"...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. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you." Philemon 1:6-7 ESV
This statement fascinates me: Paul prays that the sharing of his friend Philemon’s faith may become effective; that it would have its full effect and be powerful. The Greek word translated “sharing” here is koinonia, which is usually translated ”fellowship.” Do we ever think of our fellowship, the friendship among believers, as being powerful?
"...effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ."
As we visit with other believers and get to see and hear what God is doing in each of our lives, we discover more of the good things that are also inside of us, since Jesus came into our hearts.
"...for the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, my brother."
This is why we Christians have missed being able to gather together during this quarantine lockdown. The Holy Spirit works effectively in our lives not just by preaching and teaching, which can be done by video over the internet or television, or by radio. He also works in the fellowship, as we share our faith together, getting to see what God is doing in each one of us. And so the fellowship brings us joy and comfort, and it refreshes our hearts.
This Sunday morning we will gather inside the church. We have roped off every other row of chairs to encourage maintaining the “distancing” protocol. Please feel free to wear a mask and greet each other with a wave or an elbow bump instead of the hug-and-backslap that’s seems so natural. If your immune system is compromised by underlying health issues so that you are especially vulnerable, we understand; continue to join us by internet and be a part of the fellowship in that way. This won’t last forever. God is still in control.
Lord Jesus, bless our fellowship as we walk with You, together. Enable us to see You at work in each other and so be filled with joy and comfort. Help us to refresh each others’ hearts. Thank you for keeping us safe. Help us to be wise and to walk in love. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles