Philemon 4-7

4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, (NIV)
4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, (ESV)
4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, (NKJV)

Paul thanks God always as he remembers Philemon in his prayers. He mentions Philemon always in his prayers. Why does he thank God for him? Why does he mention Philemon in his prayers?

5 because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. (NIV)
5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, (ESV)
5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, (NKJV)

It is because Paul hears about Philemon’s faith and love toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints. The fact that Paul hears about Philemon’s faith shows that his faith is evident in his life. Have our faith been evident in our lives? How is it to be evident in our lives?

6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (NIV)
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. (ESV)
6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

Paul prays that Philemon may be active in sharing his faith. For what is the use of having knowledge and understanding of good things we have in Christ, if we do not share it with others? We will be just like an open vessel that always receives, and yet never be satisfied. What is the use of it? What is the use of all the good things if they just stay in us? A life of faith is a life of sharing, a life of fellowship, a life that gives. By sharing, we will not lack; instead, we will have an ever fuller understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. And this, in turn, shall move us to share even more. If all we know only stays as what we know, we will never realize how rich and blessed we are in Christ. We will never know that the hope that is in us is a hope that everybody needs. The sharing of our faith not only deepens our understanding, but also fills us with awe, praise, and thanksgiving for the richness of good things He has blessed us with, and it shall move us to give all glory to God all the time. A life of sharing is a dynamic life, ever flowing, ever fulfilling. All of life then will be filled with joy. There will not be a moment when a thing is done out of compulsion, but all will be done out of thanksgiving.

7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (NIV)
7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (ESV)
7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. (NKJV)

Philemon’s love has given Paul great joy and encouragement, because Philemon has refreshed the hearts of the saints. Paul is joyful and encouraged not only for himself, but also for other saints. This is a picture of a true body of Christ, where one’s joy is everybody’s joy and one’s encouragement is everybody’s encouragement. Have we been experiencing joy because of the joy of our brothers and sisters? Have we been refreshing the hearts of our brothers and sisters?


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