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27. Attributes of Godly Soldiers

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Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Ephesians 6:21-24 NET)

What are attributes of godly soldiers?

It is no accident that Paul mentions himself and Tychicus right after teaching about spiritual warfare and the armor of God. These men are models of war-torn, decorated soldiers from whom we can learn much. If we are going to fight this spiritual war well, we must model godly soldiers like Paul and Tychicus.

Tychicus is briefly mentioned only five times in Scripture.1 His name actually means “lucky.”2 Many believe he was a convert from Paul’s ministry in Ephesus because he is first mentioned in Acts 20:4, at the end of Paul’s missionary work there.3 From there, he accompanied Paul on many missionary journeys, and was sent to relieve Timothy as the pastor over Ephesus (2 Tim 4:12) during Paul’s second imprisonment. He was probably also sent to Crete to relieve Titus (Tit 3:12).

In this text, Paul sends Tychicus on a mission to complete two duties. He was to deliver the Ephesian letter (Eph 6:21), and also the Colossian and Philemon letters (cf. Col 4:7-8). In addition, he was to inform the Ephesian church (and probably other Asian churches) of Paul’s situation, and to encourage them (Eph 6:22).

Since Tychicus was probably an Ephesian convert, the church knew him well, just as they knew Paul well. No doubt, these two soldiers inspired the Ephesians to stand strong in spiritual warfare. As we study these two men in the final section of Ephesians, we will consider attributes of godly soldiers—ones worth modeling.

Big Questions: What attributes of godly soldiers can we discern from Paul’s description of Tychicus, and from his benediction? How can we model these attributes in our spiritual lives?

Godly Soldiers Are Loving

Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing. (Ephesians 6:21 NET)

Paul describes Tychicus in many different ways, but the first way is with the word “dear” or it can be translated “beloved.” He calls him a dear brother. This certainly means that Paul and the Ephesians loved Tychicus. However, it probably also means that his character was loving. Steve Cole’s insight on this is helpful. He says,

He could have called him just a “brother,” but he adds this word, beloved. It shows that Tychicus was a warmly relational man. He wasn’t cold and aloof. He wasn’t brusque and insensitive. He wasn’t grumpy and difficult to be around. He was beloved. When Paul used that word to describe Tychicus, everyone who knew him would have nodded and thought, “Yes, he is a dear, loving man. We love him dearly ourselves!”4

How would people describe you? Are you loving and relational? Do you take time to get to know people in the church and do they know you? If not, that probably says more about you than it does about the church.

Christian soldiers are not hardened like many other war veterans; they are deeply loving and relational. Hebrews 10:24-25 says this:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Godly soldiers are not only loving, but they also constantly seek to help others love as well. In fact, Jesus says, “by this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Are you constantly considering how to stir others to love God and others more? Are you continually gathering with the saints out of sincere love for them? This is the character of a godly soldier—a beloved brother or sister.

Application Questions: How is God calling you to become more loving in your relationship with the body of Christ? In what ways should we demonstrate this love?

Godly Soldiers Are Faithful

Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing. (Ephesians 6:21 NET)

Paul calls Tychicus a “faithful servant” here, and a “dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” in Colossians 4:7, emphasizing just how faithful Tychicus was.

Interpretation Questions: What does the term “faithful” mean? How was this exemplified in Tychicus’ character, and how should we model it?

1. To be faithful means to be honest.

Tychicus was a man whose “yes” meant yes and whose “no” meant no (cf. James 5:12). People could count on him. This is why Paul called him to relieve other pastors in ministry. He relieved Timothy at Ephesus and probably Titus at Crete. He also was entrusted with carrying the Scriptures to various churches.

Can people trust you? Does your “yes” mean yes and your “no” mean no? Are you honest? Godly soldiers are honest.

2. To be faithful means to faithfully use one’s gifts to serve God and others.

No doubt, Tychicus had the gifts of helps—wherever there was a need, he lent a helping hand. He probably had the gift of teaching, as he relieved pastors, and probably the gift of encouragement, as he was sent to encourage the Ephesians. He was not one of those Christians who are content sitting on the bench and not getting in the game (cf. Matt 25:24-28). He was using every ounce of his person to serve Christ and to faithfully use his gifts.

Paul instructs Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). We each have a responsibility to find out what our spiritual gifts are and to cultivate them to their maximum potential. Is your gift serving? Serve. Is it teaching? Teach. Is it evangelism? Evangelize.

Are you faithfully using your gifts? When Christ returns, he will reward those who have done so (Matt 25:21).

