Summary: We need to grow our godly relationships with other Christians.
We will finish today our study of the Letter to Philemon. Next week, Lord willing, we will start a new study by going back to one of the books in the Old Testament; we will study Ruth.
Before we look at those relationships through Ruth, let us finish Philemon by looking at Christian relationships. How are our relationships? I think most of us can say we have good relationships here at church; but I think the question we all have to ask ourselves is “Can I improve on my godly relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ, including family members?” As we look at God’s description of a godly relationship at the end of the Letter to Philemon, I know I have to say I still have much to work on with my relationships.
Take a look with me at the end of the Letter to Philemon…… v22-24…..
What makes a godly relationship amongst Christians? What can we learn from the relationships of Paul, Philemon, and the other Christians?
What can we say about Philemon, not only from the beginning v22 but also from the end of v2??
Philemon had a godly relationship with Paul and the Apostle knew Philemon was hospitable!
Christians are to be hospitable to one another! What does it mean to be hospitable? We note from Philemon that being hospitable means welcoming Christians in your home. God tells Christians in 1 Peter 4:9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” The original Greek word for hospitality here implies being generous to guests; welcoming, providing, and loving!
And what can we note about godly relationships at the end of v22?
Christians are to be encouraging one another!
And even before he could encourage Paul by welcoming him at his home, how did Philemon encouraged Paul in their relationship?
Christians are to pray for one another! What did Philemon pray for regarding Paul??
Philemon prayed that Paul will be refreshed and will be able to spend time together. Paul and Philemon had a very close personal relationship.
Pray for godly intimate relationships!
Now what does v23-24 tell us about godly relationship??
Christians are to be bonded together in the work for Jesus Christ!
And finally in v25, we note an important force in maintaining and growing godly relationships.
This is so important that the letter actually started in v3 and ended here with the same desire!
Christians are to desire the Lord’s grace for each other!
Let us note that this desire is for Christians who already has been gifted with eternal life. The desire for each other as Christians is to have undeserved blessings as they’re living on earth!
And so, if we profess to be Christians, we are to maintain and grow our godly relationships by imitating how Paul, Philemon, and the other Christians treated one another.
1. When was the last time you and I welcomed and gave generously to a brother or sister in Christ? How about looking for opportunities to be hospitable and do it!
2. How often do we encourage versus putting someone down?
3. How often are we really praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Do you have your church directory handy? Pray a Church Directory Page a day or more often!!
4. Do you see yourself in a Body of Believers doing work for Jesus Christ when you’re with other Christians? What part of the church Body are you? Know and exercise your spiritual gift(s)!
Take a moment to quietly meditate on these things. Pray to the Lord what you need to do specifically to grow your godly relationship with a specific brother or sister in Christ!