BIBLE STUDY: PART XXIX
V.1-3 - Children are told how to behave toward their parents. They are to obey them and honor them. This is from Exodus 20:12, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” And Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Moses made it clear that if we want to live long and happy lives we must respect our parents, beginning with God.
Why are children to obey? Look at Proverbs 6:20-28, “My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Obeying our parents keeps us from sin. When we are tempted, we can remember what they told us, and do the right thing.
What is obeying? It is to submit to the wiser authority, and to respond in a positive way to the direction of your parent. It is also hearing and obeying without backtalk or temper. Look at what Romans 6:16 has to tell us. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Sin and spiritual death are bi-products of disobedience. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Honoring our parents is so important to God, that He made this promise of life to us. This is the third verse I copied out for you with this sama promise. (Look above for the other two.)
Do you have the right to your opinion? Yes. Should you be allowed to express it? Yes. But when you speak it must be with a calm, respectful voice. I hear so many kids today screaming at their parents! I want to give parenting classes so that both the adults and children can know who God has placed in charge of whom. It’s a parents duty to raise up their children so that they will follow the Lord, and be good citizens of this country until they make their dwelling in the New Land God has built for him or her. “Train up your child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6),
V.4 - Parents have a very difficult responsibility to raise their children in the love and admonition of the Lord. This verse says “fathers,” but mothers are also responsible for bringing them up. In this society, mothers bear the brunt of child rearing. It’s true that grandparents, Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders etc, can help by being good influences, but the ultimate authority in this child’s life is his/her parents.
When parents scream at their children, call them names, say that they should never have been born, and especially that they hate them, they ruin the child’s self-image. Read Colossians 3:21. “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Fathers (and mothers) are not to provoke (stimulate, or arouse) their children to bad feelings by using this language with them. What should you do instead? Listen to them, love them, encourage them, show support for their ideas, and be there for them when they need you. Our job as parents is to teach the children the foundation of truth, Jesus.
Let’s read II Timothy 3:16,17. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Although everything mentioned in the rest of this chapter three is true, and wicked men will persecute and deceive them, having the foundation of the Word to stand on, makes them more able to overcome the temptation to sin. What we parents need to be doing for the children is building them up in the Lord. Just say no is but the beginning. We need to teach them something else to say when they refuse drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, sexual perversion. What? They should know how to present the Lord to these people as an alternative.
Can we tease kids and have fun with them? Sure we can. Jesus had a great time with his people. But we should never cross the line into the territory that will lead this child to doubt God, you, himself or herself. If you are not raising children yourself at this time, you should still treat all children in this same way. One cross word from a Sunday School teacher, one insult from an adult, can mar that child’s mind from then on. Under no circumstances should anyone ever tell a child he/she is stupid, useless, or that he/she will never amount to anything. Think of the people in your childhood. Can you name one person outside your home that has made you feel good, or feel bad? How did their comments influence you? Just being able to remember the incident means it had an impact on your life. If it made you feel good, use it on your own. If it was bad, drop it from your vocabulary.
V.5 - What is a bondservant? It’s someone who works for no pay check. He is bonded to his master, often for life. When Paul wrote this Scripture, bondservants still existed. Now it’s not a problem. So, knowing this was written for a culture that no longer exists, and knowing the entire Bible is for our benefit, how do we translate this for ourselves? We work this way for our paying boss. Look at the verse. No where in it does it give any exceptions. It doesn’t tell you to be obedient when it suits you, or if your boss is kind to you, or for any other reason but that God wants us to honor authority in our lives. That’s another good reason for parents to be sure their children learn respect and honor for themselves. They are the first authority these children deal with. It is where they are trained to respect people in positions above them.
V V.6,7 - Look again at verse 6. We are not to obey with Eyeservice. What is eye service? It’s doing the right thing as long as the boss is watching. It’s acting in a way that will please this boss so he be willing to give us a raise, or that he will treat us special. But what the Bible says is that we are to do what our boss tells us as though we were performing the service for Jesus Himself. Remember, Jesus never leaves you, so you can’t fool Him.
One thing we have to learn is that there is no such thing as a demeaning job. There are only jobs that need to be done, and the person best suited to it is the one who should work it. One part of working in this house that I really don’t like is changing beds. It hurts my neck and back, and makes so much extra work with having to wash, dry, and iron the linens. To make two beds over takes me an entire day of working on it. I like jobs that get done, and are finished. But I do the beds. Why? Because I respect my position in this household. I know it’s part of the work load assigned to many women. And I do them because I respect Larry too much to have him sleep on smelly, uncomfortable linens.
