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Philemon 1 – Overcome Imprisonment 腓利门书 1 – 超越监牢    

Philemon 1 – Overcome Imprisonment  

Tuesday, 7th March 2023

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

Section One V1-7 Love and Trust in the Prison

Philemon records the letter Paul wrote to Philemon for Onesimus, who was a salve. Even though Paul himself was imprisoned, but he was able to show love and wrote a letter for Onesimus. A lot of time we also feel that we are imprisoned, by our marriage, by our work, by this world… so how can we overcome imprisonment? Paul did not complain or feel sorry for himself when he was imprisoned, he did not backslide, but his love for God continued to grow.

V1-3 ‘Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved friend and fellow labourer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Paul knew why he was imprisoned, but he was not discouraged, he also knew it was not his problem but the work of Satan. It’s easy for us to feel discouraged and having self-condemnation when we come across difficulties. We must learn from Paul, to see our identity in God, and to release grace and peace from Jesus Christ.

Paul had the love and trust in God, he believed that he was free even though he was imprisoned, he knew Jesus’ love and he had the assurance of his identity and authority. Can we see love when we feel imprisoned? Can we see hope in our situations, or are we just sitting there and doing nothing? Paul did not wait until he was released from the prison, but he showed us that the environment should never stop us serving God. What is our situation right now? Do we want a breakthrough? Do we see God’s love with us?

V4-6 ‘I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.’ Paul continued to pray for others, he never stopped praying no matter what situation he was in. Furthermore, Paul showed love and cared for his disciples and the churches he established. He was giving thanks and having joy because of the love and faith of the churches.

Can we also continue to pray for others even though we are in a difficult situation? The environment should not stop us to care for others and to love, God has already given us love, peace and joy. Why do we complain? Because we don’t believe in what God is doing, we don’t love God, and we don’t see what God’s doing is for our own good.

Section Two V8-16 Build Up in the Prison

V8-11 ‘Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ— I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.’ Paul is writing for Onesimus, but this is not the biggest purpose of Paul writing this letter. Paul wrote this letter for Philemon, so he could see Paul, Timothy, and Epaphras, who were imprisoned, but were set free. Paul wanted to build up Philemon, he wanted to encourage him, and release the fragrance of the Tree of Life to him.

Paul knew he had the authority in Christ to give direct instructions to Philemon, but in love, Paul was willing to lay down his authority to command, and he appealed to Philemon. Paul humbled himself, denied himself, not for himself, but for Onesimus. Paul called Onesimus the son he had begotten while in chains, he was a prisoner, yet he could bear spiritual children, he was showing Philemon that no matter what, Paul was able to share the Gospel and to influence life no matter what. Nothing should be our excuse to live out the life God has given to us, He has given us the Great Commission, to disciple the nation. But do we hold onto this authority? Do we allow the living water of Jesus to flow into us, flow through us, and to others around us? God has sent people to come to us, He has placed us in environment, where we can make an influence. But do we see it like how Paul saw it?

Paul saw Onesimus was profitable to him. Do we also see the people we are caring, we are discipling, and we are sharing Gospel to are the people profitable to us? Or do we see them as burdens? Paul was talking to Philemon that even though Onesimus was his slave, he was not saved by the Gospel, but when Onesimus came to Paul, he was reborn and renewed. In the past, Onesimus ran away from his master, he was untrustworthy and he was unreliable. But Paul used a new eyesight to see Onesimus. Do we also use a new eyesight to look at ourselves? Our old self has died, we are no longer the same, therefore stop having the self-condemnation and self-accusation, believe that we have reborn and been renewed in Jesus. Stop living in the prison, stop being rebellious, and start believing that God loves us.

V12-13 ‘I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel.’ Paul wanted to keep Onesimus with him, because he could do a lot of things for Paul and serve Paul in the prison, but instead, he sent Onesimus back to Philemon, because of his love for Philemon. Paul did not seek his own benefit, but always look out for those he cared for and those he loved. Paul was building up Philemon, he was in lacking physically, but all he was thinking was to benefit others. If we are being judgemental and criticising others, then we will also judge and criticise ourselves. God is the only Judge, let us change out mindset, take up the authority, and live out the true identity God has given to us. Then we can build up others and disciple them.

