Posted by: peebles | November 14, 2015

Bible reading Philemon 1 to 25 ~ From slavery to son-ship.

When we are doing our Bible reading, if truth be told we often skip past these short 25 verses which make up the book of Philemon.

Yet within this book is a heart touching story of grace, of reconciliation, of forgiveness and of restoration.

When you sit down and read this book, it is almost like an orange, the more you squeeze, the more fresh juice comes out.

The more you spend time asking for the Lord and the Holy Spirit in prayer to help you understand it and show you how it is relevant and powerful for you and I today, the more you get from it.

Now, this book has tremendous value for us today because, in a certain sense, it is the story of our lives as well.
The great reformer Martin Luther clearly saw this and wrote:
“Here we see how St. Paul lays himself out for poor O-nesi-mus, and with all his means pleads his cause with his master: and so sets himself as if he were O-nesi-mus, and had himself done wrong to Philemon. Even as Christ did for us with God the Father, thus also St. Paul does for O-nesi-mus with Philemon… We are all His O-nesi-mus to my thinking.”
Let us look at verse 2 just for a few minutes before going into what God wants us to learn today.
Verse 2 ~ And to the church that meets in your home.
It is a sad refection that a lot of people who grow up within a christian home, and have watch their parents read the Bible and heard them pray, but sad to say have like O-nesi-mus have in one way or another ran away from the faith.
Notice if you will the wording used by the Apostle Paul, “The church that meets in your home.”
Your home should be a church for lost souls, a haven from the storms of life.
Your home should be a place where God is honored and worshiped,
Your home should be a place where loves dwells.
Your home should be a place where the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit can be found.
Your home should be a place of power and prayer.
If you have someone who has in a way turned or ran away from the faith like O-nesi-mus, then never stop praying for them to return to your home not as a lost soul, but better still as a saved one like O-nesi-mus.
Story ~ Since the day her son was born in 354 AD Monica never stopped praying for her son to come to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
The name of her son was Augustine and he lived in a place called Hippo that is located in Algeria, when he was a teenager he was a “party animal” but he was also very rich and well educated in all the Roman pagan ways and Roman literature.
But he was reckless and out of control.
Furthermore, during his wild years he indulged in every form of lustful sin possible, with a great deal of shrine prostitutes.
However in 386 AD, after 32 years of faithfully praying for her son, Augustine had an amazing conversion and turned his back on his sinful way of life to live for God and pursue a life devoted to God and holiness.
His transformed lifestyle had such an effect not on on his generation but also on those who read of his amazing testimony today.
It is so very easy to judge someone, on their appearance and on their past, yet when we take time to see beyond those things we may discover a powerful Apostle Paul in the making.
Story ~ Jim Cymbala preaches at a church in the slums of New York.
He tells the following story:
It was Easter Sunday and I was so tired at the end of the day that I just went to the edge of the platform, pulled down my tie and sat down and draped my feet over the edge.
It was a wonderful service with many people coming forward, the counselors were talking with these people.
As I was sitting there, I looked up the middle aisle, and there in about the third row was a man who looked about fifty, disheveled, filthy.
He looked up at me rather sheepishly, as if saying, “Could I talk to you?” We have homeless people coming in all the time, asking for money or whatever.
So as I sat there, I said to myself, though I am ashamed of it, “What a way to end a Sunday. I’ve had such a good time, preaching and ministering, and here’s a fellow probably wanting some money for more wine.”
He walked up, when he got within about five feet of me, I smelled a horrible smell like I’d never smelled in my life.
It was so awful that when he got close, I would inhale by looking away, and then I’d talk to him, and then look away to inhale, because I couldn’t inhale facing him.
I asked him, “What’s your name?” “David.” He replied. “How long have you been on the street?” “Six years.” “How old are you?” “Thirty-two.”
He looked fifty—hair matted, front teeth missing, wino, eyes slightly glazed.
“Where did you sleep last night, David?” “Under an abandoned truck.”
I keep in my back pocket a money clip that also holds some credit cards.
I fumbled to pick one out thinking, I’ll give him some money. I won’t even get a volunteer.
They are all busy talking with others. Usually we don’t give money to people; we take them to get something to eat. I took the money out.
David pushed his finger in front of me. He said, “I don’t want your money. I want this Jesus, the One you were talking about, because I’m not going to make it without Him, I’m going to die on the street.”
I completely forgot about David, and I started to weep for myself.
I was going to give a couple of dollars to someone God had sent to me.
See how easy it is? I could make the excuse I was tired.
There is no excuse, I was not seeing him the way God sees him. I was not feeling what God feels.
But oh, did that change! David just stood there.
Something came over me. Suddenly I started to weep and David began to weep. He fell against my chest as I was sitting there.
He fell against my white shirt and tie, and I put my arms around him, and there we wept on each other.
The smell of His person became a beautiful aroma. Here is what I thought the Lord made real to me: If you don’t love this smell, I can’t use you, because this is why I called you where you are. This is what you are about. You are about this smell.
