Monday, December 10, 2012

S.E.R.V.E God - P1 Seek the Lord First

Ephesians 6:21 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.

Over the next several days I would like us to think about what it means to serve the Lord.  You may have noticed in the title of this blog that the word "serve" is spelled "S.E.R.V.E".  Why? Because my aim in this series of posts is to unfold, by the Spirit's illumination of the scripture, what it means to serve the Lord.  My main text will be Ephesians 6:21-22, since therein is found a faithful servant of God by the name of Tychicus - more on him in a moment.  For now let us consider the five main ideas we aim to explore in this concept of serving God:

Seek the Lord first.               Ephesians 6:21a

Emphasize Faithfulness       Ephesians 6:21b

Reinforce thhe ministry        Ephesians 6:22a

Validate God's people          Ephesians 6:22b

Exemplify Christ                   2 Timothy 4:12

Tychicus, a servant of God who "hit the mark" for Jesus Christ
Tychicus' (ti-kick-us) name in the original language means: "to hit the mark, to obtain, to master". No doubt the Apostle Paul thought very highly of Tychicus, calling him a "beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord".  This man's track record as a faithful servant of God shines brightly in the New Testament. 

1. In Acts 20:4 we read "And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia." This man, along with other companions of the Apostle Paul, traveled with Paul to Asia from Ephesus some seven years prior to the writing of this letter to the Ephesians.  Thus we see that Tychicus was with the work of God at Ephesus from its inception.

2. In Titus 3:12 we discover this about Tychicus: "When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there." Tychicus was of such caliber that Paul proposed him to possibly come and take Titus' place, so that Titus could join Paul at Nicopolis. 

3. In 2 Timothy 4:12  we read of Tychicus: "Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus."  This is all we read of Tychicus in what is likely Paul's final words.  For over ten years Tychicus had been with the Apostle Paul every step of the way.

The servant of God must seek the Lord first, like Tychicus did
If you and I are to be a people who serve God effectively, we must seek the Lord first.  Making known what was happening to Paul in prison was a matter of updating the Ephesian church on what God's purposes and activities.  Paul states in Ephesians 6:21 "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." 

Why would Paul want his readers to know about his circumstances? In another letter of Paul written at about the same time and from the same prison, we read these words in Colossians 2:1-2 "For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself".

A man was needed who could communicate Paul's circumstances in such a way as to not solicit sympathy, but celebration and prayer for Paul and the work that God was doing.  As a servant of God, seeking the Lord first enabled Tychicus to have a God's-eye perspective on what otherwise looked like bad circumstances. 

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  We also read in Galatians 1:10 "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."

As we conclude today's post, let us remember that if we are going to serve God faithfully and effectively, we must seek Him first in all things. 

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