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And I am going to invite you on a little witch hunt this morning to look for the book of Philemon. If if you’ve not ever found that book and you’re wondering if I’m lying to you, if that is even a book of the Bible, it comes right before the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. And to let you know, over the last over the next few weeks, we’re going to be studying what I’m just going to call the the Bible’s babies, which is like just the baby books of the Bible for a couple of reasons. One, when you get to knock something off the to do list, there is such an endorphin rush for that, right? Like if you live by to do list, you know what I’m like. You sometimes even put on your to do list make a to do list just so you can cross that off and then feel good that you’ve accomplished something. And when it comes to the books of the Bible, I mean, what better way to make your self feel good about reading books of the Bible than to go with the shortest ones first? And so we’re going to be doing that over the next few weeks. We’re going to look at the shorter books of the Bible and just gleaning from that what God desires with the first century as some of these passages written in the New Testament and and a couple in the Old Testament and then relate it to us and its practicality today, what it still means for us because God’s word is timeless.

So when you get to heaven, you can be like, God be like, Did you read my word? You’ll be like, Man, I read so much of your word. We even went through like six books together in the church. Just don’t tell them it’s one chapter. Okay? And and and so we’ll just dive into this this series together, starting with the book of Philemon, which is the first of the shortest books in the New Testament. This book is an interesting letter. It’s written by Paul. It’s it’s very short in nature, as we’ve already mentioned. It’s just a less than a chapter long. But out of the books that Paul wrote, it writes this is this is one of the most personal letters that Paul records Out of all of his letters. He does write a few to address to individuals. But most of what Philemon contains is directly related to one person. This book is also somewhat of an awkward book. Paul is he’s very personal in this, and you see his love for the church to that. But one of the things that makes it such an awkward book is because of the context in which we find the book of Philemon written, it’s really involves two characters, one by the name of Onissimus, the other one by the name of Philemon Philemon being master Onissimus being the servant or slave of a household Onissimus robbed from Philemon and he ran away from him.

And so Paul is writing this letter to address the circumstance between these two individuals. But what makes this an awkward book is the fact that when we talk about the book of Philemon, it deals with with slavery. One of the problems that we have when we approach a text like this and you hear the word slavery is that oftentimes you immediately throw into the text the idea of of American church history and what slavery represented. And and I think it’s important to to really glean what is written from this book to to to understand that when it talks about slavery in the first century, in no way equates to slavery in American history. In the 19th century, American history, in the 19th century, slavery, it it was directed towards a particular people group, African American people. It was demeaning of of character. It’s demeaning of the identity of the worth of an individual. And in that stand, slavery is not biblical. It’s not good, it’s not healthy. God’s created us all in his image of equal value and worth. And I know even according to history, people try to use biblical reasons to support their ungodly stand of which we were wise enough and hopefully in Scripture today to know that that is not true. That is not the case. And all of us are created in the image of God and all of us have worth, value and meaning in Him.

All of us are equal. God is no respecter of persons. What makes that different than the term slavery that’s used today? I know even some translators, when they use biblical texts that relates to slavery, they’ll often translate the word slave as servant rather than slave because it it gives it a better understanding of what was taking place in the first century. People were not slaves based on gender, race, quality, religion beliefs. They were oftentimes found them slaves selves in slavery because of indebtedness. Sometimes it was because of their country was conquered. But more often than not, people found themselves in slavery because of a debt they could not pay. When when someone went into slavery, the one that that went into servanthood, the master of that individual would oftentimes take them in because of the debt that they could not pay. And what it meant for the servant was honestly sometimes a a better way of life, which is much different than 19th century America and slavery. It was a better way of life because they knew as they owed a debt they could work for the individual to pay that debt off, but that person provided for them under their household while they paid off the debt that they could not afford to pay. So they knew that there would be a roof over their head and food on the table and it would provide for them.

I’m not wanting to lead this discussion as saying. And so slavery was good in the first century. I still I still don’t think it’s. It’s good to put anyone under under that umbrella term because God has created us all as equal and in his as belonging to Him. And so the only person that we belong to should be the Lord Jesus. In fact, the Apostle Paul said that in First Corinthians seven, chapter seven and verse 21, he told us, If you can be free, then be free. If you as a slave can be free, then then it’s important that you become free to live under that freedom. And ultimately, I think biblically, Abraham Lincoln in America, William Wilberforce in England and even the first century church, the thing that that really led people out of slavery, first century and on was was biblical teaching. When you look at books like Ephesians, Chapter six and Colossians Chapter four, it talks even in the New Testament and how that relationship should work between master and servant. And when you see it described in Ephesians chapter six, it says to us, servants respond this way to your master, and then when it gets to the master and it says, Master, respond the same way to your servants, it talks about a mutual respect. In fact, to, to, to refer to it as a slave in some connotations in the New Testament.

