Scripture

Ephesians 6:21-24

21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Reflection

Yes, that’s a real word. It means “falsely attributed works.” From 300 B.C.-300 A.D., predominantly Jewish, but some Christian, writings gained wide circulation because the authors claimed the names of major Old Testament patriarchs and New Testament apostles. The following texts are some examples: Assumption of Moses, Book of Enoch, Ascension of Isaiah, Psalms of Solomon, The Apocalypse of Paul, The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel of Judas. There are plenty more but this is a decent sample. Void of our robust legal system with its punitive measures for forgery, it was not uncommon in the ancient world to falsely use someone else’s name. I don’t use the social media platform but Twitter used to have an impersonation problem where accounts were created pretending to be President Trump or Taylor Swift or Oprah Winfrey. One common goal in all of this is gaining a wide audience.

Paul is aware of this. He is used to having his authority questioned everywhere he went. He was not one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He formerly persecuted Christians. He knows he has a lot of explaining to do. Paul takes great care by ensuring there is no confusion concerning the authenticity of his message by sending Tychicus to reiterate the same message and encourage the church. Like Paul, the early church that formed from his leadership and grew rapidly throughout the second, third, and fourth centuries, took discerning authenticity seriously. No book of the New Testament was allowed to be part of scripture if it wasn’t being circulated and read in worship and verified to originate in the apostolic period from an apostle (33-100 A.D.).

Be encouraged by Paul’s integrity. Put on the belt of truth and put away every lie. Put away all falsehood. Put away anything that may misrepresent you and the Holy God whose name you bear. Allow God’s word to convict you and encourage you. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Prayer

Psalm 119:105-112

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,

    a light on my path.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,

    that I will follow your righteous laws.

107 I have suffered much;

    preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.

108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,

    and teach me your laws.

109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,

    I will not forget your law.

110 The wicked have set a snare for me,

    but I have not strayed from your precepts.

111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;

    they are the joy of my heart.

112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees

    to the very end.