Takeaway Verse: Philemon 1:25
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Welcome to The Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s Word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, come to me and I WILL give you rest. This is us RSVPing: Yes!! to that invitation. So, take a deep breath and let’s get started.
Today’s episode is called, “One More Thing, Paul’s PS”. Before we dive into Paul’s shortest letter from jail, would you join me in a word of prayer? Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus, and we ask you, especially today to open our hearts and our eyes to what you want us to understand and see in your word, because this is such a powerful story about forgiveness. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Before we dive into Paul’s letter, I wanna tell you a little bit about the background of what we’re gonna read, because it it’s a story about three men. You’ve got a prisoner, you know him, it’s the apostle Paul. He’s the one who is in jail for his faith and he’s writing all of these encouraging letters to the churches. Today’s letter is essentially to just a few specific people and I believe it’s one church as well, the church that meets at the house of Archippus. But man, let me give you the background because this is pretty amazing. So, you’ve got Paul the prisoner and then you’ve got Philemon, who is a slave owner. He finds Jesus through hearing the good news from Paul’s own mouth. And then you’ve got Onesimus who is a slave who runs away from Philemon, and he also finds Jesus.
So, the one thing these three men have in common is the Lord. Okay. So Onesimus is now with Paul. But Paul wants to do the right thing and you’re gonna see what that is, as we read his letter to Philemon, so powerful. “This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the good news about Christ Jesus and from our brother Timothy. I’m writing to Philemon, our beloved coworker,” the slave owner, “and our sister Apphia and to our fellow soldier Archippus and to the church that meets in your house. May God our father in the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” That’s for you today too.
“I always thank my God when I pray for you Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love for all God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith, as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother. For your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you consider this as a request from me, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus. I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus,” the slave who ran away, “I became his father in the faith while here in prison. Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. I’m sending him back to you and with him comes my own heart. I wanted to keep him here with me while I’m in these chains for preaching the good news, and he would’ve helped me on your behalf, but I didn’t want to do anything without your consent.
“I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced. It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. He’s no longer like a slave to you, he is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother and the Lord.
“So, if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this with my own hand. I will repay it. And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul. Yes, my brother. Please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ. I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more. One more thing, please prepare a guest room for me for I am hoping that God will answer your prayers and let me return to you soon.” He was very confident in his friendship with Philemon, enough to say, hey, I’m gonna come see you!
“Epaphras” I don’t know if I’m saying that right, “my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus sends you his greetings. So do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my co-workers.” Here’s our takeaway verse, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Wow. This is Paul saying that God can give you and I the grace in our own lives, and then we can extend it to others.
I was thinking about a time when I was in a department store, and I was shopping for a wedding gift for a friend. And I was looking at really small crystal pieces cuz I was about 20 years old, and I didn’t have a lot of money. And before you know it, I knocked a piece over and this little older lady who worked at the store, she had a white bun and a broom, and she came over and she just swept it up, all the pieces on the floor and smiled at me. She didn’t punish me. She didn’t make me pay. She just gave me grace. And I was feeling so vulnerable in those moments, as vulnerable as that little crystal dish that I broke. And that grace felt so good. It’s so much easier to receive grace than to give it, but I love this in our takeaway verse. Paul is saying, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
When you and I receive grace from God, when we accept the forgiveness for our sins, when we drink up his mercy, that the Bible says is new every morning, we can then spill out his mercy and his grace and forgiveness on others. That’s how it works. So, I wanna close with this. Yes, indeed, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. You are loved.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at onpurposely.com.