So- we don’t have to like what we’re doing, we just have to do it. Right? Wrong. We also have to do it with a glad heart. If Jesus came down and asked you to change the sheets for him, would you say, “Oh man! I hate changing beds!” Nope, you would run to the linen closet, dig out your finest linens, rip the old ones off the bed with new vigor, and remaske the bed in record time. That bed would not only be changed, it would be made into something luxurious for the Lord to rest on. That’s how we need to do it for our husbands.
But husbands don’t get away clean here either. They have their jobs to do too. Being out in the workplace is not always pleasant, and men may not like it, but they have to provide for their own. Look at what II Thessalonians 3:7-12 says about working. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”
Is it wrong for women to work outside the home? Not from what I can see in the Bible. But what they must remember is to take care of their families’ needs first. Just read Proverbs 31:10-31 for direction in how to run your schedule, and you will never go wrong.
V.8 - What is the outcome of our faithful service to each other? We receive blessing from the Lord. If we do good, we get good things. If we dishonor others, we are dishonored. And it says that this is true for slave or free. So our station in life doesn’t matter. Whatever we do for good as unto the Lord will be rewarded.
V.9 - Masters are those who are in authority over others. Your boss is your master in one regard, even if he is unsaved. Parents are the masters of their children in that they have ultimate authority over them. Husbands are the masters of their homes and families because God gave them that position. But none of us has the right to abuse our authority. We are to admonish, exhort, and correct those under us, but not as slaves. Isaiah 61:1 says that Jesus came to “proclaim liberty to the captives." In other words, He came to set the captives free. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound...” We are not to beat our children, our spouses, or those who work for us. We are not to threaten them or swear at them. We are to lead them with love as Jesus led.
If you want to read about someone whose authority was questioned, ridiculed, and ignored, read the New Testament about Jesus. If He could keep a cool head, and lead by example without being angry, we can too. Our Master, God, sits in heaven loving us all the same. There is not partiality with Him. Let’s do the same thing toward others.
BIBLE STUDY: PART XXX
V.10 - This is the conclusion of Paul’s exhortation. “Finally” is like Paul saying, “Here’s the last I want to say about this.“ He calls the Jews brethren not because they are from the same national background, but because they are now of the same faith. They are all regenerate in Christ, all brothers and sisters. This address shows Paul’s humility, and his desire not to appear better than anyone. It’s a way of showing his love for them, and for encouraging them. “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
To be strong in the Lord is to walk in His strength, knowing you can do nothing in your own power. People who are in ministry for the Lord form a new dependence on Him, or should, that most never achieve. They learn to pray and call on the name of the Lord before beginning any project. And they feed their spirit daily with payer and the reading the Bible. Missionaries speak of this connection with God anytime they are able to testify.
The reason we are to stay strong in the Lord is so we won’t diverge from the path the He has set for us. We face so many enemies out there in the world, and without the strength of the Lord to hold us and keep us apart from the world, we would fall headlong into the sins wed been delivered from.
The power of Jesus might, “kratos” Strong’s #2904, refers to God’s kingdom authority, dominion, and majesty. There is no greater power that God’s power anywhere. It’s this power that gives us the strength to fight the enemy, and all the temptations he throws at us. Only by remaining strong in the Lord’s power are we strong at all, and that strength comes from reading His Word.
V.11 - God supplied us with spiritual armor that will defeat the enemy if we wear it everyday. We need to be able to resist the devil and flee from temptation. But we need weapons that make that possible for us. We need to be able to stand strong when tough times come. We need to use the equipment we have been provide to oppose the enemy. Jesus gives us the strength to stand our ground, and to withstand the “wiles” of the enemy. When we fail to suit up in this armor, we are vulnerable to attack as we make a way for the enemy.
What is the wiles of the enemy? It’s his scheming against God by using us as pawns. The devil knows it breaks God’s heart to see a saved child fall into the sin of the world. Jesus came to free us from sin (Galatians 1:4; I John 2:2), and to return to it is to snub the Lord.
V.12 - The war we are fighting is not a war of human bodies coming against each other to annihilate each other. It is a war against the prince of the power of the air, satan, and his army of fallen angels. This war has already been won; satan has been defeated. Do we ever need to fear satan as long as we stay in the strength and the power of God’s might? Not at all. Let’s look at Romans 8:37. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loves us.” satan knows he’s defeated. But he will continue in his attempt to steal us away from God so that we will become ineffective for the body. We need to wield the Sword of the Word against him.