3. To be faithful means to persevere through difficulties.

Tychicus was a man who did not give up easily. Not only did he accompany Paul on his missionary journeys, he was with Paul during his imprisonment in Rome even though it might have meant his own imprisonment and death. He was also with Paul during the second imprisonment, when Paul sent him to relieve Timothy (2 Tim 4:12). Tychicus was the kind of friend who would be right next to you while you were sick, or going through bankruptcy, divorce, or even death.

In fact, he was not only beside Paul, he no doubt often suffered with Paul, simply by being associated with him. Many of the difficulties that Paul recounts in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33—shipwreck, stoning, beatings, sleeplessness, hunger and more—must have also happened to Tychicus. He faithfully persevered through many difficulties while serving Christ and others.

Many Christians want to quit at the first sign of trouble. They got in a fight with their small group leader, their pastor hurt them, or the music director changed the worship music—so they abandon their church or ministry. These Christians are not faithful—they don’t persevere. No doubt, Tychicus experienced all this (and some) and yet faithfully persevered.

Are you faithful when encountering difficulties, or are you a quitter?

Here is a great illustration that demonstrates the importance of faithfulness:

“In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch.  He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.

“Your Majesty,’ said Prior Richard, “do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience?  That will be hard because you have been a king.”

“I understand,” said Henry.  “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”

“Then I will tell you what to do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”

When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The king learned to rule by being obedient.”

When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant or teacher or mother or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where he puts us, and when he returns, we’ll rule together with him.” 5

Godly soldiers are faithful—they are trustworthy, they use their gifts fully, and they persevere through difficulties. How about you?

Application Questions: In what ways is God calling you to grow in faithfulness? How is he calling you to persevere in your current situation? What gifts is he calling you to cultivate and use? Are there any current challenges to your integrity?

Godly Soldiers Are Servants

Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing. (Ephesians 6:21 NET)

Paul also describes Tychicus as a servant. Godly soldiers faithfully serve Christ and others. It has been said that in every church there are two types of people. One type thinks, “Here I am church! Meet my needs!” These people often leave disheartened because the church failed them in some way. The second type asks, “How can I serve this church? What are the needs and how can I meet them?” Like Christ, they don’t come to be served, but to serve others (Mark 10:45).6

Which type are you?

Tychicus did menial tasks like delivering letters to various churches. Many pastors would say, “I didn’t go to seminary for this! Somebody else can do it!” However, Tychicus was willing to serve by performing small tasks, and also big tasks like pastoring a church when Titus or Timothy wasn’t around.

I think that marks true servants—they essentially say, “What is the need? I’ll do my best to meet it or find someone who can.” And one day, Christ will say to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matt 25:21).

Are you a servant? Godly soldiers serve God and others.

Application Questions: What are some other characteristics of good servants? How is God calling you to grow in servanthood?

Godly Soldiers Are Encouragers

I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. (Ephesians 6:22 NET)

The last characteristic we can discern about Tychicus is that he was an encourager. Paul sent him to Ephesus to encourage the saints. Again, he had been with Paul during his imprisonment—keeping him company, serving him, and encouraging him when he was feeling down. No doubt Paul knew from his own experience that Tychicus would be very helpful at encouraging the Ephesians, who were probably discouraged by Paul’s sufferings (cf. Eph 3:13) and the persecution happening to them and other believers.

Application Questions: How would Tychicus encourage them? How can we encourage others when they are discouraged or going through trials?

1. We encourage others by coming alongside them.

Encourage is from the Greek word “parakaleo,” which means “to come alongside for help.”7 It is related to the word Christ used for the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. The Holy Spirit is our paraclete—our counselor, our advocate, and our helper.

If we are going to encourage others, the first step is to simply come beside them. Often we are afraid because we don’t know what to say or do when somebody is hurting or struggling—so we say and do nothing. We must remember that the first step is just to be there for them. When Job’s friends just sat in silence with him while he mourned (cf. Job 2:11-13)—they did well.

How else should we encourage others?

2. We encourage others by listening to them.

3. We encourage others by praying for them.

4. We encourage others by sharing God’s Word with them.

Application Question: Share a time God used somebody to really encourage you.

Godly Soldiers Are Disciplers

Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Ephesians 6:23-24 NET)

It was the custom for correspondents in the ancient world to end their letters with a wish for the readers’ health and happiness, typically invoking the names of the gods. Paul doesn’t abandon this tradition, but he Christianizes it. Instead of a wish, he gives a benediction—a prayer for blessing. 8

However, this benediction is more than just a benediction—it is a summary of many of the rich themes in the epistle.9 Paul prays that God will enable the Ephesians to internalize these truths so that they can look more like Christ.

And this is true for all godly soldiers—one of their primary focuses in life is helping others know and look more like Christ. Again, as we look at the blessings, they demonstrate the major truths in Ephesians.

Observation Question: What blessings does Paul pray for the Ephesians and how are they demonstrated throughout the book?

