A man who demonstrated a changed heart

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I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.

Are you familiar with the story of Philemon and his slave, Onesimus?  This is a one chapter letter from Paul to a dear friend whom he had led to Jesus Christ. While in prison Paul had led a runaway slave who was also in prison to salvation through Christ.  This runaway slave, Onesimus, became a new man in Christ and brought great joy to Paul. When Onesimus was to be released from prison and returned to his owner it was realized that Paul knew his owner well.  This short letter is a plea from Paul to Philemon to receive Onesimus back, not as a slave, but as a brother in Christ.  It is a beautiful letter filled with compassion and love for both men.

As Paul begins his letter we learn something about Philemon.  Paul, probably from Onesimus, had heard of Philemon’s love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and toward all of the saints.  When Christ comes into a man or woman their love capacity changes.  Without Christ we can only love to a certain level but when Christ comes into our lives our capacity for loving others knows no bounds. Philemon was a changed man and it showed.

Knowing that this man whom he had led to Christ was so filled with love and with good works brought Paul great joy and comfort.  Philemon was a man who used his resources to refresh the Christian community as much as he could.  Because Philemon was so dialed in to the love of God and was so changed by the grace of God, Paul could confidently request that he receive Onesimus back into his house as a brother.

My last devotional came from Paul’s call to Titus to be a man of good works. Paul’s call to Philemon was based on the good works he had shown. James calls us to show our faith by our works. Philemon did.  Good works are the evidence of a changed life.  I am asking us all to be people of good works according to the biblical teaching and examples.  So what good works would our Lord have for you this year?

Baby Emilia Grace is doing well.  The whole family is rejoicing as is our entire church family.  It was fun to share with you all last night. 

Our teens still need our prayers.  The god of this world seeks to blind their eyes to the necessity of the gospel.  Sin is charming but they need their hearts changed by Christ.  Pray for Holy Spirit conviction of sin and true heart and life change. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

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