April 9th 2019 – Ephesians 6:19-24

"19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 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.

23 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."

Ephesians 6:19-24

The final point to note in these concluding verses of the epistle is the reality of fellowship. This has a lovely touch, which teaches us a great and important lesson, giving as it does a moving picture of Paul the man. We see the humanity of the apostle in what he says in 21-24. The words 'that ye may know my affairs ...' really say it all. It is not always realised that true fellowship means sharing oneself with others and - in a very real sense - 'giving oneself away'. Some Christians are lonelier than they might be, or need be, because they do not give themselves to, or let themselves be known by, others. The mark of real Christian humanity is the open heart. It is very impressive to realise, at the close of an epistle that has spoken so much about the believer's position in heavenly places in Christ, how utterly human the true attainment of that exalted position turns out to be. There is nothing remote about deep spiritual life, and nothing unapproachable either. A life of prayer, when it is real and true, promotes a spirit of warm humanity. What could be more blessed and heart-warming than the spirit of tender care and mutual consideration that breathes in these closing verses? Surely, if fellowship is to be something more than an empty name, it must be something like the fellowship that is expressed here. This then is the test: is such a fellowship developing among us, in which strong and enduring bonds of love and care are being forged, and a mutual encouragement and help maintained and extended to a growing company of men and women whose hearts God has touched? Ah, if the life of prayer is not making us more human, more accessible, more open, more communicable it is a real question whether it is the kind of prayer that the New Testament advocates. The apostolic prayer and benediction in 23, 24 point the way to the fulfilment of the hope that this will ever be the abiding and increasing fruit of the ministry of the Divine Word. Consider the words Paul uses - peace, love, faith, grace - it is all there, in these mighty gospel energies. Let us trace everything back to the source, in the grace of God, which is the fountainhead from which all else flows. No better definition of grace has ever been given than in James Denney's words: 'Grace is the love of God, spontaneous, beautiful, unearned, at work in Christ for the salvation of sinners'. At work in Christ for us - and what a work, bringing peace with God, with ourselves, with one another, creating faith within us, a faith that works by love! It is impressive, is it not, to see how comprehensive a range these seemingly simple words have. And - one final word - observe the definition given of believers, 'them that love our Lord Jesus Christ' (24). Have we discovered that to believe in Him is - to love Him?