November 19 - An Appeal for Forgiveness
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday Bryan Launer will continue the class on Understanding the Heart in the youth room at 10:00am. This class explores what Scripture says about the heart, why it's so important, and how you can better understand your own heart and help others. Ray Rutledge and Bo Pritchard will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the New Testament).
8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
In our passage, Paul makes a direct but delicate appeal to Philemon to forgive and even receive Onesimus no longer as a slave but as a brother. Paul is not simply calling for his freedom but calling for a radical reorientation to the way he sees Onesimus. Through the gospel, this former thief and fugitive, is now forgiven, reconciled and forever a brother.
While Paul does not deal with the issue of slavery straight on, he sows seeds that will ultimately destroy the mistreatment of all people in all the various social injustices of our world. It is the church that is to practice this kind of reconciliation so that the world might see and experience the incredible forgiving grace of God.
Review and Apply
What are some of the reasons that you have extended forgiveness?
Explain the idea of forgiving another 'for love's sake'.
Why is an appeal often better than a command?
What evidence of new life is found in Onesimus? What evidence of new life is found in you?
With whom are you withholding forgiveness? How can you reconcile?
How does the gospel change the way we look at people? Give an example from your own life.