Sermon on January 21 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Philemon 8-16
Onesimus – someone who needs forgiveness. Philemon – someone who has opportunity to forgive and Paul – someone who encourages forgiveness.
Peace-agents learn to say the right thing, in the right way, at the right time to the right person.
In a conflict zone:
1. HUMILITY GETS A HEALTHY HEARING! (v 8-9)
When you need to say the right thing, do not pull rank. ‘I could be bold and order you..’
When you need to say something, drive it with love ‘… I prefer to appeal of love.’
The Father never forced the Son to humble himself to be our reconciliation (Phil 2: 6-8). Humility matters!
2. SENSITIVITY SPEAKS LOUDEST! (v 10-11)
- Think like your Philemon before you speak to him
- Help your Philemon to see the present, not the past
Be careful! Do not let unforgiveness shape your life.
3. INTEGRITY CREATES AN OPENING! (v 13)
It is risky to be vulnerable : a good leader won’t be afraid to expose his heart.
‘At some point the two worlds of whom we pretend to be and who we really are must collide. It is however better to let those two worlds collide rather than have everything snap under the tension of keeping them apart.’
4. ACCOUNTABILITY IS ALWAYS RIGHT! (v14)
‘…I did not want you to do anything without your consent..’
We can lead people to do the right thing – but only they can take responsibility and do it.
5. SOVEREIGNTY USES CONFLICT (v.15-16)
‘…that you might have him back…better than a slave, as a dear brother’
God always has eternal and spiritual goals – even for conflict.
Philemon can only do the right thing when his eyes are on the One crucified as a slave – Jesus.
Remember! We can only help others when we ourselves are past our past, seeing others with the eyes of Christ and forgiving as we have been forgiven.
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Is conflict always negative? Give reasons for how you answer. Can you think of any instances in the Bible where God used conflict for greater good (even in Paul’s life?)
- What made Paul such a helpful ‘peace-agent’? Why would Philemon be more ready to hear what Paul had to say? How should this impact the way we approach conflict?
- Are you in a conflict situation at the moment – either with someone, or helping someone who is?
- Spend some time in prayer for the situation. Ask the Lord what he would have you do and then act on it, for God’s glory and good of those involved.
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Peter Aknai