Some Christians are much more faith-filled than others. Why? What gifting and character qualities has God given them which they demonstrate in their interactions with others?
Paul knew Philemon. Perhaps he had led him to trust in Christ, perhaps even baptized him and begun to teach him to obey everything Christ commanded. That is the Great Commission, isn’t it? Going into all the world, after preaching the Gospel, baptizing those who believe the Good News and beginning the life-long process of teaching NOT to inform but to transform their lives through obedience!
“Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.” Philemon v.21
1) How do you encourage others to obey Christ?
2) How do you model obedience yourself providing an example to follow?
3) What influence may ‘writing’ have on those we disciple? Perhaps there is a constructive use for Facebook, Twitter, email even text messages!
4) How well do you know those you are teaching?
A number of years ago a Canadian bible school stirred up some discussion with a provocative, somewhat ‘controversial’ advertisement. We don’t teach the Bible at _________________, they declared…..We teach PEOPLE the BIBLE! They were reminding their staff and students that people are a part of the equation. Whether at a Bible college, a Seminary, a ladies or mens bible study, a youth fellowship, Sunday School or small group, we must not forget the people whom we are teaching.
Let me reword Paul’s note to Philemon adding some emphasis of my own. “Confident of YOUR obedience, I write to YOU, knowing that YOU will do even more than I ask.” I know you Philemon, Paul implies, I’ve seen the general pattern of your life. The hearts of the saints (v.7) have been refreshed by you. Your faith in Jesus Christ and your love for God’s holy people speak volumes about your genuine Christian faith.
If you are on the receiving end of written instruction, will you do EVEN MORE than the one who writes you asks? It depends on whether or not you believe the author of the note, the composer of the message, the writer of the letter or the sender of the Facebook message really loves you and is penning God’s word for your heart. In that case, obedience is the only option, if you are to go forward in your faith!