Monday, November 29, 2010

Some thoughts on Philemon 4-7…

Philemon 4-7

4)I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,
5) because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints;
6)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.
7) For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Truths of the Passage

  • Great Truths
    • We should thank God always, not just when we feel like it. God isn't an ATM machine we go to for quick answers.
    • We shouldn't talk about only ourselves prayer; we should pray for others as well.
    • Pray for effectiveness in our faith; that is, that we as Christians don't just have some sterile, rigid walk with God in our lives.
    • We should pray for knowledge of that is found in Christ.

  • Smaller Truths
    • Help others sharpen their faith.
    • Take note of other people's love and faith and, consequently, praise them for it.
    • Live a life like Paul.
    • Live a life with joy and comfort.

Topics of the Passage

  • Thanksgiving
    • Paul thanks God always.
    • Paul indicate thanks in verse 7 when he speaks of his comfort and joy he has found in Philemon.
  • Prayer
    • Paul tells us twice (v. 4, v. 6) that he prays for Philemon.

  • God/Christ-centeredness
    • Paul says that he thanks God (v. 4).
    • Paul says that Philemon's faith is ultimately toward the Lord Jesus.
    • Philemon's knowledge and effectiveness is found in Christ.
    • All in all, these verses have Philemon in mind but God/Christ its center.

  • Producing Fruitful Actions
    • Paul said he prayed always.
    • Philemon, we are told, was a man of love and faith (v. 5). Paul says that he has heard of these qualities Philemon possesses. Wow! We don't know exactly how well Paul knew Philemon—but what we do know is that word had gotten out that Philemon abided in faith and love.

  • The Christian Life Will Motivate Others
    • Paul seems to be motivated because of how Philemon lives.
    • We hear in verse 5 that Philemon is a loving man; Paul speaks to this and is thankful.
    • In verse 6 we learn that Philemon fellowships. He is not a man kept all to himself; he interacts with others.
    • Philemon's love is not only toward the Lord Jesus, but towards other people as well. Paul calls them "saints."
    • Because Philemon has a love for others, we learn that the hearts of other Christians have been refreshed (i.e. renewed, motivated, or changed).
    • Paul even tells us in verse 7 that he has found joy and comfort in how Philemon acts.

Personal Application

  1. Let other people see your faith and love.
  2. Be refreshed by other Christian's lives.
  3. Don't have a selfish prayer life; lift others up as well.

Theological Principles

  1. God should be the recipient of our prayers—all the time.
  2. There is a direct link between faith and Jesus Christ.
  3. All that we do should be for the cause of Christ.
  4. Like Philemon, the Christian must have a proper balance between loving God and loving others.

Theological Proposition

  • Through thanksgiving and prayer, our hearts should be focused on both loving God and others for the sake of Christ.

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