Introduction: (vv. 1-3)
- Verse 1 – Philemon is authored by Paul during his imprisonment (see verse 9).
- verses 1-2 – to Philemon and family, but in verse 2 we can see that their church gathered not in a building, nor a parish church, but in a home—at Philemon’s home. The church is not the building; “church in your house” – propositional “in” pertains that there was a church inside his house. Clearly, only people can be inside a house, hence the church is the people who gather for Christ (identity).
- v. 3 – common greeting in the time of Paul where he presented Christ as equal to God the Father who is the source of both grace and peace—charis and Eirini (shalom).
Main Idea: Part I: Identity, Community, and Mission (vv. 4-7)
v. 4 to 7: there is a massive decline in today’s generation, comparatively, in the United Kingdom around 2/3 of Gen Zers, and over a third in the US, indicated that they have ‘no religion’ also known as being in the ‘unchurched’ religious category. Some classify themselves as an agnostic, loose atheist, pragmatics, and so on. Why? Because we do not offer identity, community, and mission.
- Identity – v5, love and the faith they have toward the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Community – v6, “sharing” is koinonia – of food? No! it is sharing of faith. This communal sharing offers a deeper awareness and experience of the blessings that Christ has for us.
- Mission – v7, the mission to provide joy, comfort, and love to the body of saints—the local church, so that we give others an avenue to be refreshed, healed, and renewed.
Meaning, that if our gathering or your individual lifestyle always centers on yourself, then you are failing to exemplify the love that Christ has for us (our identity), by sharing for fellowship in the body of Christ (community) and towards giving benefit to the entire community of Christ (mission).
Part 2: The Gospel in Philemon (vv. 8-20).
- Share the story about Philemon and Onesimus (a worker, and slave).
- “very heart” v12 – goes with Onesimus
- He became useful, even though he was useless to you in the past (because of stealing)
- vv15-16, no longer a bondservant of man, but of Christ – Slave here, in Paul’s argument, presents that they are on equal footing in Christ’s sake.
- vv17–19 (we believe that the Bible is God’s Words, let us read these next verses in a canonical lens as the logos of God) as if it is Christ speaking to God the Father on behalf of us:
- If we are one (partner is koinonia), you will receive him. (John 17)
- If he has wronged you, charged that to my account. (1 John 2:2)
- I will repay all what he or she owes to you (1 John 1:7)
- Be refreshed—a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).
Verse 21-22- shows the confidence of Paul that “if” Philemon is a genuine Christian, he would forgive, reconcile, and brings forth the healing both grounded in the love of Christ.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
June 27, 2022