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July 28, 2021 4:00 am
After the servant on this of us ran away from his master and ventured to Rome. It seemed unlikely that he would become a believer. So what was it that caused a dramatic turnaround in his life today on Truth for Life. Alister bed continues a message from the book of Philemon talking about the inescapable providence of God seeking to see unbelieving people become the committed followers of Jesus Christ.
We are asking God to bring men and women to himself. He chooses in his purposes. To give is often a part in that, but all we are our voices. All we are fingers pointing and Paul was clear on that.
He says what, after all, is Paul what, after all, is a Paulus or Cephas only servants, through whom you came to believe that was the instrumentality whereby they had come to faith if any man or woman is in Christ, they are new creations. The old is gone, the new has come. Not the attachment of religious exercises from the outside needs for the transformation of God's grace on the inside, thereby working its way out through every element of life and it is because of that, that Christianity knows nothing of hopeless cases, hopeless cases that are two reasons why people stay away from Jesus as our Savior on the cross. One, because they think they're too good to meet him and to because they think they're so bad that he could never cope with the and in this room right now. Those who are not in Christ are apart from Jesus on the strength of one of those two things and here's the wonderful thing.
Unlike every other religion in the world which either creates in our minds Friday whereby we are doing everything we should or despair whereby we cannot do what we think we ought to do. Christianity deals with both our pride and our despair because of the laser they were doing marvelously well run right up against the requirement of absolute perfection.
Unless your righteousness said Jesus is akin to that and greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven.
What is the standard for entry. Absolute perfection. Okay, how do you feel you're doing on that basis exactly was never anybody who God's law in its totality. Yes one, namely Jesus.
So unless I am placed into Jesus and credited with all that he has done in the keeping of God's law. I have no place before to the person who feels himself an absolute or herself in absolute total despair and ignominy. You look up there upon that cross bearing shamans scoffing rude in the sinner's place condemned, he stood taking all of the punishment that my sin deserves so that I might be accepted for the father.
All of this is wrapped up in what is happened to Arnesen's people might've sediment of an estimate as I when they went for the shopping reset. I believe a Philemon slave is buzzed off all yes yes he's away now apparently to some of his stuff. Maybe they went to the same. Maybe they went to the church, and Philemon's house and he said well he was always a bad egg. In a way that an SMS character. Funny that his nation would be funny would be called an SMS you know because he frankly was useless when he was here and is useless now that is gone. How how could he ever come back useful. I don't have time this morning to read her stories out of pastoral ministry, but I can tell you about guys who couldn't hardly read, write, or do arithmetic who are then the starting point of the total transformation of their lives was the discovery of Jesus as a friend and Savior and those who apparently couldn't complete high school went on, not only to graduate from college, but to do postgraduate degrees in theology and are now successful and erudite pastors today, but it all started, not as a result of a college course, but it all started as a result of acknowledging that they were absolutely useless and they needed someone, namely Jesus to come and change them from the inside out. That is what has happened to an SMS and that is what must happen to each one of us. What a radical change and what a wonderful way that this once proud Pharisee describes this man had been one of the drags of society is terrific, isn't it. This is what Jesus does as well puts people together who if you see them from the outside have really nothing in common with one another. One is bright. The other is silly. When is it letting the other ones adult and here they are having a wonderful time together. While these people together because of Jesus, you got a really good University Saul of Tarsus.
Absolutely I did then you have some of the finest teachers. Yes what why are you writing a letter on behalf of one of the dregs of society are slowly what makes you so interested in the slave while the same Jesus that dealt with my proud heart is the Jesus that dealt with the despair of this same slave and so actually were standing side-by-side with one another were holding hands with one another.
In fact, I'm sending him back to you.
He is my very heart is my very heart the word. There is's blanks not I hope you like that word is much as I do the just some words I likes blank that is on my like list of the moment so graphic work is it it's it's in the same category as split again so mind remember three of you do, but it is expressive of that which is in the very the very core of your being is that it is the epicenter of your emotion and your humanity. It is, it is that which is the area in which you get a report. Tommy if you are a scary flyer where all of a sudden you're having a kind of split gives so my experience what is happening. It's all happening in your spline cannot rise. That's why, in the King James version. When I was a boy growing up in a naughty boy growing up I look for older sort of funny parts of the Bible and when I would find bowls of tender mercy. I thought while there is an interesting one. I truck pointed to my my father if we happen to be if it was the reading to get that howls howls. This should be quiet, be quiet. I'll talk you when we get home is that Lucas is bowels why does a positive by then that's that's in you see is the round of compassion. It's the very core of things as well blow saying about this character he's my spline there's a lot of spline cannot actually in this Philemon is is all about. You have refresh this blankness of the saints verse 7 to 80.