Now let’s look at Luke 22:53. Jesus was just telling the men who seized Him at the Mount of Olives that their hour was here. It was the hour of darkness. Does that mean it’s the people in the government who are the rulers of darkness spoken of here? I think so. Look at the middle east where this all took place. The leaders there, for the most part are wicked rulers who subvert God’s Word at every turn of a phrase even to this day! Any war we fight must be fought with weapons appropriate to the battle. We don’t fight satan with bombs and guns, we fight him with the Word of God. It’s not men we are fighting, but evil spirits that rule in men.
What heavenly places, or high places, is this referring to? It’s certainly not the heaven where God lives. No evil is allowed there. It’s the aerial heaven, the lowest heaven where satan (father of lies, deceiver, adversary) and his brood of vipers lives. It’s where they conduct their ministry of destruction from.
V.13 - It has been made clear in II Corinthians 10:4 that weapons God has given us to fight with are not those used on earth. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (man-made) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” They are spiritual weapons to fight spiritual battles. We need to use them to pull down the strongholds in our lives.
When God called Jeremiah to preach, Jeremiah said that he could not speak to the nations because he was just a youth. God told him not to say he could not speak, because he would be able to speak to whomever God sent him to. Then he touched his mouth. Let’s read Jeremiah1:4-10. “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” God gave Jeremiah the ability (power and might of the Lord), and equipped him to be able to root out, pull down, destroy throw down, build and plant. God gave him all he needed to accomplish the tasks He sent him to do. This included the ability to speak out the prophecy, and the power to do the work that resulted in its fulfillment. In the same way, God equips us to throw off bondages and be delivered from many things when we put on the full armor of God and use it to fight the devils.
We can’t just wear a helmet to fight against our enemies because that leaves our heart exposed, vulnerable to attack. We can’t just wear the shield because while we are defending against the darts, the enemy’s sword will lop off our heads. It’s a full covering that God supplies and it’s everything we need to win, and to stay strongly focused on our race. Remember that we are to redeem the time because the days are evil? We learned that in Ephesians 5:16. Using these weapons will help us save time in fighting so that we can get more ministry done.
After you have defeated the enemy in each individual battle, stand as victors who overcame the world, because that‘s what you are.
BIBLE STUDY: PART XXXI
V.13 - I’m going to begin this study with verse 13 even though we had it last time because of the word “withstand.” I want you to have a very good knowledge of this word. It’s very important to this entire portion of Scripture, but more, it’s of major importance in your life. First let’s look at Mr. Webster’s definition. He says that “withstand” means, to resist or oppose, esp. successfully; to withstand the invaders; to withstand temptation. It is to stand in opposition and resist.
In the Spirit-filled Bible, it says about withstand: “anthistemi (anth-is-tay-me); Strong’s #436: Compare “antihistamine.” From anti, “against” and histemi”, “to cause to stand.” The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, standing your ground. Just as an antihistamine puts a block on histamine, anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we can withstand evil forces.” Therefore, to withstand is more than just being able to stand up in the face of adversity. It means we have the weapons to stand in satan’s face, shout him down, and win!
V.14 - Stand is an order. We are to stand strong, not desert the army of Jesus, but be strong in the battle. God gave us each a position in this battle, and we are to remain at our post. Let’s get a visual image of what this word means. Look in your mind at people who are just standing around talking. See how at ease they look? Now look again into your mind and see men at war, standing on the front lines, ready to attack. That’s the standing we are to do here. We can’t be nonchalant with the orders of battle. We have to stand, and look that enemy in the face.
What is the first part of the armor a saint puts on? He must put on a girdle. We know a girdle is something people wear under their garments, so it’s something we wear close to our bodies. This girdle represents strength against the attack. It’s a girdle made with metal plates, and can be worn around the hips, or if the wearer has heavy armor on, it is worn over the shoulder to carry his sword. To “girt up your loins” means to stay close to God and Jesus. We have to wear this girdle against our spiritual bodies. What is the girdle we are to gird ourselves with? Truth! Isn’t it funny that the first thing we need in battle is integrity? We need to know and practice the truth of the Word. In Luke 12:35, we are told, “Let your waist be girded about, and your lights burning.” Be prepared for the return of Jesus at any time. But in the meantime, be standing for battle.
The next part of this verse quotes Isaiah. Look at Isaiah 11:5. “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” This is talking about the Rod of the stem of Jesse, or Jesus. Jesus is the One who will wear the belt of righteousness on His loins, and the belt of faithfulness at His waist. This is what we are supposed to imitate.
