Philemon 1:23-24 Don’t Go Easy

Philemon 1:23-24 (KJV)
There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;
Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

At the time Paul wrote this letter, Demas was still with him. This is significant because this is while Paul was in the Roman prison. So, I think it is safe to say that, at this point, the fate of Paul had not been determined. 

  • He wrote of Philemon’s preparing him a lodging. 
  • He trusted that the prayers of the believers might lead to his release.

But at some point, the situation changed. By the time Paul wrote Second Timothy, he knew that “the time of his departure [was] at hand.”[1]

It was in this context that Paul wrote 2 Timothy 4:10 (KJV)
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; …

This context puts a new light on what Demas loved. It was his life. Paul was about to be executed for his faith. Demas forsook him, almost certainly, so as not to be next on the chopping block.

This also sheds light on the expectations of the Apostle. I think of his reaction to Mark when he left Paul and Barnabas. Paul was nearly unforgiving of a man who would quit under pressure. Though that was eventually resolved, Paul’s attitude toward those who left him in tough times did not change.

It seems to me that one lesson would be that, while we ought to always leave room for restoration, we should not go easy on those backing down from Christ.


[1] 2 Timothy 4:6 (KJV)
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

To my readers:
Thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.

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Philemon 1:23-24 Don’t Go Easy

Philemon 1:20 Relationships

Philemon 1:20 (KJV)
Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

Given the strong pastoral nature of the little letter to Philemon, I believe it is possible to draw out all sorts of applications concerning a pastor’s relationship with another pastor. This would be especially true of the relationship concerning a church member who has left one ministry and finds his way to another of like faith and practice. 

  • Apostle Paul appears as Pastor number one
  • Philemon appears in my application as Pastor number two
  • Onesimus appears as the wayward church member

Pastor number one requests Pastor number two, “let me have joy of thee in the Lord.” 
He is sending the member back home. He wants to know that Pastor two will receive the member back graciously. Regardless of what damage he has previously done, Pastor one is returning him in better condition than he was when he received him. 

Pastor number one then requests, “refresh my bowels in the Lord.”
He lets Pastor two know that whatever grace he shows to the member will be a grace received from Pastor one. 

The inner connectivity of these ministries is apparent. They are obviously separate and independent ministries. They are not, however, isolated from one another. One ministry does impact to some degree the other ministry. We do not live in our own universe. Each ministry, if it is of the Lord, is also in the Lord. 

To my readers:
First of all, thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. Secondly, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.

Donate to Bible Baptist Church every time you make an Amazon purchase through this link, https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-1265824

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Philemon 1:20 Relationships

Philemon 1:6 Effective Witnessing

Philemon 1:6 (KJV)
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

I cannot imagine that there is such a thing as a Christian who doesn’t want to communicate his faith effectively. Perhaps we have different ideas of what this communication is, but a genuine Christian wants to share his faith with others. To that end notice:

It will require prayer
The effectual communication of faith is not possible in the power of the flesh. We must have the power, the energy of the Holy Spirit. That must be obtained through prayer. In this case Paul prayed for this energy for another. I suggest that, in order to have such Holy Spirit effectiveness, we need both our own prayers and those of another. 

The acknowledging of our faith. 
The word means “perfect knowledge”. I believe it must come from two directions:
First, we must acknowledge those things God has done in us. 
This is, after all, the heart of witnessing. We speak from experience. In this case we transfer all the glory of these good things to Jesus Christ in us. 
Second, those knowing us must be able to admit there is a good thing in us. 
It will do little good to tell them that we have something good, and we received it from Jesus unless they can acknowledge, they see some good thing in us. We need the good thing and we need to willingly allow it to be seen. Then we need that God will open the eyes of others to see it and hear us that it is from Jesus Christ. 

To my readers:
First of all, thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. Secondly, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.

Donate to Bible Baptist Church every time you make an Amazon purchase through this link, https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-1265824

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If you have been blessed by this blog, please subscribe to my feed and share it with others.

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Philemon 1:6 Effective Witnessing

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Philemon 1:14 Pastoral Ethics

Philemon 1:14 (KJV)
But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

I came to see the little epistle to Philemon as a lesson in pastoral ethics. Certainly Paul was not pastoring at this time, but he was always much more than a pastor and an example to all pastors. I do not believe Philemon is a pastor either but that a church did meet in his house. Onesimus was a slave belonging to Philemon who ran away, probably stole from him to pay for his flight and ended up in Rome where he met Paul. Paul led him to the Lord, discipled him for a period of time sufficient that Onesimus had the character to follow Paul’s instructions and return to Philemon. Paul admitted that Onesimus was profitable to him and that he would have liked to kept him with him. 

Paul could have reasoned that he had done more good with Onesimus than Philemon did and the Onesimus was more likely to grow spiritually with him than with Philemon, who had not even won him to Christ. But Paul was not willing to keep him without Philemon’s approval. He trained Onesimus to return, sent him with a letter that did not actually request Onesimus return and perhaps Onesimus did not know the details of and offered to repay any damage Onesimus had caused. 

