Conclusion: A Concern for Comfort and A Word of Blessing
1. Paul has sought to give us a big picture of God’s purposes in this letter/book. He has done this by pulling back the curtain and showing us the decree. He has also done this by showing us the importance of the church.
2. Back in chapters one and two he unfolded "God’s purpose, conceived in a past eternity before the foundation of the world, to create a single new human race through the death and resurrection of Christ and ultimately to unite the whole church and the whole creation under Christ’s headship. He has emphasized that a distinctive shape has been given to this divine plan by the inclusion in God’s new society, on an entirely equal footing, of Jews and Gentiles. The old days of division and discrimination have gone. A brand new oneness has emerged, in which through union with Christ Jews and Gentiles are equal members of the same body and equal sharers in the same promise. So now the one Father has one family, the one Messiah–Savior one people, and the one Spirit one body."
3. Especially from chapter four on, he has called on us to live out this reality. "These sure facts of what God has done through Christ and by the Spirit form the basis on which Paul went on to issue his eloquent appeal. His readers must live a life that is ‘worthy’ of their calling and ‘fitting’ to their status as God’s new and reconciled society. They must demonstrate their unity in the Christian fellowship, while at the same time rejoicing in the diversity of their gifts and so of their ministries. They must put away all the uncleanness of their pre-conversion behaviour and live a life of ‘true righteousness and holiness.’ And they must learn to submit to one another in every kind of domestic relationship and so promote harmony in their homes. Unity, diversity, purity and harmony—these the apostle has stressed as major characteristics of the new life and the new society in Christ. It has seemed a beautiful ideal, an obviously desirable goal, and not so difficult to attain." (Stott, 260-261)
4. He has explained to us that we will need spiritual armament to do this.
5. Now he concludes, perhaps writing in his own hand.
Ephesians 6:21-24 21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
Paul shows his love for the church, God’s people in his practical concern and thoughtfulness and in his gracious benediction.
I. Paul’s practicality (21-22) [The concrete customs that Paul employed to cultivate congregational communion]
21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.
A. A guy named "Lucky" - a beloved brother and faithful minister.
B. Paul’s desire for the believers to know how he was doing and to comfort them.
C. His vision of God’s new society was not mere theory but something he put into practice.
D. Thus, by prayer, correspondence and visits he sought to cultivate the building up of Christ’s body. (Stott)
Quotation: "The holy solicitude which Paul felt about the interests of religion, or, to use his own language, "the care of all the churches," (2 Corinthians 11:28,) was thus strikingly evinced. When death stood constantly before his eyes, neither the dread of death, nor anxiety about himself, prevented him from making provision for the most distant churches. Another man would have said, "My own affairs require all the attention I can give. It would be more reasonable that all should run to my assistance, than that they should expect from me the smallest relief." But Paul acts a different part, and sends in every direction to strengthen the churches which he had founded." (Calvin)
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. May you know the fullness of God’s favor - enjoyment of the total well-being he bestows
2. May you taste of God’s love - full, fatherly, gracious, free and overflowing
3. May God continue to grant you faith - you see, after all, it is a gift of God.
24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
1. May God continue is grace to you – God’s free and undeserved favor.
2. This grace is for those who love Christ - "More love, O Christ, to thee"