Philemon 6 – “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.”
Who was the last non-believer that you personally shared the gospel with? And when I say “shared the gospel with” I don’t mean shared a Bible verse about the gospel on your Facebook, Instagram, or twitter account. Who was the last person you prayed diligently for, and then deliberately spoke the truth of the gospel to, in order to see them come to Christ? For many people, these questions invoke feelings of dread and conviction. For many people, evangelism is something so daunting that they somehow justify their inactivity. For many people, the passion and conviction and love for the lost is simply non-existent, leading them to be silent when interacting with non-believers. Many people simply see the task of evangelism as being somewhat akin to a duty, and not a privilege or opportunity to grow in Christ.
Philemon 6 gives us a new perspective on sharing our faith. It shouldn’t be seen as a duty or an obligation; it should be seen as an incredible gift of God that reveals God’s grace to us! Paul prays that the sharing of our faith would be “effective” to give us a better knowledge of the good gifts that God has given us in Christ. Paul believes that when we step out and share our faith, that Jesus Christ reveals himself to us in powerful ways so as to show us himself!
Many of us hear the story of Moses in Exodus 33 and 34 and wish that was us. When Moses asked God to “show him” his “glory” God answered his prayer. We covet Moses and wish that we were there with him on the mountain, able to see God’s back and hear God’s voice. We sing the song, “Open Up the Heavens” and cry out, “Show us, show us your glory” with a sense of longing, yet doubtful at times that God will answer our prayer.
Paul reveals an aspect of evangelism that is missed. God shows us his glory when we step out in faith to obey his command to make disciples. God tells us that the harvest is plentiful (Matthew 9:37-38), that the Holy Spirit has been given to us for the purpose of being a witness to the lost (Acts 1:8), that people are not saved unless they hear the gospel from God’s people (Romans 10:11-15), but also that success is guaranteed to us when we step out in faith to tell people of the saving work of Jesus Christ. In John 10:16, Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.”
Jesus is saying that there are people that I am drawing to myself. When you open your mouth to show them the truth of the gospel, I will speak through you, and I will draw them to myself. All you need to do is be an empty vessel willing to be used.
And then, when you step out in obedience, God blesses us by showing us more and more of Himself through the good things that he has for us in Christ Jesus! What are you waiting for? Get out and pursue more of Jesus!