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Read Introduction to Philemon


“For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”


For we have great joy and consolation in your love,

Philemon’s love was exceptional.  Paul was encouraged as he sat in jail thinking of his love.  Philemon extended hospitality and care for traveling evangelists.  He carried a reputation for loving hospitality. 

because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother

The Greek word “hearts” conveys the idea of feelings.  Literally, “hearts” is the inner parts of the body, the inner organs of the intestines, the bowels.  It is the word for the seat of the emotions often portraying the idea of compassion.

Php 2:1, “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy…”

Co 3:12, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…”

1 Jn 3:17, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

There is a military usage of the word “refreshed” portraying the idea of an army at rest after a march.  It was also used as an agricultural term after giving rest to the land.  Philemon’s love revived and refreshed the saints.  This is the character to which Paul appeals in Philemon for the release of Onesimus.  He was a person who cared about uplifting others. 

Mt 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Ro 15:32, “…that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.”

1 Co 16:17-18, “I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.”

He 4:3-10, 3 “For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:

“So I swore in My wrath,

 They shall not enter My rest,”

“…although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, Today, after such a long time, as it has been said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,

Do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”


God calls upon us to refresh the saints. 


The mutual edification of believers is a compelling dynamic in Christianity.  It is clear evidence of the Spirit of God at work among Christians.  One of God’s purposes for every believer is that he or she be refreshment to others.  We do not need to have a vibrant personality for this.  We do not need to read “How to Win Friends and Influence” people to do this.  All we need is a little courage that comes from God’s Word, which will enable us to extend this refreshment to others.  Is your life refreshment to others?  Be a cool drink of water to a fellow Christian in need. 

God calls upon us to have a ministry toward God’s people.  We used to sing a song about this, “Make me a blessing to someone today.”  Warm someone’s heart today. 

Ga 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

2 Ti 1:16, “The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain…”

He 6:10, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”