Preacher: Monty Simao, pastor
Key Text: Philemon 1:4-7
Description: Paul thanks God for the faith in Jesus Christ and love for the saints that he sees in the life of Philemon and prays that Philemon would continue to grow in those areas.
Download Transcript (right click)
Host: Have you ever paused to thank God for the good works of other Christians? Today on Scandia Bible Church podcast as Pastor Monty Simao continues with our studying the book of Philemon, he shows us that this is exactly what Paul does as he looks at the life of his friend Philemon. The reason we need to do this is because when we do we are reminded that a person’s good work is ultimately, the result of God’s good work. (music)
Welcome to the Scandia Bible Church podcast for Sunday, January 11th, 2015. We’d like to invite you to visit our website at scandiabiblechurch.org where you can learn more about us, access past sermons, and can obtain the sermon notes for today’s message. Now let’s join pastor Monty Simao with today’s message, entitled “That Your Faith May Become Effective”.
Preacher: Invite you to turn with me to the New Testament book of Philemon. You’ll find Philemon between the books of Titus and Hebrews. This is our third message in our Philemon series, and this morning we’ll specifically be looking at verses four through seven. To refresh your memory, Paul is writing a personal letter to his friend Philemon because Paul is desirous of reconciling Philemon to his runaway slave Onesimus.
Onesimus has somehow come into contact with the imprisoned apostle. Paul is in prison in Rome at this time, and Paul introduces him to the lord. Paul is now trying to reconcile these now two Christian brothers. So, the Book of Philemon is really a set of Christian appeals that’s based on love for the brethren and the outworking of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s really an incredible letter and we see that Paul bases his appeals not even on his own apostleship, which he has every right to do, but upon the outflowing of love for the brethren. Onesimus as a runaway slave, he stood guilty before Roman law. We’re not sure why he ran away, but we can gather that from the context of the letter that somehow he has wronged his master in someway and whether he stole from him or-we don’t know the situation. If the very idea of slavery and the fact that Philemon is a Christian slave owner and Onesiums is a slave at that. If it bothers you or is confusing to you I encourage you to listen to my introduction to the book of Philemon where I explain slavery as we see it in the New Testament and we compare it to slavery we see in the Old Testament, we look at slavery as we saw it in the early parts of our country. In that introduction more specifically I spent time addressing why Paul doesn’t outright condemn slavery in this letter and how the gospel is not a social gospel. It’s much greater. Has a much greater emphasis than that and Paul’s focus is on our slavery to sin and the result of that will be things that affect the society on a social level. But, I encourage you to listen to that introduction to the letter if some of this is not, or is confusing to you. We don’t want to skip or gloss over these issues. But rather we want to answer these questions as we go through some of this more difficult material.
Paul’s making his appeal, this appeal to love and everything he writes in this letter is very short, but packed letter, everything he writes is in support of this appeal and serves toward that end. That’s why in the opening salutation of the letter Paul spends time reminding Philemon that he is greatly loved by God. It is that fact that Philemon is undeservedly loved by God that will, in Paul’s mind, spur him to demonstrate love towards Onesimus. We also saw that in the salutation Paul includes Philemon’s wife, he includes his son as well as his greeting to the church that gathers in his home. He greets them all as a whole because they will also be affected by the results of this letter. They will be affected by Philemon’s decision. They will serve as an accountability for him before the lord and provide council to what might be a difficult situation.
Because Onesimus is returning, remember letter in hand, this is not the day where you could send somebody a heads up on email. Hey by the way this is what’s taking place expect Philemon in a couple months. This is showing up with letter in hand and he’s retuning to his former master and he’s estranged from him. As well as probably Philemon’s family, maybe the church. He will be returning as a member of the church. So, this is something that effects of this letter will be felt by everyone and therefore Paul is addressing everyone in the salutation, even though Philemon will be the direct recipient.
Paul further introduces himself, not as an apostle, but as a prisoner. If there is anything lower in Roman society than a slave, it was a prisoner. Paul was saying hey, I’m writing to you as a prisoner. Paul’s imprisonment drew concern from the church and it was possibly a way of softening his appeal towards Philemon. Again Paul is a masterful communicator and this letter just proves it. As we move to verses 4-7 we see Paul again, in strong support of his appeal, we see Paul commend Philemon and we’re going to unpack these verses in three points. Philemon’s love and faith, Paul’s joyful response, and lastly Paul’s expectant prayer, that’s what we’ll see here. So let’s read our texts.
