A Matter that Needed to be Settled

Bible Book: Philemon 
Subject: Forgiveness; Mercy; Love; Friendship
Introduction

This text is a great backdrop for forgiveness. It reminds us “that our God is a forgiving God” and “six reasons to forgive.” In this small book of Philemon, Paul takes the truth that Christians are to forgive each other (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13) first taught in the New Testament by our Lord Himself in the gospel according to Matthew and applies it to a specific situation. Forgiveness is a theme that runs throughout the Bible. It is even used as an illustration in stories like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

The Heavenly Father forgives us, Eagerly, Totally, and Lavishly. It’s the story and truth of the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 15:3, “that Christ died for our sins…”

“I’m forgiven, because You were forsaken

I’m accepted (received), You were condemned

I’m alive and well

Your Spirit is within me

Because You died and rose again.”

This song reminds me of the attitude and action of forgiveness: “Whatever It Takes.”

“God is never more like Himself then when He forgives”

(Man is never more like God then when he forgives)

Paul writes to Philemon in order to make a major request in the area of forgiveness.

His request: “Philemon, treat Onesimus the way Christ has treated you.”

Lack of forgiveness is perhaps the leading cause of break-ups in family relationships.

As a believer, I have been fully forgiven.

Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

However, I am in need of ongoing forgiveness

1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

That Christians are to forgive each other, as God has forgiven them, is the underlying theme of Philemon. The importance of forgiveness is a constant theme of Scripture. At least 75 times, through different word pictures, the Bible deals with forgiveness.

NOTE: JESUS TAUGHT US TO NOT GIVE OTHERS WHAT THEY DESERVE (Beatitudes)

Matthew 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

James understood his half-brother

James 2:13: “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Because by showing mercy to others, he gives genuine evidence of having received God’s mercy.

DISCIPLES’ PRAYER

Matthew 6:12: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”

Note the warning tag:

Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

He is not referring to your salvation or your relationship with Him, but it affects your fellowship (sanctification)

It is the need for the washing of the feet, not the bath;

NOTE: John 13:7-15

LAST DAYS

2 Tim 3:3 “unforgiving”

Now, back to Philemon: “six reasons to forgive”

I. THE EXAMPLE OF A CHRISTIAN 4-5a

“faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus” – as a genuine believer, Philemon was concerned about the Lord and desired to please Him. Conviction from the indwelling Holy Spirit and from the Word of God would also provide the impetus for Philemon to do what was right.

II. THE EXPRESSION OF CHRIST 5b

“love toward all the saints” – this love is produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22), love of will, choice, self-sacrifice, and humility. Paul is helping Philemon to be reminded that it’s not about him.

1 John 3:14: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.”

Galatians 5:6: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”

Paul moves from the external to the internal. Real, genuine faith proves its real character by works of love. When you live by genuine faith, you are internally motivated by love for God and others.

EXAMPLE: DNA of FBCW

Worship God

Love Others

According to Romans 5:5, “the love of God is shed abroad (poured out) in our hearts…”

ILLUSTRATE: Elizabeth Elliott and Jim - She went as a missionary to the tribe that killed her husband and best friends.

1 Thessalonians 4:9: “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another”

III. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR FAITH 6a

“that the sharing of your faith may become effective”

God has called us into a body of fellowship where there is the mutual sharing of a powerful life. Also, this fellowship becomes a powerful witness/message to a watching world.

IV. THE EDIFICATION OF YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE 6b

“by the acknowledgement of every good thing which is in you” – a true knowledge of forgiveness. I’m forgiven, therefore, I can forgive.

“knowledge” experiential knowledge; knowledge that comes through personal acquaintance with the truth. You can read of forgiveness but have no experiential knowledge of it.

QUESTION:

Have you ever been forgiven by Christ?’

Have you ever been forgiven by another?’

Have you ever forgiven someone else?

EXAMPLES:

Lied about

Cheated out of money

Broken relationships

V. THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST 6c

“in Christ Jesus” – for Christ’s sake; unto Christ. The goal of everything we do should be the glory of Christ.

Colossians 3:15-17: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

VI. YOU ARE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS 7

Comforting

Bringing Joy

Refreshing

“in your love” – this is a picture of faith in demonstration-LOVE!  Love is a verb; it’s action. It’s allowing love, the fruit of the Spirit, to work in and through you.

Naghmeh is from Iran living in Turkey as a refuge. After teaching she said, “thanks for being a Christ-like character when we can not see much example like what we read about Jesus.”

Philemon was a source of blessing to everyone.