I don’t like to do that. Rather, I like to point to the idea of servant, because when you look in Ephesians, Chapter six, Colossians, chapter four, the relationship that takes place between them and we make we make application in the church today in those chapters. When we go to Ephesians chapter six, we go to Colossians chapter four, and we talk about the relationship between master and servant. We relate that today between a boss and his his laborers, those that work underneath of him because of the treatment that’s there. If some of you read those passages this week and looked at them, you’d be like, Man, if my boss treated me like that, it would be such a better work environment. In some cases. When you think about the way people were taken care of in the first century when they would become a servant within a household, I mean, we know places in America today where people could they could work 60, 70, 80 hours a week and still not make enough money to provide their own roof on their home from a house and food on the table. But in all of that. This story. Picks up in that circumstance. Onissimus likely a servant to Philemon related in the context of indebtedness that he could not pay a debt that he owed. And in that relationship with Philemon, Onissimus robs him and runs away. The Apostle Paul being in prison happens to have a relationship with Philemon in such a way that he knows servants of his household.

And runs into Onissimus. In Rome where he is in prison. Onissimus becomes a believer. And Paul pens this letter in response to Philemon because greater than that circumstance, he recognizes how God can use this moment with Philemon Onissimus for the greater glory. In fact, Onissimus wants he becomes a believer. Not only does he deliver this letter to Philemon, the Bible tells us he also brings the the book of Colossians with him as well. And so the background of this story is where we pick up the story written to Philemon, and it really answers the question for us. We’re going to look at the individual here of Philemon answering the question, How can God use us to be impactful people in this world? So one of the good things about approaching this letter written to one person is I know how it is. Sometimes when the preacher gets in the house, you know, you come and visit you and you’re like, everyone be on your best behavior. The preacher’s coming over at some point and at some point in like becoming a minister, at some point, people assumed there were just certain words that were okay to use in their regular daily life. But when the pastor comes around, he can’t hear those things, like his ears burn off or something, you know? So these, these apologies of of. Oh, I don’t mean to say that, you know, when you like you got to be someone different when when when I’m around.

Well the book of Philemon and I’m not saying that’s everyone here in any case I’m just saying pastors in general. Okay. That’s just what I’ve witnessed. We’re we’re a perfect church. Right. But Philemon is good for us in this in this sense. It’s written to an individual. And we can just kind of sit back with a bird’s eye view and be like, he is talking to him. You know, you just have at him, Paul We are we are indifferent to this. We are out here, you know, just kind of being able to examine in what Paul is saying to this individual. And so in that way, it doesn’t become personal. But as you see what Paul is writing to Philemon in these pages, you understand that what he’s expressing is how Philemon can be used of God to make a tremendous impact in this world for his glory. And so it starts off first. Three verses are the general introduction that you find typical to most letters. And and it says in verse two that when he’s writing to Philemon, he recognizes the church that’s meeting in Philemon’s house. And then verse three, a very general introduction, Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Can I say we’re going to really lay into what those two verses, two words mean grace and peace.

As Paul gives in the introduction to most of his letters. But there isn’t a person in this room that could ever expect to be an impactful individual for the Lord, apart from the grace and peace of God that we get to experience in Him. And we’ll show you how that works out. But this is what we get into. This is where the meat of the verse is. You see the introduction, there’s the conclusion. But I want to look at the context of the meat of what Philemon expresses to us. It says in verse four. I think. My God, always making mention of you in my prayers because I hear of your love of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints. I want to just start by identifying this verse for us, because in these first two verses, Paul lays out for us what an impactful Christian should look like. Right? I hope that when you read these verses, you can see something that we Repetitiously express as a church. So much so that when when you come on Sunday and you hear it, you’re like, Man, he says the same thing every week. Like, I hope, I hope from these verses you can glean this and I hope that you do feel that way, that I say the same thing every week because it’s biblical and it’s important as a foundation of Christianity. But look what look what Paul says.

