Vol. 34, No. 2 “A PORTRAIT OF PASSION”
Vol. 34, No. 2 February, 2010
A PORTRAIT OF PASSION
“Put that on my account”
By Dr. George Mills
While the word “passion” has many meanings, I choose for this message it’s meaning of, “Ardent affection, of love.”
This certainly is descriptive of this small, but most meaningful Book of the Bible.
The Book of Philemon was written from a Roman prison cell. Today, we cannot quite grasp the awfulness of that prison, but from that awful place Paul paints a PORTRAIT OF PASSION as he pleads for the welfare of the runaway slave, Onesimus. This is one of the deepest, most tender letters in all of the Bible. Though only 25 verses, they contain volumes. It would take much time and study to search out these truths. Please take a few moments and read every verse in this Epistle. My space in this Publication is limited, so I cannot print all the Scriptures I will refer to.
This Epistle contains three main characters:
1. PAUL. Paul reminds us so much of Christ with his tender heart of compassion. We see Paul in Romans 9:1-4, Romans 10:1 as he pleads for the nation of Israel. In our text he pleads for a runaway slave, a nobody. But in God’s eyes, everybody is somebody. Our Lord Jesus Christ wept over the nation of Israel, but he had compassion on the individual. The nobody at the well in Samaria became a somebody when she met the Saviour, (John 4:1-42). Yes, the heart of Paul reminds us of the compassionate heart of our Lord Jesus. Paul writes, “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds.” (v10).
2. PHILEMON, v1. Philemon was evidently a wealthy man who lived in the city of Colosse. The text reveals some wonderful things about him.
(A) He evidently loved the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church met in his house, (v2). They did not have great meeting places in the early days of the Church, so they met in homes. Philemon opened his home for worship.
(B) His love for Christ was well known. “Hearing of thy love and faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus.” (v5). Philemon heard the message of the Gospel of Grace and opened his heart, and by faith alone he had received the Lord Jesus. As his Saviour.
His UPWARD FAITH was well known.
His OUTWARD FAITH was well known. The last part of v5 says, “and toward all saints.” Everybody knew where Philemon stood. He was not a “secret disciple.”
(C) His home was in Biblical order. His wife Apphia, and his son Archippus were fellowsoldiers. What a wonderful thing to see the entire family serving our Lord. Yes, in Philemon, we see an example of a wonderful Christian.
3. ONESIMUS, v10. Onesimus was a slave of Philemon. Evidently Onesimus had stolen from his master and had run away. Divine Providence had led him to Rome. There at Rome he had met the Apostle Paul who in turn led Onesimus to Christ. And now Onesimus is a changed man. Onesimus had become a valuable helper to Paul. Paul writes, “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever. Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother, beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” (v15-16).
Let me share with you at least four great doctrines pictured in this small book.
1. IDENTIFICATION. Paul identifies himself with Onesimus. “Whom I have sent again, thou therefore receive him that is in my own bowels.” (v12). “Receive him as myself,” (v17). Paul tenderly identifies himself with this runaway slave. And so it is with Christ. We were slaves. Slaves to sin, slaves to the flesh. Whatever our flesh desired, we served it. We had nothing to offer God. Spiritually, we were helpless, aliens, without God, and without hope, (Eph. 2:11-18). But the Bible says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” “But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:6, 8). Christ identified Himself with us. “Seeing that we have a Great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16). “For such a High Priest became us, who is Holy, Harmless, Undefiled, Separate from sinners, and made high than the heavens.” (Heb 7:26). The message of the Gospel is that God Himself became identified with us. He became flesh. He knows, He sees, He feels everything we feel. I try to be helpful to everyone who needs help, but at my best, I fail. But there is One in Heaven who is IDENTIFIED with you.
2. IMPUTATION. “Put that on my account.” (v19). Onesimus had done wrong. Onesimus had nothing. He could not earn any favor with Philemon. The word “impute” means “to put to one’s account.” Let’s look at the doctrine of imputation for a few moments…
(A) IMPUTED SIN. This started in the Garden of Eden. Adam sinned, and because of that sin, he incurred a sinful nature. That sinful nature was passed on to his sons by way of the natural birth process. All mankind is born with Adam’s fallen nature. “Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” (Ro. 5:12). Man does not have to commit sin in order to be a sinner. Man commits sin because he is a sinner. Adam’s sin is IMPUTED to all mankind. “For by one man’s (Adam) offense death reigned..” (Ro. 5:17.
