Summary: Wisdom from Paul’s approach to "hitting 60."
Growing Old in Godly Style
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church Senior Adults - Feb. 16, 2008
*Phil 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Aren’t you glad it doesn’t say, “I can do all things through Christ -- ‘til I hit 60.” No -- It’s “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” as long as the Lord leaves me in this world. In the New Testament Book of Philemon, Paul is about to hit 60, and he can show us how to grow older in Godly style.
*Now this was a very personal letter from Paul to Philemon. Paul’s main purpose was to bring reconciliation between a runaway slave, named Onesimus, and his owner, Philemon. So Paul began with a loving, joyful introduction, and then started his appeal to Philemon. Listen to Paul’s words in vs. 1-21.
1. Paul the aged, Paul the old man shows us how to grow old in Godly style. First, move closer in your walk with the Lord.
*In these verses, Paul is not only going through the normal problems of aging. He is a prisoner of Rome, and he has been for some time. Paul mentioned this twice in this passage, both in vs. 1 and in vs. 9. Then in vs. 13 he tells us that he is in chains.
*The fact is that things have been going from bad to worse for Paul. He has suffered incredible hardship and pain for the cause of Christ. But there is no hint that he has gotten mad at God or given up on God. No -- Paul confidently speaks of God’s grace and peace. Then he expresses his constant gratitude, joy and consolation. Through every trial Paul moved closer to the Lord. And so should we. We really can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!
*Pioneer missionary Hudson Taylor knew that. During an especially trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission, Taylor wrote these words to his wife, "We have 25 cents -- and all the promises of God!”
*Corrie Ten Boom said, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. -- You sit still and trust the engineer.” (1)
2. How can I grow old in Godly style? Move closer in your walk with the Lord, and make the most of every opportunity to serve.
*That what Paul was doing. No longer could he travel the world for the cause of Christ. But Paul could write letters, and he did. -- Aren’t you glad!
*Paul could also pray, and he did. In vs. 4 Paul told Philemon, “I make mention of you always in my prayers.”
3. God will give us many opportunities to serve Him, so make the most of every opportunity to serve, and mend fences.
*This was Paul’s main purpose in writing to Philemon. And you will never have to deal with a runaway slave, but there are all kinds of problems around us: problems in families, problems between friends. And sometimes we can help. God will help us to help others. God wants us to help others. God wants us to be peacemakers. As the Lord said in Matt 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
4. How can I grow old in Godly style? Mend fences, and multiply your efforts to share Christ.
*I love what Paul said here in vs. 10-11, “I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.”
*Paul’s chains couldn’t keep him from sharing Jesus! Paul’s chains could not keep him from leading people to the Lord! And God wants us to do everything we can to help people come to Christ. People like Onesimus still need to be saved. Young people still need to have their lives turned around. Don’t think for a moment that you can’t help. You can pray for them. You can call someone. You can send card. You can tell people what Jesus means to you. You can invite people to church. You can make a difference!
*Yesterday, I went to visit Terry D’s sister in St. Francis. Her name is Pam, and I would guess she’s about 40. There is something going on in Pam’s body. She may have MS, but she has strong faith, and she is trusting in the Lord.
*After I had been there a while, Pam started talking about her dad, Robert. He passed away a few years ago, after a long battle with cancer. Pam talked about her dad’s strong faith and how he never quit trying to tell people about Jesus. “Purpose Driven Life” was a big thing at the time, and they bought two cases of the books at Sam’s because Pam’s dad loved to give then away at the hospital.