Ephesians 6 v 21 – 22
Please read Philippians 1
We are nearly at the end of this lovely letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in the newly founded churches. He is nearly ready by this stage to roll up the parchment having signed his name, and to hand it to the man who was to take it the long journey back to Asia Minor and its capital city Ephesus. The opening words in chapter 1 had identified the recipients –
v 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
For two weeks we have listened to Paul’s thoughts about prayer and his desire that the believers pray for him – that he might be faithful in Gospel proclamation even though he was in prison. He called himself an Ambassador in bonds or chains. He was a servant of Christ and His spokesman in Rome. He desired boldness and courage to open his mouth as he ought to, fearlessly commending His saviour the Lord Jesus Christ to every one no matter what it cost him.
Communication was very difficult for the Apostle Paul. There were certain restrictions upon him as a prisoner chained to a guard. But he desired to keep in touch with the members of the churches who were as dear to him as were children.
There are many men who have found themselves in Paul’s position. During Communism many of God’s servants, Pastors of church in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Russia, were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel and teaching the doctrines of the word of God. There are many stories of bravery and tenacity on their part to get messages of hope and comfort to their flocks. Josef Tson of Romania is one man that comes to mind. Further back in history John Bunyan spent many years in prison as a dissenting minister, but managed to get messages to his congregation from time to time.
But now the letter is coming to an end and he commissions another man to take the letter. This man was to be a postman. But he was also to take a verbal message with him – so he needed to be a trustworthy and respected believer in order to carry out this very special task. It was very special when we consider that the letter has survived 2000 years and forms a part of the Holy Scriptures that we have in front of us this morning, inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit and available to us today to instruct and teach us too.
The messenger’s name was TYCHICUS. It is an Asian name which, as many names in those days, seems to have some connection with the pagan cultures that flourished then. There were many gods and goddesses that were revered and worshipped in Ephesus and the other cities of Asia Minor. One was TYCHE who was the Greek counterpart of the Roman god FORTUNATUS. As this name suggests she was the goddess of fortune, chance and luck. The incorporation of a god or goddesses name into the name of a person was common in those days. Indeed we have this particular goddess in two other names that crop up in the New Testament – EUTYCHUS in Acts 20 v 9 and SYNTYCHE Philippians 4 v 2. The significance of this fact for all three names is this – they came from a culture that gave them their names connected with an uncertain fortune; but they came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their saviour and had a guaranteed future by the grace of almighty God. There was no uncertainty after their conversion experiences – the Lord saved them and assured them of heaven!
Tychicus is therefore the subject of these two verses and what we know of him can instruct us this morning.
1. Tychicus was a BELOVED BROTHER IN THE LORD.
What a wonderful description for any person to be given – a beloved brother or a beloved sister in the Lord! What does this term suggest to us this morning?
1. Tychicus was a Christian.
We do not know how, in the sense of the circumstances, that Tychicus became a Christian. He had been saved by the grace of Almighty God and had come to repent of all of his sins - those sins had been washed away by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ - and he was a new man, with a new outlook, with new courage, and new devotion to the Lord, and a new direction in life. Such is the situation for any man or woman who has been converted and begun to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life with Him forever. It is a wonderful thing to be IN THE LORD. To be in the Lord is to be safe in the family of God; it is to be part of that vast company of people who have been made right with God.
But more than this those who were God’s enemies by virtue of their sins and rebellion, have been treated with the deepest affection by the Holy Judge of all men! God has loved those who hated Him! God has loved those who do not in any way deserve his love – who were unlovely and unlovable. God reached out with tender love to a set of people and loved them with an everlasting love. To be loved like this is to be loved – to be BELOVED.
2. Tychicus was a very much loved brother.
The family of God makes brothers and sisters of all who love the Lord. Some believers become BELOVED brothers and sisters – often it is the case that they are closer to us than our own natural family. Tychicus had the privilege of being a beloved brother to the Apostle Paul.
