The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Ye Were… Ye Are… Walk"
Part 3 - "Every Good Thing"
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
We referenced Philemon as we concluded yesterday's message, particularly regarding the Apostle's Paul's fascinating explanation of how faith in the Lord Jesus Christ becomes "effectual" in matters of devotion God and others.
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints, that the communication (participation) of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:6).
The epistle to Philemon involves Paul request's request to Philemon that he receive an escaped slave, Onesimus, "as a brother beloved" rather than as a wayward fugitive (Philemon 1:16). Paul had met Onesimus in prison, where he led him to faith in the Lord Jesus. Upon the release of Onesimus, the apostle sent him to Philemon with the plea of intercession we presently consider that would become an epistle of the New Testament. While slavery deeply and rightly offends our modern sensibilities, the institution existed as an accepted practice in ancient times. Thus, Philemon would have been within his legal rights to have severely chastened Onesimus upon his return. Paul challenges his brother to overcome his natural inclinations by the presence and working of God's love in his heart. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).
Note particularly the Apostle's counsel that faith would become effectual in Philemon by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." In other words, "Philemon, you are a new creature in Christ, inhabited, motivated, guided, and enabled by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, acknowledge the truth! The Spirit of Christ will enable your love for Onesimus when he returns. Be who you are, Philemon, and love your brother through Christ!"
How will loving Onesimus apply to our lives in this day? How will God call and equip us to overcome natural inclinations "by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus?" What challenges lie ahead? We do not know for sure. However, of this we can be certain: as born again believers, we are super-charged vessels of the "the hope of glory, which is Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27). Our Father calls us to believe the truth about Christ - and about ourselves in relationship to Him. In the light of New Testament teaching, it is not enough to merely believe that Christ can. Can I? Through Him? The answer sounds and resounds through history from the response of Philemon. We know he received Onesimus "as a brother beloved" (Paul mentions Onesimus as a ministry partner in a later epistle). The same blessed Truth must now resound in our history. Who is the Lord Jesus? Who are we in Him? How we answer these questions determines the course of our challenging lives in a fallen world, as enabled our faithful Savior.
"If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of He that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (enliven) your mortal body by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."
Weekly Memory Verse
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9).