Daily Devotional: Monday 15th Juneby William Moody
1:1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon's Love and Faith
4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 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.1 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
Paul's Plea for Onesimus
8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus,2 whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 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, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant3 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.
17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 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.
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Or for Christ's service
Onesimus means useful (see verse 11) or beneficial (see verse 20)
For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; twice in this verse
As Paul finishes this letter he sends greetings (v23-24) from five people who were with him. Nearly all these people are mentioned as being with Paul
when he wrote to the Colossians (see Col. 4:10-15) Luke is probably the doctor and the writer of the third Gospel.
One thing we learn from these people being with Paul was that he believed totally in a team ministry. Although he is probably one of the greatest men that the world has ever known, one of the church’s greatest ever preachers and theologians, he rarely travelled alone, he always had help with him. Ministry in the church isn’t to be a one-man-band. Everyone has a part to play working together and supporting each other as a team. What part are you playing in the work of your congregation?
The mention of Mark (v24) is very significant. Paul’s desire here is for Philemon to be reconciled with Onesimus. There was a time when Mark had let Paul down and they parted company (see Acts 15:37-39). Later they were reunited and in 2 Timothy 4 v11 Paul describes Mark as being useful in the ministry. Here in Paul’s life was a living example of what he was preaching, no inconsistency. May God give us all the grace to be like him.
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