Monday, August 27, 2012

Philemon 4-7

Summary retelling of Philemon 4-7

Paul begins his letter to Philemon with a note of prayer and thankfulness.  Paul includes Philemon in his prayers because he has heard about the love that he has for God and for Jesus Christ as well as all those who follow Jesus Christ.  Paul reminds Philemon that the sharing of his faith works in the people around him for the sake of Christ.  Paul tells Philemon that the report of his love has brought a great deal of joy to Paul because it is clear from what he hears about Philemon that Philemon’s presence among the faithful is a blessing to them.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul finds it easy to pray for Philemon because his love is so evident.  Paul isn’t saying that we should only pray for those in the world who love God.  But he is saying that it should be easy to pray for those who display God’s love so obviously.  We can pray for them easily because God is so clearly a part of their life.  We can pray for them because it is easy to rejoice in what God is doing through them.

For whom do you pray?  Do you pray for the people for whom it is easy to pray?  Do you only pray for these people?

Second Thought:
Paul is also quick to set up Philemon to remember that everything that a Christian does is for the sake of Christ.  Our faith, our journey, our witness, our testimony, our life – these are all focused on Christ and done for His sake.  Paul is remarkably singularly focused.

What parts of your life are done for the sake of Christ?  What parts of your life have little if anything to do with Christ?  Why do you think Paul spends so much time telling others how they need to be focused on Christ?

Third Thought:
Paul tells Philemon that people are saying that he is a blessing in their life.  Paul wants Philemon to realize that his presence is valued.  Paul also wants to establish the reputation within Philemon that will help him speak to the issue of Onesimus.  But in all of this, Paul is giving us a clear theological teaching.  Our presence should be a blessing into the lives of others.  It’s plain and simple.  We shouldn’t be living in such a way so that people regret that we are a part of their life.  We should be living so that people are glad to have our influence in their life.

Who do you think is genuinely glad to know you and have you as a part of their life?  Who are you genuinely glad to have in your life?  Why is it useful to us to think about the people in our lives that we consider a blessing?

Passage for Tomorrow: Philemon 8-12
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