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Lessons - Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Book of Philemon – Ambassadors of Divine Grace

January 29th, 2010

What is it that possesses us to hate others or bring strife and discord into our homes? Thomas Merton said, “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves and we are not at peace with ourselves because we

are not at peace with God.” (See also James 4:1-2).

Last Sunday, Derrick continued in Philemon focusing on verses 1-3 and Paul’s persuasive appeal to Philemon to do the right thing.

POSITION OF THE PERSUADER

Paul calls himself a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” because he’s willing to become a  prisoner for the sake of the gospel and be obedient to Christ. Paul called himself a prisoner, not an apostle because:

• This was a personal letter

• Paul wanted to make a passionate appeal.

• The idea of imprisonment prepared Philemon for the appeal to come (request to forgive Onesimus and accept him as a brother.)

This is a persuasive letter from a free man (Paul), who gave up his freedom for the sake of a slave (Onesimus) because of the gospel.

PEOPLE TO BE PERSUADED

In addition to persuading Philemon, Paul must persuade Apphia and Archippus because they can encourage Philemon to do the right thing. A review of the characters…

• Philemon: Beloved brother and friend to Paul. He is a lay leader

who works to build up the church. He’s not paid, not a professional.

• Apphia: is speculated to be Philemon’s wife.

• Archippus: Either a son, brother, or a friend (it’s not clear). Derrick noted that he

thinks Archippus is a pastor because Paul calls him a “fellow soldier” indicating that he’s a minister of the gospel.

PROMISE OF PEACE

An anonymous person wrote, “Peace is that brief, glorious moment in history then everybody stands around reloading.” It is not peace, but grace that comes first. There can be no peace without the grace of God.

1. Grace is the unconditional love and goodwill from God demonstrated to sinful humanity in the saving work of Christ.

2. Peace is the spiritual effect of God’s grace, restoring the proper relationships between God and humanity and between you and me.

Grace and peace allows us to be compassionate towards one another (to have the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23).

APPLICATION

The grace of Christ can overcome. (Chains, such as Paul experienced mean nothing, Christ overcame.) As a believer, your circumstances can pale in the consuming glory of serving Jesus Christ. Peace comes through the grace of Christ. Nothing you do or say would be more Christlike to a warring world or a hostile home, than to become a peacemaker — an ambassador of divine grace.

Derrick closed with words Robert Kennedy quoted from his favorite poet, Aeschylus, in a speech following MLK’s death… “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Those who know Christ (peacemakers) are the ambassadors of grace.

(Material is Copyright © 2010 by Derrick G. Jeter. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.)

 

Topic Description Date
The Book of Philemon – Ambassadors of Divine Grace What is it that possesses us to hate others or bring strife and discord into our homes? Thomas Merton said, “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.” (See also James 4:1-2). Last Sunday, Derrick continued in Philemon focusing on ... [more] 1/29/2010
The Book of Philemon – Introduction
Last week Derrick overviewed Philemon. As we’ll see over the next few weeks, this is a story of redemption and reconciliation. The letter’s length (25 verses) is significant and reveals three truths:

 

• God preserves His Word.

• God believes the letter is important.

... [more]
1/26/2010