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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

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INSIGHT INTO A FORGIVER’S HEART

(Philemon 4-7)

I. Introduction

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.

Transition

- 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

II. Review

A. Writer: Paul (writing from a Roman prison)

B. Recipient: Philemon (explain others who would read)

C. Reason: forgive Onesimus (explain)

Background:

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”


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