Summary: Being a Christian who refreshes others is a great legacy!
Becoming A Person Who Refreshes Others
1. Coincidences: My experience with Dan Leach in Reston, VA.
2. Paul the Apostle recognized that coincidences are not always coincidences; there is more rhyme and reason in seemingly chance events than we can realize.
3. Paul had experienced such a coincidence. He met a run away slave named Onesimus; Paul led him to Christ, and then found out that the slave belonged to a friend of his, Philemon, a key member of the church at Colossae. Paul probably wrote many personal letters like the letter to Philemon, letters that have been lost. But, again, we have to understand the sovereign hand of God: He preserved what we needed.
4. But there is another theme that flows through this letter: conflict management. Onesimus, by deserting his master, Philemon, had created bitter feelings. Paul, by helping Onesimus – and asking Philemon to free him and allow him to help Paul – risked potential for conflict between Paul and Onesimus.
5. If I have said this once, I have said this a hundred times: conflict is directly related to respect. When others feel respected by us, conflict is lessened; when others feel like we do not respect them, conflict is increased.
6. So Paul goes out of his way to assure Philemon that he holds him in high esteem and greatly respects him. This is not a lie or an exaggeration, but rather true feelings that, in this instance, really come in handy.
7. In this letter, Paul sets the tone for ministry by relationship rather than pulling rank and using the authority card. Not that Paul was not willing to do so when necessary. But only when necessary.
Main Idea: Being a Christian who refreshes others is a great legacy!
I. Refreshers Set An EXAMPLE for the Rest of Us (1-7)
A. He put EFFORT into His Faith (1)
1. Paul considered Himself a prisoner of Jesus, not the government; Jesus’ sovereign will was merely being accomplished through the agency of man…
2. Timothy was with Paul…his protégé’, "one who is protected or trained or whose career is furthered by a person of experience, prominence, or influence."
3. Philemon was in a different category, a "fellow worker." This means he put great effort into the Kingdom of God; we might call him a devout volunteer.
4. Apphia, probably Philemon’s wife, Archippus probably his son.
5. All addressed because all involved. Onesimus served the family, not just Philemon.
B. He Opened His HOME for Ministry (2-3)
1. Explain how the early church met and was organized
2. Hospitality is still important to the Kingdom of God
3. Various forms of hospitality (hosting a Backyard club, helping people connect)
C. He Made RELATIONSHIPS a Priority (4-6)
1. Paul kept Philemon on his prayer list, so they had a good relationship
2. Philemon’s faith was directed toward Jesus, and his love were directed outward through the specific church community
3. Christianity is both a private and group faith
4. But Paul prayed that he would be better at "sharing" his faith; this does not mean evangelism in this context, per se, but rather letting his faith be more energetic.