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Now he is useful

Now he is useful

We finish off Titus and hear Paul's heart to Philemon and his home church. This book takes a look into the cultural window of 1st Century slavery, but also gives a Christian response to that slavery.

Titus 3:Be Ready for Every Good Work

1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared,

5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,

7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,

11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.

14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

Philemon 1: Greeting

1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker

2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon's Love and Faith

4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,

5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,

6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Paul's Plea for Onesimus

8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required,

9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you---I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus---

10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.

11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.)

12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.

13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,

14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.

15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever,

16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother---especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.

18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.

19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it---to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.

20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.

Final Greetings

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you,

24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Things to think about…

1.As Paul finishes off his letter to Titus, he gives some final advice regarding attitudes and actions to other believers, Tit 3:1-11. Look at vs 5. We are washed by the Holy Spirit with regeneration and renewal. This should affect our witness with others – especially in the church. We see what happens when people major on their own agendas, Tit 3:9-11. In this case genealogies, etc. Paul says avoid such divisive people. I must confess I find people who are negative, divisive or have a word of discouragement for me quite draining. Paul says, don't be like that. In fact have nothing to do with such people, vss 10,11.

2.Paul was always planning for his future ministry, Tit 3:12-14. Apollos was an excellent speaker and Zenas was a lawyer, vs 13.Why do you think Paul asked Titus to send these men to him quickly? Obviously a good orator and lawyer would have been a great combination in making a personal or a gospel defence. As the primary preacher at CBC I am always looking out for those who can speak well. Please pray that the Lord adds to our church more teachers/preachers, yes even a good lawyer here and there would be useful.

3.Philemon has a church that meets in his house, Phil 2. This is how many churches started out in the 1st century, either in a house or other venue. The desire for a new band is to move out of the garage, the desire for a new church often times is to move out of the house. Our desire is that as we reach out into the community and see the blessing of the Lord that our present facility will be too small and we can build a bigger facility on our property. Growth should be part of every church's desire as they faithfully reach out into their community.

4.Now we know Paul is speaking by the Spirit here to Philemon. But is he in danger of using flattery, Phil 4-7, to butter Philemon up for a request, vs 8. What do you think? Clearly he is speaking truth, so what is the application for us as Christians as we read Paul's greeting to Philemon? I believe Paul is appealing to Philemon's conscience. He knows he is a reasonable man. Onesimus was Philemon's slave and ran away. But Paul is returning him to Philemon. Perhaps Philemon needs to be reminded that we were all on the run once from Christ. Paul acknowledges that Philemon also owes Paul. Just as we owe those who preached the gospel to us, so we should be prepared to give for those who come after us, so they in turn can do the same.

5.Some of you may already know of the word-play Paul is using regarding this runaway slave – Onesimus. Onesimus means 'useful'. Previously while with Philemon, rather than live up to his name, Onesimus was useless, vs 11, but now he is a Christian and is useful, both to Paul and Philemon, vs 11. Onesimus ran away, but Paul is now asking that Philemon receive him back without retribution, knowing that Philemon also owes Paul himself, vs 19. We all have opportunities to show grace and mercy and to forgive and not hold any lasting grudges. What opportunities have you had to forgive? What you do with those opportunities?

6.Have a look at the names in Phil 1:23 & 24 then go back to 2Tim 4:9-12. Have a look at Paul's focus and change regarding some of them, including Demas and Titus. What do you make of this? Did these men fall away, or is the issue with Paul? Some like Mark had returned into Paul's favour. Demas may also have returned as Mark is mentioned as being here with Paul (Phil 1:24) after Paul asked for him to be present when writing to Timothy, 2Tim 4:11. Does this happen within Christian circles in our day? I believe it does. Some may surprise you as to who supports you and who doesn't in the greatest trials of your life. Paul received a great amount of support from Luke who remained with him at his first trial, 2 Tim 4:11.

Vision Point

CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.

Prayer Points

1.Pray for Tad and his brother Andrew in hospital. Tad has a prostate operation today.

2.Our Community events – once a month on a Sunday in place of the Axiom evening service at church. First one at Chapters on the 23rd Feb – around 4:30pm.

3.Please continue to pray CBC's Mallacoota bushfire appeal. Give thanks for the opportunity we have to serve Cess and his wife Wyonya. You may give now directed in the announcements.

4.Pray for continued follow up rain across Australia – especially NSW and Vic.

5.Christine Denning's mum recovering from a broken femur. Pray as she rehabilitates.

6.Ministry planning and events calendar for this year.

7.Our outreach initiatives as well as the Axiom podcast.

8.Sunday's message on James 3 "The power of a spoken word" - Ps Jay. Axiom:- "JOY – Jesus, Others, yourself – really?"- Jay.

9.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.

10.Church finances to meet our expenses.

11.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.

Praise Points.

1.Tad's operation was a success – he should be home tomorrow all being well.

2.Tad's brother Andrew is 'miraculously' up and walking around. Pray that the Lord can speak to his soul about Christ now he is on the mend.

3.More visitors on Sunday – pray as they settle into CBC. Please continue to welcome them and get to know them as you can.

4.New Website being finished this week – Praise God for Melody and Suzie making this happen.

5.Good soaking rains across Australia – especially in NSW over the weekend.

6.Recharge and Kids@Church ministries blessed over the weekend – thankyou leaders. New kids and youth in both ministries.

7.CBC's Mallacoota appeal David Jeffrey of Mallacoota, so far $1870 has been sent and received – thankyou CBC.

8.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.


1.Whole church - Hosting, morning tea next Sunday morning.

2.1st Community gathering – At Chapters café Karalee 4:30pm Sun 23rd Feb.

3.Member's meeting – A celebration of God's grace over CBC – Sun 23rd February after morning service. Open invitation – all welcome.

4.Bushfire appeal – no target has been set but CBC will be raising money towards fireys and bush fire victims. You can donate directly through our "Give" tab on the website . Label your offering "Bushfire appeal"

5.Kids@Church and Recharge parents.Leaders for next Sunday Older group Leader:- Catherine Charlesworth. Lesson :- Hot Air Balloon. Younger Group:-. Fi Beatty, Assistant:- Leah Christensen. Lesson:-Journey to Mars Psalm 119:105

6.Recharge youth 7pm at Church, Fri 7th Feb for all High Schoolers. Recharge parent for this week – Lee Davies.

February's catechism question...

Question. 9. Question:- What do we pray for in the second petition?

Answer. "That the gospel may be preached in all of the world, and believed and obeyed by us and all men"

Bible Reference – Matt. 28:19-20; John 17:20-21; Acts 8:12; Acts 28:30-31; 2 Thess. 3:1.

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3

Pastor Jay

The testing of our faith
Hold fast to the faithful word