Bible Story

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 Brothers 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.

 


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Brothers in Christ

(Philemon)

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.

 


STORY POINT:

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KEY VERSE:

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BIG PICTURE
QUESTION:

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Family Discussion Questions

  • Who can join the family of God?
  • How should we treat believers?
  • Why does God want us to treat one another with love?

Worship

Game Idea

Helpful or Harmful

 

 -Before hand, label two buckets, one helpful and one harmful.

-On small slips of paper, write two sets of actions, some that would be helpful and some that would be harmful.

-Ensure there are enough for each kid to have one slip. (Helpful examples: inviting a new kid to play, taking out the trash, sharing a toy with your sibling; Harmful examples: yelling at your mom when you’re mad, ripping up your homework when you’re frustrated, taking a toy away from your sibling.)

-Place the buckets on one side of the room.

-Instruct the kids to line up on the far side of the room.

-Kids will take turns drawing a slip of paper, and then placing it in the correct bucket.

 

 

 

CONNECTION:

"We always have a choice to be helpful or harmful with our actions. Paul chose to be helpful when he heard about the conflict between Onesimus and Philemon. Paul encouraged Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother in Christ. Since God has made peace with us through His Son, Jesus, we can make peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we choose helpful actions, it shows the world what Jesus is like, and it proves that the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us more like Him. What are some ways we can be helpful this week?"