Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 11 September 19:
[Note: Here is a link to a video summary of Philemon: https://youtu.be/aW9Q3Jt6Yvk]
Philemon 1:17-19 — So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.
Paul dedicated his life to sharing the Gospel and serving as an ambassador for Christ, entrusted with the message and ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5) However, Paul didn’t just preach the Gospel, he lived the Gospel as is evidenced in Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Onesimus, Philemon’s former bondservant who had apparently wronged Philemon in some way.
Jesus paid our debt of sin on the cross and accredited His righteousness to us so we could have reconciliation and access to the Father, unity in Spirit. This was Jesus’ prayer to the Father: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22, 23)
– Luke 9:23 — “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
To God’s glory as a true follower of Jesus, Paul mirrors the Gospel he so passionately preached by serving as an agent of reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus, offering to pay Onesimus’ debt and transferring his good name to Onesimus – “If you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.” (Philemon 1:17)
Notice that Paul tells Philemon that, though in Christ he has the authority to command Philemon to forgive Onesimus and receive him back, he prefers to appeal to Philemon in love, giving Philemon the opportunity to join Paul in the work, sacrifice and fellowship of the Gospel. Similarly, Jesus affords us the opportunity to join Him in the work, sacrifice and fellowship of the Gospel by serving as His ambassadors and His messengers and ministers of reconciliation to others through the Gospel.
Confident in Philemon’s positive response to his request and their subsequently strengthened unity Christ, Paul asks Philemon to prepare a guest room for him in hope of a future visit. To His disciples, Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2) Join Jesus in the work of the Gospel today as you await that future day with Him in Paradise – “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 September 19: Live out the Gospel in practical ways today as you share the Gospel message with others.