Make the Appeal, Part 2

8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—10I 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.) 12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. Philemon 1:8-12

It is stunning that there’s a whole little book in the New Testament that’s not about anything else but helping people reconcile. It’s called Philemon. It gives directions for when you’re on good terms with two people and they’re not on good terms with each other. So, what are you supposed to do? 

First, make your request about reconciliation an appeal, not a requirement. Paul has written this letter to Philemon.Does Paul love Philemon? He sure does. Philemon 4-7 expresses thankfulness for Philemon, encouragement for further ministry, and personal joy from knowing him. I mean, Paul loves this guy. But notice that love does not necessarily mean that you don’t have to challenge somebody about something. Because now in Philemon 8 he says, “Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required . . .”And the authority should be respected. But notice that the godly leader—and Paul an the exemplary one—doesn’t exercise that authority carelessly. He could say, “Hey! Hey! I’m bold enough. I have courage enough. I have position enough. I have confidence enough to command you to do this!” 

He could do that. But notice he says in verse 9, “. . . yet for love's sake.”This isn’t about orders; it’s about love. He says, “I want to submit my behavior to the highest Law. As I choose how to handle this—as I decide how to conduct myself—I don’t just want to act out of my position.”

There is something higher than our position, men. 

There is something higher than our position, moms.

There is something higher than our position, pastors.

There is love. And love is the highest law. 

 I love that word. Underline it in your Bible. “Yet for love’s sake, I prefer to appeal” (v.7).  “I’m choosing.” That word appeal is a fantastic word too. It means to beg; to plead; to unburden your heart with all of the emotional capacity that you have. I could demand you to do this, but instead—because of love—I want to appeal to you.

So when love leads you to approach two arguing children, friends, or whatever relationship God puts before you, don’t just command them to get along. Make an appeal.—James MacDonald


  • How will I use what Paul is teaching me today?
  • In what relationships would it be helpful for me to make an appeal for reconciliation?

Prayer – Father in heaven, I see You more clearly every time I see Your heart for unity. Help me to see the relationships in my life that are ripe for reconciliation and help me approach the parties involved with love and a sincere appeal. I’ll leave the rest up to You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.