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Philemon: Peacemaking - A Case Study (20 of 29)
Series: Through the New Testament
Jesus said, ''Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God'' (Mt 5:9). James tells us, ''But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness'' (James 3:17-18).
Peacemaking is more than peace loving. It requires more than merely being peace keepers. Peace-loving people mind their own business. They avoid conflict. Peacekeepers do a good work. They stand between enemies and keep them apart. Peace loving and peace keeping can be good things. But they are not the same as peacemaking. Peacemakers get involved. They build bridges. They tear down walls. They refuse to sow discord and division. But they do more. They also do whatever it takes to resolve conflicts and bring people together. Spiritual peacemakers also work passionately to help people find peace with God.
Our next book in the New Testament provides a case study in peacekeeping. Philemon is one of the shortest books in the Bible. Some say it is more of a postcard than a letter. Its single chapter contains twenty-five verses; only 335 words in the original language. The book tells the story of three people whom the Lord brought together in a great peacekeeping adventure.
Let's begin with the book's namesake--Philemon. Note verses 1-5--''To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.''
Clearly Philemon was a Christian. He had possibly been converted by Paul himself. Later in the letter Paul says th ...
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