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July 29, 2021 4:00 am
You ever found yourself trying to find a way to justify holding a grudge against someone else of the same time freely accepting God's forgiveness for you. This is a struggle every believer faces today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg explains how God's grace enables reconciliation, even when that seems humanly impossible as I returned to Philemon. The tiny letter in between Titus and Hebrews come this morning to our third and final study and what is this tiny letter very important letter right here towards the end of the New Testament verse 17. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him that is on SMS as you would welcome me if he is done you any wrong or owes you anything. Charge it to me. I Paul I'm writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back. Not to mention that you will me are very self. I do wish brother that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord, refresh my heart in Christ confident of your obedience. I write to you knowing that you will do even more than I ask one thing more. Prepare a guestroom for me because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers preference, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus send you greetings and so to mark Aristarchus, Amos and Luke my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Well, I think if we were summarizing the message of this letter. As we've said before, we would employ just one word and the word would be reconciliation.
Calvin says that the gospel is the embassy of reconciliation between God and man. If you think of the embassies of the world and you go down embassy role, you find that the flags are flying outside of all of the embassies identifying themselves with their nation from which they've come and identifying themselves with the characteristics of all that that flag represents the notion is that flying is aware from the portals of the church of Jesus Christ is this flags which speaks of reconciliation, bringing God to man and manager God and man to one another, all in the wonderful evidences of God's goodness and the more I read this little letter, the more I wondered whether Paul had something of second Corinthians 5 in his mind.
Where in the second half of two Corinthians 5 he speaks about the message of reconciliation that it has been entrusted to him and to his colleagues reminding his readers that God is not only reconciled him to them as to himself, but has been committed to as a ministry of reconciliation, so that in the same way that John writes dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Here in emblematic form in this letter, it becomes clear that we daren't claim to love God whom we cannot see if we are failing to love our brother who stands before as plain as day and in the case of Philemon. Of course this was concrete in the life of an SMS 11. Let me just reinforce this and you can turn the two Corinthians 5. If you choose, I would suggest a point this out to you in verse 16 of second Corinthians 5, Paul says from now on. Since we've been reconciled to God not only changes our relationship with God, but it changes the way in which we view the world the way in which we view everything and everyone. So verse 16. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation the old is gone and the new has come. If you put that in terms of this little letter that we have before us what it means is so from now on we don't look at an SMS. The way we used to we used to look at him simply as someone who was a general nuisance and who had broken the law and had run away and stolen his master's possessions. We no longer look at an SMS that way, nor does an SMS look at Philemon the way he used to look at him and the reason for the transformation is that both Arnesen was the slave, and Philemon, the wealthy owner of the slave.
The prosperous homeowner.
Both of them have been made new in the Lord Jesus Christ and it is on account of that and on the basis of that that Paul is able to make his appeal in the writing of this letter in the interests of clarity and brevity, I want to gather our thoughts simply around four imperatives which make up Paul's appeal and the first of these is welcome an SMS welcome an SMS if your eyes are open at your text, you will see in verse 17 he says so.
Building on what he's already written so if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me the word. There are four partner is calling a known and it is directly tied to verse six, where you will remember in that difficult verse. We noted that this idea of sharing in the faith in the word therefore sharing his corner near and in keeping with that Paul now addresses Philemon on those same terms and he says our partnership is something that is very deep. It is very significant. We share in the faith. It is the faith that is been given to us in the Lord Jesus Christ and so if you consider me as one sharing in that faith with you. Then I want you to welcome an SMS back in verse 13 on SMS is said to have fulfilled the role of Philemon, Depaul and here he is now fulfilling the role of Paul to Philemon. I know I can get there to receive the welcome you would give me so give it instead to an SMS if I were to show up Philemon.
I know you would give me a big welcome and I'm not able to show up at the moment, but an SMS is going to and therefore I want you to give the hug that you would give to me to him is only seem very straightforward and CNN and almost sort of easy so let me put it in far more concrete terms for us since none of us are able to identify with Philemon as a wealthy slaveowner nor with an SMS is its way what is happened here is that it is been a breakdown in the relationship is significant and deep breakdown in the relationship on SMS is offended gravely and significantly against his master he has run away from his master. His master has every reason to be offended by his actions and to show him no encouragement upon his return. And yet this letter calls for Philemon to do something which is frankly supernatural, and indeed asked so Vanessa muss, an action which he would not naturally have been interested in performing. Have you ever been deeply offended by some as anyone dreadfully wrong. You emotionally, physically, financially, have you forgiven them from your heart. Are you reconciled to them at the deepest level of your life or is it simply that you have allowed the passage of time to is aware cover over a multitude of sins.
