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Philemon 4-7 – Becoming a Refreshing Christian

Someone once said that nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. This is a good reminder for us to try to be refreshing to others in our lives. In today’s passage, Philemon 4-7, we will see how Philemon was a refreshment not only to those in his immediate surroundings but also to people far from him.

  1. What does it say?

    Paul thanked God and always mentioned Philemon in his prayers because he had heard of Philemon’s love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and the saints. He also prayed that the sharing of his faith might become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing in him in Christ Jesus. They had great joy and consolation from his love because the saints had been refreshed by him.

    In other words, Paul had three things that he prayed about Philemon. First, he was thankful for Philemon’s faith and love. Second, he was praying for the effectiveness of his faith being shared. Third, he was joyful because Philemon had refreshed other Christians.

  2. What does it mean?

    Love and faith can be seen in a Christian’s life.

    It appears that Paul had heard reports about Philemon’s Christians testimony. What he heard was good. Philemon was known for his love and faith toward Jesus and other Christians. This is an example for all Christians. Love for the Lord and faith in Him is what keeps us going. That love and faith in Jesus should affect our love and faith in other Christians.

    Acknowledging what you have in Christ makes you more effective.

    When Paul speaks of the sharing (NKJV) or communication (KJV) of your faith, he uses the Greek word κοινωνία. Mounce describes it as “fellowship, the close association between persons, emphasizing what is common between them; by extension: participation, sharing, contribution, gift, the outcome of such close relationships.”1 So this sharing or communication of faith seems to indicate the mutual fellowship between those who know the Lord.

    The fellowship which is enjoyed between Christians is rooted in what we have in Christ. Knowing what Jesus has done for us (not just salvation) gives us much to talk about and enjoy together. And the more two people know about the Lord, the better or more effective their fellowship will be.

    A refreshing person is an encouragement to others.

    Philemon was known for refreshing other Christians. The same word was used for the rest Jesus promised to those who were weary (Matt. 11:28). Because Philemon had received refreshment from the Lord, he shared that refreshment with others. When Paul heard that this was taking place, he was joyful and consoled during his imprisonment. Knowing that someone was helping others (something Paul couldn’t do then) was a cause for joy and consolation.

  3. How does it apply?

    We should thank God and pray for those who are a blessing to us.

    Sometimes we get caught up in praying for needs and don’t take the time to thank God for those who have been a blessing to us. When you think of the members of this church and the missionaries we support, do you thank God for them? If not, start today by thinking of what blessings you have from knowing these other Christians.

    We should pay attention to what we have in Christ.

    When you are feeling low, it is easy to think of the things you don’t have. But when you look in the Bible and recognize all that you have in Christ, it will pick you up. A man from the Phillipines has compiled a list of who we are and what we have in Christ. Here is an abbreviated list from the New Testament.

    We are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
    We are accepted in Christ (Eph. 1:6).
    We are alive in Christ (Eph. 2:5).
    We are righteous in Him (Phil. 3:9).
    We are complete in Him (Col. 2:10).

    As you read through those verses and think about all that you have in Christ, you will be greatly encouraged. But you will also have a closer fellowship with others who have been given those same things.

    We should try to be refreshing to other Christians.

    It may be that there are some who are not aware of all that they have in Christ. For those people, we can be a great encouragement by showing them just what Jesus has done for them. There are others who have gone through some difficulties while serving the Lord. Maybe health issues, persecution, or lack of results have caused them to lose heart. Your fellowship and encouragement to them can be a great refreshment to them.

Conclusion

Philemon certainly was a blessing to other Christians including Paul and his companions. As we consider that, we should try to be the same. Let’s make that our goal for the rest of the week.

Footnotes

“A complete list of who we are and what we have in Christ” as viewed at https://onlyjesusministry.com/who-we-are-and-what-we-have-in-christ/# on 5/1/2024.

Bibliography

Deibler, Edwin C., “Philemon” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1983.