Summary: What are we as Christians and how are we to relate to one another?
Let us continue to learn from our Loving Creator God through the Apostle Paul as he writes a letter to a Christian Brother named Philemon and his church. Because all Scriptures is God-breathed, the Apostle Paul was the instrument to relay God’s message.
Open your Bibles to Philemon…. Let us read the whole letter then focus on the first 4 verses as we prepare our hearts for communion. Read along with me, the Letter to Philemon…..
From v1-2 we note:
Paul was a prisoner of Christ Jesus. What does this mean? The original Greek word for prisoner here is desmios, which means bound. The Apostle Paul was (desmios) bound to God Jesus Christ! A Christian is a person in Christ. You can not be a Christian if you’re not in Christ. A Christian is inseperable from Jesus Christ!
And we note that Paul was with Timothy, who is also in Christ and was noted as a brother. A brother indicates originating from the same source, as brothers having the same parents; and so, all Christians originated from the same source who is Jesus Christ.
And again, we note the letter was specifically written to Philemon. We will learn more about Philemon in the coming weeks; but here in v1 we note Philemon as a dear friend and fellow worker. Again, looking at the original Greek words provides a bit more information; as indicated in other English translation, Philemon was beloved by and a coworker with Christian ministers.
We note in v2 that the letter was not just written to Philemon but to Apphia, Archippus, and the church. Apphia is a sister of the Apostle Paul and the other Christian leaders; I don’t know why some people accuse the apostle Paul of bringing down women when over and over again, Paul highlights godly Christian women; Philemon may have known Apphia, as a matter of fact, some think Apphia was Philemon’s wife; but in any case Paul highlights Apphia as a beloved Christian woman!
And we note Archippus as a soldier for Christ. What does it mean to be a soldier??
Christians are in a spiritual battle and must be disciplined and ready to fight like a soldier.
And we note that there is a church that meets in Philemon’s home. A church is a regular gathering of Christians to worship, learn, and encourage one another. A church (regular gathering) is part of being a Christian and it’s not about a building.
But let us be careful how we define church; it is biblical truth when 2 or more Christians are together, Christ is in their midst; but that does not necessarily make a church. God defines what a church is in the Bible; since that would be another message, I encourage you do do some homework and find in the bible during the week what a church is to be like.
And so we can note much about being a Christian in 2 verses from this letter to Philemon and we can note a few things from v3-4 about how Christians relate to one another.
v3: Christians are to desire God’s grace and peace to one another.
v4: pray for one another and be thankful for Christian brothers and sisters.