“Active Church Care”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.21-24
Ephesians 6. Church history is full of unsung heroes, men and women of God whom no one remembers, but made a huge impact because they were willing to be used of God.
One of these men is a no name farmer in the 1800s. The story goes that a Primitive Methodist preacher named Robert Key was preaching in a village one night in Norfolk England in 1832. Mary Ann Eaglen [Eeeeglen] came under great conviction of sin and fled to Christ for salvation.
Her changed life attracted her brother, Robert Eaglen [Eeeeglen]. He attended several evangelistic meetings, but it wasn’t until this no-name farmer saw the anxiety on young Robert’s face. The farmer, who’s name no one knows that I can tell, invited him for some tea and during a meal explained to him the way of salvation… And Robert Eaglen [Eeeeglen] was saved.
Now, the story doesn’t stop there. You remember Robert Key, who preached and Mr. Eaglen [Eeeeglen]’s sister was saved … well, Mr. Key invited young Robert Eaglen [Eeeeglen] to preach at the 1832 Preacher’s Quarterly Meeting. Mr. Key introduced 17 year old Robert like this …
“There is a lad here, [who has] five barley loaves, and two small fishes. He will now address you.”
But Mr. Eaglen [Eeeeglen] had already at that time led several to Christ. Now, fast forward to 1850. Remember … the Mr. Key led Mary Ann to Christ….and that farmer led Mr. Eaglen to Christ. Now, it’s 1850 and Mr. Eaglen [Eeeeglen] is about to preach in the Colchester Primitive Methodist Chapel…
And there was a young man who was about to attend that service of Mr. Eaglen [Eeeeglen].
Here is this young man’s testimony, “ I was miserable, I could do scarcely anything. My heart was broken to pieces. Six months did I pray, prayed agonizingly with all my heart, and never had an answer. I resolved that in the town where I lived I would visit every place of worship, in order to find the way of salvation. I felt I was willing to do anything if God would only forgive me. I set off determined to visit all the chapels, …At last, one snowy day, I found rather an obscure street and turned down a court, and there was a Primitive Methodists’ chapel. I had heard of this people from many, and how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter. I wanted to know how I might be saved and if they made my head ache ever so much, I did not care. So sitting down, the service went on, but no minister came. At last a very thin-looking man [this is Robert Eaglen [Eeeeglen]] came into the pulpit.
He opened the Bible and read these words: “Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Just setting his eyes upon me, as if he knew me all by heart, he said: “Young man, you are in trouble!” Well, I was, sure enough. Says he: “You will never get out of it unless you look to Christ.” Then, lifting his eyes, he cried, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, “Look, look, look!” I saw at once the way of salvation. O, how I did leap for joy at that moment! I know not what else he said, I was so possessed with that one thought. … I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away, and in heaven I will look on still, in my joy unspeakable.”
This young man is Charles Spurgeon, who would preach to 10 million people and pastor largest independent church in the world, with no doubt hundreds coming to Christ under his ministry.
And have you forgotten the farmer? So has the rest of the world. You remember it was this no-name farmer who led Robert Eaglen [Eeeeglen] to Christ …who would be a preacher, and lead Charles Spurgeon to Christ.
This unsung, no-name farmer was instrumental in the sanctification and salvation of thousands upon thousands of people.
Who can tell what results might come about if you just resign yourself to Christ and his service? Who knows what could happen if you actively care for others, how God could use them? And it’s the behind the scenes servants in the church whom God has used to be the driving force behind the advancement of his kingdom.
So that’s why today we will see in our text this morning that we must actively show care for one another. As we do this, we are progressing God’s mission for the church.
Actively show care for one another. Ephesians 6. Let’s read verses 21-24.
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.
For Northlight Baptist to be the church God has called us to be, each of you must actively care for each other.
Paul and the Ephesian believers go way back. You remember, Paul lived in Ephesus for three years. And when he left Ephesus in Acts chapter 20, there were many tears. They were very close.
And now, Paul is in prison! And when someone you care about is in prison for the faith of Christ, your heart goes out to him. You have great concern for Paul. They want to know things like, “How are you doing?” What’s it like being under house arrest? Are you treated well? When’s your trial date? What’s the food like?”
So Paul knows that the Ephesians want to know about how he’s doing. And so Paul writes a letter to the Ephesians and he sends Tychicus with it to give it to them.
You can see that in verses 21-22. Tychicus is a mailman delivering Ephesians.
