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Effective Faith



Welcome to Church! Today, we’re looking at what it means to have an effective faith, as we look at the introduction of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Philemon.

Paul wrote this letter to Philemon, after Philemon’s slave Onesimus had run away and sought out Paul.

After reaching Paul, Onesimus become a Christian and Paul had to decide what to do in a very tricky situation. Philemon had every legal right to punish his slave most severely. Indeed there could be ramifications for Philemon if he didn’t punish Onesimus.

Would Paul ‘buy into’ this situation? Would we?

There is a bigger issue at stake than Philemon’s legal rights. As Christians we have been forgiven by Jesus for our rebellion against him. God calls on us to show that same kind of love and forgiveness to others who have wronged us.

That’s why Paul writes this very carefully worded personal (and yet public) letter to Philemon.

Like Paul may we be willing to promote loving forgiveness, and be prepared at all times to tell people about the love God has for them in Jesus!          May we have an effective faith!

Listen to the Talk here


NRS Philemon 1-7

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker,  2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:  3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God  5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus.  6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.  7 I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

NRS Luke 71-10

1 After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum.  2 A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death.  3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave.  4 When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him,  5 for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.”  6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;  7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed.  8 For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”  9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.


Christian Faith = Trust + Obedience. A true faith requires both aspects. If we don’t seek to obey Christ, our faith isn’t true; similarly if we don’t trust in Jesus to go to heaven, our faith is faulty also.


Love: Jesus said “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”