Philemon verse four. I thank my God always making mention of you in my prayers because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the lord Jesus and toward all the saints and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. I’ve come to have much joy and comfort in your love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother. Thus ends the reading of God’s holly and inspired word, we ask that you write its eternal truths in our hearts and minds this morning.
So the first thing we see in verse four is that Paul is declaring that he thanks God for Philemon and specifically the things that he’s thankful for he makes mention of and that’s where Paul tells us two things, two qualities, two virtues, that he has observed in the life of Philemon. Those virtues are Philemon’s love and his faith. Now sometimes when folks are not all that familiar with Philemon and you kind of read through the letter you get a negative impression of Philemon. First of all, he’s the owner of slaves. He can’t be all that great of a guy can he? Then the fact that Paul has to write him this letter in the first place. So, we look at this, we start interpreting this letter through a lens of being a modern day Christian. Why did Onesimus have to run away right? But understand when you go down that sort of road and your mind goes there and you start jumping through these…where you think you’re getting steered, you’re going down a road that the text is not warrantying. Okay? So, we’re jumping to conclusions without evidence. We honestly don’t know why Onesimus ran away, but the assumption from the text was that it was a wrong committed by Onesiums against Philemon. Not the other way around. So, those kind of thoughts can take you down the roads that the text is not warrantying. Now let me tell you what we do know. We know that Paul did not have a negative impression of Philemon. We know that as a fact. The Philemon that Paul knew had a deep affection for Christ and for all the Saints. That’s who Paul’s writing to. Paul says he hears of Philemon’s love. In other words that he has received news of Philemon or about Philemon, people have reported to Paul that Philemon is a man of Christian character. That his character is manifest in his love for God’s people. Moreover the word that Paul uses to describe Philemon’s love is agape love this is the same Greek word used to define God’s love toward us as fallen sinners. This is the same word used to describe Christ’s love for us as he is on the cross. Remember Paul’s the same guy who expands the definition of agape in first Corinthians thirteen he tells us that this kind of love is patient and kind it’s not jealous, it doesn’t brag, and so forth, it’s not arrogant and on and on. While no man fulfilled that definition in its fullest save Christ, Paul sees many of those attributes exemplified in the life of Philemon.
Paul wasn’t writing to Philemon to teach him necessarily about love because Philemon was already the kind of guy who treasured others above himself. So, if you have a negative outlook on Philemon, know that the apostle Paul does not share your feelings. Now, the way this reads in a NASB could be a little clearer, but Paul’s telling Philemon he’s heard of his love for the saints and for Jesus Christ and his faith in the lord Jesus Christ. Not his faith in the saints, but that will be made clear as we go forward. But specifically it is love for God’s people, called saints here meaning Holy one. Simply meaning that they are set apart and that’s what that word means in the New Testament. In the modern vernacular we hear the word saints and we think of maybe a person who’s Holier than thou or we think of a person that’s reached a supreme level of human propriety. But, in the Bible saints describes all Christians for the new born babe in Christ to the person that’s been walking with the Lord eighty years because the point of being a saint is the point that God has set that person apart by his love. Paul sees that Philemon has done the same. In other words, Philemon is reflecting that love as well. Philemon does not love the saints merely because they are lovable. Because God had given this love to Philemon for his people. If we’re at all honest, some of God’s people are not all that lovable right? I know there’s somebody you’re picturing right now in your head. Shame on you. Some of your children are not all that lovable. But you love them. You love them none the less, in the like manner Philemon he has a love for God’s people and it’s not a compliment to lovable people. It’s simply evidence that God has done a work in the heart of Philemon because he is baring this fruit from the Holy Spirit and Paul is writing and saying I recognize that in your life. Notice as well that Paul actually says all the saints and of course Philemon would have loved for his wife Apphia he would have loved for his son Archippus, but it specifically says he has a love for all of God’s people.
Now, if you’re like me which means you’re sinful, you want to kind of place yourself on the side of the apostle Paul at first. You know I’d be the one writing the letter of rebuke or whatever it is towards this slave owner, this guy that calls himself a Christian. But, the more we understand about the character Philemon, because Paul is not just rambling here, this is inspired by the Holly Spirit that it be recorded.