Christ changed David’s life, he started memorizing portions of Scripture that were incredible.
We got him a place to live and we hired him in the church to do maintenance, and we got his teeth fixed. He was a handsome man when he came out of the hospital. They detoxed him in 6 days.
He spent that Thanksgiving at my house.
He also spent Christmas at my house, when we were exchanging presents, he pulled out a little thing, and he said, “This is for you.”
It was a little white hankie, it was the only thing he could afford.
A year later, David got up and talked about his conversion to Christ.
The minute he took the mic and began to speak, I said, “The man is a preacher.”
This past Easter, we ordained David and he is an associate minister of a church over in New Jersey.
God took him from slavery to son-ship, from the pits to the palace.
No matter what walk of life you come from,
Perhaps you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you have had a privileged back ground where you have never known what is means to be in lack,
Or you came from a poor back ground where you have experienced lack and financial struggles and never even had two cents to rub together.
Or even you may have only known a form of religion, where church for you was only ever about Easter, Christmas, weddings and funerals.
I want you to know right now, that God is here for you.
No matter what walk of life you came from God can lift you up, He can deliver you and call you to a higher purpose, from slavery to Son-ship.
Now that is me half way through my sermon.
Sometime even when you have been wronged as a Christian you have to forgive and move on. Don’t contaminate your beautiful soul by the toxic poison of un-forgiveness, because holding onto forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.
Can you hear the heart of the Apostle Paul, pleading to Philemon, to take O-nesi-mus a man who stole from them, and ran away.
Now Philemon, had a choice, in his heart does he say about O-nesi-mus you are so done, I am finished with you, you stole from me and ran away and I never want to see you again or have anything to do with you.
Or does he as a Christian take the high ground, and begin to pray for his soul, for God to save O-nesi-mus.
But Paul asks Philemon to accept him back not as a slave but a new born son in the faith.
Story ~ I switched the old TV a few weeks ago and there was a program about Feng Shui on.
You may know the stuff, you know, logical stuff like your business isn’t successful because the door is in the wrong place and all the chi energy is escaping!
Or your mirror is facing the wrong way on the wall and your losing your positive flow.
Or if you want to find a new partner make sure the water in your aquarium doesn’t flow towards the north-east.
Because if it does It will cause the ying and yang, to go bing and bang!
Ying and yang make no sense whatsoever, because light will always over come darkness, so put your trust in Jesus for your future, and not some daft idea that your future is ruled by the way you hang a painting on a wall.
It is crazy what happens to society once they remove faith in a creator God.
Quote ~ G.K Chesterton once said, “It is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it is worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything!”
Quote ~ Ray Comfort once said, “Atheists don’t hate fairies or leprechauns or unicorns because they don’t exist. It is impossible to hate something that does not exist. Atheists hate God because He does exist and want you to believe that lie that God is dead.”
But I am here to tell you today that my God’s not dead, he is alive!
Now the Bible says in Galatians 4: 4 to 7 (NIV) When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
It is at this point and this point only, that a person becomes ‘useful’ to God, an instrument to be used for His glory.
Now the Bible says in 2 Timothy 2: 20 to 21 (NIV) In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
To be holy and made for special purposes where you are useful to Master, prepared to do any good work, is the exact place God wants you to be; to be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, filled with the fire and power of the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word for “instrument” is “skeuos” meaning jar, vessel, possession and a general term that can refer to a human being.
However, unlike an instrument that once a musician or workman is finished with it, he lays it down, you are never laid down by God, or put to one side, because you are a son.
You are always in the hand of the Master, ready to do any good work which He calls upon you to do.
Note, if you will, what kind of instrument God makes you to be: you are made to for special purposes for the Master, wow, how awesome is that!
Not just any purpose, but for a special one, to carry His message and do good works in His name.
Notice the words of the Apostle Paul about O-nesi-mus in verse 11 ~ Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me.
Paul wrote that he was sending O-nesi-mus back to his master, “Who formally was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me.”
The name O-nesi-mus means, “useful, or profitable”.
And that is what he became once he was restored back to his master.
The same is true for you, it is not until you come back into a relationship of dependence upon God that you become, “useful” once again.
But what a privilege it is to be used by Almighty God for His plans and purposes.
Now later on in the book of Colossians chapter four verse 9,
Paul tells you that O-nesi-mus served the Lord and went on revival missions, impacting many nations for Christ.
And he endorses that God has changed his life, listen to this ~ vs 9 “He is coming with O-nesi-mus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you.”
Wow, now think about this ~ If God can change a man like O-nesi-mus who was a salve, a lair, a thief and a run away,

