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.
5. He needed a tiger in his tank, some spiritual caffeine in his blood
D. He Brought Significant REFRESHMENT to Others (7)
Philemon was the kind of man who brought joy to others, including Paul. He brought joy because he loved others. There are two great apologetics for the faith that we rarely think of. When we think of defending the faith, we think about answers to questions and objections. But being a happy person and going out of your way to show concern for others is a simple evidence for the truth of our faith that speaks to intellectuals and non-intellectuals alike.
a. Also known as encouragement. Philemon made people feel better about serving the Lord, enduring trials, and moving forward.
b. He "refreshed" Paul. The Greek word αναπεπαθται means to cause to rest, to be refreshed.
c. Our vacation at Hannah’s was very refreshing to Marylu and myself. We got lots of sleep, visited with her friends on a couple of occasions, and saw some varied sites. We shopped in ethnic food stores and did lots of walking.
d. We so completely unwound that I was content just be still. One thing we did was go the wax museum….
e. People can refresh. Some people bring joy when they enter a room, others when they leave a room.
f. Spiritual refreshment comes from goodwill, the ability to make one feel at ease, and encouraging content: a good word, making mention that this person has prayed for you, a well-wish, a compliment, etc.
g. One thing seems always true about refreshers: they are INTENTIONAL.