"Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? 2 Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. 3 This is my answer to those who question my authority."
(9:1). The word for “ministering” means basically a compassionate love toward the needy within a Christian community. Paul states that his purpose in writing is concerning the ministering or providing for the saints. The Corinthians had been taking up offerings for poor believers. This noble practice had caused Paul to hold them up as examples of generosity. Paul writes to the “saints.” The word here used for saints means holy, set apart, consecrated, separated, sanctified or devoted to God. Paul states that it is a privilege for him to be able to write.
(9:2). In verse two Paul lets the Corinthians know that he has been using them as role models to the Macedonians. He encourages them by saying that he knows of their willingness or forwardness to give. Paul then goes onto tell them the results of their willingness that he describes as “zeal”. The results of this zeal had “provoked very many”. The context of this verse has to do with giving so we must logically assume that those who were “provoked” were influenced to give in like manner.
(9:3). The word Paul uses for “brethren” means brother or one who has a general camaraderie based on a common origin. Paul says here that he send some of the believers so that the Corinthians would not be caught off-guard when the Macedonians arrived. Paul realized the potentially disastrous situation that could result if the Corinthians were found to be unfaithful. The Macedonians had been repeatedly told that the Corinthians were the role models for giving. If when they arrived and found the Corinthians to be greedy, selfish and stingy it would have the potential to destroy Paul’s reputation to the Macedonians and cause them to stumble. Paul uses a word to describe what his lifting up of the Corinthians would be if they were found to be unfaithful. That word is “vain” which means empty or void.
Giving reveals our heart.
As Paul talks about the power of giving, what are areas of your life that God wants you to be more generous?
Our giving should set a Righteous example (9:1-2).
Our giving should be substantial (9:2)
Our giving should be willing (9:2).
We should be always Ready to give (9:3).
We should be alert to opportunities to give (9:3).
The Book of Philemon focuses up the forgiveness of others just as Christ forgave us. We must show Jesus to others by forgiving people and the hurts in our lives to bring God glory.
This is the smallest letter written by Paul in the New Testament. Paul was writing to his fellow believer, Philemon who Paul had led to the Lord. This epistle is a way of showing how the Spirit of God works in the assembly of God in individual’s lives. Paul talks about the redemption found in Christ and how forgiveness of other people reveals inner life change. Paul’s letter gives us a glimpse of early believers and their dynamic lives of commitment. The Christian life is bumpy along the way, but we must be committed to following Christ even when we face relational struggles. This letter shows the commitment of Paul and his fellow believers. Ask God to open up your heart and speak to you today.
1. The Action of Forgiveness in making Reception (10-14)
2. The Action of Forgiveness in making Restoration (15-17)
3. The Action of Forgiveness in making Restitution (18)
This passage is another reminder of forgiveness. Even though Onesimus had done so many horrible things in his life, God forgave him of his sin. Paul expresses his love for his fellow believers.
Christ died for us even when we were shaking our fists at him and yelling “crucify him.” We are called to be like Christ in how we forgive. A life of commitment to Christ will have to include a measure of forgiveness, in the good and bad times.
Are we showing the kind of forgiveness that Paul showed of Onesimus? Paul knew that Onesimus was a thief, law-breaker and still accepted him.