Philemon 1:1-7

Philemon 1:1-7

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

  • Who is writing: the Apostle Paul, who is with the young pastor Timothy

  • Cf. Philemon 1:19, “I, Paul, writing with my own hand”

  • Who it is Written To: Philemon, particularly, Apphia, Archippus (Cf. Colossians 4:17), and the church in your house

  • When: AD 60 or 61, Paul had prepared to send a letter from a prison cell in Rome to the Colossian church and Philemon by the hand of Tychicus. Joining him was Onesimus. Cf. Colossians 4:7-9

  • What: Onesimus had stolen from Philemon and fled to Rome. Onesimus met Paul, who led him to faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Notice how Paul has such a great love for people, and this letter is reflection of his pastor’s heart. This is important because motives matter.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.

  • Paul’s choice of words shows his pure motives.

  • Paul is inciting Philemon, I’m hoping as you walk and act like a believer in Jesus Christ that you should know what you should do, especially in this situation with Onesimus.

  • Cf. Proverbs 18:1; Proverbs 15:1-2; Ecclesiastes 9:17; Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; James 1:19, 3:9-10

  • Paul’s response is peaceful, helpful, and edifying. Hateful name-calling and harsh language is unnecessary to address this situation.

But some would say what about Jesus and Paul used sharp language too…

  • There are times strong language is used in the Bible, but it is always saved for the religious (Pharisee- self-righteous teachers of the law) and false teachers. So be careful with your words.

Cf. Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23; Mark 7:6; John 2:15; Galatians 5:12; Titus 1:10-13

The Point:

Your motive matters because your response to difficult situations or people represents what you believe about Jesus.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

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