The Importance of Partnerships

Title: The Importance of Partnerships

Bible Book: Philemon 1 : 17

Author: Kenneth Hendricks

Subject: Partnerships; Co-workers



Every aspect of a partnership is a valuable asset. God designed us that way from the very creation of Adam. Someone said years before I was born that two heads are better than one. The bible declares there is wisdom in the council of many. While we feel we need partners to succeed in many aspects of life, we often fail to realize how important a partner is in the ministry. I would shutter to think that, cold-turkey, I'd have to name of all of my partners in this local ministry. I would surely forget  someone, because so many of you are my partners. We do not do God’s work alone. We've built a trust of ministry goals in this church fellowship and we're working towards those with a common belief.

Webster defines partnership as a person who takes part in or engages in some activity in common with others or another. But Webster adds a second definition that I think is better. He states that partnership is one or two people, or more, engaged in the same business enterprise and sharing its profits and RISKS as each partner is an agent for the other and is liable for the debts of the partnership. Paul is now letting Philemon know that partners in the ministry either fail or succeed together but they always work for one common source, God!

I. Paul Recalls The Depth of Their Loyalty, vs. 17

A. Paul Dispels The Doubt Of Their Loyalty, vs. 17

If… vs. 17.

This little word can clear up a lot of issues if it's understood right from the start. “If” is a conditional word that carries with it the idea of either a positive or negative answer. In other words, Paul is saying by using the word ei (i), “I'm assuming we have built a loyal friendship but I need to hear it from you.”

Don't leave people to assume or wonder if you're with them in the battle for righteousness; let them know where you stand. As associate pastors leave WBC, I give them these invaluable words to live by: "Find a trusted loyal friend". We need someone to trust when we can't trust ourselves, when we don't seem to hear from God, when there are a lot of voices shouting different things; or who will you turn to then? Paul is now confirming his partnership with Philemon.

Notice not only that Paul dispels the doubt of their loyalty but also Paul develops a description of their friendship.

B. Paul Develops A Description Of Their Friendship, vs. 17

…count me therefore a partner… vs. 17.

There were many words Paul could have chosen here to describe their relationship but he carefully chose the word “roy-no-nos.” That word is taken from the root word “koy nos.” This word describes something deeper than friend or relative or fellow laborer or co-laborer. It's deeper than brother. It means, “What happens to you happens to me.” It's a picture of Christ giving His life for us.

Notice Romans 6:3-6, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

What happened to Jesus happened to us! We were crucified with Him! We were resurrected with Him! The old man died and Christ put a new man in us! Paul is asking Philemon to do the same thing - die for Onesimus that he may be a free man! Give up the flesh to give him the spirit. What a true description of a partnership!

Not only do we see that Paul recalls the depth of their loyalty but also Paul recalls the depth of their love.

II. Paul Recalls The Depth of Their Love, vs. 17

A. The Manifestation of Forgiveness, vs. 17

…receive him… vs. 17.

The word “receive” is the key word here. This word separates the sheep from the goats. It means to take him in with no consideration for the past, the present or the future. Let me tell you something; if you get into heaven that's exactly how it will be! You've been forgiven! All past sins, present sins and sins you will commit in the future are forgiven. It's hard to love people just like that!

Not only do we see the manifestation of forgiveness but also the manifestation of freedom.

B. The Manifestation of Freedom, vs. 17

…as myself., vs. 17.

Listen to that small, still voice of God. “I'm not a slave, Onesimus is not a slave. I'm free, Onesimus  is free.” Paul is saying, “See how I live my life, we should allow Onesimus to live his life just like us.”

Again this is a picture of our Lord. He wants us to live our lives just like He does. Notice Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Jesus wants us to look just like Him!



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