This Sunday Pastor Josh Mutter began a new teaching series on the New Testament book of Philemon. Consisting of only 335 words in the Greek text, this prison letter, co-authored by Paul and Timothy, was written to Philemon, a leader in the Colossian church and a wealthy Christian, possibly a bishop of the house church that met in his home. This letter deals with a couple of issues that we continue to struggle with today.
Message by Josh Mutter – June 16, 2019
PARTNERS IN FAITH
Philemon 1:1-7 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
“Everything learned about power in our culture — well not everything but almost everything — is challenged by what the gospel teaches and announces as true in Christ: power is not Christian until it is power-for, power-with, and power-unto. Power is not Christian when it is coercive, forceful, and empire-building.” – Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
Philemon 1:6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
1. We are partners with other followers of Jesus
2. When we partner with others we are able to do more than we can on our own
3. Partnering together produces “good things”
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1. Who are the people that we instinctively feel are inferior to us?
2. Who are the people that we have been conditioned to ignore?
3. Who are the people that we are tempted to exercise an advantage over?
“The letter to Philemon challenges us to discern…what is the right thing to do. It would be easy if doing the right thing was, for example, taking out the garbage, or helping an elderly person cross the street. It is another when the right thing involves a radical transformation of social relationships: of learning to see people that time and experience have led us to view one way in a completely new way. It is another thing when this radical transformation of social relationships asks us to give up what we have come to view as our rights: to willingly let go of privilege. It is another thing when this letting go of privilege leads us to assume a relationship of kinship–of obligation–with those whom we have formerly viewed with suspicion because we now recognize that we are bound together in Christ.” – Holly Hearon, Author and Professor of New Testament