Commentary on Ephesians, 6:19-24

Ephesians 6:19-24

“18 with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
19 And on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,”

“utterance”  (Gr. logos – 3056)

Preceptaustin:  “(logos) is a general term for speaking, but always used for speaking with rational content. Lógos is a word uttered by the human voice which embodies an underlying concept or idea. When one has spoken the sum total of their thoughts concerning something, they have given to their hearer a total concept of that thing. Thus the word lógos conveys the idea of “a total concept” of anything. Lógos means the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known. It can also refer to the inward thought or reason itself. Note then that lógos does not refer merely to a part of speech but to a concept or idea. In other words, in classical Greek, lógos never meant just a word in the grammatical sense as the mere name of a thing, but rather the thing referred to, the material, not the formal part. In fact, the Greek language has 3 other words (rhema, onoma, epos) which designate a word in its grammatical sense. Lógos refers to the total expression whereas rhema for example is used of a part of speech in a sentence. In other words rhema, emphasizes the parts rather than the whole.”

In view of the Greek definition of the word “logos,” Paul was asking for prayer that he would be granted the grace to explain the “total concept” of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that he would be able to express the whole idea of it’s message.

There are two things I would like to bring out about Paul’s request for prayer: 

One, even though Paul probably understood the gospel message (soteriology) better than anyone, he remained humble about it and valued the prayers of others. Even though he was greatly gifted as an Apostle, he still felt the need for prayer both for the enabling grace to convey the gospel message properly, but also for the boldness to preach it.

None of us are above the need for prayer. None of us are so gifted that we don’t need the prayers of God’s people. If we ever get to the point to where we think we’ve “arrived,” we’re in trouble. Pride hinders, but humility empowers.

Two, Paul was concerned about the message itself. He wanted to make sure he was proclaiming the full message of Christ, and not some slimmed down version of it. His request also indicates that he wanted to be able to present the message skillfully, in a way that the listeners would be able to understand.

We live in a day where the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented in a very shallow manner by many churches. As Paul prayed for, pastors and Christians in general, need boldness to share the complete gospel message without concern about “offending” people. The truth offends, but it also leads people to the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to lose this idea that the gospel of Christ should be presented in light and “feel good” manner. Yes, we need to be loving and gentle, but the message itself is never to be compromised. We need to boldly proclaim the sinfulness of mankind, and our need for Christ as Lord and Savior.

The gospel of Christ is one of substance. The gospel is not simply about the death and resurrection of Christ. It’s also about His life. It’s also about the Christian life. We have four Gospel books in the New Testament that go into detail about Christ’s life, and the message He proclaimed. Each of those books is called the “Gospel.” That’s much more than the “A,B,C’s” of salvation that we hear so often today. 

The gospel message goes into great detail about Christ and who He is and what He came to do. The more we share about Jesus and the Christian life as followers of Christ, the better the understanding for those who hear. We can never give too much light, but we can most certainly give too little. The more truth a person hears, the more the Holy Spirit has to work with. Let’s be faithful to share the gospel as it is, and leave the results to God.

“to make known….the mystery”

Mystery refers to something hidden in former times, but now made known or revealed. The gospel of Jesus Christ was not fully revealed in the Old Testament, but at the proper time it became fully known, beginning with John the Baptist, then through Jesus Himself, and continued through His Apostles and prophets. What we have now in the New Testament is the full revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

“ambassador”  (Gr. presbeuo – 4243)

Someone who represents another of higher authority, such as a king or governor. 

As Paul was, all of us as Christians are ambassadors for King Jesus. We are His representatives in this world. How important then, is it to represent Him honorably?

“21 But that you also may know my situation, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will fill you in on all matters,
22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may comfort your hearts.”

Paul, who was always thinking of others, rather than himself, was concerned for their concern for him. So he sent Tychicus to them in order to fill them in on all the things that were going on in his situation. Whatever it was that Tychicus shared with them, it was for the purpose of bringing “comfort to their hearts.”

That means instead of telling them about the difficulties of prison life, Tychicus must have shared with them all the positives of Paul’s being there, how the Lord was using him where he was at. That’s a wonderful lesson for us. No matter what our situation in life, God has a plan and purpose for us. We should always focus on the positives of the situation, no matter how difficult it may be to see at first. No matter where we find ourselves in life, we should seek to serve Christ. We should seek to make a difference in people’s lives. We should seek to be used by God. 

If we’re having a hard time seeing the positives, we need to pray to see. We need to remain strong in our faith, and see all of our situations in life with eternity in view, and realize that’s it’s only temporary, and that God will bless us for our faithfulness to Him. Let’s not allow our circumstances to rob us of our reward.

“Tychicus” 

Not much is known about him, except that he was a faithful servant of the Lord, and a traveling companion of Paul’s (Acts 20:1-4; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 4:12; Tit 3:12).

“23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“peace”

Peace is what we need in all our circumstances. Instead of being anxious about our lives, we’re to commit all things into God’s hands:

“Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil 4:6,7)

Having suffered a lot of pain and hardship for the name of Christ, Paul spoke from personal experience. And now he finds himself in prison as he’s writing this letter. As one who was experiencing God’s peace himself, he’s now praying for their peace. That’s something we can pray for ourselves and for others when in hard situations, and that’s exactly what Paul exhorts us to do in Phil 4:6,7.

The promise is the peace of God that “surpasses all understanding.” When someone is able to experience and display peace in really hard situations, it defies reason and understanding. The world can’t understand this sort of thing, and it’s a wonderful testimony of the grace of God in our lives. When the unsaved see such unreasonable and unexplainable peace in someone who’s really going through it, it will make them stop and consider the reality of Christ. 

“love with faith”

Paul sent Tychicus to the Ephesian church in order to comfort their hearts about his situation. So I think what Paul may be referring to here, is that we’re to maintain our love for God and our faith in God in all our situations in life. However, that can only be accomplished as we depend upon Him. Our circumstances shouldn’t make us bitter, but stronger in Christ.

“24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible.”

“incorruptible”  (Gr. aphtharsia – 861)

Love that is pure and constant and undying. 

Anger and bitterness will rob us of the grace of God in our lives. But a pure and constant and undying love for God through difficulties, will open the floodgates of His grace.