(B) IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. Please take a few moments and read Romans 4:1-8. “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the lord will not impute sin.” (Ro. 4:7-8)
“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him (imputed) the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6). All of our sin was laid on Christ, and His RIGHTEOUSNESS is imputed to all who receive Him. As Paul said, “Put that on my account,” All of our sin, past, present, and future was laid on Christ. He paid the debt of sin for us.
3. JUSTIFICATION. “Was to thee unprofitable,” (v11). This was our standing before God.”Afar off, without hope, without God.” But now profitable. There has been a great change. Paul says in v17, “receive him as myself.” Justification is that act of God where He takes the repentant sinner and makes him as though he never sinned. Onesimus has a new standing; “above a servant.”
In ourselves, we are not acceptable. We are “accepted in the Beloved.” When we receive Christ, we are born again, JUSTIFIED, free from all guilt and condemnation. In Christ, we do not have a past. Everything is future. Oh, there is so much more…
4. RESTITUTION. V19, “I will repay” Paul assures Philemon that he will pay the debt owed by Onesimus. A runaway slave could never repay the debt he owed to his master. As I have stated in this message, we were in debt. There was a sin debt to be paid. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The Law of God must be satisfied. What can we do? Good news! On the Cross of Calvary, Christ bore ALL sin. As He hung there on that Cross of shame, He cried out, “IT IS FINISHED.” All of the demands of The Holy God were met. The Law of God was satisfied. Christ paid in full the debt that we owed. Paul said, “I will repay.” Christ has already done that. That’s RESTITUTION!
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.” (Ro. 11:33)
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift.” (2Cor. 9:15)
Now, what will you do with a Saviour like that? One, who took your sin upon Himself, paid your sin debt, who can justify you and make you as though you never sinned, and will give you a new start in life?
FIRST, Receive Christ today. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” He is there, where you are, in the presence of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart. The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.”
SECOND. Determine in your heart to live for Christ. I made that decision many years ago. I have never regretted an hour of living for Christ. I sure have regretted the years when I did not know Him.
THIRD, Share Him with a world that does not know Him. Many know about Him, but do not know Him personally.
Paul said, “Put that on my account.” Jesus took all of our sin upon Himself, and put RIGHTEOUSNESS ON OUR ACCOUNT!
HALLEUIAH, WHAT A SAVIOUR!
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS..It is no friend to the Christian. The world in all of it’s glitter and glamour, lied to us, and robbed us, and left us with a debt we could not pay. As someone has rightly said,
I owed a debt I could not pay,
Christ paid a debt He did not owe.
I claim that as my only hope for time and eternity.
THINK ABOUT IT…We are free ONLY because of what Christ did. We could never be good enough. If we could, then the sufferings of the Cross would be all in vain.
AND THINK ABOUT THIS…Since God knows what He is doing in my life, it would make more sense for me to yield my life completely to Him. I wonder how much my stubborn will has cost me in knocks, bumps and bruises. Oh well, we grow old so soon, and smart so late.
PUT THAT ON MY ACCOUNT
By Pastor George Mills
I owed a debt too large to pay,
So great was the amount,
And then I heard the Saviour say,
“Put that on my account.”
My debt of sin was growing sure,
Each day it did surmount,
The Saviour said in words so pure,
“Put that on my account.”
I had to give account to One,
There on Calvary’s Mount,
Then came that voice from God’s own Son,
“Put that on my account.”
My sin so great, there was no way,
To pay the full amount,
With tender words, the Lord did say,
“Put that on my account.”
I found great help from One so fair,
There at Calvary’s fount,
With tender words He answered there,
“Put that on my account.”
And now I live each day set free,
One paid the whole amount,
In Love He said so willingly,
Put that on my account.
THINK ABOUT IT…The trend of the world is DOWNWARD. The end of the Church is UPWARD. Nothing in the future can change that UPWARD END, only Christ can change the DOWNWARD trend.