Pastors could learn from this. When a member of another church comes to them, their job is to return them in better spiritual condition than they found them. Even if they would like to keep them in their own ministry, it is not appropriate for them to say so. 

  • They should work with them until they develop the character to return a better member than they were. They are not to judge the abilities of the other pastor. 
  • They would be wise never to express a desire that the member remain with them, even when they have that desire. 
  • They should contact the other pastor, not to tell them that a member visited in their church but to ask their pastor what his mind is concerning them. 

That would be pastoral ethics. 

To my readers:
First of all, thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. Secondly, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments.

For this and more than 4600 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

If you have been blessed by this blog, please subscribe to my feed and share it with others.

For more resources from Pastor Marvin McKenzie visit http://puyallupbaptistchurch.com.

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Philemon 1:14 Pastoral Ethics

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Philemon 1:22 Confidence In Prayer

Philemon 1:22 (KJV) But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. It has always been my position that, once Paul was taken into custody in Jerusalem, he spent the rest of his life a prisoner of Rome. I am aware that there are plenty of very good Bible students that believe he was released, traveled to Spain and possibly The British Isles and was later captured and executed. I personally love the concept that Paul went to what is now England. It has simply been my position to not read into Pauline history more than the Bible provides. If there is Bible evidence of his release, I think this verse is it. Paul requested a room be prepared for him because he was confident that the prayers of the believers would effect his freedom. He prepared in advance for what he believed God would do. Honestly, I do not know if their prayers were answered the way Paul believed they would be. God always answers prayer but it is not always the way we expect. What I do see in this passage is:
  • Confidence in prayer. I see
  • Action based upon that confidence. And I see
  • An application every Christian can practice.
We ought to pray and we ought to behave with confidence in the answers.   To my readers: First of all, thank you! It is a great joy to me to know you read the thoughts and lessons God has given me in His word. Secondly, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave comments. For this and more than 4300 earlier Daily Visits with God visit https://mckenzie-visit-with-god.blogspot.com. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006. If you have been blessed by this blog, please subscribe to my feed and share it with others. For more resources from Pastor Marvin McKenzie visit http://puyallupbaptistchurch.com. My books are available at: My author spotlight at Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/marvinmckenzie My author Page for Kindle/Amazon http://www.amazon.com/author/marvinmckenzie

Philemon 1:22 Confidence In Prayer

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Philemon 1:12-14 Really, This is How To Ask

Philemon 1:12-14 (KJV)
Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:
Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

Paul demonstrated in this action, a generous and appropriate means of making a request.

Onesimus was a slave who had escaped to Rome. There he came into contact with Paul, probably being drawn to him because of his friendship with Philemon, Onesimus’ master. (Does this hint that Onesimus’ conscience had stricken him?)

Paul was blessed to lead Onesimus to a saving faith and would have loved to have him stay and be both, discipled by Paul and be a help to Paul. There is even, it seems to me, a veiled request for the same to Philemon. But Paul did it right. He sent Onesimus back so Philemon could make a fair decision whether to send him back to help Paul or not. He did not keep Onesimus and send a letter by some other means saying to the effect, “I have Onesimus. I led him to the Lord. I would like him to stay here and help me in your place. What do you say?”

I have been manipulated by more than my share of Christians who know it is their ethical duty to ask my permission for one thing or another but, wanting to be sure the permission is granted, couch the request in such a way that I will appear the bad guy if I do not grant it.

If a decision maker is not free to choose the negative, he has not really been given the authority the petitioner pretends have submitted to.

 

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For this and more than 3700 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Philemon 1:12-14 Really, This is How To Ask

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Philemon 1:15 Perhaps?

Philemon 1:15 (KJV)
For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;

The Apostle Paul seems to choose his words very carefully.

He says, “perhaps” giving room for reconsideration.
I believe Paul was confident that God had used the departure of Onesimus for the furtherance of the Gospel. By employing the word “perhaps” he allows Philemon a window to dispute the position and thereby think about it and come to the mind of God. If Paul had been too forceful or dogmatic Philemon may have just stiffened up and not given the proposition place to settle in.

He says “departure” rather than to refer to Onesimus as a runaway.
Philemon would have been smarting over the loss of Onesimus. His absence would have caused financial loss. It would also have impacted his personal ego. Possession of a slave was a matter of social standing. To have lost one is indicative of irresponsible handling of the slave and might imply abuse (if the slave feels the need to escape).

Paul chose to soften the blow by labeling it a departure and then to reference the possibility of positive consequences.

Perhaps all our trials and difficulties would become softer and easier to rejoice in if we viewed them all as “perhaps used of God for eternal blessing.”

To my readers:
I would love to hear from you. Leave comments below.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Philemon 1:15 Perhaps?

Please consider helping our church’s teen department by signing up for cash back shopping at Bible Baptist Church Fundraiser. This program has three levels of participation, the first being completely free.