Summary: Paul is directing Philemon, Onesimus and you and me down the Road to forgivenes. We find that unforgivness impacts your physical, and mental health. God is not a fuddy dud but a compassionate father wanting only whats best for us. Forgivenes is the roa
Intro: In the past two weeks we have studied the personal yet powerful letter from Paul to Philemon. It is very interesting to note the word forgiveness is never mentioned in this little letter. However much is said about forgiveness by the apostle Paul. Don’t forget the call to put flesh on our faith. Our life is not our own we were bought with a price so we are to glorify God in our bodies. One of the most powerful ways to put flesh on our faith is to find ourselves on the road to forgiveness? Why the road to forgiveness? For those of you that are visual I hope it helps you to draw a picture of what Paul is encouraging us to do.
A report from the September 27, 2004 edition of Newsweek magazine was The New Science of Mind & Body. Persistent unforgiveness can impact your physical and mental health. There is a connection between our emotions and good health. The article says what the Bible has said for thousands of years. Doing the opposite of what God tells us to do is unhealthy not only spiritually but physically as well! Unforgiveness as can affect your memory, heart heath, and a host of other health problems. It is what God has told us all along you will be crazy and crippled If you continue to live your life outside the boundaries God has established for health for your entire person.
So incarnating the life of Jesus is not only healthy spiritually it impacts your physical well being! Again we do not have a Father who is a fuddy-dud instead we have a father looking out for our spiritual, physical and emotional well being.
Proverbs 3.5-6 tell us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”
What direction or what path is Paul directing Onesimus and Philemon and you on in this letter?
He is directing us to the road to forgiveness.
I. Restoration relationally
What is the Road to Forgiveness paved with for the one asking forgiveness?
A) Real Repentance (1.12)
I’m willing to come back to you. I have been forgiven by Christ and I want to ask forgiveness of the way I treated you. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make our relationship right. In the old testament one of the words used for repentance means to return to, in the new a change of mind. Onesimus had changed his mind about how to relate to his master Philemon. Through his relationship with Jesus and encouragement by Paul her returned to see what God could do with their relationship.
Why do many of us not return to those we hurt? We live with fear rather than faith. Don’t let fear keep God from being faithful to restore what you broke. Why can we trust God to take away our sin that separates us from Him but not our sin that separates us from each other?
B) Real Change that takes place (1.10-11)
There was a transformation in Onesimus. His name means useful. However Paul says he was useless before. Something dramatic happened in Onesimus’ life. What was it? It was the reality of knowing Jesus and His forgiveness and grace.
What does an encounter with Jesus do? If you look at most Christians today it does absolutely nothing. Jesus came to offer us grace so we could know God. It is the knowing of God’s grace and forgiveness that radically alters everything about us. Zaccheus, Paul, Peter, People in this body of believers. It changes the way we look at the world and others. To ask forgiveness means that we must see a need to be forgiven.
My discussion at Wal-Mart. Employee that didn’t see the need to be forgiven of sin that he didn’t believe he committed.
C) Rebuilding Trust (1.12)
Why must you make the choice to go back to someone you’ve hurt? Because you broke something! When you do something that is hurtful and harmful you break the trust that is essential in a relationship.
What many want to day is to be let off the hook for what they have done. Oh no I was caught will you forgive me? Translated, will you not hold me accountable for the unbiblical and unrighteous, unhealthy way I treated you.
If you’ve hurt someone what are you willing to do to rebuild trust?
II. Transformation permanently
A) Reception of the one who wronged you (Philemon 1.15-16)
“Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother”