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Philemon 1–25 ESV
Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
The word fragrance is a used word in Scripture used to communicate thoughts of benefit. Beneficial for the one wearing the fragrance and for those who come within its reach.
2 Corinthians 2:14–15 ESV
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,
Ephesians 5:1–2 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
1 Corinthians 16:18 ESV
for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.
Why use the word fragrance? The imagery is as powerful as smell.
Fragrances enrich our lives, and create an atmosphere that can either help calm us or put us into a focused mindset.
Fragrances have associations the world over:
Lavender is thought of as a sleep aid, and helps to calm the nerves.
Peppermint is to help alleviate stress.
Cinnamon takes away fatigue.
Citrus tones are associated with cleansing, as well as improving mood and concentration.
By using the power of scents to our advantage, you could feel more comfortable in a variety of situations.
Our sense of smell is about 10,000 times more sensitive than any of our other senses, and as such play a big part in how we think and feel. But why is that, exactly?
The Smell Report has found that, "our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion.
Smell sensations are relayed to the cortex, where ‘cognitive’ recognition occurs, only after the deepest parts of our brains have been stimulated. Thus, by the time we correctly name a particular scent as, for example, ‘vanilla’, the scent has already activated the limbic system, triggering more deep-seated emotional responses.” Essentially, scents trigger reactions in our head, which then lead to an emotional response.
Smell is the most powerful conjurer of memories and for centuries have been used for their refreshing properties.
2 Corinthians 7:13 ESV
Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
2 Timothy 1:16 ESV
May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains,
Proverbs 11:25 NIV
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.



Philemon 5 ESV
because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,


Psalm 31:23 ESV
Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
God is love
1 John 4:8 ESV
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
and therefore love is from God
1 John 4:7 ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Only when we love and trust God supremely that we have the resources to love our neighbors as ourselves
Luke 10:27 ESV
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
It is our profound love for and trust in the Lord Jesus that will refresh our brothers and sisters most. Only the water Jesus has quenches the thirst of the human soul
John 4:13–14 ESV
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
and we can only give it to others when we are drinking it ourselves.


Talk is cheap. Deeds usually aren’t. That’s why John says, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18 ESV
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Let’s refresh the saints in our lives by very practically meeting their needs with whatever resources God has given us
1 John 3:17 ESV
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Yes, let’s give them words of eternal life
John 6:68 ESV
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
but let’s also love them by laying our lives down for their joy
1 John 3:16 ESV
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
By “the saints in our lives” I mainly mean those in our churches. While we bear some responsibility to refresh needy saints in other parts of the world (e.g. 2 Corinthians 9), we are primarily responsible for those in the faith community where God has placed us.



Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.


Philemon 5 ESV
because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,


1 Peter 3:15 ESV
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,


Philemon 20 ESV
Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Paul knew that if Philemon was the man of his reputation then reconciliation certain. Paul could have commanded forgiveness but this would not have elevated the gospel over the law. Paul wanted the law of love to rule in Philemon’s heart. So that he might be a testimony and a teacher of its power. If Philemon was to reflect Christ and refresh like Christ he must reconcile.
Matthew 11:28–29 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
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