Sermon on January 28 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Philemon 17-25
What does it actually mean to be saved? Paul’s appeal to Philemon is rooted in gospel truth
If you want to mirror Jesus to your world:
1. KEEP CONNECTING TO THE CROSS!
- We are received because of another: Jesus (v17)
First command: ‘… welcome him as you would welcome me’
You were not welcomed by God because of your reputation – only by Jesus’ righteousness (2 Cor 5:21)
- We are released because of another: Jesus (v18)
Second command: ‘… charge it to me ‘
Through Jesus, you not only have a zero (no debt) in your account. You have 100% of Jesus’ obedience forever.
God wants zero tolerance – of acting as if we merit His grace, and expecting others to earn our love.
- We are reconciled because of another: Jesus (v19,20)
Third command: ‘… refresh my heart in Christ’
If Philemon is reconciled to God through Christ, he will take initiative to forgive and be reconciled to Onesimus.
‘We have been commanded by our Lord Jesus to follow him and to receive all those who are weary and heavy laden, in spirit and in body,
…What Jesus asked his disciples to do is equally binding on us.”
(Pastor Uwe Homer as he gave refuge to the brutal East German leader, Erich Honecker)
2. KEEP AFFIRMING THE POWER OF THE CROSS!
- The Cross keeps us confident – for the future (v21,22)
Do not give in to the temptation to expect small things from Jesus and His work on the Cross
‘God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or think according to His power that is at work in us.’ (Eph. 3:20)
- The Cross keeps us dependent – in the present
Fourth command: ‘… prepare a guest room for me’
Paul expects to be restored (released from house arrest) – but not without the church on their knees
Remember! It’s all because of another. It is what Jesus has done that is at the heart of the gospel.
Because of Jesus you can forgive when you have opportunity; ask for forgiveness when you must and encourage others to forgive.
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Our culture places a lot of emphasis on ‘forgiving yourself’. What role does self-forgiveness play in Philemon? In the gospel?
- How does what Jesus has done help us with the failures and problems of others? Do you shrink back from them? Or do you press forward, anxious to identify and help? What can we do to help create a church culture marked by the second group of people?
- Think of your ‘toughest’ relationship at the moment. How can use the principles of the gospel to expect God’s power to change the situation? Pray about what God wants you to do?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Justine FG