I’m thanking God for you. And this is why. Because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints. Right. I mean, we we reiterate this over and over what the Christian life is all about loving God and loving others. Jesus says it’s the greatest commandment. As you connect to God, He transforms your life in his grace that you can begin to to reflect that in your horizontal relationship with others. This isn’t something you just gloss over. But this is the foundation behind what Paul says about everything related to Philemon. The reason Philemon can make such an impactful position in life for the glory of God is because he understands what it means to live in his relationship with the Lord. He’s experienced God’s grace and peace in Christ. And he’s demonstrating that in his life. He’s gathering people in his home. He’s got the the the Church of God gathering in his home to continue to celebrate the grace and peace of God that’s been experienced in his life. And then Paul moves on just further relating to this this practical understanding of. Give me a click. In verse six. And I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you, for Christ’s sake. So Paul is saying in verse six, Look, you’re growing in this grace of God and you’re demonstrating His love for for others and in your relationship to the Lord.

And he’s saying, I pray the fellowship of your faith may become more effective through the knowledge of every good thing that’s in Christ. So he’s acknowledging that that that Philemon has this giftedness as he walks with the Lord and he lives out his life for the Lord, that God continues to grow in Him, this godliness that affects those around him. In a. Concise way. Just saying. Faith is intended to be practical. Saying you believe in Jesus isn’t really a believer in Jesus. Believers in Jesus demonstrated. And that’s what James two is all about. Show me. Or tell me you have faith. I’ll show you my faith by my works. That’s the essence of what James is saying. So James is saying, you know, you can proclaim you have faith, even the demons believe. Big deal if you say that you have faith, but I’ll show you my faith by my works. Horizontally, I will demonstrate to you what true faith is. And so if your faith isn’t practical, it’s really. It’s not worth much. Paul saying that a faith is something that you demonstrate. And as you demonstrate, you continue to grow in it. It’s in the living out your faith that it really deepens in your relationship with God. Anybody can say they love Jesus. I mean, this is America. Most people say that. True believers live it out. On verse seven, for I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love.

Because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother. And so Paul is acknowledging even in in Philemon, this these pillars of the Christian faith loving God, connecting to him in his his grace that he’s demonstrated to us, not just saying that you love him, but demonstrating that you love him. And as that’s lived out, you grow in that faith. And what it becomes to other people around you is a blessing. They are encouraged with joy to see that lived out in their lives. And so on the backdrop. A philemon’s understanding of God and living it out. And Paul makes a request. And I want to tell you, I think this whole book drives to verse 14 and 16. In fact, when I get to verse 14, you might see a couple tears come out of my eye for a minute as I shamelessly say something here in just a few, but verses 14 and 16 is what he’s building out. But he says this now in verse eight. So he’s acknowledging for Philemon, Look, you’re healthy in the Lord and this is why you love Jesus and you’re not just saying it, but it’s being demonstrated in your life for your love for other people, that your understanding of who God is has practically impacted your heart. And it’s being demonstrated in the way that you live your life.

Therefore, here’s the conclusion. Therefore. Though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper. I can tell you to do what I’m about to tell you to do, but I’m not going to tell you to do that. All right? Yet. For love’s sake, I’d rather appeal to you since I am such a person as Paul the Aged and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I appeal to you for my child, Onissimus. And finally, you know, the slave that stole from you, ran down, ran away from you with all your heirlooms, family, things that you cherish. Well, I want to appeal to you for him. You probably thinking if he ever came down your street again, you’ve probably romanticized in your head what you might do to this man. I want to appeal to you for him. Whom I have begotten in my imprisonment. He formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. One of the things that you don’t get in this in our English language is that Paul is is really kind of lighting the mood as he gets ready to say, I’m making a pill to you for onissimus. Onissimus is name actually means useful or helpful. And then Paul gets to verse 11 and he’s like, Yeah, you know, Mr. Useful. Yeah, he ain’t so useful, but now he is useful. It’s like, let’s let’s make this a little lighthearted for a second.

