07/29/12 Participation of Faith!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 Under: Sermon

Text: Philemon 1:6 (NIV)

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

“Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” Romans 5:18 (NKJV)

Intro: Try to picture someone giving you a gift, it isn’t an ordinary gift, it is special. It is something you really wanted and could really use. It could change the way things are done for you it could change your life. But even Knowing all this you still chose to neglect the opportunity to open the gift and really use it. From a spiritual perspective most of you are probably aware of where I am going with this? God has given us a gift and many of you have received this gift but are still neglecting the participating value of the gift. This gift requires participation!

Mankind is Doomed, Defeated or Delivered. Everyone falls into one of these three categories. Bible says we have all sinned, we are doomed, and this is the natural state of mankind. You can be a believer and out of fellowship with Christ the flesh is in control you’re defeated and this state of mankind is carnal, or you can be a believer who has been delivered now guided by the Holy Spirit participating in the faith and this state of mankind is spiritual.

Application: Sharing your faith allows you to have a full understanding of Christ

1. A Participator is not Doomed: Romans 5:18a (NKJV)

“Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation,” Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone; the unbeliever is doomed without a relationship with Jesus Christ! The natural state of mankind is doomed.

20 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21 (NLT)

The law is a major topic and theological debate throughout the book of Romans and in the end of all that might be said, man cannot nor have they ever been able to fulfill the law or be sinless. Christ came to fulfill the law and did and therefore by Grace Man does not have to be doomed so by grace can be redeemed, saved from the wrath of God.

Grace, Grace God’s Grace! The participator is not doomed because of God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all our sins.

2. A Participator is not Defeated: Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)

21 "I have discovered this principle of life - that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

You can be a believer and out of fellowship with Christ, the flesh is in control, you’re defeated and this state of mankind is carnal.

A participator of the faith is not doomed and is not defeated, a participator has not allowed sin to control them nor allow carnality to be the state of this Christian. The sad commentary of this carnal state is where the average church member stays, churches are plateauing, declining and doors are closing all because the Christian is defeated no participation!

3. A Participator is Delivered: Romans 5:18 (NKJV)

“Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

Jesus’ act of righteousness allows mankind to be delivered. This third point is really my focus of interest and challenge for the Church member today. My desire from the beginning when I started to prepare this message, was built around Philemon and the prayer and praises he received from Paul and his example of a Participator of the faith. It was pertinent that I went to Romans to set this stage and I don’t think I became too topical to conclude with Philemon’s testimony.

From what we read in Romans: Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ you will be delivered from the bondage and captivity of sin, but to really be delivered the Christian will be a part of the “participation of faith”. Meaning you will participate. You will be on the front line, you will be in the game not in the bleachers.

Just to be sure you understand: the definition of participator means to take or have a part or share, as with others. We just don’t ever know if something might happen! What if you chose not to participate and you didn’t tell your neighbor or family member how to have a relationship with Christ and that family member or neighbor gets shot and killed by a sniper at a gas station, or killed in a car accident or God forbid that neighbor or family member goes to see a midnight movie and a madman kills them. Can Christians continue to idly stand by and chose not to participate because of fear or doubt or whatever great excuse that comes to mind while family and neighbors die? Philemon was being prayed for but also praised for his participation in the faith. He was a doer not just a hearer of God’s word! Philemon’s “participation in the faith” would mean that he also participated in the good things that promoted the cause of Christ.

At the very heart of Christianity there is forgiveness and fellowship. I don’t have to take 30 minutes to explain the importance of this verse: I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Are you a participator of the Faith? Philemon was a Christian who was able to forgive a runaway slave (Onesimus) who came back to Philemon after being led to the Lord by the Apostle Paul and was forgiven. That is a participator of the faith! He loved, he forgave and he had fellowship.

Philemon:

- Was active in sharing his faith
- Had a full understanding
- Knew of the good thing
- We have in Christ

Christians not only belong to one another but actually become mutually identified, truly rejoicing with the happy and genuinely weeping with the sad. Philemon’s “participation in the faith” allowed him to experience the good things that promoted Christ.

Paul states: "I thank God" for you. Imagine having a testimony so strong in the Lord that Paul would thank God for you! This was Philemon.

1. His testimony was so strong that it stirred Paul to pray for him, not just every now and then, but always.
2. His testimony was steeped in love
3. His testimony was steeped in faith

“remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father” 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Conclusion: I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

This is actually the prayer that every strong believer needs. Simply stated, Paul is asking  god to help Philemon to share his faith more and more effectively. We too much have:

A Concern for the Lord
A Concern for People
A Concern for Fellowship
A Concern for Knowledge
A Concern for Glory
A Concern to Be a Blessing

Ephesians 4:12-13 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Are you doomed or defeated? Or are you delivered?

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