The Sharing Of Your Faith
August 16, 2007
INTRODUCTION: The Apostle Paul expressed his love and appreciation for Philemon's faith in God and his demonstration of love toward other believers. He then offered a prayer for Philemon to develop a richer relationship to Christ and a more expansive ministry. Paul included personal thanks for the joy that Philemon brought to him.
Paul further asked God to make Philemon's witness effective and asked that he have a deeper understanding of all he had in Christ.
Note how he deals with:
I. AFFIRMATION. 4-5
I thank God for you. Paul had a grateful heart. He is writing from his place of "house arrest" in Rome. He is being visited by Epaphras (Col 1:7) from Colosse. Undoubtedly Epaphras is sharing about the church in Philemon's home and how God is blessing, as well as the challenges that have surfaced. Paul has nothing negative to say about Philemon.
Paul could teach us the "secret of being thankful"; let's cultivate it.
The theme of the Book of Philemon is forgiveness. Philemon's former slave, Onesimus, has been converted and Paul is writing to encourage Philemon to forgive him and to receive him as a brother.
There is no threatening language that might assume Paul felt forgiving Onesimus would be difficult for Philemon, but rather a spirit that expected he would.
Note the qualities affirmed in Philemon's life.
A. FAITH AND THE OBJECT IS THE SAVIOR. 5
As a genuine believer, Philemon was concerned about the Lord and desired to please Him. Because the Lord had forgiven him, Philemon could forgive others. Conviction from the indwelling Holy Spirit and from the Word of God would also provide the impetus for Philemon to do what was right.
B. LOVE AND THE OBJECT IS THE SAINTS. 5
Agape -- self-sacrificing love, which sought the welfare and benefit of others.
1. FAITH IS THE SOURCE.
2. LOVE IS THE STREAM
Faith is what releases the power, but love is what
makes it evident
II. COMMUNICATION. 6
Sharing is translated participation, contribution, communication, and fellowship. It is the word Koinonia.
Koinonia is more than merely enjoying each other's company. It refers to a mutual sharing of all life and could be translated belonging. Believers belong to each other in a mutual partnership, produced by their faith in Christ.
With this in mind, the Christian faith should not exist as a private possession, passive, and assumed. Instead, it must energetically manifest itself through daily living and human relationships.
A. THE OUTWARD FLOWING OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. 6a
"that the sharing of your faith may become effective"
Paul had a continual desire to see Philemon participating in the good things that promoted the cause of Christ; forgiveness and leading others to Christ. It definitely speaks of being intentional in living out the Christian life.
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