Worthless is now worth something. Okay. And I want to make an appeal to you. And I think this is what Paul is about to do is really important because Onissimus he’s saying, I’m in jail. I found this guy, and now he’s trusting in Jesus. And while I’m in jail, you know, Paul is chained to a Roman soldier. And typically when you’re chained, you depend on people around you to bring you food and blankets. When if you want to live, you need someone to bring you something to eat. And if you want if you want some heat, you need someone to bring you a blanket. And Onissimus is tending to Paul. And now he’s about to send Onissimus away. I don’t know about you, but I want to just be honest on my spiritual condition here. If I’m hungry and I’m cold and someone’s. I don’t care who it is, you’re going to stay here until I’m out of here or until whatever the courts decide. Just please keep helping me. But this is where Paul is at. He recognizes that Onissimus is here serving him because Onissimus has confessed what he’s done, and he’s serving Paul. Without the consent of film. He’s got another issue with a brother in Christ that he needs to reconcile. And rather than keep onissimus there. Paul’s sending him back. Paul sending them back to Philemon. And let’s just be honest. He’s sending them back to Philemon knowing.

The condition of Philemon before the Lord, he just acknowledged. You really love people. Because Jesus has really loved you. And you really love Christ. Therefore, I’m going to ask you this question. You know the guy that robbed you? He wasn’t useful. But now he’s become useful. Because he belongs to the Lord. And I’ve sent them back to you in person. And I’m sending my very heart. I mean, you could see this as the. Sacrifice on Paul’s part. This met my needs. This is what I needed at this moment. And he’s a new believer and I’m excited to teach him about the Lord. And so sending him back to you is not easy for me. Just like it wasn’t easy for you to lose what you stole. And I wish to keep him with me. So on your behalf, he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the Gospel. But this is the part where I cry for a minute. Okay? Without your consent. I did not want to do anything. So that your goodness would not be in effect by compulsion. But out of your own free will. You know, the joy of serving the Lord. So you’re not made to do it. You get to do it. A thing that compels us in service to Jesus, I think is what Paul has said about Philemon in the first few verses. It’s your love for the Lord. And the only reason we have such a love for the Lord is because we’ve experienced His grace.

I’m not I’m being somewhat facetious when I say I’m going to cry on this. But let me let me just tell you why. This is a this is a verse that every pastor in America reads. There’s a piece of them that’s like, I don’t want to say this to the congregation. It’s way easier just to say, go do this. You know, like, can we just make people do stuff? But the joy of it is rather than make people do stuff, is that. You get to see how the grace of God works in their lives. So on the back end of that, here’s where the kick is, is if people don’t enjoy serving, maybe it’s an indication that we’re truly not experiencing the grace of God in our lives. Because I can tell you, in every church I’ve ever been a part of, there’s always a need for people to serve. In an urban area. I found that the need kind of goes through a transition. And let me just let me just throw this out and let me let me disclose to you why I see this as as a verse that I don’t want to share, but I like to share because the back end of that I love to see the way grace of God works in the lives of people. Every year at ABC, about 20% of our congregation moves. You’re in an urban area.

People move here as a springboard to find jobs. This place is exploding. It’s doubled in size since I’ve lived in this city. And in addition to the cities around it, Eagle Mountain was nothing. Saratoga Springs, there was like there was like five people between those two places. And now and now there’s just they’re everywhere. We’re like ants, you know? And and people move here as a springboard to careers, right? But on the back end of that, because this becomes a place of a springboard for careers, you see a high transition and people moving around. So 20% of our congregation every year moves somewhere else for job relocations or whatever. 20% of our people. But our church has been growing by an average of 10% or more every year. So that means every year, if you do that math, 30% of our church is new, right? Which means every year, 30% is you’re growing. That means there’s more people that you’ve got to to tend to to serve and minister to, which means you’ve got to get more volunteers and being able to explain to them how to serve or where to serve or where those impacts are and being able to make serving important for the Lord and how we can best glorify him in our church. 30% of people every year got educated. So when I read a verse like this, I’m like, Well, it would be so much easier if we could just say, If you come here, you have to write.

Like there’s if you if you think that through the math, every three years, a little over three years, like it’s 100% difference in our congregation that’s a lot of replacing to do with serving people. That’s just a full time job there. Forget writing a sermon on Sundays, okay? Let’s just throw that out the window. Let’s just put people in places to serve. I cry. This is what Paul says and this is where the joy is. And the Christian life. That’s not what we want to make people to do. There’s not joy in that being made. But the joy comes. In love. Experiencing the grace of God in your life in such a way that you feel compelled to demonstrate that in your life. The way that you serve. And that’s what Paul is saying in the film. You want to be a person that makes an impact. Philemon. I know that you love the Lord. And one of the greatest joys in loving the Lord. As being able to serve him out of the joy of that relationship that you have. And then he says this. You think about serving the Lord out of joy. He kind of gives us a bigger picture. He says, for perhaps he was for this reason, separated from you for for a while that you would have him back forever. No longer is a slave. But more than a slave.

