Summary: Why reconcile as Christians?
We continue to learn from a letter ordained by God from the Apostle Paul to a man named Philemon. Please open your Bibles to this Letter to Philemon………..
What can we note about this man Philemon:
v1: a dear friend and fellow worker of Christian leader Paul
v2: hospitable (church met at his house); and we can add that he was a leader
v5: had faith in the Lord Jesus and a love for all the saints
v6: needed to be more active in sharing faith (i.e. spiritually maturing)
v15-16: had a slave named Onesimus
v19: owed Paul his very self (likely became a Christian through Paul)
v21: known to be obedient to God
v22: had resources (v2)
With this in mind, let us read the Letter and learn the main purpose of the Letter…..
Why was the letter written? – Basically,
Philemon was to take back his slave Onesimus (v12)!
What does this indicate?
- Onesimus was Philemon’s slave (v15-16)
- Onesimus ran away (v11)
- God, through Paul, desired Philemon and Onesimus to be reconciled!
To be reconciled means disagreeing parties to be in harmony again.
Now, why should Philemon and Onesimus be reconciled?
As we will discuss later, there could be many reasons why Philemon and Onesimus had to get back together and restore the relationship. But what do we note directly from the letter?
Look again at v11…..
Onesimus was to be useful for Philemon!
And look again at v15………..
Philemon and Onesimus were meant by God to be inseperable!
And read v20 again………..
Based on this verse, what would Philemon and Onesimus reconcilitation would have done??
The Apostle Paul, a mature Christian, needed encouragement and hearing the work of reconciliation by God would have brought joy to his heart!
Now, don’t you think there are a couple of other reasons why Philemon and Onesimus had to be reconciled even though not directly told to us in this letter? What are other possible reasons why Philemon and Onesimus had to be reconciled??
Onesimus was wrong in running away from his master and he had to confess and ask for forgiveness!
And in turn, Philemon had to live out God’s love of forgiveness.
And I think there is one more major reason why Philemon and Onesimus had to be reconciled. Both Philemon and Onesimus became Christians, what would their world say if they could not reconcile??
Reconciliation between Christians testifies to the world about the reality of the power of God’s love!
There are plenty of lessons in this story aren’t there? I’d like to suggest a main lesson and elaborate on it.
Reconciliation is possible and is actually a must for maturing Christians!
It does not tell us when Philemon became a Christian but we know that Onesimus was not a Christian when he first worked for Philemon. Both Philemon and Onesimus became Christians and grew in the Lord as Paul discipled them.
Philemon and Onesimus could reconcile because they knew:
• the power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ (the answer to peace and harmony is to know and believe in Jesus Christ!)