From Useless to Useful
Bible Text: Philemon 8-22 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: Abiding in the Lord
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
We are permanently in debt to Jesus Christ for the Love He has lavished on us
Philemon 8-9 That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus.
Making Relationships Right
Sometimes the best and right thing to do is to drop, let go of the offense, with nothing said:
Proverbs 17:9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.
Matthew 18:15-16 If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him — work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again.
Philemon 10-12 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. Onesimushasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart
Colossians 4:9 …with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.
As a church our relationships with Jesus and one another are our priority and they are based on love, not on power or position.
God created us to work out our struggles within the framework of community. It’s impossible to be spiritually healthy while being disconnected from the body and/or isolated. This means there is no longer any room to think in terms of you as an individual totally separate from me.
As humans we are limited in our capacity to affect change in our relationships.
Co-dependency: is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.
Co-dependentshave low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.”
God has the Power to Change Hearts
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…
God can Overrule and Bring Good Out of Human Sin
Philemon 13-16 It seems Onesimus ran away for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.
Our natural instinct is to cling to what we need and love.
We don’t like to let go of that which has proven a benefit to us personally.
I can’t live without my blanket!
Whenever we have unfinished business with others, it affects our relationship with God
If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift(Matthew 5:24)
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
Philemon 17-20 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, Write This With My Own Hand: I Will Repay It. And I Won’t Mention That You Owe Me Your Very Soul! Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ
The Work of Reconciliation
What Paul did for Onesimus parallels what Christ did for us
Onesimus had wronged Philemon and thus was separated from him. Sinners have wronged God and are thus separated from Him (Romans 3:23).
Paul had not been involved with Onesimus’ guilt. Jesus was sinless, separated from sinners (Hebrews 4:15).
Paul wrote this letter to reconcile Onesimus and Philemon. Jesus’ work on the cross reconciled sinners and the Holy God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
The debt Onesimus had with Philemon had to be paid. The penalty for sin had to be paid.
Paul took on a debt that was not his own by promising to repay Philemon. Jesus took on the debt of sin that was not his own (the sins of the whole world) and paid it by His death (John 1:29; Romans 5:8-9; Hebrews 7:27; 9:26,28).
This principle is vital to us as a community
Every person has worth and value!
We are created in the image of God!
We are KING’S KIDS!