1. Paul prays for Ephesians to have peace.

No doubt this pictures the believers’ peace with God. However, it also pictures their peace with one another, a primary theme throughout the book of Ephesians, especially in chapter 2. Paul teaches that Christ made the Jew and Gentile one by breaking the dividing wall of the law to unite them and becoming their peace (cf. Eph 2:14-17).

Paul prays that the Ephesians will not be divided by race, ethnicity, or tradition, but that they will truly be one in Christ. This should be true of us as well.

Are you walking in peace with others?

2. Paul prays for the Ephesians to have love.

In Ephesians 1:15, Paul declares how he heard about the Ephesians’ “love for all the saints.” It’s one thing to love some saints, but to love all the saints is special. Though they already excelled in love, he calls for them to imitate God and further live a life of love, just as Christ loved and died for us (Eph 5:1-2).

Are you loving others sacrificially?

3. Paul prays for the Ephesians to have faith.

This word is used seven other times in this small epistle.10 Paul wants them to develop a deeper trust in God regardless of their circumstances, and also to trust in God’s Word—believing his promises. Kent Hughes paraphrases the aspect of faith in Paul’s benediction this way, “Ease back and rest on what you believe. Put your whole weight on it.”11

Are you growing in your trust in God and his Word? Are you putting all your weight on Christ in every circumstance? First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your cares upon the Lord for he cares for you.”

4. Paul prays for the Ephesians to have grace.

This is the twelfth occurrence of the word “grace” in the letter.12 It is used in the introduction (Eph 1:2, 6), closing, and throughout the letter. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

However, we are not just saved by grace. John 1:16 says, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (ESV). God continually pours grace on believers, especially as we are obedient to him—grace upon our marriages, families, work, and churches. This should be our hope and prayer for all who call on Christ—grace upon grace—unmerited favor upon unmerited favor. As James 4:6 says, “he gives us more grace.”

Are you daily seeking his renewed grace?

Godly soldiers are continually seeking the spiritual maturity of others. They desire other believers’ lives to be full of peace, love, faith, and grace.

Application Questions: Why is discipleship so important? What spiritual leaders have most influenced your spiritual life in a positive manner? Who has God called you to disciple?

Godly Soldiers Are Intercessors

Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Ephesians 6:23-24 NET)

Not only can we see Paul’s heart for discipleship in his benediction, but also his heart for prayer. In Ephesians 6:18-20 Paul has just described the need to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all types of prayer—and what he taught, he practiced. He prays for the Ephesians in chapters 1 and 3, and now again in closing. He prays for peace, love, faith and grace over the church. This is the practice of all godly soldiers—they are faithful intercessors.

Where worldly soldiers put confidence in their strength, training, and knowledge, godly soldiers understand they are unequipped even for mundane tasks—only God’s grace and strength will do. Therefore, they are constant in prayer.

Are you praying and interceding for others in this battle? Ezekiel 22:30-31 says,

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

God seeks those who will faithfully intercede for others in order to preserve them from destruction and lead them into blessing. Isaiah 62:6-7 says,

I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

Brothers and sisters, give our Lord no rest as you intercede for kings, presidents, business people, wives, mothers, children, churches, communities, and nations. Give him no rest until he makes our world fully his own. This is the heart and practice of godly soldiers—like Paul, they are intercessors.

Application Questions: How would you rate your prayer life on a scale of 1 to 10, and why? What are some good practices to help us grow in intercession?

Conclusion

What are attributes of godly soldiers—ones worth modeling—as revealed in Tychicus and Paul?

  1. Godly soldiers are loving.
  2. Godly soldiers are faithful.
  3. Godly soldiers are servants.
  4. Godly soldiers are disciplers.
  5. Godly soldiers are Intercessors.

Copyright © 2016 Gregory Brown

Unless otherwise noted, the primary Scriptures used are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NET) are taken from the NET Bible ® copyright © 1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked KJV or AKJV are from the King James Version or Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible.

All emphases in Scripture quotations and commentators’ quotations have been added.


1 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 262). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

2 Accessed 12/05/2015 from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-63-caring-church-ephesians-621-24

3 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 262). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

4 Accessed 8/17/16 from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-63-caring-church-ephesians-621-24

5 Teacher's Outline and Study Bible - Commentary - Teacher's Outline and Study Bible – Ephesians: The Teacher's Outline and Study Bible.

6 Accessed 12/06/2015 from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-63-caring-church-ephesians-621-24

7 Accessed 12/05/2015 from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-63-caring-church-ephesians-621-24

8 Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians (pp. 289–290). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

9 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 385). Chicago: Moody Press.

10 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 266). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. 

11 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 266). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

12 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 266). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Related Topics: Christian Life