AN ALL-POWERFUL MEDIATOR
“Receive Him as myself.” [Philemon 17]
Paul’s loving concern for souls can be seen in his treatment of the runaway slave Onesimus. Onesimus was a servant of Philemon who lived in Colosse in Asia Minor. Philemon was wealthy, but more importantly, he was a follower of Jesus Christ and a good man.
Onesimus had a good name meaning “profitable,” but he did not live up to his name, because he stole from his master. He ran away from Philemon and eventually found himself in Rome, about 1000 miles to the west.
The lowest stratum in Roman society was reserved for the runaway slave. What a downfall this young man’s sin caused. Instead of enjoying the comfort of his master’s home, he lived by his wits in squalid conditions in the imperial city.
However, he somehow found Paul, probably when the great apostle was under house arrest in “his own hired house.” [Acts 28:30]. There Onesimus learned of a Saviour in Jesus Christ, who could save his soul, and there he was born again of the Spirit of God.
Paul would have been happy to retain the fellowship and help of this young man during his declining years in Roman imprisonment. But he was more desirous of seeing Onesimus reconciled to Philemon, so he sent him back to Colosse bearing a hand-written letter, the epistle to Philemon, asking his friend to receive his erring servant as if it were Paul himself.
Paul gladly interceded with Philemon for Onesimus, even to the extent of being willing to pay for the servant’s wrongdoing. In so doing, Paul left us a beautiful picture of Christ reconciling sinners to His heavenly Father.
Onesimus was blessed to have a friend like Paul. We also are greatly blessed with a mediator like Jesus, interceding on our behalf.
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“The Lord empties before He fills, He makes room for Himself, for His love and His grace. He dethrones the rival, casts down the idol and claims to occupy the temple, filled and radiant with His own ineffable glory. Thus it is He brings the soul into great straits, lays it low, but only to school and discipline it for richer mercies, higher service, and greater glory.
“Be sure of this, that when the Lord is about to favour you with some great and peculiar blessing, He may prepare you for it by some great and peculiar trial. If He is about to advance you to some honour He may first lay you low that He may exalt you. If He is about to bless you in a sphere of great and distinguished usefulness, He may first place you in His school, that you may know how to teach others.
“If He is about to bring forth your righteousness as the noonday, He may cause it to pass under a cloud, that emerging from its momentary obscuration, it may shine with richer and more enduring lustre. Thus does He deal with all His people. Thus He dealt with Joseph, intending to elevate him to great distinction and influence. He first cast him into a dungeon, and that, in the very land in which he was soon to be the gaze and astonishment of all men. Thus too, He dealt with David and Job, and thus did He deal with His own Son whom He advanced with His own right hand from the lowest state of humiliation and suffering.” [Octavius Winslow ‘Work of the Holy Spirit’]
THE STAND OF THE F.P. CHURCH
Each week we have been highlighting briefly one of the major doctrinal and practical aspects of the stand of the F.P. Church. Already we have covered Presbyterian in Government and Fundamental in Doctrine. Today we note that the Free Presbyterian Church is Evangelistic in Outreach in obedience to the great commission of Christ “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. A virile program of gospel preaching, missionary endeavour and radio ministry is actively pursued. The great objective is to lead men, women and children of every class, colour and creed to an experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
A MAMMOTH MIRACLE
The provision of “Manna” for Israel in the wilderness is one of the greatest Bible miracles. Its enormity can be better grasped by using a few simple arithmetic tools.
We are told there were 600,000 men [Exodus 12:37]. If we add women and children, Israel numbered about 2 million people. The measuring vessel held 6 pints. Israel would need about 12 million pints, or 3348 tons of manna every day. It was supplied for 40 years. Imagine, in our day, the trucks needed to deliver almost 50 million tons. Some miracle!