Our next Sunday teaching series will be in Paul’s letter to Philemon.
Philemon – Grace in Action
We have all heard the adage ‘actions speak louder than words’, and this has never been more true than within the message of Paul’s letter to Philemon. Despite being the shortest of any of Paul’s New Testament letters and being the only one which does not mention the death and resurrection of Jesus, Paul teaches some of the most explosive truths he ever taught! In this short, personal and vulnerable letter Paul chooses to let his actions, and those he requests of Philemon be the centerpiece of his teaching.
Please watch this brilliant little video to see an introduction to the letter and its meaning.
The account of Philemon and his runaway slave Onesimus is worthy of a Stephen Spielberg blockbuster! Paul’s revolutionary actions here reflect those of Jesus Christ and provoke Philemon to not only forgive Onesimus, nor to generously receive him back, but to accept him as an equal, with the social standing of a much-loved brother! Wow!
All theology to be fully biblical must be practical. There can be no such thing as theoretical theology, in the end if it is to truly please God it must become applied and displayed in our lives. Incarnation matters.
In Christ we have the obvious model of the embodiment of grace and truth. He is the Word become flesh – he dwelt among us. And he asks no less of his followers, the expectation is that we too will live out what we believe rather than simply assenting to it intellectually. The New Testament is packed with this basic principal….
47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
We mustn’t kid ourselves, true Christian maturity and discipleship is only ever gained as we move forward in applied, consistent obedience. As we enjoy teaching through this letter together we must ensure that we don’t miss the point and only teach it with words. The goal through this teaching series is to live out GRACE IN ACTION!