- Martin Luther called Paul’s language in Philemon “holy flattery”.
- John G Nordling argues that instead of being a random, unrelated epistle, one can easily find the “Gospel in Philemon” when he writes,
“Paul’s specific repayment of Onesimus’ debt (Phlm 18-19a) was founded upon and intentionally reflects the payment for all sin which the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for the world (for example, Isa 53:ll; Matt 1:21; Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2).”
- John Calvin explained that Paul’s theology elevated such a practical everyday subject to the heights of theological genius and loftiness:
The singular loftiness of the mind of Paul, though it may be seen to greater advantage in his other writings which treat of weightier matters, is also attested by this Epistle, in which, while he handles a subject otherwise low and mean, he rises to God with his wonted elevation
- In his introduction to his three week series in Philemon, Bible teacher Alistair Begg says, “Through their experience, we will see that the Road of Reconciliation begins in a restored relationship with God offered to us by Christ’s death on the cross.”
- Great preacher John Macarthur has described Philemon as “Scripture’s clearest real-life example of human forgiveness in action.”
- Acknowledging Philemon’s powerful treatment of the slave phenomenon, John Piper writes,
The upshot of all this is that, without explicitly prohibiting slavery, Paul has pointed the church away from slavery because it is an institution which is incompatible with the way the gospel works in people’s lives. Whether the slavery is economic, racial, sexual, mild, or brutal, Paul’s way of dealing with Philemon works to undermine the institution across its various manifestations. To walk “in step with the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14) is to walk away from slavery.
- Church historian and pastor Mark Dever has preached a sermon series on Philemon dealing with prayer, grace and repentance and friendship here
- Any time you read in the New Testament any form of the word “sanctify,” you know you are reading about holiness
- the most important thing in defining our holiness is to notice its connection to God’s holiness.
- God is so separate, so above, and distinct from all else—all that is not God—that he is self-existent and self-sustaining and self-sufficient.
- The moral dimension of God’s holiness is that every affection, every thought, and every act of God is consistent with the infinite worth of his transcendent fullness.2 In other words, I am defining holiness not only as the infinite worth of God’s transcendent fullness, but also as the harmony that exists between the worth of that transcendent fullness and all God’s affections, thoughts, and acts
- the process of sanctification as the action by which we bring our feelings and thoughts and acts into conformity to the infinite and all-satisfying worth of God.
- The answer is: It is in the beginning as the goal of predestination, and it is at the end as essential part of glorification. And in between, there are two works of God that make it possible for spiritually dead, wrath-deserving sinners to be sanctified—calling and justification.
- Good doctors know how to give different prescriptions, and my fear is that we can get locked into a one-size-fits-all approach to our growth in godliness and we may even stumble upon a good, true, sweet, biblical motivation, but if we make it the only one we will be short circuiting our sanctification.
- In one way his grace has saved you, and by a thousand ways his grace will lead you home
- Though the brain offers these limitations on us, the brain essentially, fundamentally offers no limitation on our sanctification
- Christ was crucified in weakness, and as a result he seems to have a unique affection for those who are especially weak … And he seems to be particularly pleased to use people who are weak to do magnificent, fruitful things in the kingdom of heaven
- Part of the obstacle you and I face, when it comes to holiness, when it comes to being sanctified is that we don’t know what normal looks like.
- When you are rightly proclaiming the word of God, there ought to be a northern Galilean accent in there.
- People ought to hear a familiar voice that first calls them out of darkness. And, whenever Jesus begins speaking, everywhere that we see Jesus speak, things start happening. Demons start shrieking. They see that their power is being broken. That is what is happening when we gather together and hear the word preached.
- Why do I need a sermon series on parenting when I’m an 88 year old man with no children? (Or) I’ve been widowed for years, there’s no prospect for children out there. Because you are to hold accountable, and to teach and to encourage, and to rebuke the whole church when it comes to parenting. You are a kingdom of priests, under the proclamation of the word of God, that creates and brings about our sanctification and holiness
- If he turns,” Jesus says, “you have received your brother.” Why? “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.” Only difference between Peter weeping in the arms of Jesus and Judas tangled up in his own intestines in a potter’s field is the kind of repentance the voice of Jesus brings
- The discipline of the congregation spurs us to holiness, not only because we deal with lack of repentance and lack of faith among us, but also because this discipline and this accountability changes us.
- But, the main issue is not whether or not you know what your spiritual gift is. It’s whether or not, in the life of the church your spiritual gift is operative and functioning and building up the body of Christ. It’s not your gift. It belongs to the body.
- The gathering of the church together is a sign to the principalities not that this is a sinless people, but that this is a sinless people who can no longer bear accusation because of the reign of Jesus through through His crucifixion and through His resurrection from the dead.
Is there a word to help us feel
the weight of Adam’s fall?
How heavy will this burden weigh,
(Spare not!) on those who fell?
O Lord, so great this forfeiture!
Was there sufficient reason?
Then whence could any traitor hope
before your burning face?
But surely that will cost beyond
our wage. How is it priced?
Entirely paid? By him? O God,
and is that gift for me?
I would receive this gift, O Lord!
How soon would you allow?
Boasting Only in the Cross
Seeing and Savoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ Above All Things
The God of Worship and the Heart of Worship
How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Sacrifice
Fighting for Faith with God’s Word
How I Distinguish Between True and False Gospels
25 Years of Desiring God
Did Jesus Preach the Gospel of Evangelicalism?/Did Jesus Preach the Same Gospel as Paul?
The Life of the MInd and the Love of God
Getting Old for the Glory of God
A God Entranced Vision of All Things: Why we need Jonathan Edwards 300 years later
When I entered seminary I believed in the freedom of my will, in the sense that it was ultimately self-determining. I had not learned this from the Bible; I absorbed it from the independent, self-sufficient, self-esteeming, self-exalting air that you and I breathe every day of our lives in America. The sovereignty of God meant that he can do anything with me that I give him permission to do. With this frame of mind I entered a class on Philippians with Daniel Fuller and class on the doctrine of salvation with James Morgan…
…In the class on salvation we dealt head on with the doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible grace. Romans 9 was the watershed text and the one that changed my life forever…
…Emotions run high when you feel your man-centered world crumbling around you.
John Piper, The Absolute Sovereignty of God: What is Romans 9 about