Sharing our Faith “Effectively”


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture
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Today’s Reading: Luke 20:9-19 / Philemon 1-11 / Prov. 17:1-14 / Esther 7-8

The little 1st century postcard which bears the name of its recipient – Philemon,
is a treasure. The main thoughts are precious to consider. A slave by the name
of Onesimus (which means “profitable” or “useful” – maybe a play on words) had
run away from his master Philemon. It is possible he had stolen from him as
well. Encountering Paul while on the run, he is converted. And Paul sends
him home with this note in his hand. One cannot miss the parallel between Paul
& Christ here. Finding us during His earthly trials, He meets us with grace,
speaks the wonderful words of the Gospel into our ears, and sends us back to
the Father from whom we’ve been running – having wasted His gifts and
goodness in our flight from His loving and benevolent Lordship. We, like
Onesimus who were once unprofitable, are returned useful. And like his Master,
Paul pleads that if Onesimus owes Philemon anything – to put it on his account,
he himself will pay it; as Christ our Savior willfully lays down His life to pay the
incalculable debt we owe. It oozes Gospel lived out in real life. And while
theologians tend to agree that Philemon is marked by a lack of clear doctrinal
teaching, I would like to challenge that idea by putting your eyes on verse 6.
For here, is both a wonderful exhortation and a teaching we hear all too little.
A great impetus to evangelize. It rises out of Paul’s own joy in evangelizing his
dear Onesimus. Note how Paul mentions that he is praying for Philemon, 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.” In other words, there are two
blessing to be had when we couple our inward faith with outward works: 1.
People come to know the riches of the good things that dwell in us because of
Christ. It adorns the Gospel to onlookers, making it exceedingly attractive.
And 2. WE come to know far more intimately ourselves the treasures of His
presence within, when we live out the Gospel in our telling of it. It deepens
OUR experiential knowledge of Christ. Would you know your Savior better?
Communicate His Gospel in word AND deed. You’ll see Him. Its “effective”.

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One thought on “Sharing our Faith “Effectively”

  1. I do not question the legitimacy of works as a form of evangelical outreach. I sometimes question the degree of impact.
    The abridged version: I work with a devout Muslim who’s work ethic and clean living is respected and admired by all. Devotion, discipline, selfless sacrifice…all trademarks of Islam, but do not spell out that the Lord himself manifested and died for our sins. I often think about this, but have never really put an emphasis upon…”example”. Am I misled here?

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