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[The Epistle of Philemon] Risks of Faith and LoveSample

[The Epistle of Philemon] Risks of Faith and Love

DAY 1 OF 4

The Chiasm of Faith and Love

The Apostle Paul wrote a very personal letter to Philemon in the Bible. In it, he uses a literary device called chiasm. A chiasm consists of a contrast between two different ideas by changing their order or intended meaning slightly, with the purpose of understanding them better. Paul is going to talk first about love and then about faith. Next, he will flip the order and talk about faith first and then love, so that what he is trying to communicate really comes clear to us.

Paul starts by saying to Philemon: "I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers." It is as if Paul is in a constant state of thankfulness. If you read a couple of his letters, you will see that he is always thanking God for somebody. Do we usually say "thank you" to God for someone? We mostly do a great job praying for others' physical needs. We pray for those who have been hurt, had surgery, or are sick or in need. But do we find ourselves regularly thanking God for a specific person?

Paul says that every time he prays, he mentions Philemon. Wouldn't you love to get a letter like this, where somebody you greatly respect says, "I am praying for you and thanking God for you often?"

And what does Paul thank God for regarding Philemon? Paul is in a Roman prison, so he gets continual good reports about Philemon's love and faith toward Christ Jesus and all the saints. Some scholars say Epaphras, the founder of the church at Ephesus, was updating Paul. Others think that maybe the reports were from Onesimus, the slave who will be the focal point of this letter.

When Paul talks about Philemon's love, he uses the word agape, a specific word for selfless, sacrificial love. Paul is praising Philemon for his character. Wouldn't you like to know this guy described by Paul with an outpouring of selfless, sacrificial love for the saints and an incredible character of faith in Christ? How are we known? Are we known as a man or a woman with an outpouring of love and faith in Christ?

Lord, I want to be known by having love and faith towards You and all my fellow believers. Please, take my heart and make it Your home forever.

Day 2

About this Plan

[The Epistle of Philemon] Risks of Faith and Love

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Isn’t it a shame that people must go somewhere else to find that instead of looking first to the church? People don’t want a friendly church. They want to find Ch...

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We would like to thank Dr. Mark Rae of Grace Center for Spiritual Development (GCSD) under Grace School of Theology, in partnership with El Centro Network, for providing this devotional plan. Grace is devoted to developing spiritual leaders in every nation who can teach others about the love of Christ. For more information, please visit https://www.gsot.edu/center/ and http://www.elcentronetwork.com

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