#DailyDevotion Philemon, An Example To The Flock
PAUL, A PRISONER OF CHRIST JESUS, and our brother Timothy, to Philemon, our dear fellow worker, 2Apphia, our fellow Christian, Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets at your home: 3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace! 4I’m always thanking my God when I mention you in my prayers, 5because I hear how you believe in the Lord Jesus and love Him and all the holy people, 6so that, knowing every good thing you have in Christ, the sharing of your faith may be effective. 7Your love delighted and encouraged me very much because you, my fellow Christian, have refreshed the hearts of our holy people.
Now Paul is writing this very personal letter in prison. It may have been the time he was imprisoned in Rome because of the faith. He is not alone. Timothy is with him. Now Paul is not only imprisoned for the faith he has in Christ Jesus but he is also a prisoner of Christ Jesus. His heart has been captured by Jesus. It’s been held captive by Jesus since he saw the Lord Jesus Christ on the way to persecute the Church of Jesus Christ in Antioch. He has learned what Christ Jesus has done for him on the cross and who Christ Jesus is. Because of this he most willingly suffers for the name of Jesus Christ and delights in being his captive.
Paul also includes in this letter greetings not only to Philemon, but Apphia, Archippus and to the Church that meets at Philemon’s home. Paul calls Philemon their dear fellow worker. You see Philemon is a person of means and he has put the wealth that the Lord has blessed him with at service to the Lord. So the church where he is at meets in his home. It must have been a substantial home for the church to meet there. There could have been up to a couple of hundred people. Now to this one, the others mentioned and to the church that meets in his home Paul blesses them with a blessing from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, that they would give them grace and peace.
Grace, that is the undeserved favor and merit of God. God’s grace toward us is undeserved. We cannot claim it on our own merits, otherwise it wouldn’t be grace but reward. That grace is given so we may continue to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and receive from him every good thing we may need for life in this world and more importantly, eternal life in the next. Peace, not peace as the world gives it or experiences it. Such peace is of the world to have nothing going on, that hostilities towards you have ended and the world leaves you alone. No, the peace Paul prays for them is the peace we have with God. We have peace with God because Christ Jesus is our peace. With Jesus, God’s hostilities towards us is ended. Our Father no longer holds our sins and trespasses against us. In Christ Jesus we have peace before the throne of God knowing we stand there in the righteousness of Jesus. We are declared not guilty and more than that, the good Jesus has done is attributed to us. So no matter what the world or the devil may throw at us, no matter how much they want to make our lives anything but peaceful, we can have the peace of Christ which is beyond all comprehension.
Paul tells Philemon how he thanks God for him because of his faith in Jesus Christ and his love for all the holy people, the saints of God. He prays for Philemon that with all the good things he has in Christ, that his sharing his faith would be effective. His love has delighted Paul and has refreshed all the saints. Now Paul is not saying all this just to butter him up for what comes later in the letter. No, this is for you and for me. For these things are there to encourage our faith and our love for Christ and all who belong to him. The blessings of grace and peace are ours too. This grace and peace will move us also to greater faith in Christ and greater love towards those who believe in Christ Jesus. We are encourage to let his grace and peace have its way with us and let our hearts be captive also to Christ Jesus and his will for us.
Gracious and merciful God and Father, continually pour out your grace and peace upon us in Christ Jesus that our faith in him may ever increase and our love towards our fellow Christians may likewise grow to your praise and glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.