Sunday Morning 8/15: Unit 35, Session 3: Brother’s in Christ

Paul was a prisoner under house arrest in Rome when a man named Onesimus (oh NESS ih muhs) came to visit him. Onesimus was a slave who had run away from a wealthy man named Philemon. As it turned out, Paul was a friend of Philemon. So when Paul told Onesimus the good news about Jesus and Onesimus believed, Paul desired forgiveness and reconciliation between Onesimus and Philemon—now brothers in Christ.

So Paul wrote a letter and told Onesimus to take it to Philemon. The Book of Philemon is the letter written by Paul to Philemon. Though Onesimus had become dear to him and Paul wanted Onesimus to stay with him in Rome, Paul sent him back to Philemon with his letter.

In the letter, Paul urged Philemon to show kindness to Onesimus and treat him as a fellow brother in Christ. Paul even offered to pay Onesimus’s debt for him. Though Paul could have used his authority as an apostle of Christ to force Philemon to do what he wanted, Paul instead appealed to him as a friend and a fellow believer. He urged Philemon to treat Onesimus as if he were Paul himself—with love and kindness.

Paul offered to pay Onesimus’s debt to make peace between him and Philemon. In this way, Paul acted like Jesus, who makes peace between God and humanity. Jesus took the punishment we deserve for our sin, paying our debt so that we can be forgiven and welcomed into God’s family as brothers and sisters of Jesus. (See Heb. 2:11.)

Paul’s letter serves as a reminder to us that everyone is equal before Jesus. People from completely different backgrounds—like Paul, a former Jewish leader; Onesimus, a runaway slave; and Philemon, a Gentile slavemaster—are brought together by the gospel under the lordship of Jesus Christ. In light of God’s love for us, we can be loving, kind, and forgiving to our brothers and sisters in Christ for the glory of God.

Paul offered to pay Onesimus’ debt to make peace between him and Philemon. In this way, Paul acted like Jesus, who makes peace between God and man. Jesus took the punishment we deserve for our sin. He paid our debt so that we can be forgiven and welcomed by God.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus came to make peace between God and people.
    • Paul told Onesimus to return to Philemon.
    • Paul asked Philemon to show kindness to Onesimus.
    • Jesus wants us to do what is right because we love Him.
    • One day all Christians will see Jesus.
  • Preschool
    • Paul wanted to make peace between his friends.
    • What will happen for all Christians in the future? One day all Christians will see Jesus in His glory and live with Him forever.
  • Kids
    • Paul encouraged Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother in Christ. 
    • What will happen for all Christians in the future? One day all Christians will see Jesus in His glory and live with Him forever.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Philippians 1:6

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Children of God” (1 John 2–3)

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