Summary: You sure got to hear this message, so as to gauge the growth of your spiritual life according to His Word!
We got to grow!
Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer!
Philemon 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house..’
You sure got to hear this message, so as to gauge the growth of your spiritual life according to His Word! It is heartbreaking to watch the people who had surrendered their life in an earlier meeting to again slide back to square one life style! Recently when I had been invited to a church where I had preached several times earlier, I found many of them walk in late and several of them were like ‘dried bones’ with no emotions. Reason? Lack of growth! Hear me out today please! You got to have a consistent prayer life and Bible reading time, in order to sustain the joy of the Lord that you have received during a revival meeting.
Let me explain the stages of growth: we got to move from being a sinner to believer, from believer to laborer and then from laborer to soldier! Amen. But most live a roller coaster life without any improvement. Do we not? Friend, it takes careful planning, meticulous maintenance, persistence and perseverance if you want anything to grow; right from grass to business. We cannot be lethargic and expect to grow and glow!
Let me talk of the book of Philemon, which is the shortest epistle written by Apostle Paul and inserted towards the end of the New Testament; with just 25 scriptures, the book has ‘honey’ squeezed in it. You would love it as you see me expounding the book to you today. We have the preface of the book from verses 1-7, the substance and body of it, from verses 8-21 and then the conclusion from verses 22, to the end. My subject would be only from the first 4 verses and the last four…….listen!
Philemon is a convert through the ministry of Apostle Paul and we see the marvelous growth in his life. He did not remain a guest in the church, but opened his home to run the church. Do you have any idea what it takes to conduct a church at home? I know. Our church began from our living room in Hyderabad, since it was a duplex house, we used the ground floor for church. Since the house is in a colony, we had to keep the volume low and also keep a careful vigil when the kids attended the church, since most of the houses had a garden, we did not want any complaints from the residents. God protected us for nearly a year! Do we use our car to cart people to church, do we use our laptop, our electronic gadgets that we carefully shield for the kingdom of God? Have you ever thought of offering your car to your Pastor for the weekend (even though you may need it during that time) Tell me. We use churches for events like weddings, baptism ceremony and funerals….rather than for salvation of our souls..! This is a cry from my heart! Observe this please: Apostle Paul addresses Philemon as ‘beloved friend and fellow laborer!’ Can your pastor look at you and say this? As a leader of a church, I write this with tears!
There are a whopping 5.5 lakh dedicated volunteers who work without a penny in and outside the Tirupathi hills. On 1st November 2000, it started with just 195 members and has now grown gigantically! People offer themselves with great zeal and devotion to serve in the temple of Tirupathi. Alas! Christian ministry suffers lack of volunteers, dedicated musicians, helpers and many such workers that is essential for the building of His Kingdom! Most of them have crossed to the fertile green pastures: MOVIE INDUSTRY!
Jesus said:”…..My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:26)