Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This message describes what it means to be a prisoner of Jesus Christ.


Philemon 1

1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,

Philemon 1

9 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 4

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

In the letter written to Philemon, Paul refers to himself as a “prisoner of Jesus

Christ”. This letter is referred to as a Prison Epistle.

In Ephesians Paul likewise makes reference to being a “prisoner of Jesus Christ”.

In the other letters that Paul address the different churches he refers to himself as:

Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ –

2 Corinthians 1:1

Galatians 1:1

Ephesians 1:1

Colossians 1:1

2 Timothy 1:1

Paul, the servant of Jesus Christ –

Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1

2 Timothy 1

8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Today, if someone is in prison under most cases the family is ashamed of their family if they are in prison but Paul said don’t be ashamed because I am in prison.

Acts 28

17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

Acts 26

29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

2 Corinthians 11

23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

Paul knew what it was to be in prison.

Elaborate on our visit to Stirling, Scotland and the Stirling Jail dating from Victorian times.

What does it mean to be a “prisoner of Jesus Christ”

• Share the documentation from the book “The Chronicle” that details the Apostolic church in Russia from the early 1900’s.

• Modern day testimonials of those in prison from “Voice of the Martyrs”

• Testimonials of Hebrews 11: 33-3

Prisoner by definition:

1. a person deprived of liberty and kept under involuntary restraint, confinement, or custody; especially : one on trial or in prison

2. someone restrained as if in prison


Small Letter with a Big Lesson

• 335 Greek words

• Shortest of all Paul’s epistles

• Only personal note in the Pauline epistles

Date: 61 AD

Place: Church at Colossae

• In Philemon, a different address is utilized by Paul; a unique address….

o Not as Paul—the person whose heart is knit to those to whom he writes

o Nor as Paul the apostle—the authoritative declarer of the gospel

o Nor as Paul the servant—one who is given a ministry to perform

o But rather, he introduces himself as Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

This is the only letter that Paul describes himself in this way – “a prisoner of Jesus Christ”

In this address he is not introducing himself as one who belongs to Jesus Christ as a prisoner, but one who is a captive because Jesus Christ placed him in a Roman prison.

He is in the circumstances in which he finds himself, not by accident, not because of the sudden change of plans, but by the very design of God.

After Paul had been smitten by blindness on the Damascus Road, Ananias was commissioned to go to him to bring a message. Ananias was sent with the order,

“Go for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15–16).

Paul was to minister not only in Israel but in the high courts of the Roman Empire.

• God chose the means by which Paul might have a voice in the imperial household.

• God’s method was to deliver Paul to a Roman imprisonment, so that as he was passed from guard to guard, captain to captain, and from court to court, his tongue might speak forth the un-searchable riches of Jesus Christ.

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