Week Twenty-two – Blue Plate Special

Monday

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus. Philemon 1:4-5

“Faith”

The best definition of faith comes from scripture:  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1,2).  The 11th chapter of Hebrew is an all-star team of the greats of the faith.  Let’s read Hebrews 11 and emulate these examples of faith.  Remember: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

FAITH IS ESSENTIAL TO PLEASE GOD; FAITH IS ESSENTIAL TO ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO WORK IN US.  Without faith the Holy Spirit is quenched!  He can, but He won’t do His work in us.

Here are some other key passages to study on faith:

Ephesians 2:8 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.”

Habakkuk 2:4 – “The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 5:1 – “We are justified by faith.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 – “We live by faith, not by sight.”

2 Timothy 4:7 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’

#Turn from self-reliance to God-reliance, and put your faith in the ALL-sufficient power of the promise of His future grace. John Piper


Tuesday

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Philemon 1:6

“Share Faith”

As believers we are distinct from the world: we have been “saved by the blood of Jesus” and we have the Holy Spirit living within us so that we may live a holy and righteous life.  We are to remain distinct in a spiritual sense: “You are the salt of the earth.”  (Matthew 5:13).  “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14).

We are called to remain distinct spiritually, but this does not mean that we are to be isolated from the world.  We are called to share our faith with people around us.  It is in the world that we prove our “Christianity.”  We live out our beliefs letting God shine through us: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Being active in our faith involves a passion for the lost.  Luis Palau says that this cannot happen until we really understand that an unbeliever will be separated from God FOR ETERNITY.  To share the “good news” with someone and see that person open his live to Christ is awesome.  That person is on his way to heaven – an immediate transformation for eternity!  Seeing this transformation renews our understanding of what we have in Christ: “Power over sin and death.”  (See Ephesians 1:19-20).

#You have not been left to secure your own future, because God in grace has secured an end to your story more glorious than you can grasp. Paul David Tripp


Wednesday

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 1:7

“Results of Love”

We defined faith from the Scriptures.  See Hebrews 11.  Now let’s define love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.  LOVE NEVER FAILS.” 

This love has qualities of selflessness, placing the other person before oneself.  It is not judgmental and is NOT CONDITIONAL.  The world’s love is self-self-self: “take what I can get.”

True love refreshes the Spirit because it is unconditional and selfless.  The one who is loved by this love feels that he/she is important and belongs.  Our ultimate example of love is Jesus – seeing what he did for us.  See Philippians 2:1-11.  Jesus, God the Son, made Himself into a servant for us.  Why?  Because He loves us with true love that refreshes the Spirit within! 


Thursday

So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. Philemon 1:17-18

“True Friendship”

Onesimus was a slave who stole property from his master, Philemon, and fled.  In Rome he met Paul and was converted to Christianity.  Paul discipled him in the ways of the Lord, then sent Onesimus back to his owner.  Paul interceded on his behalf and asked Philomon to welcome Onesimus back as a brother in the Lord.  Paul further showed his love for Onesimus by assuming his debt (Paul asked Philemon to charge any debt to him).

Lessons to be learned:

1). None of us is exempt.  We all need cleansing.  “All our righteous acts are life filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6).

2). No sin is too great.  Through the blood of Jesus all sinners can be changed from the inside out.  With the Holy Spirit within us, we can live a holy life.

3). Paul paid Onesimus’ debt, Jesus paid our eternal debt.

#“The wages of sin is death.”  (Romans 6:23)

#”As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103: 12)


Friday

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. Philemon 1:21

“Obedience”

Obedience is a central issue.  God cannot really do anything with us until we suppress our pride and submit to Him.  Oswald Chambers says, “It is a matter of obedience, and once we obey, the relationship is instantly perfected.  But if we turn away from obedience for even one second, darkness and death are immediately at work again.”

Oswald Chambers further states that “all of God’s revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to us through obedience.  You will never open them through philosophy or thinking.”  “You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things clear as sunlight.”

This is true love for God.  Love equals obedience.

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”

John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”

John 14:23 “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”

Our pattern for obedience is Jesus: “…but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31).