than present the letter that Paul had written. He would have also given a report concerning the activities of Paul and his companions and the success of the gospel in Rome. Tychicus was to encourage the hearts of the saints in Ephesus. 

One question that I might ask by way of application is, do you value the church as Paul and his companions did? Do you see the church of Christ as precious and even worth suffering for? Not all Christians will be called to suffer for the sake of Christ’s church in the way that Paul and his companions did, but all should have the same love and appreciation for Christ’s church! Do you? Or is the church something you could live without? Brothers and sisters, I pray that you see the church as precious. I pray that you would be willing to sacrifice to see the church of Christ flourish. I pray that you would be zealous to promote her prosperity, to contribute to her growth and maturity, and to preserve her unity. We ought to have a particular love and concern for this local church, of which we are members. But we should also be eager to see other churches of Christ thrive as well. The church in Ephesus was but one church that Paul was concerned for. We should not forget about his concern for the churches in the region of Galatia, in Thessalonica, Antioch, Jerusalem, Corinth, Philipi, Colosse and Rome, to name a few. These individual churches were local manifestations of the universal church of Christ. Paul was concerned to see them all flourish! And the same is true today. Particular churches such as this one are local manifestations of the universal church of Christ. And our concern should be for Christ’s church, which means that we should pray for the prosperity of this church, along with other local congregations, and seek to promote their prosperity as we have opportunity.        


They Suffered For The Church Because They Saw Her As Glorious

Point two of this sermon manuscript has been lost.


They Blessed The Church As God’s Chosen People, Beloved Of The Father

Lastly, let us briefly consider the blessing that Paul (and his companions) pronounced upon the church of Ephesus. All of Paul’s letters conclude with a blessing. This was not novel to him. In fact, God commanded that a blessing be pronounced upon Old Covenant Israel by the priests. They were to put God’s name on the people when they assembled, and they were to bless them, saying, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:22ff.). And this is what Paul did with the Israel of God under the New Covenant — he concludes each of his letters with a blessing in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. 

As we read Ephesians 6:23-24 again, you will notice the connection to the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6. Paul concludes with these words, “Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (Ephesians 6:23–24, ESV).

Paul blessed those who love Christ with love incorruptible with peace. Those who are in Christ by faith are at peace with God. Their sin has been removed, they have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and they are no longer under God’s wrath. They are at peace with him. He is their Father. They are his beloved children. And this peace with God ought to produce peace within the community, and peace within the heart. Are you at peace, friends? You ought to be if you are in Christ Jesus, for God is your Father, and you are his beloved children.

“Peace be to the brothers”, Paul says, “and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” When Paul blessed the brothers he certainly had the women in the congregation in mind also. This is the way that the Greek functioned. The word ἀδελφοῖς can refer to both brothers and sisters together. And he blessed them with peace, love, and faith saying that all three of these things come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is a gift from God. So too is love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19, ESV). And this peace is also a gift from above. 

When Paul blesses the Christian with peace, love, and faith, he is blessing them with more and more of it. If you are in Christ you are at peace, you have love and you have faith, but we must forever grow in these things. And Paul prays that we will. 

Lastly, he says, “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” Never can the Christian move on from grace, which is God’s undeserved favor. We were saved by God’s grace in the beginning, and we are preserved and sanctified by his grace too. Effort is required in the Christian life. But cannot be human effort alone. The Christian must forever live in full dependence upon the grace of God. 

What a beautiful and fitting benediction. Here Paul sets the name of God and of Christ upon the church in Ephesus. He reminds them they are God’s people — they are the Israel of God. And he blesses them in God’s name, and in the name of Christ their Redeemer. 



Every Lord’s Day you are greeted in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God’s greeting is also delivered to you with the words of the Apostle: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And then we conclude our worship with a benediction. Brothers and sisters, do not overlook the significance of these elements of our liturgy. When you are greeted ion Christ’s name, when you are reminded that God has welcomed you by his grace, and when you are dismissed with a blessing from God, it is a reminder of what you are. You are the assembly of God’s redeemed, the temple of the Holy Spirit, an earthly manifestation of the kingdom of God, a foretaste of God’s new humanity,  the body of Christ, his beloved bride of Christ, the family of God, for you have been adopted as sons through faith in the Beloved. You are the church, the most glorious institution on planet earth, as lowly as we may appear.

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