All believers in Christ are beloved by God. We are treated as children and the special objects of our Heavenly Father’s love. He called His own son, His beloved son Matthew 3 v 17 and 17 v 5; and He calls us His beloved children. The Christians at the church in Rome were called
1 v 7 all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Timothy was called
my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord,
and the Christians at Ephesus were addressed like this –
Ephesians 1 v 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Paul calls the believers at Philippi –
Philippians 4 v 1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
The other apostles used the term too –
James 2 v 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
1 Peter 2 v 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Are you a beloved Christian, my friend? Has the Lord Jesus extended and made His love known to you? You can be a beloved husband or wife, son or daughter, niece or nephew, without being a Christian. But when you become a Christian you are immediately aware that the Lord God loves you – and as you continue in that relationship with Him there is the potential for you to feel more and more loved by God Himself. So much so that the whole world can hate you but you still feel loved – because the Lord loves you! May we all know of the special love that Tychicus knew – first as a brother in Christ to Paul, and then as brothers and sisters here within the church. May our closeness to the Lord Jesus Christ be demonstrated in our genuine affection for each other!
2. Tychicus was a FAITHFUL MINISTER IN THE LORD. v 21
Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
Tychicus was called by Paul a “faithful minister in the Lord”; he was a “minister” in the work and service of the Lord. The word MINISTER here is DIAKONOS – an active servant. Paul had appointed him, recognised his qualifications and Paul sent him to preach Christ and him crucified. Tychicus was “faithful” to his Lord and Master, in whose name he ministered, to the Gospel which he ministered, and to the souls to whom he ministered; what a commendation this was from the Apostle Paul. And who better than a man of this calibre to take news of the Apostle to the churches. Tychicus had proved himself as trustworthy. The churches would receive the truth about Paul from his lips.
One commentator says that Paul had chains on his arms; Tychicus had them on his heart! (John Phillips.)
By this is meant that it appears that Tychicus’ aim was to be a willing servant in furthering the Kingdom of God AND in helping Paul during his imprisonment, and beyond should the Apostle be released. How the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ needs men like Tychicus! Men ready to put themselves out for the Gospel and for their fellow believers. Ordinary men of the world love to have their titles – Sir this, and Lord that – but amongst the saints of God the titles of true nobility are these – BELOVED BROTHER AND FAITHFUL MINISTER. We should all be Christian aristocrats.
This means then that each one of us should have what is called a servant’s heart – each of us can be FAITHFUL SERVANTS in some way or another. Paul called several others by this name –
1. TIMOTHY -
1 Corinthians 4 v 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
2. EPAPHRAS –
Colossians 1 v 7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
3. SILVANUS –
1 Peter 5:12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
Surely the Lord Jesus would have us all to have this title – not to be lazy but diligent. There are so many reasons for us to be so. First of all the Master came to be a servant – this is what He said to His disciples in Matthew 20
v 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (diakonos – servant) 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
We are to follow in his steps.
Secondly we are called as believers to serve – to serve the Lord –
Psalms 2 v 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Psalms 100 v 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Colossians 3 v 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
The service of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most wonderful life for any human being. Self service leads to dissatisfaction. Man service leads to the slavery of always trying to please a sinner – but this does not mean that we do not serve other believers – indeed if ALL believers were seeking to help and serve others then there would be no imbalance! Our service when done in Christ’s name reaps eternal rewards. There is an old prayer that goes like this –
Teach me Good Lord to serve Thee as thou deservest; To give, and not to count the cost; To fight, and not to heed the wounds; To toil, and not to seek for rest; To labour, and not to seek for any reward – save the knowledge that I do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May we all be known as faithful servants.
3. Tychicus was a MESSENGER OF GOOD NEWS.
22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
Tychicus knew about travelling with a message. He had accompanied Paul on a mercy mission to Jerusalem.
Romans 15 v 22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; 24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. 25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
On this relief mission, with money for the starving Christians in Judea, Tychicus was in the party – we read about this in Acts 20 v 1 – 5.
1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. 2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. 4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.
On this occasion mentioned in verse 22, Tychicus was to bring Good News to the church at Ephesus and the churches beyond. The believers at Ephesus were a little worried about their beloved Apostle because he had not completely recovered from the terrible things that had happened to him when standing up for the Lord Jesus Christ. He had been beaten and left for dead;
2 Corinthians 11 v 23 in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
And before he had appealed to Caesar claiming his Roman citizenship, Paul had been dealt with very roughly. Tychicus would bring them first hand information about Paul’s physical health.
Then they would wish to know about the process of Paul’s trial. How long would it be before he was able to appear before the Emperor? It seemed that the legal procedures were no quicker in Rome than in our country!
