“… 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19-20)
The Apostle Paul reminds his readers, not only the Ephesians believers in the immediate context but also believers today, that he was a prisoner for the gospel when he wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians. This is why this letter, along with Philippians, Colossians and Philemon are identified as Paul’s Prison Epistles. They were all written during the apostle’s first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:11-31).
It is common for believers in the church to hold an elevated view of biblical characters. In spite of clear evidence to the contrary, some hold the perspective that believers in the Bible were never weak, afraid, anxious, or given over to sin. Or in the case of today’s text, that they battled timidity in sharing the gospel.
Paul was under house arrest while in Rome (Acts 28:23-31). He was able to receive visitors while he awaited his trial before Caesar. Acts 28:30-31 says, “30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
However, even Paul was concerned that he speak and serve the Lord Jesus Christ as he should. He did not want to cower from boldly preaching the gospel in the face of opposition. Therefore, as he encouraged the Ephesian believers to pray for one another, he also implored them to pray for him.
He requested that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, He did not want to waste any opportunity to share the truth of God’s existence, sin’s existence, salvation’s existence and the existence of One Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The irony of Paul’s next statement should not be lost upon us today. Regarding the gospel Paul wrote, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. The apostle was a prisoner of Rome, but he did not see the gospel in chains. Regardless of where he was, or with whom, he desired to share the truth of the gospel. Nothing would hinder him in sharing the biblical truth of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Dr. R .C. Sproul writes, “As an apostle, Paul may have been tempted more than other Christians to believe he could go it alone, that just he and Jesus together were enough to get the job done. In one sense, this would have been true. Jesus is the friend “who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). Even if all others desert us, Christ never leaves us or forsakes us, sustaining us by His Spirit in the most difficult circumstances (Heb. 13:5–6). Yet in another sense, we do not face the world with only Jesus beside us. The circumstances in which absolutely everyone might abandon us are few and far between, and God has redeemed us in union with other believers (Eph. 2:11–22). For all the church’s faults, we often do a good job of sticking together, supporting one another as we walk under the shadow of death in service to our King. Having just finished an epistle on the nature of the church, Paul was well aware of this fact and humble enough to request prayer for himself while he was in prison.”
May each of us today pray for the boldness to share the gospel, regardless of the circumstances of life. May we also pray for one another to have the same boldness. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!