And totally transformed his life into being a faithful, trustworthy, powerful man of God, than God can do that for anyone.

It is no secret what God can do,

What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.

Now let me finish with this.

Verse 18 ~ Charge it to my account.
Now, Paul knew that there was still a debt that O-nesi-mus owed Philemon, and justice demanded that this debt be paid.
It is because of this that Paul wrote “If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account.”
What fantastic words for O-nesi-mus, who probably had no way of paying his master back what he had stolen.
And what fantastic words for us, because we too had no way of paying the debt which we owed God.
But God is a God of justice and for this reason we read ~ in Romans 3:25 to 26 (NIV) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood… He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
And the Lord Jesus, for His part, said, “Whatever debt of sin that is owed to you Father, charge that to my account.”
Your debt of sin was not overlooked but was entirely paid for by the once and for all sacrifice of our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ.
Oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul.
So O-nesi-mus was a very fortunate man.
At one time a runaway thieving slave, but now an accepted beloved brother, restored to his master, through grace and changed by the love of God.
It is a fantastic reminder of the wonderful grace and love of God that has been shown to each of us who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus.
We are no longer slaves but sons
The following song captures the timeless message that speaks of our very, very, fortunate position –
I’m forgiven, because you were forsaken. I’m accepted, you were condemned.
I’m alive and well, your Spirit is within me, because you died and rose again.
Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King would die for me?
Amazing love, I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor you, in all I do.
I worship you.
It has been said that after the fall, God’s love would have forgiven mankind of their sins, but God’s righteousness prevented the forgiveness.
God’s righteousness would have judged mankind, but God’s love prevented the judgment.
A catch 22? Not for God. In sending Jesus to the cross for our sins, God showed both his love and righteousness. He is now perfectly just to forgive the believing sinner for the price has been paid by another!
So now when Satan tries to accuse the you before God, the Lord Jesus Christ still stands for you, and nails it by saying, “That has been charged to my account”.
Game, set and match!
From slavery to Son-ship, From darkness to light,
From being guilty to being forgiven, From being lost to being saved,
From living in the pits to living in the palace.
From the rages of a slave to royal robes we did not deserve.
We were slaves to sin before Jesus set us free,
We all broke the law, but Jesus gave us grace and forgiveness,
We all owed a debt we could not pay, yet Jesus paid the price of our redemption,
And we all were lost, until Jesus brought us into the glorious family of God.
Story ~ I once read a small illustration that said if you look through red colored glass, then everything is red.
If you look through blue colored glass, then everything is blue.
But, when God looks at His children, He does so through the pure white purity of His Son Jesus and everything is white, washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
What God has done for others, He’ll do for you.
God can take anyone who is lost in slavery to sin and set them free to be a accepted into the family of God, with all the blessings of being a son.
If God can take a runaway like O-nesi-mus and lift him up from the mud and mire of life, and set his feet upon and Rock,
And give him a firm place to stand and set a new song in his heart,
Then God can do the same for you.
Like O-nesi-mus God can take you form slavery to Son-ship.
And He can use you as an instrument of His glory, useful to God to do great things for Him and see amazing things happen, when you say, “Yes Lord.”


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