I'm sending them back. My very's blanks not to down there and what is it verse 20 refresh my spline cannot in Christ Phil Collins to's blankness living in just one life.
If you should believe me now you'll take away the very's blankness of me all baby please don't go. That's what he's saying here to get this this is Christianity.
This is what it means to be in Christ.
This is not membership of an organization.
This is not people been put together on the strength of a stream of our shared intellect. This is not folks who like the same kind of songs. This is a diverse group of people whose hearts are being invaded by Christ and as a result of that, it transforms the relationships with each other. That's why Paul says there is no Jew or Gentile, Greek or barbarian city and or free or bond black/white. Whatever it is he's not reducing everybody to the one shape or color, but he saying that irrespective of all of these things in the realm of our's blankness God has done something well you see your be going up the people now say you want to get a coffee and I'll just refresh your spline cleverly well before before you go home now.
If this is such a good deal with Paul Capon. Yes, he says in verse 13 because this is the real test.
This is not a snow job on the part of Paul. I'm sending this character back to you is really terrific and he's really nicely. You can have them know live verse 13. I would've liked to keep them with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I'm in chains for the gospel. If an SMS it stayed with Paul he could have done what Philemon would've done that is, he would've looked after and for the gospel say but I didn't want to do anything without your consent. He's given up his apostolic authority in making a demand and now he's prepared to give up his preferences. His preference would be to keep an SMS but he is prepared to forsake his preferences and he wants Philemon to share in the decision-making process and therefore without your consent. I want you to do what is good. The NIV again sensors wrong here in the phrase so that any favor you will do it doesn't say anything about doing favors. Paul is not asking for a favor.
He is appealing to them on the strength of agora thoughts.
He is appealing to them in the strength of goodness the same goodness that is referenced in verse six. Remember the difficult verse when it talks about Penn toss Agathon that you goodness that you may have a full understanding of every good thing Penn toss Agathon. Now he says you shared in all of that goodness, and therefore I am appealing to the goodness that is in you and I want you to operate in a way that emerges from that goodness that it is a result of compassion and not the result of coercion. Then he draws it to a close in verse 15 he says you know if you think about it. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have them back for good and no longer is a slave. In other words, what is he do.
He encourages Philemon to see these circumstances as being an out working of God's providence. In other words, to see God's hand in the ordering of these event surely on SMS made his own decision and made a run for and yet God was at work in his departure as well as in his return.
Perhaps he was separated for a wee while so that you might have them back for good is a similar sound as needed to Mordecai when he speaks to Esther and Esther chapter 4 and verse 14 and he says to her. Who knows but that you have come to Royal position for such a time as this.
He says maybe it is God has ordered your steps and brought you to this absolute moment so that you can be this person in these circumstances.
In other words, our lives are not haphazard in Christ were not held in the grip of blind deterministic forces were not bobbing around in the sea of chance.
We are under the tutelage of God's providence, and you know from a human perspective, if you stand back from this you would say to yourself, you know, if an SMS was going to become a Christian. Where is that most likely in his master's house is surrounded by the there's Appia. There's octopus, the soldier boy and if we look at it.
We say you know that whizzes that would be his chance.
An estimate is what a wonderful thing. The people in the congregation gathering in the in the household saying that saying to one another. You know, and let's before we would we do anything else today. Let's pray for some of the slaves and servants in our house. Let's pray for this woman that would let's pray for an SMS and here's a great opportunity of your life for the gospel but no no on SMS makes a run for and people might justifiably have said what is chances grown little chance now that is run away if he was going to become a Christian money surrounded by Christians, there's always going become a Christian in Rome because as a big bad place if he goes away to Rome. There's no chance there is there yes there is. Why, because God is God because God is omnipresent because God's ways are not our ways.
And here's a word of encouragement to every parent of a runaway child. God is greater than even their rebellions. God is sovereign even over their capitulations over there turning over the tracks and though you may not have been successful in this moment here hold on and watch God do what he dies. Enrollment in the equivalent of Rome in the 21st century. There are, I say to you again. No impossible case in theaters on estimates he runs away into the security of his anonymity in Rome does he get a job in the jail. I don't know is he serving the meals is East mopping the place out.