And so you think that because you've managed not to bring it up or not to mention it over a period of years that it is dealt with, but inside you know that it isn't, and that your core you remain on reconciled to that individual. At the very heart level of life, forgiveness is not the marker and the Bible calls for each of us who are in Christ to welcome one another with the same level of welcome that we have received from Jesus is not easy.
In fact, it's impossible apart from the empowering grace of God. When our children were small.
We used to urge them always to be reconciled to one another, especially before they went to bed and we would force them to hug each other whether they wanted to or not. I want you to say sorry. I want you to say forgive me and I want you to hug your sister. I want you to hug your brother Isaac. I'm sure that you do the same thing if you don't, you should instituted and are one of the three who was never particularly keen on the moment of reconciliation when it came time for the hog's tiny little person that she was and is she would stick out hers are stomach like us to make herself as big as she possibly could, thereby preventing any kind of closure with her sister see if there is any good touch belly buttons maybe, but that would be all that would happen but there was and when say no no no no no no no not like that prop a proper hug, a proper hug because that will mean that she needs to become more concave and convex. If she is to welcome to herself. The one with whom she is in need of reconciliation. In the early 70s when we were in Scotland and working in Edinborough we were to enter church planned out from the central church in a housing area of government housing where many young people over a period of just a few years were radically and wonderfully converted. The church grew very very quickly and many of these young man had been particularly tough characters in gangs in the suburbs of Edinburgh.
Many of them bearing in the scars on their faces and hands the evidences of their fights with one another and therefore was all the more compelling to be amongst them as a group and to have them singing songs that we weren't singing in the larger and older building and that I still have a strong sense of wonder when they would sing to each other. I love you with the love of the Lord and I love you with a love the Lord and many of these really hard-bitten Guyanese would turn and face each other. People who had been their enemies tangibly convey that to be reconciled to the living guard against whom they had offended so incredibly, it was imperative that they lived in reconciliation with one another. Is there anyone that you are unprepared to welcome profess faith in Jesus, you remain on reconciled to your brother or to your sister.
You refuse to forgive them from your heart. I guarantee you, to the extent that we are willing to do so, and reveals that we have minimized our offense against God, and we have maximized their offenses against us. Secondly, not only welcome an SMS but I want you to charge it to me charge it to me.
If you consider me a partner and he does and if he's done anything wrong. Verse 18 and he has then charge it to me charge it to my account and made you think that if you know your New Testament it's all of the parable of the good Samaritan of the good Samaritan when he came to the man who would been beaten on the roadway, poured in oil and will and wine, and bound up his wounds and set them on his donkey and took him to an inn and took care of them. There man in the King James version. It says, and all the moral when he had the when he departed, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, take care of him and whatsoever thou spend this more when I come again, I will repay the take care of him and I will make sure that all the charges are covered. You see, there is a sense in which it was for Paul, a great challenge to send an SMS bag.
He wanted to keep them for himself. He's letting them go because it's the right thing to do, but he doesn't simply say that he says and when you welcome them back any wrong that he's done any charge that is accrued you can charge it to me to my account. In other words, was he being like he's being like Jesus is being like Jesus because that is exactly what Jesus says when he sends the sinner is aware back to his father. He says father charge all of their indebtedness to my account charge it all to me. Two Corinthians 5 again that he wasn't counting men's sins against them because he was counting men's sins against his son and Christ bears all of the punishment that sinners deserve this my friends is the gospel. This is the gospel. The gospel is not. Do you have issues in your life.
Jesus takes care of issues. The gospel is not due you need to know how to fix your finances. We can do that. The gospel is not how to deal with relationships interpersonally.
The gospel is is none of that. Those things are all fruits of the gospel, but let me tell you what the gospel is the gospel is the story of what God has done. Historically, in a moment in time. For those who had turned their backs on God, namely, all of us in our sin. It is the reminder to us that we have been alienated from God by our sins, and he from Oz by his Roth so there is a double alienation we alienated from God who made us, on account of our sins, walking off in our own way and God alienated from Oz on account of his Roth which is meted out against sin and which must punish sin, so it reconciliation between the sinner and God is going to happen. God must be able to look on the sinner without displeasure and the sinner must be able to look at God without fear.
