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Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Philemon  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:16
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Intro; Andy and Dave were best friends from childhood. Andy came from a very influential family in town and were faithful members at the Baptist church. Dave was from the wrong side of town and his family did not attend church. But this societal difference did not affect their friendship in life. They played ball together, were best buds in school and even went into business together after graduating. Andy’s family helped finance their business adventure and Dave had a knack for selling rubber boots to a duck.
The tech business they built together was really doing well and the future of the company was bright, until Dave decided to take the money from the company and skip town. Andy was devastated that his life long friend would do such a thing. Andy eventually rebounded and continued on with the company.
A year later Andy recieved a text from a familiar number, it was Dave, he asked Andy to forgive him and asked if he could come and explain why he took the money. He wanted Andy to know he was sorry and that his life had changed this past year when he met Jesus.
The question I want you to think on this morning is, “What would you do if you were Andy?”
Before you answer that question, I want to remind you of two things;
First of all we live in a selfish society that cares very little about forgiveness. Our culture celebrates and exalts those TV and movie heroes who take vengeance on others. The result is a society filled with bitterness, vengeance, anger, hate, and hostility. Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth mentality!
Second, for a Christian [Andy], an unwillingness to forgive is unthinkable. It is a rebellious, open act of disobedience to God. We are to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
This morning I want us to look at “Living Forgiveness and Reconciliation” in real life.
Text; Philemon 1:1-25
Philemon 1–25 NKJV
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: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. 8 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ— 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. 14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary. 15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides. 20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
This is one of Paul’s four prison letters [Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians], but this one is written to an individual, Philemon.
It’s easy to talk a good game of forgiveness but its totally different to “live” forgiveness and reconciliation. But that’s exactly what Paul is asking Philemon to do concerning a runaway slave, Onesimus, that probably stole money from Philemon.
Paul is asking Philemon to go far and beyond what Dave asked Andy to do. Remember, Andy and Dave were childhood friends and business partners, but Philemon and Onesimus were in a master/slave relationship.
Slavery was common in the ancient world; society was built upon it. The Israelites even had slaves [Gibeonites]. Slaves could be sold, exchanged, given away, or seized to pay their master’s debt. Masters had unlimited power to punish their salves.
Onesimus was in a bad predicament, Philemon had the right to put him to death, but Paul appealed to Philemon to look at Onesimus not just as his slave, but now also as a brother in Christ.
Let’s meet this man Philemon this morning.

1. Who is Philemon?;

Slave owner- He owned at least one slave named Onesimus
Beloved friend- a dear friend, a close friend who is highly esteemed by the Apostle Paul [inner circle] [v.2, 4]
Fellow laborer- a companion in ministry. He either worked with Paul in Ephesus or supported Paul’s ministry in Christ. We do know that the church in Colossae met in his home [v.2b, 17]
Colossians 4:7–9 NKJV
7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.
Family man- beloved Apphia [wife] and Archippus [son]. Philemon had no doubt brought his family to the LORD at his conversion. Teaching them the way and then his son following in the path of ministry [fellow soldier], maybe even ministering with Paul at some point.
Colossians 4:17 NKJV
17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
Redeemed man- We know this not just by the church meeting in his home but he was probably a convert of Paul during his second missionary journey to Ephesus where Paul preached for two years. [v.19]
Acts 19:10 NKJV
10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Caring person- Philemon not only cared about his relationship in Christ but that also with his fellow man [v.5, 7]
Wealthy man- He had the means to hold a church congregation in his house and share his food and drink with them. His house was also able to house travelers, even Paul hoped to be back there again. [v. 2b, 22a]
Praying man- Paul knew this man prayed for him regularly, even to the point that Philemon prayed for Paul’s release from prison [22b]
The character of a man determines his actions/responses in life’s circumstances.

2. Who are You?;

Have you ever been wronged by someone? Sure you have. Being taken advantage of by others is an unfortunate fact of life.
Luke 17:1 NKJV
1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
It’s how we respond to being wronged is what matters.
If we react as the world does, then we jeopardize our testimony.
Ephesians 4:26–27 NKJV
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
Psalm 37:8–9 NKJV
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression
If we react as the Bible teaches, we glorify God and point men to the Savior
John 13:34–35 NKJV
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Galatians 6:10 NKJV
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Do you have the ability to forgive? To forgive means to reconcile with one another. Reconcile means to restore friendly relations. To give your heart.
2 Corinthians 5:18–21 NKJV
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 John 2:9–10 NKJV
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

3. Failing to Forgive;

Failing to Forgive keeps us in chains. Those chains remind us of the pain we suffered, which feeds our anger and resentment, and continually robs you of the joy of living.
Failing to forgive produces the root of bitterness in our soul. Bitterness is like an infection that continues to spread.
Acts 8:23 NKJV
23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
Ephesians 4:31 NKJV
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Hebrews 12:15 NKJV
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Failing to forgive hinders fellowship with God. [This is speaking of fellowship not salvation]
Matthew 6:14–15 NKJV
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
To Forgive Is To Turn The Key, Open the cell door, and let the prisoner walk free
To Forgive Is To Write In Large Letters across a debt, “Nothing owed”
To Forgive Is To Pound The Gavel In a courtroom and declare, “Not guilty!”
To Forgive Is To Relax A Strangle hold On a wrestling opponent.
To Forgive Is To Sandblast A Wall Of graffiti, leaving it looking like new.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Philemon (p. 209). Moody Press.
To be forgiven is such sweetness that honey is tasteless in comparison with it. But yet there is one thing sweeter still, and that is to forgive. As it is more blessed to give than to receive, so to forgive rises a stage higher in experience than to be forgiven. To be forgiven is the root; to forgive is the flower.—
Charles Spurgeon
Are your roots producing flowers?
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