Summary: This message reveals some of the tremendous changes that occur when we give our lives to Christ.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE CHRIST MAKES!
Text: the N.T. book of Philemon
The Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17-
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new."
We can see this beautifully portrayed in the
New Testament book of Philemon. The book is
really a letter written by Paul to a friend of
his, named Philemon, about a runaway slave,
named Onesimus. Paul was in prison when he
wrote these words, and at some point he had
evidentally won Onesimus to the Lord. Onesimus
probably had robbed Philemon, and then escaped
and ran for his life. Then, he encountered Paul,
and was gloriously saved. William Barclay, in
his Daily Bible Study series says that there were
approximately 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman em-
pire at this time. After Paul won Onesimus to the
Lord Jesus, he sent him back to Philemon with this
letter. Now, the fate of runaway slaves in that
day and time was not a very good one. They could,
at the least, be branded with a mark that identi-
fied them as a runaway, or, their lives could
even be taken by their master. But, Christ made
a difference in everyone’s life connected with
I.First of all, CHRIST MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THE
WAY THAT PAUL AND PHILEMON FELT ABOUT EACH OTHER.
They had apparently been close friends already,
but this situation over Onesimus only drew them
closer together. It could have been different.
It could have seperated them had Philemon been
the kind to hold a grudge, and be unforgiving,
but that does not seem to be the case.
Paul calls Philemon his dearly beloved, and
fellow labourer. He expresses confidence in
him, and says that he knows that he will do the
II.Secondly, CHRIST MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY
THAT PHILEMON FELT ABOUT ONESIMUS.
He was probably angry with him, and rightfully
so, yet, he had a big heart, and he forgave him
the wrong that he had done to him.
He had been unprofitable to him, but Paul says
that he will now be profitable to him, for he
is a changed, saved man.
He is to be forgiven, and accepted, not just as
a returning slave, but as a brother, beloved,
a fellow member of the church, the body of Christ,
and a child of God.
III.Thirdly, CHRIST MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY THAT
ONESIMUS FELT ABOUT HIMSELF.
I imagine that he felt some guilt and remorse for
what he had done. I’m sure that he was ashamed
of those actions, and that he wanted things to
be made right.
He had to see himself, no longer as a thief, or
a nobody, but as a born-again, cleansed, forgiven
member of the family of God.
He could now spend the rest of his life serving
God, and helping his master and others. He would
not steal from him any more, but would be an ex-
ample for others to follow.
Paul was so gracious that he offered to repay
anything that Onesimus had taken from Philemon.
This reveals the heart of Paul, and how great a
Christian he really was.
Wouldn’t it be great if every Christian could
give some similar example in their own lives of
how Jesus has changed them, and everyone with
whom they had dealings. He can and will make
a difference in our lives also, if we will only
open our hearts to Him.
Invitation-I encourage you to yield your life to
Jesus today. Let him create a new you!