As we come to our final study in the book of Ephesians, we are presented with Paul's final three points: a prayer exhortation, his personal information, and a peaceful benediction.
Remember that Paul said in verse 18 that the Ephesians should be in prayer at all times for all the saints.
Now he's saying, "By the way, don't just pray for everyone generally, but pray for me specifically. And then he makes two specific request of them: for utterance and for boldness.
First, he asked for prayer that utterance would be given to him in the opening of his mouth. Paul knew that it was never his words which won anyone to Christ. It is the Spirit of Christ Who wins people to Christ. And so he asked for prayer, knowing that Jesus promised,
Matt. 10:19-20 "...do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."
His second area of concern was that he could speak boldly. Years ago, someone in a home fellowship said, "I can't believe Paul the apostle had any problem at all speaking boldly." But now, even after a dozen years of ministry and having the reputation for saying it like it is, let me assure you that even the most "in your face" people have times of intimidation and fear. The simplest of circumstances can turn the boldest man into a trembling pile of Jello.
You remember the night the cohort arrested Jesus and took him back into the city of Jerusalem, into the house of the high priest. Peter followed them to the courtyard, where he was warming himself by the fire. Along comes a servant-girl...
Mark 14:67-68 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and *said, "You also were with Jesus the Nazarene."But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are talking about."...
A big, strong fisherman intimidated by a little slave girl. It's far more common among preachers of the gospel than you might imagine. And Paul, in praying for this, showed us that this was an issue for him at this time. Maybe because so many times he preached the gospel, he'd been beaten and whipped (1Cor. 1123-27), he'd begun to suffer from hesitation. But since he knew boldness was something that came from the Spirit of God, and not from within himself (2Tim 1:7; Acts 1 & 4), he asked for prayer.
Paul wanted prayer for utterance and boldness so that he could make known the mystery of the gospel. The Greek word for "mystery" here is "moos-TAY-ree-on," meaning, "something hidden, secret, unknown, or not obvious." Paul knew that people in the world don't know the gospel. It's a mystery to them until we unveil it for them. It is up to us to bring that message. He told the Romans,
Rom. 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
Paul understood that this was what and how he "ought to speak." It's what he was supposed to to. He told the Corinthians,
1Cor. 9:16 ...I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
So Paul asked the Ephesians for prayer in this area, that he would be bold, and not afraid to do what he needed to.
Next, Paul alerted the Ephesians that Too-khee-KOS would be arriving in Ephesus. He worked quite a bit with Paul, showing up in Acts, Ephesians, Colossians, 2Timothy, and Titus, so it is really strange that no one remembers him.
But when I think of this fact, I find myself wanting the same thing. While so many are out there trying to make a name for themselves, to become celebrities in the kingdom, I want to be invisible. My desire is that the ministry would bear bushels of fruit, but that no one would remember my name. I remember an exhortation years ago, "Don't ever let your fingerprints be found on the ministry." Because of this, I believe that Too-khee-KOS' reward will be greater than many men with whose names we are familiar.
Too-khee-KOS was being sent for three reasons. His job on this trip was to tell them about Paul's circumstances, tell them about Paul's personal welfare, and comfort their hearts.
One thing I really admire about Paul was that he wasn't a complainer. He was so often concerned not with his own uncomfortable circumstances, but for the people who might be worried about him. And so he frequently made a point of either sending a letter or a messenger with encouraging words: "I'm doing fine. I'm okay. I'm rejoicing in the Lord."
Saints, this is a lesson we all need to learn. Have you noticed how Christians today are always sending word when they're doing poorly? Throughout the years, I've noticed that people's prayer requests are always so dire and desperate. Once in awhile, it'd be nice to hear the encouragement. "Yes, I'm in jail, and being beaten daily, but I'm holding onto the Lord and refuse to give up hope in my God."
Even when Paul was in prison, having been abandoned, hurt, and betrayed by so many people, he wrote to Timothy about his circumstances, but said,
2Tim. 4:17-18 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me ... The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom...
I'd love to get the encouragement that says, "I'm doing well. Definitely pray for me, but don't worry about me."
Lastly, Paul speaks a final blessing to the Ephesians, reminding them that peace, love, and faith all come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and that grace is available for all those who love Jesus with a love which cannot die or decay.