Tychicus would also be able to tell the saints how Paul was emotionally. Even though Paul confesses to being a valiant and triumphant Christian, bearing hardships in many circumstances, yet he also could be depressed. When writing to the church at Corinth he told them –
2 Corinthians 4 v 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Philippians 4 v 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Paul would not have been a real man unless he had at some times felt depressed. There is nothing wrong with depression. One of the purposes of the writing of the Letters of the New Testament was to encourage and lift up the spirits of suffering and depressed Christians. There was much that could make these early believers depressed.
— Some were tempted to look back on their pre-conversion lives – the devil pointed out that they were perhaps better off in the world before believing.
— Some were tempted by the attractive things around them in their culture – again the evil one does this to Christ’s servants;
— others were persecuted for their faith, imprisoned, spurned, ostracised even by their own families.
There was much to discourage! Do not let anyone tell you that Christians have always to be happy! Just because you may feel unhappy this morning does not mean that you are not a Christian! The emotions that the Lord has given us rise and fall – for some they swing low, for others they soar high. Often they can trick us into thinking wrong and unbalanced thoughts.
Paul was an honest example of a man who had endured much hardship and suffering – and unhappiness – but also he knew how to trust the Lord, how to encourage Himself in the Lord His God, such as King David had done; and then he was able to confidently, from experience, give support and strength to others who were suffering.
Tychicus was going to be a great encouragement to the sufferers when he supplemented the good news of Paul with His own testimony. There would be stories about soldiers of the Imperial Guard who had been converted! There would be the account of the vital ministry that Paul maintained despite his chains. Visitors who came to Rome and who were permitted to see Paul were blessed by being in the Apostle’s presence. And all this information would have given the Christians at Ephesus many items for their prayer lists. One of the ways of coping with discouragement and depression is to pay attention to Good news when it comes our way. And then to turn that good news into prayer – it takes us to the throne of grace – it takes us to the foot of the Saviour with those prayers, and as we pray WE receive the blessing – for not only those for whom we pray are blessed be we ourselves also!
4. Tychicus was a COMFORTER OF THE SAINTS.
Tychicus was also a preacher of THE GOOD NEWS – the gospel. He was to be the replacement minister at Crete, relieving Titus in those church’s oversight. We read about that at the end of the letter to Titus –
Titus 3 v 12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.
Titus 3 v 15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.
Verse 12 indicates that Tychicus went to Crete to lead the work there.
After some time there he was sent to Ephesus to replace Timothy as elder. In 2 Timothy 4 we find that Paul called Timothy to come from Ephesus, to him in Rome –
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. 13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
What a blessing it is to have competent ministers to teach and preach the word of God and to bring the comfort of the scriptures to the church. I have much cause to thank the Lord God for faithful men that I have known who have taught me, and my family, the things of God. Tychicus was such a man. He brought information and CONSOLATION to the churches of Ephesus, Colossae and to Philemon.
“When you hear about my circumstances,” writes Paul, “Tychicus shall strengthen and comfort your hearts. He will still your fears.” (Earlier in this letter Paul had said this –
3 v 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.)
And in his letter to the Philippians –
12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
What comfort these things would bring, backed up by this beloved brother as he spoke to them. Someone has said that Tychicus’ ministry was to bring an atmosphere of consolation and spiritual strengthening based on the promises of God.
Brothers and sisters – we too can take courage and comfort from the promises of God. The Gospel message, as we have it in the Bible, is full of consolation and comfort. At the end of the 4th chapter of 1 Thessalonians we see
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
In the next chapter - 1 Thessalonians 5
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
And in Hebrews 10
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
What is our comfort? It is sins forgiven, peace with God, strength for today, bright hope for the eternal tomorrow – and the unseen but abiding presence of our precious Lord and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are we not comforted by these things?
May we all be like this man Tychicus – ready to encourage and comfort one another with the truth of God’s word. Not with surface platitudes and polite remarks – but with true and honest sharing of the promises with each other. Let us set out to bless another believer today with our words of encouragement – and take our lead from this beloved brother, faithful minister, Good News messenger and wise comforter - Tychicus – who in all of his attributes was a reflection of the supreme elder brother, minister of salvation, bringer of good news and mighty comforter – the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!