Who knows, but in the providence of Gardy run smack bang into the evangelist. The apostle Paul. Paul Mercer says and what you doing an SMS is in our nothing much you know, come on, tell me what you're doing. How did you get here well I and II would I was slave and a really nice boss's wife was nice to but I decides to run away.
You know what an SMS you think you're running away from Philemon you think you've got issues you you get issues and they have to do with being a slave and I'm to do with being in Philemon sews an issue. This issue, that issue the next eight hey let me tell you something fight on estimates you don't so much have issues as have an issue and the issue is this that you're running from God and I believe in SMS that you've run slap bang into me so that I could tell you that you're running from God and I could tell you that God and the mystery of his purposes has appointed your steps in such a way that of all the people you might be starving. Lunch two or who sell, you might be mopping out where you've ended up let me tell you about Jesus that sent as a result of that. Maybe he was gone for a wee while so that you might have them back for whatever. In other words, he's not going to just make an appearance in runaway. He will stay but even more than that he's going to stay forever. The word therefore whatever is I own on is the weather gives is in English. The eons of time. The eons of time I watch the really sad part I been watching Cranford Judy Dench is in it and some others.
And it was a really sad scene. Last night I watched it when I finally came bouncing out of the skies from Jackson, Mississippi in Houston and so I said let's do something that is relaxing before we go to bed so we sat and watched Cranford and there's this wonderful scene where this particular character girl at Mattie is played by Judy Dench has has been proposed to buy a man 13 years previously and because of her commitment to our family.
She refused his initiatives and 13 years of life of gone by and this farmer, this elderly farmer has reappeared on the scene and reappeared in her life and he comes to her and he informs her that he is going to take a journey and the reason he's going to take a journey to Paris is in order that he might give her time to consider in his absence weather despite all the years that have a lot she might look on him with tenderness and affection, and they might become one in marriage, so he leaves and returns and dies of pneumonia.
As a result of his journey back across the English Channel. The pathos that is represented as she walks in and puts her hand removes her glove and does what in that 18th-century life would be quite unthinkable, puts her hand on his hand, now gone, with no prospect of a relationship, and all the pathos this into that all of the all of the years the 30 years in the unresolved hopes and dreams and every skip me a big lump in my throat. Sentimentalist that I am but let me tell you something.
There, if there's been 15 years for you where Christ propose to use it well and for whatever reason you resisted his initiative if he has come around again to your house if he's knocking at your door, I beseech on Christ's behalf except his invitation be reconciled to God. You're listening to Truth for Life with Alister should stay with us. Alister will be back in just a minute to close with. Maybe the story we've heard today is prompting you to respond to Jesus invitation to become a committed follower, but you're uncertain about the next step you should take if that's the case we would love to help you. Visit Truth for Life.org/the story in there you'll find a short video that explains God's plan for salvation as you listen you'll hear that God's saving grace is nothing we can earn on our own. It's a gift that is given freely to those who believe I can go to Truth for Life.org/the story the story of salvation that's presented in this video is a message that we are committed to sharing here Truth for Life.
We teach from Scripture every day so that God's word will go out and be heard by as many people as possible. Our hope and prayer is that many who hear this daily program will come to trust in Christ for their salvation. In addition to teaching the Bible we recommend books to help you grow solidly in your faith and for a few more days were offering Alister's book on prayer.
It's a book you may have heard me mention earlier this week. It's called pretty big and in this book Alister examines the way the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church.
Paul wasn't hesitant to ask God to act in big ways to asking that many of the effusions would come to be followers of Christ. When you read Paul's prayers. You'll see that they stem from a desire in him to see the gospel spread so that many people would be saved. As you read the short book you will learn how you can pray. Similarly, with the same confidence Paul had request your copy of the book today would you make a one-time email@example.com/donate again.
That's Truth for Life.org/donate now, let's join Alister as he closes today in prayer for this little lateral God, we thank you for its instruction and direction. We give you our humble praise look upon is in your mercy, shine the light of your everlasting gospel into the darkness of our hearts and minds so that we might first of all see that we can see and then I'm learning that it is are very lack of site the demands that he who is the light of the world might come and illuminate the darkness of our hearts. We cry out to you, Lord Jesus Christ, the pursuing one. Even when we have resisted his grace accomplish your purposes. Today we pray and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. A portion of all who believe.
Now and forevermore you ever held a grudge against someone while at the same time accepting God's forgiveness for your own transgressions. I'm probably peeing to question will come face-to-face with an tomorrows program. I hope you can join us.
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