The breastplate of righteousness is not something we are given at salvation. It’s the righteousness of Jesus working in our lives. We are to live truthful, honest lives in Jesus. And this breastplate we are given must be worn against our hearts to keep our hearts strong against the assaults of the devil. If our hearts are covered with this plate which is the righteousness and truth of Jesus, the demons of hell cannot touch us.
V.15 - This verse does not mean as some think, that we are to go out and spread the good Word. That is something we should do, but here it implies having our feet planted firmly in the Word of God. Where does our wisdom, knowledge, and power for battle come from? From the Word of God. I don’t think it means going out to preach, or spread the Good News because in verse 14 we were told to stand. We have not yet been released to move forward into the battle. We are only here preparing for it.
The shoes that come with our armor were made of iron or brass. They protect the part of the body that carries one forward into battle.. Our feet are standing on the firm ground of the Word of God, and the Savior Jesus. We want peace, but are prepared for war.
V.16 - “Above all,” “Most importantly,” “As a priority,” take up the shield of faith. Walvoord explains the shield the soldiers carried in this way. "It was made of wood, and was 2 1/2 ‘ wide X 4’ long. It was overlaid with linen and leather to absorb fiery arrows. The leather was watered down so that it would quench the fire. Thus the shield also protected the other pieces of armor.” Our shield is made up of the power, faithfulness, and truth of God. It wraps around us and protects us. God knows that temptations come at us hot and heavy each day, and we need this protection in order to continue to “stand.” We believe in God and trust Him for our protection. The shield now has the ability to extinguish the fiery darts, or arrows, the demons shoot at us. This shield is spoken of in Psalms 5:12, “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield,” and Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Above all, take up your shield and hold it before the enemy. It’s an important part of the armor.
Why are the darts we shield ourselves against called fiery? Because they set the mind on fire. If we don’t quench the fire of temptation as soon as we see it coming, we fall into diverse temptations, and we sin (Mark 14:38).
V.17 - The helmet is the piece of armor worn by soldiers that is put on last. It’s very hot to wear, and would be put on only in cases of imminent danger. Soldiers would not wear this all the time. Thee would suffocate in it. The helmet is what protects us against taking in, and believing false doctrines. It’s what we have to protect us against the antichrist and false teachers water down the Word of God, and who try to lure us away from the doctrines of faith so that we will not pass them along to others. The helmet is our hope of salvation. Read I Thessalonians 5:8.
The sword of the Spirit is a two edged sword depicting the Law and the gospels. The sharpness of the law side cuts man’s with conviction of sin. The gospel edge cuts into the heart of man to realize their is no goodness there without the Lord. The sword is the sharp tongue of the Spirit in Scripture to convict, reprove, and exhort so that we do not fall into destruction (II Timothy 3:16). The sword is a spiritual weapon, and it wards off the devil. The antichrist will be destroyed by the Sword of the Spirit.
V.18 - Prayer is a weapon that was fashioned by the Holy Spirit and given to the born again Christians to be able to speak and have the demons flee. You have heard people, including me, say that we are to call out things that are not as though they were. This is the weapon of power unto Christians to fight the enemy and win. We must maintain the sharp edges on our swords by prayer and Bible study. That way, when the devil comes against you, you can shout out something like, “satan, you are defeated. The blood of Jesus covers me, and you cannot touch me. I are strong in the Word, therefore can resist your attack. I bind you, and cast you out, in Jesus’ name. Be gone! By the power of the almighty God, I command you to depart from me at once,” and see him run. The mightiest weapon we have is the Word of God given by inspiration of His Spirit to mortal men. When we combine the power of that weapon with prayer for the brethren, and for the lost, we can see wonderful miracles happen for them and in them.
Let’s finish this study by reading Isaiah 11: 1-5. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” Jesus came once, and He will come again. When He does, He will once again stand in the gap for the weak and lowly of this world. He will strike out with His mouth against sin and trouble, convicting man of sin. By the words of His mouth, the breath of His lips, He will destroy the wicked of this earth, especially the antichrist.
Praise God for His marvelous appearing!
BIBLE STUDY: PART XXXII
V19 - Paul was requesting prayer for his ministry. This tells me he still maintained his humility even while in his high position in Christ. He was not filled with pride, or feeling high and lofty, or self-absorbed. When pride comes in, one feels he can stand on his own, and doesn’t need prayer. Paul’s request shows that he still depended on God, and on people to cover him. His confidence was in Jesus (Ephesians 3:12. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”) and the Word of God, not in Paul. Some people say he was arrogant. But arrogant people don’t seek out people they need to cover them. They usually do the covering. I believe this prayer request Paul made was honest, and filled with humility.