When that’s our starting place Philemon’s life convicts me. I want to be like that. I want to have a love for all the saints. You know I go to a Christian bookstore and I see some of the more or less, how to books on the shelf and I roll my eyes and I turn on Christian radio and I hear songs that don’t glorify God and they speak of God just like God’s their buddy or worse they have these love songs to God as if God’s a boyfriend or something like that and I get angry. And rightly so. Those things are not right, but I can’t say that I hear those things and I have a genuine love for those Christians I more or less just kind of write them off. Now understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying that Christian love for the saints means that we don’t correct someone or that there’s no place for rebuke, but what I am saying is that our attitude and our response ought to be checked by our love. It ought to be our love for God and love for his people that prompts us to rebuke. Our anger should not exceed our grief and tears over Christians that are being led astray or who are poorly taught. It’s a hard lesson, so when I read those simple words that Philemon has agape love for all the saints I realize that I’m not in the place of the apostle Paul writing a rebuke and I’m not in the place of Philemon because Philemon is exemplifying Christian character that I struggle with. In other words Philemon convicts me. If I’m brutally honest I don’t know if Paul could have written a letter to me addressed like he addressed this one to Philemon. Maybe it would be you know Monte I hear you’re trying. It doesn’t just end there.
Paul enforces that statement about Philemon’s love because look what he says in verse seven. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. That idea, hearts of the saints literally in the Greek is talking about someone’s bowels. You know the Greek mind that was the seat of human emotion. You know we kind of use that still in our vernacular when we talk about having a gut feeling right? Paul told the church in Corinth that their bowels were straight meaning that they were lacking in compassion where they should have had compassion. When people are distressed, in their mind it was described as something that happened in their gut. That’s just how the Greeks thought about it, but Philemon’s love for the saints was such that people who were distressed felt refreshed because of Philemon. That’s the kind of guy he was and how do you refresh someone who is experiencing distress? Well, means that Philemon was a man of compassion and it means that he was the kind of guy who cried with you, he anguished with you, he loved you so that your burden was lifted. Have you ever had a person like that in your life?
I remember the senior pastor at a church in California when I was a young youth pastor and whenever I spoke to him he gave me his undivided attention to the point where it was almost uncomfortable, like I felt like I’m not that important. Do other things and talk to me. But, everything stopped and he focused on me. If something was bothering me I could tell in his entire demeanor that he bore that burden as well, it bothered him. You know, at the time, I mean everything about this guy exuded compassion. We had an old 1967 Ford Mustang that we were driving around at the time, it broke down when I was at work at the church and you know his office window or the window to his study overlooked the parking lot and I popped the hood open and I can only assume that he saw me with the hood open of this old Ford. Celest and I were newly married, we didn’t have a lot of money and the next thing you knew he was outside and I could see him taking off his suit jacket laying it down, and he took off his tie, and he put it down and then he had a pristine pressed white business shirt and he rolled up the sleeves and then he started reaching into my engine compartment. I was embarrassed, I wanted to stop him. I said no don’t do that you’re going to ruin your shirt I mean you’re not dressed for-I can take care of it. He stopped and he looked at me and he said you are so much more important to me than this old shirt. That’s the kind of guy Philemon was. He was the kind of Christian brother who refreshed you. This description of Philemon means that he did more than just listen to a person, he was not just a sounding board, he was not a man to just show sympathy. Philemon was the kind of guy who offered practical help. I look around and there are many of you in this congregation that I would describe as having that same kind of love for the people. There are many here who are the barn raising types and that’s a blessing to see. That’s a blessing to see in our little church.
That’s how Philemon was, that’s why Paul heard of him, there were reports of how affectionate and how generous this man was toward all the saints. Philemon, by the way, his name means affectionate. Paul’s description of Philemon allows us to make an inference here based on the text. When we hear of how the apostle Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit describes this man, Philemon, we can assume that Philemon was not the kind of guy who beat his wife, he was not the kind of guy who was cruel to his son, he was not the kind of guy who mistreated the slaves in his household. It verges on impossible that the man that Paul describes had a runaway slave that runaway for anything on his part. Onesimus’s reason for running away did not stem from fault in Philemon. Now let me draw another conclusion. The kind of compassion and love that Paul describing the life of Philemon is not natural to fallen man. It is not learned through human disciple. You can’t decide all of the sudden. I wake one day I say today and the rest of my life I’m just going to be a swell guy. That kind of character is always the result of faith. Always the fruit of faith. Jesus Christ was the object of Philemon’s faith and the fruit that resulted in the fact that he was rooted in Christ blossomed forth out of his life as a love for God’s people. That’s what we’re seeing here. You may think that I’m drawing to strong of conclusion, I’m not. Let me support what I’m saying.