A beloved brother. Especially to me. How much more to you both in the flesh and in the Lord? How do you make an impact for God? Well, Paul says in these passages of scripture. How do you make an impact in your area for the Lord? Can I make it practical before I draw back to this text to say what it’s saying? It’s easy to live in Utah to say, I love Jesus. How can we really demonstrate that in the way to see the lives of people around us transformed? How do we not play church but really see a difference being made? Can I tell you what Paul is saying in this verse? It’s not always an easy thing to do, but he’s saying in this verse. Finally, man, I need you to die to self again. If you want to make an impact for the Lord, not just make those words statements on your lips, but to really see it happen, you’ve got to be willing to die to yourself. And Paul sang to two Philemon like, you know how sometimes people make you so mad that all you see is red? And until you get to smack them upside the head, you’re not going to feel better. Right. You’re so focused on what is owed to you that you miss the bigger picture. Well, finally, man, I need you to think of the bigger picture for just a second. Yeah, you could get retribution.

You could bring wrath and justice. But I think God wants to do something more. You know, it’s like when someone comes to serve you, but rather insults you or takes from you. You know, that normal tendency within you that’s just to blow up or rather than just blow up. Maybe by the grace of God, if you allow God to work in that moment and allow him to work things out rather than you and your anger. God can do so much more. I think the gospel shines the brightest when it’s faced injustice. And the darkness of night. The light of his grace is most clearly seen. When you’ve been wronged. Yeah, you may be just. To counter that with justice. But maybe rather than respond with justice. Maybe that is the moment where a little bit of grace goes a long way. Paul’s coming to Philemon in this letter and saying, based on your love for people and your love for the Lord, if you could just look at this moment right now and think outside of you. I need you to die to self. Rather than live for your fame. Can you live for Jesus as faith? A church that makes daily living about their personal glory rather than God’s glory doesn’t see an impact in the world. But people that find a place to die, to self, to live to Christ, that’s where the difference is made. Paul in his own life said that in Galatians.

Verse 20 of chapter two, for I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, it’s not I who live, but Christ who lives within me. I. The Bible tells us in passages of Scripture, it uses the word slavery predominantly because most of Rome was in slavery and that was the common individual during the time. And it uses that image to relate our relationship to God. If you want to read about the way the Bible uses, I would tell you. Romans Chapter six, Galatians, chapter three and four. But here’s here’s the kicker as it relates to Jesus, who should be our master or Lord, as that in Christ, we really find the freedom that we were created for. The joy of experiencing that wholesome relationship in him. And when we die to self and live for His glory, it’s for our greater gain. And so when you look at this story, what Paul is saying is, listen, Philemon Onissimus. Yeah, he did wrong. Yeah, he did wrong. But but if you think outside of this for just a moment how God used this circumstance, we can’t always see the back end of this. But you think about how God uses this circumstance. I mean, what are the chances Onissimus ends back in Rome and he happens to find Paul as a slave. And or Paul excuse me, in prison. And and in that moment, he comes to know the Lord and he grows in that. And. And now he’s being used to send the letter of Colossians and, and he’s been used to minister to, to Paul and thinking about the greater picture of how God and dying to self in these circumstances brings out his glory made known.

You know what people need. We need the grace of God to shine in our lives. I was reading a story that came out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Police officers finally pulled over this teenage girl. They had gotten several reports on her that she had been driving backwards through her neighborhood repeatedly throughout the day, actually. And the police finally got there and they decided to pull her over and asked her what she was doing. And she said, you know, my parents went out of town. They let me use the car while she was gone, while they were going. But they gave me a limitation on my miles. And I went I went too far over my mileage. So I’m trying to I’m trying to undo what I did by driving backwards in the neighborhood. But, you know, you think of our. Our world today. There’s a lot of people in this world. Trying to drive backwards to undo what’s been done. Nepal would have only found out about Onissimus only if Onissimus had confessed to him. Incidents in his life felt like he was driving backwards. But the grace of God being made known in his life is what ultimately brings him the freedom and the strength to go back to the one that he’s offended.