AND, in Florida, days and days of below freezing weather. So much for Global warming!
WHAT IT COSTS TO BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN…
By Dr. George Mills
He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (v38-39).
“His cross” mentioned in v38 is not the Cross of Christ. He had not yet mentioned His crucifixion. Nor does “his cross” refer to some infirmity of the flesh as some say, “well, that’s my cross to bear.” My cross is to do the work that God has called me to do, and do it the very best that I can. The same is true for every believer.
Today, there are many “drop outs” among professing Christians. Some make a decision to follow Christ and after a few days, or weeks they begin to see that “this is going to cost me something.”
FIRST, let me say that becoming a Christian costs nothing. The price has been paid. We had nothing, or no way to pay. The demands of God were too high. Jesus came to earth and did for us that which we could never do. He satisfied all the demands of God by His death on HIS CROSS. God raised Him from the dead totally satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son. “For when we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly” “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:6-8). Our only hope for Salvation is to receive the Lord Jesus as our Saviour. We cannot work enough, we cannot pay enough, we cannot be good enough, we cannot pray enough. We must, by faith alone receive the Lord Jesus. So becoming a Christian COSTS US NOTHING.
For us to become a Christian cost God His Son.
For us to become a Christian cost Christ His life.
For us to become a Christian costs us nothing. Someone else paid the cost.
But the Title of this message states; WHAT IT COSTS TO BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN. That’s my desire. I want to be the best Christian I can be. I don’t like to be mediocre in anything. You are probably the same way. Let’s bring this over into the Spiritual world. Let’s be the best Christian we can be. What does it cost to be a GOOD CHRISTIAN?
It will cost you some…
1. TIME. “Redeeming the TIME because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) The text simply means to take advantage of every God-given moment we have. Being a GOOD CHRISTIAN will cost TIME in prayer, TIME in Bible study, TIME in Church, TIME with family, TIME for visitation, TIME in reaching out to others. TIME, TIME, TIME. The vast majority of people in any city are unchurched, unreached. This will cost some TIME. “Oh, but it’s MY time” some will say. But it is not your time if you are a Christian. You belong to Christ. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” So in order for you and me to be good Christians it will cost us some TIME. It will also cost your…
2. TALENT. The Bible says, “He gave gifts to men.” (Eph 4:8). When God saved us, he gave us TALENTS and abilities to do His work. You are unique. There is nobody else like you. You can do things that nobody else can do. The thing for us to do is to discover our TALENT and use it for God. Use it in reaching, and teaching others about Jesus. I’m talking about being a GOOD CHRISTIAN. Put your talent and abilities to use for God. In order for us to be a GOOD CHRISTIAN it will cost us some …
3. TIES. Too many Christians are tied to this world. God uses Christians WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Let nothing of this world tie you back from serving Christ. Too many Christians are TIED to clubs, lodges, committees, and a thousand other things. Break all TIES. It must be CHRIST ALONE! Too many are victims of that “besetting sin.” Paul wrote, “Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world.” (2Tim. 4:10). Demas was TIED to the world.
In order for us to be a GOOD CHRISTIAN it will cost our…
4. TEMPER. We cannot serve Christ with an ill temper. A temper will make us inconsistent. Think of the Apostle Peter. One moment he states that he will follow Christ to the end, and another moment he loses his TEMPER and cuts off the high priest’s servant’s ear. The Bible says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Pr. 16:32). “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to wrath.” (Ja. 1:19)
An uncontrolled temper got some of you in the fix you are in today. Bring the TEMPER to Christ Ask the Holy Spirit in you to teach you the Spirit controlled life. And in order to be a GOOD CHRISTIAN it will cost some…
5. TRIALS AND TESTINGS. There are many today who teach that once you get saved, you will never have any more problems, you will have lots of money, and a care-free lifestyle. This does not line up with the Scriptures, Jesus said, “I come not to send peace, but a sword.” There is a cross for you to bear. Some clearly see that and fall by the wayside. Others see the same thing and take up their cross and do their best for Jesus. Thank God for each one who does. God promised TRIALS and TESTINGS. “Count it all joy WHEN ye fall into divers temptations (testings). People will mock, call you names, lie about you, and you probably will not be voted “MOST POPULAR.” Being a GOOD CHRISTIAN costs…
“And when He was come to the city He wept over it.” Tears are missing from our churches today. How long has it been since we sincerely wept over the condition of our city? Sure, we can see the faults, but to spend time praying, weeping, well that’s something of the past. Paul said, “I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31). How long since we wept over a lost loved one? Have we forgotten what happens to a lost person when they die? To die without Christ is to spend eternity without hope in hell. We hear hell mentioned more on some TV program than we do from pulpits today. Oh that tears would flow once again. I believe nothing would touch the heart of God like the broken hearts of His people as we weep over the condition of lost humanity.
