Dear Church Family,
This morning I was reading Paul’s letter to Philemon. As you may know, Paul is writing to Philemon regarding a man named Onesimus. Onesimus owed Philemon a debt and instead of paying off the debt through this servitude he ran away. As he was running away he encountered Paul. As you can imagine, it wouldn’t be long after someone encountered the Apostle Paul that they would hear the gospel. This is what happened to Onesimus and he responded to the gospel message and placed his faith in Jesus. Paul’s letter to Philemon is a request. Paul is requesting that Philemon forgive the debt that Onesimus owes and charge it to Paul’s account. What a great picture of the gospel! The sacrifice of Christ made Paul a sacrificial person for the good of others. You and I share the same faith of Paul, Onesimus, and Philemon. We have the opportunity to share the gospel and our lives with those around us for the glory of God!
A few verses especially stood out to me as I was reading this short letter. Paul writes in verses 4-6:
4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of
your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the
saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full
knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
He says in verse 6, “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective.” Paul is praying that Philemon will continue to share his faith with others in word and deed and in doing so he will grow into a fuller knowledge of Christ. Specifically, Paul challenged Philemon to exercise his faith in forgiving the debt that Onesimus owed and receive him as a brother (vs 15-18).
There are many ways we can “share” our faith with those around us. Ultimately, we know that saving faith comes by hearing the gospel. In all the ways we share our faith we want to help people come to know Jesus. We can share our faith through how we treat those around us. If we treat them in a way Jesus would treat them then we are sharing with them our faith. They are catching a glimpse of the type of God we serve. As our actions reinforce our message, the credibility of our witness grows.
This year we have been seeking to share our faith in two main ways. First, we always want to look for opportunities to tell people how they can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Second, we have been trying to make our faith tangible. We’ve been exercising our faith in ways that bless our community and show them a glimpse of the God we serve. As we enter the second half of 2018 we want to continue this emphasis. For the month of July we will be collecting school supplies for Monte Sano Elementary. Throughout the month you can bring in pencils, pens, copy paper, hand sanitizer, notebook paper, glue sticks, markers, folders, notebooks, dry erase markers, and crayons. At the end of the month we will take the supplies to the school where they can distribute them to those that need them. You have been doing a great job so far with the tangible projects! Let’s keep up the good work and bring in more school supplies than ever!
Pastor Ron Jones