Philemon 1:4-7—”I remember you in my prayers. And I always thank my God for you. 5 I hear about the love you have for all God’s holy people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the faith you share will make you understand every blessing that we have in Christ. 7 My brother, you have shown love to God’s people. You have made them feel happy. This has given me great joy and comfort.”
Paul wrote this letter and sent it through Onesimus, a slave of a believer named Philemon in Colossae, for Philemon. There are many things that we can learn from this scripture.
1-In the greeting – “Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, …, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker … and Archippus our fellow soldier, …” – Paul refers to himself as ‘a prisoner for Christ Jesus’. He did all he could to bring glory to Jesus’ name, as we Believers ought to do.
2-He referred to his believer friends as ‘fellow’, the dictionary meaning of which is, “a person in the same position, or involved in the same activity”. He did not think of himself as higher than his peers and also acknowledged that they worked together and for the same purpose.
3-He illustrated his faith in Christ and love to Him:
o-Paul was united with Believers. He also set unity between Believers more closely and as priority than any outward relation can unite the people of the world.
o-Paul was particular to remember his friends in his private prayers. We must remember Christian friends often, based on their need. We ought to bear them in our thoughts and hearts before God.
o-Paul did not allow differences in sentiments and ways in the unessential, change his affection for others. He only lived by the truth. His enquiries concerned his friends’ truth, growth, and fruitfulness of graces, their faith in Lord Jesus and love to Him, and to all the saints.
o-Paul prayed for the faith of Believers, which he felt he held in common with them and which kept showing up in the good things they all did. It was the point where other people recognized Christ in all of it.
o-Paul made it a point to call out the good works of fellow Believers and thus motivated them. In his letter, he mentioned that the good which Philemon did, brought joy, refreshment, and comfort to him and others. He also mentioned that therefore they all desired that Philemon would continue and abound in more good fruits to God’s honor.
Lord, help us in our endeavour to be united with our fellow Believers, to remember them in our prayers, to not let our differences with them get in the way of our love towards them and work that we do for You. Please continue to grow our faith and love in You, Lord, so that it brings forth fruits of the Holy Spirit that others will see and change to acknowledge you as Lord and King and which will bring glory to You alone. Amen.