The communication of thy faith
Philemon 6 “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus .”
It often seems to be a daunting task when we are sharing our faith with others, doesn’t it? We have the desire, but not the words; we have the desire, but fail to catch those opportunities that are placed in front of us; we have the desire, but we get scared fearing the rejection of our friends. And yet the sharing of our faith isn’t an option, is it? As Christ told His disciples before He returned to Heaven, ” Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ” (Mark 11:15). ” For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God ” (Romans 3:23). My friends, just as all people in this world need to hear the gospel of Christ, all the people in YOUR world need to hear the gospel of Christ. Sharing Him is not just a commandment for missionaries, but is a commandment for us all.
This sixth verse in Philemon holds some amazing and simple keys for sharing the gospel with those around us. ” That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus ” (Philemon 6). Paul is writing here to a ” dearly beloved ” fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ (Philemon 1). In other words, he is writing to a good friend and this verse is part of a prayer of Paul’s for his friend. Paul prays for his friend that the ways that he, Philemon, communicates his faith would be of great effect because he communicates his faith by acknowledging every good thing in his life and their source in Christ Jesus. Did you catch that? Paul, the great evangelist, is telling us here how to share our faith! Let’s look at this verse more closely.
Paul prays that Philemon would become effective in the sharing of his faith. He then gives Philemon the key as to how to become effective. The key is this: ” the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus ” (Philemon 6). He is basically telling him two things. First of all, that he must acknowledge every good thing in his life, and secondly, that he would recognize that every good thing comes from Jesus Christ. Oh, my friends, this is a simple message. Think about this for a minute. If we verbally acknowledged each and every good thing in our life, giving the glory to God in all things, we would be constantly talking about Jesus, wouldn’t we? And if we were constantly talking about Jesus, we would be constantly sharing our faith in Him, wouldn’t we?
Now, perhaps you are thinking that you don’t have too many good things going on in your life right now. Perhaps you are in a difficult relationship, you’ve lost your job, you are struggling with your children, or the circumstances of life are just very rough right now. My friends, in spite of life’s circumstances, we have promises from God that we can hold on to, promises that we can share with others. We know that ” all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose ” (Romans 8:28). We know that despite life’s circumstances God will never ” leave us nor forsake us ” (Hebrews 13:5). We know that God is with us always (Matthew 28:20). My friends, the message of Philemon 6 in the difficult situations of life, is the verbal acknowledgement of Christ. Think about it. What a strong witness it is to those people around you to say “Well, you know, I just lost my job, but I know that my God works all things together to make good out of them, and I know He is with me always, and I know that He will never leave me or forsake me, so I know I will be alright!” That, my friends, is acknowledging Christ in every situation and very effectively sharing your faith.
Now what about when things are going very well? We still must be acknowledging Him! Sometimes, we forget to acknowledge Him when things are going well, because in times like this, we take Him for granted. This cannot be. It cannot be that it is easier to reach out to Him when you are in trouble, than to reach up to Him in praise when things are easy. We must acknowledge and reach out to Him all the time. ” Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning ” (James 1:17). There is not one instance in our lives where His hand is absent, not one time in our days when He is not in control, not one gift in our lives that is not from Him. We must acknowledge these gifts, both to Him in thanksgiving and praise, and in the presence of those around us, because as Paul told Philemon, ” acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 6), is the key to effectively sharing your faith.
My friends, we are commanded by Christ to be sharing our faith at each and every turn. We cannot think of sharing our faith as a commandment for missionaries and ministers only. The effectual sharing of one’s faith that Paul describes in this letter to Philemon is a lifestyle of sharing one’s faith. We must cultivate a lifestyle that constantly acknowledges Christ in each and every situation, knowing that God believes that this is an effective way of sharing our faith! ” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear ” (1 Peter 3:15). ” Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17).