Thursday, November 8th, 2018
“For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.” Philemon 1:7
It is imperative for God’s elect who are established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to be ‘saints alive.’ A saint is defined as a person who is set apart and made holy by the righteousness of faith. Saints are alive when they are ‘in Christ’ and in whom Christ dwells. When reading Paul’s letter to Philemon, I saw a theme I have not really seen before. This letter is an instruction on how saints who are alive are able to refresh other saints. Philemon was a refreshing person. When Paul thought about Philemon, he thought about the joy and comfort he had given him and others. Philemon 1:7
Doesn’t that make God’s elect want to be like Philemon? Don’t we want to be a joy and comfort to others? In this dry and weary land, don’t we want to be an oasis of living water for parched saints. John 7:38 That is what Jesus wants us to be. Mt 10:42
The ministry of refreshment is so important to Jesus that He wants us to know the reward there is for those who give it.
In Philemon, Paul tells ‘saints alive’ five ways on how we can refresh others.
Love God Philemon 1:5
‘Saints alive’ ought to love and trust Jesus. “Love the Lord, all you his saints.” Ps 31:23 God is love and therefore love is from God. Only when we love and trust God supremely, then we have the resources to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is our profound love and trust in the Lord that will refresh our brothers and sisters most. Only Jesus, our living water can quench the thirst of the human soul. ‘Saints alive’ can only give it to others when they are drinking it themselves.
Love Saints Philemon 1:5
‘Saints alive’ ought to love other saints. Talk is cheap. Deeds usually aren’t. That is why John says “let us not love in words but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18 Let us refresh the saints in our lives by meeting their needs with whatever resources God has given us. Let us give them words of eternal life but also love them by laying our lives down for their joy. By ‘the saints in our lives’ I mean those in NCCkl. ‘Saints alive’ are primarily responsible for those in the faith community where God has placed us.
Share Faith Philemon 1:6
‘Saints alive’ ought to share their faith to others. Our conversation with others becomes priceless when through them we share the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. We share our faith every time we point someone to the source of our hope. Every weary saint often need the refreshment of our shared faith. Sharing it is like the loaves and fishes. The more we share, the more faith there is. So share it liberally!
Share life Philemon 1:13
‘Saints alive’ ought to free their family members to serve the Kingdom. Paul wrote this letter to let Philemon know that his prodigal bond servant, Onesimus, was now a brother in Christ. As such, Philemon as a ‘saints alive’ ought to extend him the grace of Christ. More so, Paul also made it clear that Onesimus was of great help to Paul’s ministry. Furthermore, Philemon should not think primarily of his own household needs but the kingdom needs. One way for us to put this principle into practice is to release members of our household for the sake of refreshing the saints even if it involves personal costs and inconvenience for us.
Share Possession Philemon 1:22
‘Saints alive’ ought to make their home an embassy. The fact that Paul made this request says something about Philemon, namely, he showed hospitality without grumbling. We are ambassadors for Christ. 2 Cor 5:20 ‘Saints alive’ ought to know that our homes are not our castles but our embassies. God has given them to us to refresh the saints. Let us make our homes oasis places.
‘Saints alive’ at NCCkl are entrusted with the priceless ministry of refreshment. All around us are weary brothers and sisters who are slogging it out in a spiritual war on a battle field of a futile world. Eph 6:12 There are times for reproof and corrections but most of the time what they need are encouragement. Let us at NCCkl, make it our aim to refresh the saints and choose one practical way to do that today.
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