I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
(Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers. The Message).
Someone observed that we are saved by faith alone. Nevertheless the faith that saves does not come alone. It does not turn up unaccompanied. Again and again in Paul’s letters faith and love ‘walk out’ together; they go hand in hand, arm in arm.
Philemon’s faith in Christ showed itself in love for others – and ‘Love Does.’
‘Love Does’ is the title of a book by Bob Goff.
Among other things, Philemon’s love overflowed in hospitality. He opened his home to the church, and to individuals, such as Paul (22). The apostle knew there would be a welcome for him at this address. Philemon was a human oasis in the desert of the world. To be around him was to find encouragement and experience refreshment.
In short, then, if we have faith in Jesus, this will spill over in love for others; and if we love them we will work for their benefit – even at cost to ourselves. (See verse 6 in ‘The Message).
Ethel Barrett correctly observed, ‘Christianity is as practical as a pair of shoes: not just for putting on and showing, but for getting up and going.’
Prayer: Loving Lord Jesus, in this new year help me to be someone who refreshes others.