Searching for further grace. If that illustration doesn’t hit home. How about this one? 1929. I remember it like it was yesterday. Roy Riegels played for California. And the Rose Bowl. Against Georgia Tech. He comes up with a fumble and runs 65 yards towards the end zone just before the half. Only to find out it was his end zone. He was running towards the player of that game. I can’t even remember his name, but player of that game ends up tackling Roy right before the goal line to save him for scoring for the wrong team and they awarded him the player of the game. It came out a little later that he ended up getting the player of the game, but he stopped his his his his own teammate from scoring. And Roy Riegels was an all-American. But at halftime of the Rose Bowl, the story goes that he went into the locker room and he just sat in the corner by himself. And he just he just bawled because the way that half ended up taking place, his team takes possession at the goal line and they end up getting sacked in the endzone for a safety anyway. And the team ultimately ended up losing the game by two points. But a half time. Roy Riegels sat in the corner and he just bawled that he just fell, fell his team. How embarrassing it was that everyone sees him run 65 yards the wrong way, scoring against his own team.

And he couldn’t even he was beside himself. So they say that the coach came in at half time and rather than deliver a speech to inspire the team, they all just sat there silently. And finally the ref came in with three minutes to go before the half was over, and he said, You guys have three minutes to take the field back. And the coach just looked at the team and all he said was the team that played the first half is playing the second half and everyone got out and ran back onto the field and they said that Roy sat in the locker room with tears streaming down his face, and the coach just looked at him and said, What in the world are you doing? We need you. Get off your rear end. Go back out there and play the game. And the story goes that in the second half of that game. The players around. Roy acknowledged that as the strongest game he had ever played in his life. Grace. Grace gave him the strength to get back on the field. Now look at verse 15 and 16, and for a practical understanding of this and knowing that I sometimes respond in my sinful nature, I just ask myself, Is this the way I live my life? Or perhaps for this reason, separated for from you for a while that you would become have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave.

A fellow brother. Is my picture of what God can do bigger than myself. And to be honest. For someone who believes that God is working everything for good. I have to acknowledge that sometimes I complain a lot. For someone who believes that my life is under the watchful, loving eye of the Lord. I sure do have times of fear and worry. For someone who believes God will bring justice in this world. I sure do get angry with others at times and can carry bitterness for someone that believes that the Lord is in control. I sure do lose sleep over things I can’t ultimately control myself. For someone who believes a verse like this. Oftentimes I find myself loving the grace of God for an offender like me. While desiring the wrath of God for those that bring an offense against me. It’s hypocrisy, right? But God in this passage reminds us. He reminds us in the midst of circumstances where we might just fight for our own justice. The significance of living for God’s glory outside of ourselves. Impactful people died. And can I tell you that the source, the well that we draw from in order to see that happen in our lives, I think first Peter Peter nails it in his in his letter when he writes in chapter two and verse 21 for this you have been called.

Look, this is the a greater thing worth living for. And so it’s this is your calling, this is your pursuit. This is your goal because this is why Christ also suffered for you. Now why would you die to self? How could you allow someone who wronged you off the hook to allow God to work in his life when there’s obvious justice? That needs to be made. Because Christ suffered for you. Leaving you an example. So that you might follow in his steps. He he committed no sin. Neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued to entrust. Look, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. Jesus is outside of himself. For the glory of the father. And this is the result. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And look. By his wounds. The offender. Has been healed. For you were straying like sheep. But I’ve now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls. It’s grace. The only reason you’re anywhere in this world. It’s grace. And the only reason we’re able to worship today and have the hope of eternity. That’s grace. And the only reason that Philemon could make an impact in this world, I believe, is this. He doesn’t let go of how desperate he is in his life for the grace of God to be made known so that when opportunity arises to demonstrate that grace, he can easily do it in the lives of other people because he recognizes how desperate he is for the grace of God in his own life.

You will never die to self. Without walking in your life and recognition of how desperate you are for the grace of God every day. So what makes Paul’s letter so important? The way that he starts most of his letters, he always begins it with grace and peace. Every letter starts with grace and peace because it’s important for every believer to know before they get going in any of these books. The only reason that we’re able to see the goodness of who God is is because of his grace and peace. And the only reason a church could ever make impact for the Lord in this world is because of His grace and peace. And the only reason we would ever die to self. It’s because of his grace and peace. How do you make an impact? I think every day. You wake up in that understanding. So that when you look at anyone in this world. You see all of them as having need for Jesus. Just as you yourself have need for Jesus.

The DNA of ABC

2 John