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! Introduction:
If you read verses 4 to 7 you're not going to necessarily see Paul identify 1-2-3-4-5-6, the principles of a forgiving person, but you're going to see them come out in what he says.
They're not what we say explicit but they are implicit...they're implied here, very clearly.
In this section Paul refers to Philemon in very glowing terms.
He commends him from (v.4-7) on his Christian character.
And as he does that he is describing the kind of man who will be a forgiver.
This is the spiritual character of a man who will be a forgiver.
So in effect he's saying...Philemon, I know you're the kind of man that I can trust to forgive Onesimus.
He's really setting him up by reminding him of his own character, now that’s wisdom… to deal out praise whenever and wherever it is possible for praise itself becomes a nourishing food for virtue.
Praise itself, legitimate praise, becomes a nourishing food for virtue and a strong antidote against sin.
If someone comes to you and says, /"I want to tell you, I look at your life and I just thank God that you're a godly, virtuous, holy Christian."/
Believe me, that's food that nurtures virtue.
And at the same time, that's an antidote against sin, isn't it?
Cause if you know people see you that way and believe you're that way, that accelerates your desire for virtue and your desire to stay away from sin.
Now as we look at these verses, verses 4 and following, we're going to see the kind of person who forgives.
What kind of person has the capacity to forgive?
!! A.                 /First…  /A Concern for the Lord (v.4-5a)
!!! 1.                  ‘…I thank my God…’  (v.4a).
!!!! a)                  An attitude of gratitude.
!!!!! (1)                 Paul says that eveytime I pray about you, it’s with thanksgiving, I always thank God for you.
Always when you come up in my prayers I express my thanks.
I don't have anything other to say to God than thank You for Philemon.
!!!!! (2)                 Thanksgiving should be a characteristic in the life of every believer.
Because giving thanks results in glory being brought to God, which is the goal of our Christian lives.
If a believer is not giving thanks, and instead is grumbling about his life, he is not bringing glory to God.
*Paul say’s in Philippians 2:14 that we are to *“Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”
!!!!! (3)                 Many times, Paul would open up his letter with thanksgiving:
*Paul says to the Romans* "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you."  (Romans 1:8-9)
*To those in Ephesus he writes *"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers."
(Ephesians 1:15-16, NASB95)
*To the Philippians he says *"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all."
(Philippians 1:3-4, NASB95)
*To those in Colosse he writes *"We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you."
(Colossians 1:3)
*To the Thessalonians he writes *"We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; " (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NASB95)
*To Timothy he says *"I thank God… as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day."
(2 Timothy 1:3, NASB95)
\\ !!!! b)                  Three */Attitudes /*people have towards thanksgiving.
!!!!! (1)                 *It Is Unnecessary* – Some people are not thankful simply because they think they deserve every good thing they have—and more.
The rich young farmer of Jesus’ parable did not take God into consideration (Luke 12:19).
Because he gave God no credit for his blessings, he saw no reason to give Him thanks.
!!!!! (2)                 *It is that of a Hypocrite* – In another parable Jesus told of a self–righteous Pharisee who stood in the Temple and /“//was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax–gatherer.
I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get’ /(Luke 18:11–12).
As Jesus made clear in the words /“praying thus to himself,” /although the man used God’s name, /his thankfulness /was /to himself /and /for himself/.
!!!!! (3)                 *The Truly Thankful Person* – Of the ten lepers Jesus healed on His way to Jerusalem, the only one who returned to thank Him was a Samaritan.
But his thankfulness was genuine, and Jesus said to him, /“//Rise, and go your way; your faith has made you well” /(Luke 17:19).
The other nine lepers had sought Jesus’ healing only for their own benefit.
The Samaritan also sought it for God’s glory (v.18).
His thankfulness was an expression of his trust in Jesus, his recognition that he was helpless in Himself and that his healing was undeserved and entirely by the Lord’s grace.
As a result, he received salvation.
That is the thankfulness, the only thankfulness, that pleases God
!!!!! (4)                 The Psalms are instruct us in this aspect.
They contain more praise than petition.
Believers come into their Father’s presence through thanksgiving.
*Psalm 100:4** says *we “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise” (Ps.100:4).
