in the Christian Library
Misc. Texts From Book of Philemon
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. There is something about a challenge that stirs within our hearts
fervor and action. The challenge to know the unknown, to scale the highest
heights or descend to the lowest canyons of the sea has spurred explorers
to marvels of wonder. In 1987 the world carefully followed the two aviators
as they circled the glove non-stop. It was a feat never before performed
the challenge was too great to ignore.
1. Without challenges life would be so mundane and dull. Not a few are
bored with life because they have become callous to challenges.
2. Those who remain unchallenged are isolated in a ho-hum, hum-drum
existence it is sad.
II. It is interesting to note that the principle of challenges exist
also in the spiritual realm.
1. Those who look at the clear challenges of living for Christ in the
midst of a godless society are motivated and zealous (Tit 2:11-14).
2. Christians who are indifferent, bored, and inactive have lost the
focus of biblical challenges. Believers who have become mechanical in devotion
and ritualistic in practice have turned their eyes away from the challenges
III. The small letter of Philemon brings our attention to focus upon
3 challenges. If the student of God's Book would accept these 3 challenges,
Christianity would become real, exciting, and very rewarding.
1. If your Christianity has become "ho-hum" and if you seem to lack
satisfaction in living your faith, you need to accept these 3 challenges.
2. Examine these challenges and observe how important they are for the
I. The Challenges PERSONALIZED
Three people sharpen the focus of these challenges and help us see how to accept and live them.
A. Become as Paul.
1. As you study Philemon there is one overpowering picture of Paul
he is a peacemaker! (v. 8-11).
2. This lovely attribute is a trait expected in all of God's children
(Hb 12:14,15; Jas 3:17; Mt 5:9).
3. This challenge is often ignored it is spurned in favor of retaliation
and side taking. Too often we lack peacemakers and find the sad situations
as Philip 4:2; 1 Co 3:3.
4. May we be challenged with Paul's example be active in helping
differences be resolved. If you are aware of those who re at odds, do whatever
you can to help them be united again (Ro 14:19).
B. Become as Onesimus.
1. In studying Philemon we see that this man was truly penitent; sensitive
to sin in his life; anxious to make restitution; eager to serve. Such endeared
him to Paul (v. 16).
2. Onesiumus wanted to do God's will regardless of the cost. He knew
what was right and he could not do otherwise.
3. May all of us be challenged to develop and maintain this sensitivity
to God's will in our lives. How easy it is to excuse wrong-doing and push
aside this challenge from our eyes.
4. Sensitivity to God's will is mandatory Mt 5:4; Ac 19:18-20;
1 Ths 1:7-10; 2:13; Ps 24:3-6.
5. Accept this challenge of Onesimus become sensitive to God's
rule in your life; be anxious to set all wrongs right; be eager to serve.
C. Become as Philemon.
1. This man was the object of the short letter. He was a wealthy citizen
and conducted himself so as to provide a great example of Christianity
a. Christianity controlled his house (v.2).
b. Christianity dictated his friends (v.2, 5).
c. Christianity directed his energies (v. 1).
2. All who knew this man would testify to his practical faith, hospitality,
and brotherly love.
3. We find in Philemon a man whose life challenges us to imitate him
in every aspect. We are called to possess the elements of Christianity
exactly as Philemon did.
4. How are you accepting this challenge? (Gal 6:14; Mt 5:13-16; 1 Pt
4:15). How practical is Christianity to your daily life?
IV. The Challenges SUMMARIZED
A. Each of these challenges calls for the believer to develop and maintain
a quality of "love." It is love for God and His gospel that prompts us
to dedicated service portrayed by the lives of Paul, Onesimus and Philemon.
B. It is the quality of love that sums up all requirements of God (Jn
14:15; 1 Co 13:13; 1 Ti 1:5). The first and greatest command focuses upon
these challenges from Philemon (Mt 22:37,38). It was this challenge which
faced Peter (Jn 21:15ff) and which should motivate believers today.
C. Stated simply Philemon's three challenges unite to ask, "Do
you really love God?" If so you will demonstrate that love just as Paul,
Philemon and Onesimus.
III. The Challenges BLESSINGS.
Those who discipline themselves to accept these three challenges will
find four wonderful blessings.
A. There will be discovered the great joy and comfort that exists in
Christian fellowship (v.7).
B. There will be a genuine and free acceptance of all who have been
accepted by God (v.17).
C. There will be an inner-peace which results when one trusts in God's
Providential care (v. 15; Ps 119:165).
D. All who follow these challenges will become "beneficial" (v. 20).
I. Flying around the world non-stop was a challenge that had to be accepted.
It was hard and the temptation to give up was present. The two pilots even
thought at times they would never make it but they did!
II. The challenges of living a dedicated Christian life often appear
too great, the way is too tough, and the prospects of crossing the finish
line are hopeless. But God is confident about our strength and as long
as our faith rests upon Him we will be strong enough to overcome.
1. Be motivated with these three challenges of Philemon.
b. Sensitive to God
c. Faith that is practical
2. Resolve that you will not live a "ho-hum" Christian life.
3. The clear challenge love God! Show this love in all you do!
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
at no cost to others.