Ephesians 6:21–2221 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 [or better, I am sending him] to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.
The wording here in verse 22 especially tells us that Tychicus is the mailman of this letter. He is delivering this letter. Paul is very personal here, he is opening up his heart and life about what’s going on in his life and the difficulties that he has. And Tychicus in verse 22 is sent by Paul to comfort their hearts.
You can see the active care. And as well, Paul prays for the Ephesian believers in verses 23-24. There is real ministry going on in these verses this morning and so we learn that …
To be the church God has called us to be, each of you must actively care for each other.
How are we going to do that? How are we going to actively care for each other? First, …
I. Like Paul, let others know how you are doing
A. Let others know how you are doing and let others know what you are doing
you got let others know how you are doing. Don’t hide it from those who care.
Paul was open. Look at verse 21 and 22 again …
Ephesians 6:21–22 21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, …verse 22. 22 I have sent [Tychicus] to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.
Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to know about his circumstances. Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to know what was going on. And he wanted them to know how he was doing with it all.
Paul knew that the Ephesians had real concerns for him. They were close, they cared for one another and so Paul told them all of what was going on.
This is real fellowship. There is real care, here. There is a real bond with others. Paul knows that they’ve been praying for him and he’s thinking about them and how they might be worried about him.
But first, Paul had to open up.
APP: We live in a very private society. We are an individualistic society. “Leave me alone, don’t tell me what to do, I’ll do it myself” kind of society. And we might post it on Facebook, but we won’t tell it to people face to face … who care about us today.
If our social interactions are as meaningful as our posts on Facebook, we have a problem. As a Wall Street Journal article put it … Notice to my friends: I love you all dearly. But I don’t give a hoot that you are “having a busy Monday,” your child “took 30 minutes to brush his teeth,” your dog “just ate an ant trap” or you want to “save the piglets.” And I really, really don’t care which Addams Family member you most resemble. (I could have told you the answer before you took the quiz on Facebook.) [the writer says … ] Here’s where you and I went wrong: We took our friendship online. 
In study after study shows the harmful social effects of using technology to sustain relationship, technology like Facebook or texting. Using these avenues of social connection can actually harm real life relationships. We don’t want to do that! We want to actively care for one another in the church.
Using it is fine, it’s depending on them … if you depend on these things to sustain real-life relationships, what we know is that you’re not able to really show active care for one another. You might be sharing, but you’re not getting the help that you need nor are you able to help others in the way that you should.
And people hide their true selves; it’s very easy to do that. And so nothing replaces face to face, active care for one another. That’s why Paul didn’t just write a letter … he sent a choice servant, Tychicus to actively comfort their hearts.
So are you opening up? Are you honest with others about what you’re struggling with? Do you give others the opportunity to serve you and to be a blessing to you?
When we really express care for you, open up! We don’t have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy here … We will ask and you do tell! We care! We all have problems; we all need to share what’s going on. If you don’t open up, we can’t care for you, and you won’t grow, and then we won’t be the church that we’re called to be.
So for us to be the church that God has called us to be, it takes being honest about your joys and your struggles. Get real and open. We want to be a church where “every member is discipled and discipling.”
TRANS: To be the church God has called us to be, each of you must actively care for each other. You can do that by letting others know how you’re doing. And you can also actively care for each other, secondly this morning … by serving others.
2. Secondly this morning, Like Tychicus, serve others. To be the church we’re called to be, we must serve one another.
Ephesians 6:21–22 21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, [notice his description…] 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.
Verse 21, Paul describes Tychicus as “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.” He also describes him at the end of verse 22 as one who comforts hearts. Or you could translate that as he encourages hearts.
So let’s take that first one. To be the church that God is called us to be, each of us should be a beloved and faithful minister, just like Tychicus. A. Be a beloved and faithful minister
A. Be a beloved and faithful minister
EXP: what is this phrase “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord” refer to? What that basically means is that Tychicus is a prized servant of Paul’s. Awesome description to have written down in the Bible for these 2000 years! All God’s people have read about Tychicus and his faithful service. He’s a prized servant. God wanted you to know that about Tyichicus.
He is a minister. He serves is the idea … he serves faithfully and his service is treasured, he’s beloved….his service is valued … He has endeared himself to others because of his ministry among God’s people.
APP: Sadly, generally the church’s mentality, generally speaking today, is not servant minded today. The church broadly speaking in our land is not servant minded. I am personally very thankful for the ministry that you all perform on a weekly basis. There are many, many of us here serving at least in some capacity almost every week in and through the church. That’s awesome!