!!!! c)                  Three */Levels/* of Thanksgiving.
!!!!! (1)                 *Thankful when we are blessed *– When things are going well or God grants an especially welcome benefit, we are happy and grateful.
When getting a job, being delivered from sickness, being reconciled with our spouse, or experiencing other such pleasant things, it is easy to be grateful to the Lord.
!!!!! (2)                 *Being thankful for the hope of blessing and victory yet to come* – The first level is after the fact, the second is in anticipation of the fact.
Thanking God before a blessing is more difficult than thanking Him afterward, and requires more faith and spiritual maturity.
This second level is where faith and hope begin, because it involves the unseen and the yet unexperienced.
Jesus demonstrated this in (John 11:41-41) where He thanked God in advance, in total confidence before the prayer was answered.
*Jesus said *"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. “I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me." (John 11:41-42, NASB95)
!!!!! (3)                 *Thanking God in the Midst of battle* – When Daniel heard that King Darius had signed the decree forbidding the worship of any god or man but the king himself, Daniel immediately /“//entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” /(Dan.6:10).
!!! 2.                  ‘…making mention of you always in my prayers…’  (v.4b).
!!!! a)                  Unceasingly, petitioning for the brethren.
!!!!! (1)                 The Apostle Paul, was a man who continued to petition for the brethren in his prayers.
*Paul says to Timothy *“I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day” (1:3b).*
!!!!! (2)                 One of the ways to motivate other believers to consider their accountability to be faithful and to move their hearts in service of Christ, is to /continually hold them up before the Lord in prayer/—and /to tell them of it/.
*There is an interesting verse in 1 Samuel that says* "far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way."  (1 Samuel 12:23, NASB95)
\\ !!! 3.                  ‘…hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus Christ…’  (v.5a).
!!!! a)                  Philemon had a concern for the Lord, he desired to please Him.
!!!!! (1)                 Paul says the first thing I hear about you Philemon is that you have a true faith in the Lord Jesus, you have a concern for the Lord & you want to please Him.
!!!!! (2)                 I know I can come to you, Philemon, and ask you to forgive because you are concerned about the Lord, you have a true saving faith, you're a genuine real Christian and therefore you have the ability to forgive.
You have been forgiven so you can forgive.
!!!!! (3)                 Philemon, Paul says…
!!!!!! (a)                 we are those for whom much has been forgiven and we can forgive much.
!!!!!! (b)                we are those of whom we are to forgive one another because God for Christ's sake has forgiven us.
!!!!!! (c)                 we are those, like the parable of Matthew 18, who have been forgiven an unpayable debt and should go out and forgive others.
Philemon, you have a real faith, you're a true believer, and you can forgive.
!!!!! (4)                 Just a side note, the verb "you have", present tense, you continue to have.
An ongoing continuous nature of concern toward the Lord, he continues to want to please Him.
!!!!! (5)                 So, a forgiving person has a concern for the Lord, wants to honor the Lord & is desirous of that which expresses his faith in the Lord.
And because his faith is real he has the capacity to forgive.
!! B.                /Secondly/…  A Concern for people (v.5b).
!!! 1.                  ‘Love…toward all the saints…’  (v.5b).
!!!! a)                  Sacrificial Love.
!!!!! (1)                 This is agape love, this is love of choice, love of the will, love of self-sacrifice, love of humility, and this is the love that says I don't care about myself, I care about you.
!!!!! (2)                 This is the love that says I'll make any sacrifice to meet your need.
!!!!! (3)                 This is the love that says it's not emotion with me, its obedience.
I'm not compelled to serve you because there's something about you that's attractive, I'm compelled to serve you because there's something about the power of God within me that moves me that way.
*You remember 1 Thessalonians 4:9?  Paul says I don’t have to teach you how to love *"Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, NASB95)
*How are they taught by God?
Because Paul says in Romans *"the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  (Romans 5:5, NASB95)
!!!! b)                  *Brotherly love* toward */all /*the saints reflects the nature of Christians.
!!!!! (1)                 The apostle John powerfully affirms that truth.
*In his first epistle, chapter 2 verses 9-11 he states that *“The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
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