Philemon. A small book, written by Paul with Timothy at his side.
Paul at this point in his life was a prisoner. And he states very simply that he was a prisoner FOR CHRIST JESUS. That's why he was in jail.
Do you ever stop to ponder that...even for a moment. What would you do if you had to go to jail for Christ? For simply believing in him?
i have to admit. I don't often ponder this. Sometimes I think it would be good for the church for us to ponder this a bit, or even to have to face it. To face having to make our faith real. For being bold enough to say "i am a Christian" regardless of what we might have to face.
It's very real for some of our Christian brethern. Do we ever really think about it?
Be honest. Would it change what you do, what you think? Would it change the importance that God has in your life?
I honestly think that it would me.
To know that what I say, do or think makes a difference. Really makes a difference and isn't just seen as another "oddity" of Annette's. I try to show others that my faith is real and important. I don't know that I always succeed. I want others to see that I would die for Christ if he asked me to....even while I know that I still find somethings in my life hard to give up for Christ. I do! It's a paradox.
ANyways, this post is about this whole book, not just a couple of lines.
Book is written to Philemon, Apphia, Archippus and their house church.
Paul is filled with thankfulness for them. Why?
4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
Mmmmm .... to get a letter like this. If I knew someone was in prison for Christ, and they wrote me a letter saying how much they appreciated how I lived out my faith for Christ, I would be so honoured and appreciative. I would want to really listen to what they had to say. To know that how I lived my life filled another with joy and comfort, particularly if they were in jail for the sake of Christ? Wow....Gives me the thought that this is one way we can support the persecuted church. Don't take our faith for granted. Try to live our lives in such a way that their sacrifice is not in vain. Let us live lives that bring joy and comfort to our imprisoned brethern. Wouldn't that be great?
Paul continues this letter with a request: could they take Onesimus back? Could they make him part of their fellowship? Don't hold his past against him. Please treat him like you would me. Any wrongs he has done to you, please, credit them to my account. He is one of your own, please, take him back as a beloved fellow believer.
Paul writes how confident he is in their obedience. He writes about how he wants some benefit from them, benefit from them in the Lord. He wants them to refresh his heart in Christ. Do this he urges. It will help me, and will restore one of your own to you.
With these verses he closes this small book.
21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.
Paul looks forward to being released sometime from prison and being able to meet with them. He fully believes they will do more than he has asked of them.
Wow...getting a letter like this would certainly inspire me to do that! To take in a lost fellow believer, one who has harmed me might be hard, but seeing the confidence expressed in me by a mature believer would certainly help me work hard at it! Wouldn't it you?