Let each of us be the best Christian we can be. When at last we are in His presence and we give account of our stewardship What a joy it would be to hear our Dear Lord say, “Well done thy GOOD and faithful servant.” BUT He will not say “well done” if we did not do well!
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE LOVED?
There has never been a time in my life that I have felt unloved. Not a doubt have I ever had that I am loved. I shared a Mama and a Daddy with nine other siblings and I can truthfully say I never felt a lack of love. There was enough love for all ten of us and even the neighborhood kids. Most of the Moms in the neighborhood worked out of the home but our Mama was a stay at home Mom so the kids would congregate in our yard. All the kids loved Mrs. Wheeler, and Mrs. Wheeler loved them. Being raised up in a home where you are loved is a blessing from God. We were loved! Even when I got my “whippins” that I so rightly deserved I still knew that I was loved.
In the primary class at the little Free Will Baptist Church that we were raised in, I learned the little song; “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” By that time I had been taught that the bible was God’s Word and every word in it was true. If the Bible said Jesus loved me, then He loved me. No question about it! Then the little song; “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world,” that meant me. I was a little child and I was in the world, so I knew He loved me. Then our Sunday school Teacher would give us a little card to take home with us. It had a picture of Jesus holding little children on His lap and other children at His feet. The Bible story was on the back of the card. I knew if Jesus loved those little children, He loved me too. Jesus loves even me! As I listened to God’s Word being preached at our little Church I learned how much God really did love me. “He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:10). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16). As a little primary girl, I had learned that Jesus loved me and now by the time I was in the Junior Dept., I understood just how much He loved me. He gave His Son to die for my sins. The Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart and drawing me to the one who loved me enough to die for me. Then it was my turn to love, my time to give and I did just that! I fell in love with Jesus as a young child and gave Him my heart and life because He first loved me. The Bible says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1John 4:19). I have failed Him many times, but I know “He has loved me with an everlasting love.” (Jer. 31:3). How could I not love Him, He that gave His all for me.
Isn’t the Love of Jesus something wonderful!
THINK ABOUT IT…
Christ was rich, yet He became poor, that we may be rich in Him.
He who died thirsty offers living water.
He who had no place to lay His head has prepared a mansion for those who trust Him.
He who had nothing is now Heir to everything, and He wants to share everything with us.
The world offers schemes and dreams, but all riches are in Christ Jesus.
THE FIRE WENT OUT…WHY?
The Church at Thessalonica was a good Church, an exemplary Church. They were evangelizing their world. Their faith was known abroad, (1Thess 1:8).
But something happened. When you read Second Thessalonians, you see a drastic change. No more fires of evangelism. What went wrong? Someone wrote a letter and signed Paul’s name to it. Paul writes, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter AS from us that the day of Christ is at hand.” (2Thess 2:2). Someone lied to the Church and told them that they were in the tribulation period and the good work was stifled. Nothing will keep the fervency of evangelism like the hope of the eminent return of Christ in the rapture of the saints.
Satan has slipped his lies into the Church many times and in many ways. He is the master when it comes to changing the Word. He is having his heyday now. Don’t believe the lies about the up-dates, and dozens of new “versions.” Satan slipped a lie about the Word of God to Adam and Eve. He slipped a lie to the Church at Thessalonica, and he is pouring out lies today. Our hope is in the inerrancy of the Word of God. Thank God for the Inspiration, Preservation of His Word given in the King James Bible.
“ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTE.”