I know when Pastor Andrew was here from Maryland, he was especially commending our group. He was saying that we have a “powerhouse” … that’s his word … a powerhouse of a core group of people here. But he said tell the people, “Don’t get comfortable.” We must improve in our service to one another…
But generally speaking, Christians today have a consumerism mindset. Christians think mostly this way … “What can the church do for me?” Church is viewed more as a building in which I can experience something rather than viewing the church as a people to serve.
People have problems, real problems, there is no surprise there. You…yes, you need to serve and help them!
ILL: One article I read this week cited researcher George Barna. He said, “We are a designer society. We want everything customized to fit our personal needs — our clothing, our food, our education. Now its our religion.”
In 2010, G. Jeffrey MacDonald wrote a book called, “Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul,” (Basic Books, 2010).
MacDonald says, “Faith has become a consumer commodity in America. People shop for congregations that make them feel comfortable rather than [to feel] spiritually challenged. They steer clear of formal commitments to Christian communities. They flee when they are not quickly gratified or when they encounter interpersonal problems. Changing churches has become [quite routine]. As a result, churches are no longer able to help people develop solid moral characters.”
In other words, seek spiritual challenges, not to be spiritually comfortable at church. Don’t let your lack of gratification and your petty interpersonal problems with others hinder you from serving in the church. We need to develop Christlike character in people’s lives and you can be a part of the solution to all of our problems here. And we all have problems here! Our church, like any other, is a hospital, not a country club!
So come and meet needs! Be active, be face-to-face, be real, and meet real, not felt, needs of the people. If people need a rebuking, rebuke them. If they need comfort, comfort … if they need material help or physical help, actually meet that need.
And don’t feel like you have to come and tell me about it even; unless it’s something serious of course. I’m not the only minister here. Just like Tychicus was beloved and faithful minister, so can you be as well. Be the minister … be a servant!
Every member ministering is what it’s going to take for our church to be the church God has called us to be.
TRANS: It’s also going to take being an encourager.
B. Be an encourager
EXP: Paul sent Tychicus to the Ephesians because Tychicus had a testimony of one who could comfort others.
Ephesians 6:22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.
Tychicus could comfort hearts, he could encourage other people. He was the kind of guy that could come alongside and when you’re down or tempted to be discouraged, he could speak some really meaningful and encouraging word that just boosts your spirit.
Think of the situation here with Paul. Paul’s in prison. And the Ephesian believers are worried about Paul. But here comes Tychicus the encourager … and he speaks some good words to these worried Ephesians. He probably said something like, “yeah, it is not all good but Paul’s treated fairly well … but the gospel is not chained. Paul has shared the gospel with those in prison. Even the guard and even in Caesar’s own household some have received Christ.” … As we learn from Philippians 4:22.
So how do we comfort and encourage each other? It takes being actively involved in one another’s lives.
We should love one another, and be at peace with one another, outdo one another in showing honor, live in harmony with one another, don’t pass judgment on one another, welcome one another, care for one another, agree with one another, serve one another, be patient with one another, forgive one another, be kind to one another,
be subject to one another, comfort one another, encourage one another and build one another up, do good to one another, stir up one another to love and good works, don’t speak evil against one another, confess your sins to one another, practice hospitality toward one another,
employ the gifts God has given you to serve one another, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, instruct one another, greet one another, don’t lie to one another, teach and admonish one another, exhort one another, and don’t provoke each other to envy.
As we come alongside and submit ourselves to each other and care for each other’s needs and pains and as we provide for each other physically and spiritually, and using our gifts to help the other, we are fulfilling God’s call for us as a church.
APP: As we serve each other this way we are serving the body of Christ; we are serving Christ. I don’t know about you, but in that day I want to hear, “well done you good and faithful servant.” And to hear that on that day will take sacrifice today. You can’t expect to rise up to God’s calling on you or to God’s calling for our church by just hearing sermons. You must do…
TRANS: So, like Paul we need to be open about our needs and desires. And like Tychicus we must serve one another.
3. Now third, back to Paul. Like Paul, pray for others
Ephesians 6:23-24 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.
EXP: This is a prayer. He is praying, “peace be to the brethren and love with faith … From where? From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a prayer wish. Paul is desiring this from God upon them. Maybe these things be given to you from God.
Praying for peace, love with faith, and grace to those who love the Lord Jesus.
A. Pray that believers would have peace
EXP: So he’s praying that the believers would have peace …peace be to the brethren.
