Title: Onesiphorus: 4 Things you need to do to help people
Text: 2 Tim 1:15-18
Introduction: The text opens up with while Paul is in a Roman prison is exhorting his son in the faith Timothy with his last words an example of a Christian life of faithfulness toward those in need with something that is real personal to him. Here he reminds Timothy of the experienced he went thru. He is saying in verse 15, "you know, this that all those in Asia have turned away from me." While Paul was spreading the gospel in Asia, he was locked up and the Christians their turned their back on him. How heart wrenching it was for Paul that people who he probable ministered and served with to have them turn their back on him when things got tough. Has anybody ever been there before? When things in your life got tough and those who you thought would hang in there with you left you out there! It is probably more painful since it was church folk. It was Church folk who left Paul. My beloved it was the same for you. You have been abandoned by church folk. Your co-laborers who have answered the call and cause for Christ were unfaithful in your time of need. As Christians it is not only important to be faithful to each other especially when one of us in going thru! I should be able to count on my Christian brothers and sisters when things get rough for me. But this is not true for Paul either. Here is the text I believe Paul singles out two that surprised him the most of who left him, Phygellus and Hermogenes when he was arrested in Rome. These two brothers were probably the type to tell Paul "i got your back". If we look at these Christians brothers by name, we know Paul would be in trouble. Phygellus means "a little fugitive" and Hermogenes means “born lucky”. Luck literally ran out on him. They were there when times were good. But as believers we don't count on luck. We depend on faith and the faithful. Even though the people you thought would be there for you weren't there, God always has someone there to help you in your time of need. Paul was so appreciative of the help he got when nobody else was around prays in v. 16, "Lord grant mercy on the household of Onesiphorus". Here we are introduced to a new character that is in full contrast to the others mentioned, Onesiphorus. Paul asks the Lord to have mercy not only on this brother but on his whole household. Don't you know that when you are good to people especially the ones in need they want to see everything and everybody associated with you blessed. I can’t count how many times I was shown kindness because my daddy's relationship with people. Biblically, we can look at the life of Mephiboseth. David blessed him because of who his daddy was to David. Paul asked the Lord to give Onesiphorus' household mercy for what he did for him. This is what he did for Paul that you and I should do for other people in need. Here is the first of the four things that Onesiphorus did for Paul while he was locked up.
I. He refreshed me v. 16b
Paul says inverse 16b that "he often refreshed me". This word means to cool off or refresh ones spirit or recover a breath, to revive. It is always a blessing in your time of need that you have somebody in your life that has the ability to cool you off and not further piss you off! It is a blessing to have someone who is a breath of fresh air rather than someone who sucks the life out of you. It is great to have somebody who revives your spirit rather than kills it. This is who Onesiphorus was to Paul. God is challenging us to be a personal revival to those in bondage.
II. Don’t be ashamed of people circumstances v. 16c
Next, Paul tells us thru the faithfulness of Onesiphorus in to help those in need: don’t be ashamed by people’s circumstances. In verse 16b says that "and he was not ashamed of my chain." Paul was saying that Onesiphorus was not embarrassed by the fact that Paul was locked up for the Gospel. Onesiphorus didn't say I can't mess with this brother because he got locked up. This is what the others did. But Onesiphorus instead of having shame had compassion for his brother in the Lord and we have to do the same for other in the bondage. We can't look down our noses because other Christians are worse off than we are. But remember Paul was locked up for spreading the Gospel in area that didn't want to hear it. He served in a tough area and got in trouble for it. This is a problem in the modern day church. When ministry gets hard, some Christians can't handle it. We can’t take the suffering and sacrifice that goes with serving the Lord. But will take a plague for raising money without help those in need by getting our hands dirty. Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul's chains. He embraced his brother in pain. When was the last time you embraced somebody in pain? My beloved, when we does this we become Christ like when Jesus says come unto me them that labor and heavy laden, I will give you rest! Tell your neighbor, Don't be ashamed of me, bless me!
III. Seek them out and find them v.17
The next thing Paul tells us about Onesiphorus that will enable us to help others in need effectively is to seek them out diligently. Paul says in v. 17 that when he arrived in Rome, Onesiphorus sought him out diligently and found me". This means that Onesiphorus must have known Paul was in Rome but did not know exactly where. Scholars suggest because of the threat that Paul was posed to the Roman Empire, they may have tried to hide him. But this did not stop Onesiphorus. He went on a one man search mission to find Paul who was in need of a friend who cared. It was risky but he was commitment. My beloved, we have to have the spirit of Onesiphorus and be diligent in seeking those who are lost and in need even when it is risky.
As Baptist, we need to carry out what we recite in our church covenant in the 4th paragraph: to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances so you can help. My beloved we can’t get to lazy waiting for the needy to come to us but we have to go to them. Seek'em out! Onesiphorus did not rest until he found Paul. We can't rest until we find somebody in need to serve! Seek'em out!! Seek out the sinner etc...
IV. Surpassing service v.18
Paul goes onto pray again for Onesiphorus in verse 18. When you are good to people their prayers will always be with you. Paul prays again, "Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from that Day". Day here is the Day of Judgment. There will be a day when the Lord is going judge the world and send his wrath. Paul is saying “cover him Lord he is one of the good ones”. Then he goes on to tell Timothy more about Onesiphorus. He says to Timothy, "you know the many things he ministered to me in Ephesus. You know how much he did for me when I was locked up before. Church helping those in need is not a one time thing but it is an ongoing process. That is why we have to have surpassing service. We have to go above and beyond the call of duty. Look at this. The name Onesiphorus means “bringing profit” that was exactly who was in Paul’s life. In order for Onesiphorus to help Paul in many things, he had to have different means to help him. His multifaceted character brought profit and substance into Paul’s life. Beloved, you are going to have to do different things using different resources to bring profit to somebody’s life. Jesus didn't have only one way to bless people. He was not just a healer. He did what it took to meet the need. He came to give life and life abundantly and he different ways to do it according to the need. And it is thru the power of Christ that we can use the power and the creativity of the Holy Spirit to meet peoples needs. The text says that Timothy knew what Onesiphorus did well. My beloved, God knows well of what you do for those in need. It don't matter if anyone else doesn’t know, the Lord knows and he will reward you. Ask Joseph about what God will when you serve faithfully. Ask the Daniel and the 3 Hebrew boys about the reward of serving faithfully. Ask Elisha about the rewards of serving faithfully. Ask me about the rewards of serving faithfully! We have to be like Onesiphorus; dedicated, preserving and faithful in meeting others needs!
Close: Paul gives us an example of what a Christian should look like in the life of Onesiphorus. He truly live up to his name bring profit to Paul’s life. Onesiphorus was refreshing. He was not ashamed of his chains. He sought Paul out diligently until he found him. He did many things for him while he was in bondage. When I think about Onesiphorus I can’t help but to think about what Jesus did for me in my life. Jesus refreshed me to make me live again! He wasn’t ashamed of me when I was in bondage but he loved me! He sought me out when I was lost and found me! And He did many things for me. This is enough to inspire to be life Onesiphorus and help someone in need!