Look at verse five. Okay? Because I hear of your love and the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints. That’s a present tense in the Greek. Okay? That’s a present tense meaning that Paul is describing there a current action. Philemon is doing that right now Paul is saying. Okay? When you get to verse seven. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love because the heart of the saints have been refreshed through you. That’s a perfect tense in the Greek. Okay? What that means is that it’s a result of an action that is continuing. Perfect tense in the Greek is different than you see it in English. English is a completed past action. In the Greek it’s a completed past action that as a result is still in affect and continuously happening. That means if Paul could picture in his head people whose hearts were refreshed [inter-distressed 00:21:46] because of Philemon. That’s what the text is indicating. He could visualize these people. You can’t separate Philemon’s actions from his faith. That’s why Paul kind of spews it all out as if it’s in one breathe here in the translation. The reformers understood that. They would say, you’re saved by faith alone. But saving faith is never alone. What does that mean? It means that saving faith will always be accompanied by spiritual fruit produced by the Holy Spirit. That’s the natural consequence of being born again. Listen to what Paul writes in Ephesians chapter two. It’s the work of God, God gets all the glory for it. It says for by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God. Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them. I want you to see and understand this clearly, this is important. When I tell you about Philemon’s love and about his faith and about his character you must understand that this is the work and doing of God. It’s God who gets all the glory. It is God who called Philemon who took his heart of stone and gave him a heart of flesh. It is God who gave to Philemon the gift of faith. It is God who united Philemon to Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, it is God who forgave Philemon of his sins. It is God who has produced these good works in the life of Philemon. This idea of the hearts of the saints being refreshed when their hearts are in turmoil and is given rest that idea of rest and refreshment is the same word that Jesus used when he said come unto me all ye who are labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Philemon, his own heart was once in turmoil, but he had experienced the rest and refreshment that comes from knowing Christ and know he’s refreshing the hearts of other because of that. Can it be said of us that we refresh the hearts of the believers around us? Sometimes we can become so self-absorbed that we don’t see the plight of those around us. This is perhaps because we’re not thankful enough for our own salvation. We don’t understand just how far God has come to rescue us. Now this section doesn’t only tell us of Philemon’s love and his faith, but it shows us Paul’s joyful response. Now again, Paul is in prison at this time and one of the things that brought Paul joy, incredible pleasure, even as he was in prison was to hear of the health of the church. To hear of the stories of the love that the saints have for each other. To hear stories really of what God was doing among his people. I’m not sure how many stories Paul heard of news coming, but it had to be a lot because he really had his finger to the pulse of what was going on in the church so you heard a lot of reports of what was going on. Looking specifically at the church in Colosse we know that these reports, especially about Philemon would have come from two sources, at least recently and that would have been from Epaphras as well as from Onesimus himself. When we look at the first chapter of the book of Colossians and again, both of those letters were sent at the same time, two letters to the church. One to Philemon, one to the church as a whole, and Colosse, but when we look at that letter to Colossians we know that Epaphras was the primary report giver to Paul he was the one telling him what was going on and so the letter at Colosses we see that Epaphras’ report had some of it had to do with false teaching going on. That false teachers had infiltrated the church. But there was no negative report in the book of Colossians about the man Philemon. Obviously Onesiums would have brought word to the Apostle Paul of Philemon, he was a member of his household, he knew the skinny didn’t he? It’s huge that there’s no negative report from Onesimus on Philemon. That we has willing to go back and submit to this earthly master because of the love he experienced because of his heavenly master. You can almost see a reference to, in the life of Onesimus to the prodigal son. You know he runs off in rebellion and the Lord comes to him and he realizes God had me in a place for a reason and he comes back. But the point is that Paul, as a recipient of these reports is brought to joy. It brought comfort to Paul in his imprisonment and Paul’s heart responds in thanksgiving to God. So we see in verse seven for I’ve come to have much joy and comfort in your love. You can see where Paul found his joy because these reports about Philemon did nothing to change Paul’s present situation. His present circumstances are unaffected, he’s still in prison, he’s still in danger of losing his life, but just as Philemon’s actions have refreshed the heart of those believers in Colossae these reports about Philemon have refreshed the heart of the apostle in prison as well. Philemon has refreshed the heart of Paul. That’s what Paul is writing here. One would think that the apostle Paul had bigger issues to fry at that point. You know? He had his own problems why is it that his heart is refreshed because of some good news about a fellow believer. Whatever that situation is, it didn’t affect Paul directly, but Paul’s heart was refresh. You see, no matter our circumstances, you and I can be refreshed in the same way. In fact that’s what God calls us to be. He calls us to be refreshed by news of another. Ever realize that? Paul’s being refreshed because he hears of the good news of Philemon, but ultimately Paul’s being refreshed because he sees the work of Christ in Philemon’s life.
