Have you ever had to be partners with someone (a school project, a sports team, a music duet)?
Most of the Apostle Paul’s letters were written to entire churches, but the book of Philemon is a letter to one person – Philemon (can you find Philemon in your Bible?). Paul and Philemon were friends. Philemon was a leader in the church at Colossae. Paul wrote a letter to Philemon because there was a problem in his house and in his church. But we’ll talk more about that tomorrow.
Before Paul addresses the problem though he wants to make sure that Philemon knows how much he is loved by Paul and how together they are partners for Jesus. Listen to how Paul writes to Philemon in this letter:
Philemon 4-7. 4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
What are some of the encouraging things that Paul writes to Philemon?
One of the encouraging things that Paul writes is in verse 6. Paul says “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective…” The word sharing means “partnership.” Paul is letting Philemon know that they are partners for Jesus.
What do partners do?
One of the most important lessons to learn about being a Christian is that it is a partnership with other Christians. None of us is supposed to live our life all by ourselves. And none of us can anyway. We all need each other. We need the church. We need other Christians to be our partner for Jesus.
Who are some of your partners for Jesus? Who helps you to know Jesus and learn to trust him more and more?
Paul and Philemon were partners. They “shared in the faith.” They worked together. And even when things got messy and hard they stayed partners who knew they were both trying to love and serve Jesus and his church. And that’s what our faith is supposed to be too – working together with the church to make Jesus famous all over the world.
Because of Jesus we are partners with God to show Jesus to the world by our love.
With Jesus we can partner with other Christians to show him to the world.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Make a list of your “partners for Jesus” (Christian friends, church members, pastors, teachers, etc.). Talk about how your family can be good partners for the good news of Jesus.
You made me your partner when you died for me and forgave all my sins. Help me to partner with other Christians too so that everyone can see that same love and forgiveness in us.
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