Summary: In Philemon 8-16, Paul demonstrates four principals of biblical mediation so that you can be equipped to reconcile two estranged believers 1. Appeal out of Love (v.8-9) 2. Acknowledge the Positive Changes (v.10-11) 3. Advocate Reconciliation (v.12-14
Standing in the Gap
The Ministry of Mediation (Reconcilliation)
Have you ever found yourself “standing in the gap”?
No, not the store. A different gap – one that separates two believers.
Two Christians (relatives, friends, co-workers, or maybe even co-laborers in Christ) who have set themselves up against one another. So much so that there is a continental divide between the two. They are estranged.
Estranged? Mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection - fellowship
And you find yourself in the middle of the two // standing in the gap.
What do you do? What can you do to be a bridge so that both can cross, meet in the middle and reconcile?
What we are talking about is what I would call “the ministry of mediation”
· Intervening between two hostile parties in order to reconcile them.
· “Injecting godly counsel into a diseased relationship in order to bring about healthy biblical restoration
It’s not just a job for elders, pastors or counselors ONLY– it’s a job that we can all do if we are born again.
2 Cor 5 – Ministry of Roncilliation
The Apostle Paul found himself in this gap (review)
A. The Background (v.1-3)
1. Writer (v.1)
2. Recipient (v.1-2)
3. Reason (v.10, 17)
B. Insight Into a Forgiver’s Heart (v.4-7) (Philemon)
1. A faith in Jesus Christ
1. An unconditional love toward others
3. A demonstrable fellowship
4. A refreshment for others
III. Standing in the Gap (the ministry of mediation)
In Philemon 8-16, Paul demonstrates four principals of biblical mediation so that you can be equipped to reconcile two estranged believers
A. Appeal out of Love (v.8-9)
B. Acknowledge the Positive Changes (v.10-11)
C. Advocate Reconciliation (v.12-14)
D. Affirm the Sovereignty of God (v. 15-16)
1. APPEAL OUT OF LOVE (8-9)
(v .8-9)“Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you – since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ –
The first principle in being a mediator is to make an appeal out of love. Paul begins by writing,
Looks back at v. 4-7
· The theme that flows though those verses is a forgivers heat born out of the love.
· Keep that in mind…
“…though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper,”
Paul had confidence (parrhsi]an)
· Lit. “freedom of all speech”
· Used originally in the sphere of politics to signify the democratic right of a full citizen of a Greek city-state to speak one’s own opinions.
· It was frank, honest, direct – held nothing back
But Paul’s confidence (his direct, hold nothing back, speech) in this verse, is described in three ways:
a. In terms of sufficiency – enough
o Could also be translated much, great, enough
o In other words his confidence was sufficient
o Paul was supremely confident
b. In terms of origin – in Christ
o Here was the source of Paul’s sufficient confidence
o It wasn’t in himself, but it was in Christ
c. In terms of application – to order you to do what is proper
o Paul was supremely confident by his commission from Christ command Philemon to do what was appropriate as a Christian. AND he had commanded people in the past
§ In the Epistle to the Philippians, when there was material need, the apostle did not hesitate to command them to supply that which was lacking
§ When the apostle saw a wrong doctrine, as he did in Corinth, he did not hesitate to issue commands concerning the separation of unbelievers from the assembly of believers
§ Where there was malpractice among the saints, the apostle did not hesitate to issue commands concerning setting these practices aright
o Authority was given to Paul by his appointment as an apostle and he was not lax in the administration of the responsibility that rested upon him
You get the sense that Paul is mustering his apostolic authority – he is unsheathing the massive sword of authoratative power; ready to come down on Philemon.
- “Philemon, by the power that Christ has given me as an apostle – you will obey me.
- And he would have every right to do that. Forgiveness was a matter of obedience.
- Paul had used that sword in the past…. but not here, not with Philemon, that wasn’t his preference.
(v. 9) “yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you…”
Paul puts the sword away. Instead of commanding, he appeals
The principle behind the appeal (not command) was love; that which should govern Christians in their dealings and relations with each other. Two reasons he appealed out of love