Now, a major theme in this letter is the peace that formally hostile people can have with each other because of what Christ has done on the cross. You can recall studying in this book about how God brought together both Jew and Gentile. Jews naturally hated the Gentiles and the Gentiles naturally hated the Jews. But in Christ, God has broken down the wall and has made both into one new man. He has established peace.
But even saved people in the church still have sin natures. The temptation is not to be at peace with one another. And so Paul prays for peace.
APP: We should pray that we would be at peace with one another. We need to be patient with one another and agreeable towards one another. We must clothe ourselves with humility towards one another and be at peace with one another. To do that takes prayer!
If you are struggling or you are at odds with or you have tension with another believer in our assembly, pray that you would be at peace with him. Pray for yourself that you would be at peace with others in our assembly. If you think that you may be one who can easily rub someone the wrong way, be careful to pray that you be at peace with others.
B. Pray that believers would have love with faith for others
“Peace be to the brethren,” now what else to the brethren? “love with faith [to the brethren], from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Love with faith: love for others has a partner; that partner is faith. Faith empowers us to love one another. If you had a powerful trust in God, you’d love brethren more. If you have a powerful trust in God, you know what it is to love God and his work and desire to see that in others. And if you have that trust in God, you’d make yourself more of a channel for God to work through. And so you’d love others sacrificially.
Trust God to love others more. Ask the Lord for this.
Lucian, a Greek writer who lived from about A.D. 120-200, said of Christians, “It is incredible to see the fervor with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator [ … that’s Jesus…] has put it into their heads that they are all brethren.”
Tertullian lived about the same time, from 160 AD to 220 AD, is often quoted as saying, “it is our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. “Only look,” they say, “look how they love one another, look how they are prepared to die for one another.”
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Pray that you love the brothers and sisters here.
TRANS: Finally, verse 24….Pray that you would be at peace with others here, pray that you would have love with faith, and finally pray that believers would have God’s grace.
C. Pray that believers would have grace
Ephesians 6:24 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
Speaking of believers. Believers, all believers, love the Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. It’s a love that will not die. You can see the focus here on your relationship and your commitment to Christ. You love him and you care about what he has done for you. You love his mission to save people from their sins and you love his patience with you others.
And you love how he has borne your sin in his body on the tree and you love how his resurrection gives you new life today and eternal life. You are thankful for all the glories that you have in Christ of freedom the power of sin, the joys of the Holy Spirit, the riches, the eternal riches of Christ….
That he chose us in eternity past, and predestined us to at the proper time we made his children and you glory in Christ redeemed you for gave you all of your trespasses and reconciled you, and transferred you to the kingdom of his beloved son…..
And you love it that He has given you an inheritance, that you will one day be glorified, and live and reign with him …. And this is all for those who have but trusted him and simply turned their back on their own lives and on their sin and have trusted Christ alone.
If this is you, you love Jesus with incorruptible love. God has been gracious to you in Christ like we saw in chapters 1-3 and now you love Jesus Christ and want to serve him all your days, just like we saw in chapters 4-6.
So knowing of his grace for you, be gracious to others. Pray that you be gracious and kind … and pray that we all have more and more grace from God.
More grace here means more enablement; more power, more ability to accomplish God’s call on our lives. And we are gracious with others as act favourably toward them.
Knowing of his eternal forgiveness of your sins, forgive others. Knowing of his patience for you, be patient with others. When you have, in full view, the glories of Christ and the gracious benefits that he has bestowed upon you, you will effectively love one another.
But unfortunately as Revelation 2:4 tells us, there will come a time when these Ephesian believers will lose their first love. The next generation of Ephesian believers lost their first love; that’s why we today must actively care for one another in every way … to make sure that Christ’s work continues through us.
Because of Christ’s gracious work for us, let’s make our love for Him and for others in the church be our testimony… So that we might be the church that God has called us to be. Actively care for others that we might be the church God has called us to be.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.21-24
Just like that no name farmer who led to Christ the man who would led Spurgeon to Christ … Church history is full of unsung heroes, men and women of God whom no one remembers, but made a huge impact because they were willing to be used of God. But church history isn’t over yet…your story is yet to be concluded. Are you willing to be that servant of God who is seeks and saves those who are lost and to come along side others and be an encouragement to those who need it most?
For Northlight Baptist to be the church God has called us to be, each of you must actively care for each other.
537 this is a humble desire that Christ would work through us to help others …