One reason Paul ed this prayer was not so he could preach the Gospel. Of course that was part of it. But he was now preparing face his trial in front of Caesar in Rome. Many Jewish legalists would be there to make false accusations against him, and he wanted to have the boldness and confidence to speak the truth of the Gospels before them all. He wanted to reveal the mysteries.
Look at Mark 4:11,12, “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” To the disciples and the apostles, the mysteries of the Trinity, virgin birth, death, resurrection, and resulting salvation of Jesus had been revealed. But they could not be revealed to the unsaved. If they had been given that information they would use it to their own advantage. Many would have been hurt. It was Paul’s plan to tell the truth of the church, that it was the body of Christ on earth, and not some heretical sect as was thought. He wanted to present a clear message so that some lives could be spiritually saved and changed forever. He would have liked to see Caesar’s life changed too, if possible. He wanted prayer for a clear mind and a forgiving heart so that he could present the mysteries of the Gospels of Jesus’ life without hate or bitterness entering into it.
I gave a study once on the things Christians should do for their pastors and leaders. Prayer is number one. Those who accept the responsibility of carrying God’s Word to the people will come under a much stricter scrutiny at the throne of God. They will answer for all the things they did not do for God’s people. They will have to give an account of all the people who could have been saved by their ministries had they fed them the truth. During His interchange with Peter, Jesus said, “Do you love Me? Feed my sheep (John 21:17).”
The prayers you say for your leaders are what helps her stay built up in the Lord. It’s what keeps her able to do the work of herding, tending, and feeding. It’s what gives her the courage to stand defiantly in the face of the enemy. Prayer is what gives her the desire to study God‘s Word, and the wisdom to lead God’s people from His Word. If you do not pray for your pastor, the board members, or anyone else in authority in the ministry you are part of, you fail them. I believe that since God set up the governments of church and man, He wants us to pray for them. I pray for a number of pastors and their wives every time I go before the Lord. How can I be blessed if I’m not willing to take the time to bless God’s anointed with prayer? I can’t really be at all.
V20 - Ambassador, presbeuo (pres-byoo-oh); Strong’s #4243. Literally “to be an elder,” and later “to be an ambassador,” a representative of a ruling authority. Ambassadors are chosen from among mature, experienced men or women. They are given a message to carry wherever they are sent. The message this ambassador had is found in II Corinthians 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” That’s the message Paul wanted to deliver during his trial. An ambassador for the Lord is one who is mature in the faith. Paul was saying that he was mature in the faith, had been through the pain of growth, knew the Lord personally, and was able to represent the Lord wherever he went, and he needed the boldness to do it there. He was a prisoner in chains and needed to speak clearly the message of deliverance.
V21 - Paul was giving Tychicus the duty to bring the information to the people about his health, his living conditions, and his ministry. These men were not brothers by natural birth, but by the spiritual birth of salvation. They were fellow workers for Jesus’ sake.
V22 - Why did Paul send Tychicus with this message for the people? To encourage them! Tychicus was called a “brother, and faithful minister in the Lord.“ He was a steward in the church, and a steward of the church has to faithfully execute the work (I Corinthians 4:2).
Paul wanted to let the people know he was fine and still working for the church. He chose his faithful companion to carry the news. When his message had been delivered, and the people knew that Paul was doing well, they would be uplifted and comforted. Where else did we read about Paul’s affectionate names for Tychicus? Where else do we see Tychicus sent with a message to bring comfort? Colossians 4:7,8. Apparently he had a good ministry of reassurance and encouragement. He was trusted for this purpose at least twice.
V23 - The brethren in Ephesus were those spiritually connected to Jesus and each other. Any brethren is connected to the others by the blood covenant, no matter where they are from.
Grace is one of those things we can’t get too much of. We need to love the Lord so much that He gives us the grace to love Him more. By loving Jesus, we grow in love for others. Jesus should be our primary love, and all others second to Him. We should love all of Jesus. Jesus our God, Jesus the Son of God, Jesus the man who suffered and died for us, Jesus our Savior, Jesus our righteousness, Jesus our communion, Jesus the mystery revealed. Every aspect of this wonderful Savior needs to feel our love. We need to love Him deeply, purely, and with all our hearts. Jesus is the fragrance of God’s love brought to man.
Our love for Jesus, and our service to man are two things that reap a wonderful harvest of blessings for us. Try to outdo God in just one small thing this week and see if you can. It’s not possible. As good as you are to His beloved ones, He is much better to you in return. We need to be sincere, honest, and faithful in our love to God the Father, Son, and Spirit. This is the blessing that comes from that, eternal life with them. God bless you.