We’re refreshed by good news by good report. Not news because of Philemon or news because of another believer. But news about what Jesus Christ has done for his church. The good news of Jesus Christ that is the gospel! The gospel is news and it’s news that brings us the refreshment that Christ says saved us out of our sin our of the miry clay he’s become a rock of salvation to us. And it was the good news of Jesus Christ that steered Paul’s heart and affections to become refreshed at the good report about Philemon. It was further proof of the good news of Jesus Christ.
That’s why our hearts ought to be refreshed when we hear reports like these. When Keith is up here and he’s sharing what’s going on in the mission field your heart should rejoice. When we see a Godly marriage your heart should rejoice. When we look at the wonderful work done by children of the nations, your heart should rejoice. When we see even the Bond family here putting on that fundraiser every year, your heart should rejoice. These things refresh us because Christ has refreshed us because we believe the good news of Jesus Christ. We know that our sins are forgiven we’re enabled to rejoice at the good news we hear of others who are walking in light of what Christ has done for them. We expect to hear those reports. Why do we expect to hear them? Because Christ is the head of the church and we know that Christ is still working in his people. So those reports comfort us because they remind us of the care Christ has for his church and that he is still at work. We’re all part of the body. When one suffers we all suffer. When one rejoices we should all rejoice. Sometimes we need to pause and examine our hearts and I think that’s a point that Dave Hargon was making last week. At those times when we examine our hearts we sometimes find that we are envious. We’re envious where we should be rejoicing. We see blessings in the lives of others and we’re envious because we’re not blessed in that particular way. Or we see gifts given to others we wonder why we’re not the recipients of it. That kind of attitude is a sinful attitude. It’s proof that the gospel needs to change our thinking. The renewing of our mind needs to come from the Holy Spirit. We need to pray that God will grant us a heart that rejoices when we see good things have happened in the church. Because it is proof that Christ is in control.
So, not only does the report of Philemon cause me to pause and to repent in my own life, but Paul’s response does so as well. Because Paul’s heart rejoiced in the blessings of others even when his circumstances were dire. Paul understood that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ, not once did he think-why Lord are these folks being blessed and I’m stuck in prison? He knew God was sovereign, he knew he was in prison for that reason. I noticed that Paul responded first in joy, but his joy ultimately manifested in thanksgiving to God and that’s a huge theological significant point right there. Paul was not thankful for Philemon, in and of Philemon. His thankfulness was to God because God was the one doing the work through Philemon. Paul said something similar in Colossians one.
He says we give thanks to God the father the Lord Jesus Christ praying always for you. Why? Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints. We saw your love or we heard of your love for the saints and therefore we thank God. Paul’s not writing a letter to thank them. Firth Thessalonians Paul writes we give thanks to God always for you making mention of you in our prayers. Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. When Paul saw something praiseworthy in the life of a Christian was praise directed at God. Anything else was idolatry. Paul saw the fruit of Philemon life as the work of God and therefore it only makes sense that praise and thanksgiving would be directed to God.
Lastly, look at Paul’s expectant prayer because Paul’s response went beyond joy and thanksgiving but also prayer for Philemon. Paul was always praying. In every letter he writes, he writes making mention of his prayer life and it didn’t matter if he was under house arrest, it didn’t matter, you know? Paul prayed specifically for people, he prayed for the church, for individuals. Paul was always praying. Colosians chapter one verses 9 to 11, listen to-Paul writes of his prayers. He says for this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the will and all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God strengthen with all power according to his glorious might. Those were Paul’s prayers just packed for people. His prayer again, to his letter to Ephesian church. For this reason, I too have heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and the love for all the saints do not cease giving thanks for you while making mention of you in my prayers. That the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ the father of glory may gift you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation and the knowledge of him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of this calling, one of the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Paul prayed like that. Never ceasing to pray. It didn’t matter that he was in prison. It didn’t matter that he was in custody of a Roman solider. He prayed. If the apostle Paul had a robust prayer life you and I have excuse. His prayers were not generic, they were specific, they were not self-centered, they were focused on God’s Kingdom, they were focused on other Christians. You would think he could be specific about himself, because he was in prison. Pray for his own circumstances. We don’t hear that, always praying for others. To look at what Paul prays for Philemon in verse six. It says I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. The very thing that Philemon was already exhibiting in his