Summary: Sermon explores in depth Philemon 4-7; the character of Philemon - a foriver. Noteably 1)his faith in Christ 2.)his unconditional love 3.) his demonstrable fellowship 4.) his refreshment of others
INSIGHT INTO A FORGIVER’S HEART
A few years ago I was deeply hurt by a fellow believer (Bob)
· I was slandered
· Lied to
· Eventually lost my job largely due to this one man.
For 6 months after the event, the effects of the intensity of that situation would linger
· I would have frequent nightmares
· I would replay conversations I have with this man in my mind, thinking of what I could have said or should have said
· Every time his face or name was mentioned, my heart rate would increase and my stomach would churn
· Have you ever been there?
One day I found myself on a long car ride with my wife and two great friends. One of my friends asked me “Have you forgiven him?”
· Since Bob had never asked for my forgiveness and most likely never will – what my friend was really asking me was “Would I be willing to forgive Bob if he asked?”
· I thought about that question – “Am I ready to forgive?”
o I think so
o I guess I’ll never know for certain unless I see him again
o Now Bob lived half way across the country – the odds of me seeing him again were a million to 1.
5 months ago, I was checking into a LA Hotel when a familiar face passed me in the lobby
· my heart rate increased
· stomach churned
· only one person could have that affect on me – Bob
He didn’t see me. Or maybe he did, and continued past.
I could have done nothing and he would have walked out of the lobby; play the odds that we would never see each other again
But something compelled me to run after him. Tap him on the shoulder and as he turned. I said Bob, it’s great to see you and give him a hug.
That something that compelled me was the grace of God. And as we spoke with a smile on my face, I sincerely meant everything I said as aI wished him well.
He never asked for my forgiveness. But if he had, I know I would have in a heart beat extended him the forgiveness that he asked for.
Through that experience God taught me about the power of forgiveness – that a forgiving heart can heal 100x faster than a heart that takes into account wrong suffered.
- What about you (stories differ – common denominator is forigiveness)
If you don’t have something to forgive at present, you soon will. (back to Philemon)
C.S. Lewis once said “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea, until he has something to forgive.”
Are you are ready to forgive when the time comes?
In Philemon 4-7, we want to examine 4 characteristics from the heart of a forgiver so that you and I will be ready and able to forgive when the time comes.
STAND AND READ PHILEMON 1-7
A. Writer: Paul (writing from a Roman prison)
B. Recipient: Philemon (explain others who would read)
C. Reason: forgive Onesimus (explain)
Paul’s first comment to Philemon is one of thanksgiving. He wants to let Philemon know that he has thanked God on a continual basis by making mention of Philemon’s name in his prayers.
Thanksgiving in prayer was a common practice of Paul.
· Rom 8:8 “First, I thank my God though Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world”