A Brother In Christ

Title: A Brother In Christ

Bible Book: Philemon 1 : 16

Author: Kenneth Hendricks

Subject: Friendship in Christ; Love, Christian



Friendships are great but over the years I've found that friendships with fellow believers become deeper, more relaxing and stronger. Such friendships are something to be appreciated and treasured. Paul wants Philemon to think about the difference between forced labor and friendships. He is interested in friendships that become relationships that are strong and true.

I. A Different Onesimus, vs. 16.

A. A Look At The Past, vs. 16.

Not now as a servant… vs. 16.

In order to realize the true value of friendships you have to look back at a previous time in your life. Paul is create a clear picture of a new relationship. It's much better to have a friend than a slave “… above a servant…” vs. 16.

Paul expresses an important truth here; Christians are expected to treat people like people, not like slaves. Not only do we have a look at the past we also have a look at the present.

B. A Look At The Present, vs. 16.

…a brother beloved, specially to me… vs. 16.

Take a close look at what Paul is indicating. Paul points out that Onesimus has become his special friend it Christ. It wasn't an earned relationship; it was a gift of grace that reflected Jesus Himself.

None of us earned our standing with God. The moment we knelt at the cross, repented of our sins

and received Christ as Savior, we were accepted. “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:15-16.

Paul is saying to Philemon: Now son, as a Christian, this isn't something you should have to work on. He is telling him to accept Onesimus as a brother NOW! Paul wanted Philemon to see that Onesimus was different now that he was a Christian.

Not only do we see a different Onesimus we also see a devoted Onesimus.

II. A Devoted Onesimus, vs. 16.

A. An Expression Of Christian Love, vs. 16.

…but how much more unto thee… vs. 16.

The point of this phrase is to share with Philemon that Onesimus will be much more than a slave if Philemon will only accept Philemon and love him in Christian love. He wanted Philemon to see that Onesimus will benefit the ministry of his house. He's simply saying: Onesimus will now be a devoted friend, therefore his work in your household will improve and he'll certainly be an asset to your ministry.

Sometimes as Christians we just need to let people up! In other words, don't be afraid to give them another chance! If we do they'll love us and serve God with us.

Not only do we see an expression of Christian love we also see an expression of Christian loyalty.

B. An Expression Of Christian Loyalty, vs. 16.

…both in the flesh, and in the Lord? vs. 16.

The truth that stands out here is plain. If someone truly serves the Lord you can count on that person in the flesh as well. If he'll be loyal to God, he'll be loyal to you. In the flesh, Philemon had a brother in Christ. In the Lord, Philemon was a faithful minister. Isn't it amazing what God can do!

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