Question how can that possibly happen. How may we stand before God without fear, and how many are perfectly holy God Luke on Oz as sinners without displeasure. The answer is that that Transaction Has Taken Pl. in Christ as in his death, God's law is turned away from us and our sin is canceled as it is imputed to Christ and it is this great exchange that lies at the very heart of this doctrine of reconciliation and it is when the wonder of this great exchange truly grips and changes a light that such an appeal as this may be responded to on account of the difference that this grace makes an online so he says here is my I owe you.
That's what he said in verse 19 I Paul I'm writing this with my own hand the legalities of Rome demanded that an IOU be written in the hand of the one who was covering the promissory note. So Paul is at work takes the pen from the hand of his secretary and he says let me write this part.
It is important I Paul I'm covering this charge. This is my IOU to you. You will see that it is written in my own hand. I have signed it in my own name. Any debt that has been incurred. I will cover and then almost humorously. At the end of that verse. He says now I'm not going to mention the fact that you roll me your very self, and by not mentioning it. Of course he mentions it. I don't want to mention this, he says, thereby mentioning he knows what he's doing.
You never expect to have to pay the charge because Philemon understands that that which he owes to Paul is his very life. And this is the verse that makes clear to us that Paul was used not only to see an SMS become a follower of Jesus, but also to see Philemon become a follower of Jesus and what Paul is saying is I'm sure that I can appeal to you on this basis and I want you to know that I will cover everything I have, but I'm not going to mention the fight that really when push comes to shove you your entire existence to me. Your eternal destiny under God is tied to my account. And so in a sense what he saying is I led you to Christ.
And here's your chance to repay me welcome him charge it to me. Thirdly, refresh my heart. Verse 20.
I do wish brother that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord yes brother is how the Greek begins yes brother's home list as if he is thinking as he goes along, and he says what he said and then he says yes brother gathering up all that is going before I liked some benefit from you. Interestingly, the word here for benefit on May are nine men is derived from the same root as the word for the word and estimates okay.
If you think about it and estimates means useful on Nyman means benefit and so he is continuing his pond is already said on SMS whose name means useful was useless. Christ is made them useful again and he's coming back to you. And by the way, I would like you to give me some benefit and I am appealing to you as my brother is my brother as a partner. Verse 17 as a brother.
This is a Christian family, loved ones.
This is what it actually means to be in Christ week is not a private matter to be in Christ. It is a personal matter, but it isn't private when we are brought into Christ were brought into a whole family of people and they are our brothers and sister, funny ones, weird ones, nice ones, ugly ones, distasteful ones.
All clients you know whatever Fits put it on whatever hour of the day. We are family in Christ. There are some profound implications that a company being a part of God's family as we'll see tomorrow as we listen to part two of this message on Truth for Life with Alastair big as many of you know this letter to Philemon that we are studying is one of many letters written by the apostle Paul during years that he was in prison he wrote to local churches and also wrote to other individuals. It was in his letter to Timothy that Paul explained that all of Scripture is God breathed. It's inspired and it's profitable for teaching, that's the reason we teach directly from the Bible on Truth for Life. In fact, it's our mission to open the Scriptures every day so that those who listen might come to understand exactly what God's word says and means. We trust that God will use the Bible teaching on this program to help unbelievers become followers of Jesus that he will further establish believers in their faith and that as a result, pastors in local churches will be encouraged and strengthened. That's the mission you're supporting when you partner with us the Truth for Life financially and to show our thanks for your giving today would like to send you a book by Alastair big called pray big. Learn to pray like an apostle. I'm sure that by now you've heard me mention that this wonderful little book by Alastair looks at the apostle Paul's prayers for the believers in Ephesus. This book highlights five key qualities that we find in Paul's bold prayers but it's one thing to study the pattern for prayer. It's another thing to put that into practice. That's why were including along with the book of study guide to help you or your small group applied the teaching from this book, one step at a time.
There's also a brief prayer at the end of each chapter in this book, you can pray the prayer exactly as it's written or use it as a model to inspire you as you put your own words to prayer, asking God to work in big bold ways.
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Join us again tomorrow as we learn why it's important to be intentional about the words we choose to use around our Christian brothers and sisters. The Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living