Working With Other Christians

Title: Working With Other Christians

Bible Book: Philemon 1 : 14

Author: Kenneth Hendricks

Subject: Love, Christian; Work, in Love



There's nothing in the theological world more powerful than love. The scripture teaches By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35. But there is one true defining line that proves love, true love, godly love. That line is self denial! Simply stated; when someone else becomes more important to me than me, I love that person. We must remember For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16. Paul is about to demonstrate that love now.

I. Paul's Consideration, vs. 14.

A. The Respect He Demonstrates, vs. 14.

But without thy mind… vs. 14.

Paul practiced what he preached. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10.

The lesson we learn from this is consideration. As Christians we ought to be theologically close in our assessment of spiritual things. Paul says to Philemon, “What are your thoughts on this matter? I'm not quite sure how to proceed.” In other words, “Are we together on this?” Paul showed great respect for Philemon and his Christian maturity by asking his opinion. As we already noted, Paul could have given orders to Philemon. He could have told him how it was going to be. But that isn't the way Christians work together! We should work to help other Christians feel that they are important in God’s work – because they are! We should ensure that every believer feels necessary in the work being done for the King – we should do all we can to help them realize that they, too, can be used by God to accomplish great things. Paul worked to help Philemon's develop spiritual maturity and to blossom and demonstrate that maturity. Not only do we see the respect he demonstrated, but we also observe the restraint he demonstrated.

B. The Restraint He Demonstrated, vs. 14.

…would I do nothing… vs. 14.

Paul wanted us to know that said this isn't a special situation with Philemon. “I would do nothing without consulting you in this matter.” This appears in the first aorist active indicative in the Greek text of the passage. This means that Paul thought it over, came to a conclusion and made his decision. The verse may further imply that Paul prayed about Philemon's role in dealing with Onesimus and actually got a word from God. I believe this to be the case. If Philemon was to send Onesimus back  to Paul, Paul wanted it to be an answer to prayer; not just his personal desire. I truly believe that Paul realized that if he had a word from God on this issue and Philemon had a word from God on the matter of putting Onesimus in the ministry it would surely be a great thing. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20. “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1. Paul knew these scriptures well and restrained himself from making this decision on his own. Not only do we see Paul's consideration, but we also note Paul's illustration.

II. Paul's Illustration, vs. 14.

A. Paul Illustrates The Proper Aptitude, vs. 14.

…not be as it were of necessity… vs. 14.

A quick spiritual aptitude test can be given to a Christian. How? Just ask a believer to do something that he hasn't prayed through. If the Christian leaps at the attempt without prayer, he's still thinking with the carnal mind! The “old man” will show up in our lives when we fail to pray and seek God about His will. Paul wanted to be sure that Philemon had prayed this issue through. He wanted to be  sure that he would act on the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not react to the conscience of the physical spirit!

You see, prayer changes things. It changes everything! Have you ever heard the old adage, when someone asks if another can change a one-hundred dollar bill, “I can change everything but your mind?” Well, prayer can even change your mind and should change your mind if you are praying properly.

Paul illustrates that a mature Christian will demonstrate his aptitude by his response to the complex Christian requirements. Some things are easy in life, but to let Onesimus stay with Paul wasn't easy for Philemon. Not only do we see here that Paul illustrates the proper aptitude, but we also note that Paul illustrates the proper Christian attitude.

B. Paul Illustrates The Proper Christian Attitude, vs. 14.

…but willingly., vs. 14.

You can see the difference when God takes over in a person’s life! Listen, life is a lot better when we know God is in control! When God is in control a person can handle anything that comes his or her way. The good news is that we can have a good attitude about it every situation when we know that God is leading and controlling the circumstances! That's what Paul wanted! He wanted to know that when he and Onesimus finally met Philemon, they would rejoice at seeing each other, share laughter and good times together. Isn't it great when we work willingly with other Christians?

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