Section Three V17-25 Send Out in the Prison

Paul did not forget his identity and his authority, he was able to overcome imprisonment, he was also able to send people out even though he was in chains. Paul knew he was not living in the environment, he was not living in his emotions, but he was living in the eternity, he was living in the Kingdom of God. Overcoming imprisonment does not mean to leave our environment or leave our relationship, but to be faithful in God’s appointment, His Great Commission, and His love.

腓利门书 1 – 超越监牢                                                        

2023年3月7日 星期二



一、v.1-7 在囚中爱与信任

V1 当我们被囚的时候,心里会有很多小剧场,充满负面、苦毒,于是想用各种计谋、关系等等方式离开自己被囚的光景。然而,保罗看他是“为基督耶稣被囚”,他没有怨天尤人,反倒看被囚为光荣。当我们把所有“失败”都看成自己的问题时,我们很容易失去盼望,以为神不顾我们了,却没有看到撒旦的攻击。

V3 一个被囚的人,凭什么去祝福外面的人呢?我们在遇到困难、逆境的时候,是否失去信心,甚至想放弃?保罗在监牢中没有放弃神给他的身份,也没有害怕他所带领的人怎么看待他,反而有信心去释放耶稣基督的恩惠平安给他们。保罗相信他即使在监牢中仍然是自由的、是耶稣所爱的人。当我们看似被环境打败的时候,是否失去盼望、选择放弃?不要让环境阻挡我们服事神。

V4 保罗在被囚的环境中所释放的是祷告的生命。我们是否放弃神给我们的托付,还是只顾着让神带我们脱离当下的问题?我们在困难中会发脾气、被打败,因为我们不相信神。保罗没有因环境二放弃,没有四处找人帮助他出监牢,反而为所牧养的人祷告,四处打听他们的消息。保罗在监牢里的喜乐平安来自听到他的门徒有信心的生命。这是何等的爱与信任!

二、v.8-16 在囚中建造


V8-9 保罗虽然有权柄要求腓利门做事,但为了基督的缘故“宁可凭着爱心求”他。保罗完全谦卑,释放的是生命树的气息。

V10 我们在捆锁中、在忧郁和困苦中,还能生出属灵的儿女吗?如果只在顺境中才能牧养别人,那我们所做的都是靠自己的力量。保罗没有让监牢阻挡他以生命影响生命,那我们呢?我们的职场、家庭、经济、健康等等都不是拦阻我们行出神给我们大使命的借口。人的尽头是神的开始,我们在经历问题的时候,就是能够让神的活水江河进入我们、洁净我们、并通过我们流向他人最好的时候。阿尼西谋名字的原文是“有益处”。在不可能的时候、在我们的困倦当中,我们是否觉得去牧养人是对我们有益处的?无论得时不得时,我们都要传福音、建造门徒。

V11 阿尼西谋原本在腓利门那里没有益处,但如今他得着重生,所有“有益处”。

V12 “心上的人”表明阿尼西谋是保罗所喜爱的。保罗让腓利门看到神如何建造阿尼西谋,从前他是叛逆主人的,现在重生改变了,保罗就没有用有色眼镜去看待他。我们如何看待经历重生后的我们?我们是否把自己定格在过去的“我”,认为自己的脾气、性格本来就这样、无法改变?要看到我们的过去已经死了,如今我们是在耶稣里得着重生的人。我们没有兴趣去传福音、牧养门徒,因为我们没有相信自己已经是全新的人了。

V12-13 虽然阿尼西谋能够帮助处在监牢中的保罗,但保罗为了爱,愿意让阿尼西谋回去帮助腓利门,因他看阿尼西谋是有益处的。

V14-16 我们可能会觉得自己处境糟糕,没有资格去教导别人,我们会这样想,因为我们也是这样批评论断别人。我们若等到自己什么问题都解决好了才来服事主、牧养人,最后只能空手面对神的审判。

三、v.17-25 在囚中差派

V17-19 保罗即使身处监牢,仍对神有爱有信任,没有放弃自己的身份和权柄。如何能在囚中差派,就是不要活在自己的情绪或环境中,而是活在神永恒的国度里。要超越环境,就要活出对神的忠心,不辜负他对我们的托付。