The Power of God to Change Lives

philemon-letterLast night I taught from Paul’s Letter to Philemon.

While Paul wrote letters to churches, he also wrote personal letters–the most personal of all was the letter to Philemon.

I hope you will read the letter. It’s only 25 verses. It will bless you, and it will cause you to give thanks for the power of God to change lives.

While we don’t have direct confirmation of these conclusions, reading the letter supports the following thesis. This is how the story unfolds.

When Paul ministered in Ephesus, a wealthy man from Colossae named Philemon came to know Christ. After his conversion, Philemon ministered with Paul to make Christ known, both in Ephesus and in the Lycus River Valley where Philemon lived.

Years later Paul was accused by the Jews and arrested by the Romans. In Rome, a runaway slave visited Paul and was saved. His name was Onesimus, a word meaning “Useful.” He was the slave of Philemon.

Paul and Onesimus had the difficult conversation concerning what Onesimus should do. They came to the conclusion that the runaway had to return to his master and make things right.

Paul wrote the letter to Philemon to encourage him to receive Onesimus as he would Paul himself. Paul pledged to Philemon that he would pay whatever Onesimus owed (it seems certain the slave had stolen from his master).

Paul asked Philemon to now receive Onesimus not as a slave but as a brother.

What would you do?

Because we have the letter, we fairly well know what happened.

Paul stuck his neck out and asked his brother to accept back the man who had wronged him. Onesimus returned to make things right by making restitution. And, Philemon received Onesimus as a brother.

These kind of things happen in fairy tales, but they only occur in the real world by the power of God.

God is working to make people new.

Whatever terrible event has occurred in your life, God can work to make you new and to redeem your situation.

I pray you will let him do so.

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