life Paul prayed that he would exhibit more of the same. That’s what he was praying. Probably one of the reasons that Paul was thankful for Philemon’s life was that he bore the fruit of love and increased faith and Paul says that fruit, that’s an answer to my prayer. That’s one of the reasons why he’s thankful. When your prayers are that someone would grow in love and grow in faith, those prayers even as they’re answered you can continue to pray towards that end because that person will never reach that. You understand? There’s always room for growing. You can never check that kind of prayer off your list. These are the areas we’re always growing, we’re always becoming more Christ-like, we never stop growing in faith, we never stop growing in love. Paul specifically says that when he prays, he prayers that the fellowship of Philemon’s faith will become effectual. Paul sees the generosity of Philemon, the love of Philemon as an outflow of his faith. We spoke of that before and so he wants more of those things of Philemon. The word effectual actually carries the idea of being active, being energetic towards that end, you know it’s like if you have to move furniture and you see this strong backed man standing there and you say, hey make your strength effectual and grab the other end of that sofa. Right? It’s energetic. Paul is in noway saying that Philemon is not showing these things or he’s slacking in energy and this is Paul’s way of giving him the swift kick. That’s not what’s going on here. Paul is just praying that Philemon will continue in those types of actions. You never experience the fullness of growing in grace, of growing in faith, of growing in love. It’s like the chronicles of Narnia the last battle. You know, come further up, come further in, we’ll never arrive there. You must never think you’ve arrived there. You’re never going to wake up and look in the mirror of your life and say I’m finally loving enough. Not going to happen.
When we were at the family relationship conference a few months ago one of the keynotes was Dr Joel Beeke and if you don’t know Dr. Joel Beeke he’s an expert in puritan theology. He was telling the story of a puritan man who was approached by his puritan pastor, and the pastor told him that he feared that this man was loving and showing affection to his wife too much and submitted that to the man to go an pray about. So this man took it seriously, he’s getting something from his pastor, he’s going home, he’s praying about it, he’s searching the scriptures and of course he comes across the passage in Ephesians husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So he goes back to his pastor and he says, I’ve prayed about it and I’ve searched the scriptures and this is what I’m finding. The pastor reads it and he says oh my. You’re right. You haven’t loved her too much, on the contrary you haven’t loved her enough.
Your thoughts will never be pure enough to satisfy God, your actions will never be loving enough to satisfy God, your heart will never be merciful enough to satisfy God, your prayer life will never be often and passionate enough to satisfy God. Listen, only Jesus and his work satisfied the standards of God. Listen. Christ is our satisfaction. Because of that when we examine our own life in light of the standard of God, there is always going to be in us a Holy dissatisfaction with where we are at and we find our satisfaction in Christ. When you look at your life and you find that Holy dissatisfaction it does two things. One it says Lord help me, I’ve got a long way to go. A second thing it says is Lord thank you. Thank you that my satisfaction is found in Christ and your satisfied with his work and I’m never closer to you, but you’re always satisfied in my because you’re always satisfied in Christ. That make sense? So how does one have a faith that is effective? Paul tells us that verse six. This is what he says, and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing that is in you through Christ sake. Paul is convinced that the more Philemon knows about the things that God has accomplished and done, what Paul calls every good thing, that the more thankful Philemon will be for God’s work. How do you think that that thankfulness will become manifest? It’s going to be manifest in love to the saints. That’s why this is such an incredible epistle. It’s a shame that it’s often over looked because there’s so much here for us and that’s why we’re going to-you know it’s twenty five verses, but we’re going to take our time working through it because God has preserved it for us for a reason. It’s rich and as we start to move forward you’ll see how Paul uses all of these things at the beginning of the letter to build in this long series of appeals that he’s going to make and we’re going to be blessed by it. Let’s pray together.
Our father and our God, what an amazing epistle you have preserved here for us. We rejoice in the work that you have produced in your people here in our small congregation we ask that you make us cautions to always give you the glory for every good work. We ask also Lord, that you would allow our love to become effective and active as well as you call us to walk in your ways. In Christ name we pray. Amen.
Host: Well, that wraps up our sermon for this week. Thanks again for joining us we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line through our contact page on scandiabiblechurch.org and let us know where you’re listening from and how our church family can pray for you. As a reminder for your listening convenience, you can also catch Scandia Bible Church podcasts on iTunes and on Stitcher Radio. Scandia Bible Church is located in the beautiful Northwest in Poulsbo Washington. If you ever find yourself in our area we’d love to meet you. So until next week, from all of us here at Scandia Bible Church, may God richly bless you.