The Purity Of Brotherly Love

Bible Book: Philemon  1 : 15-17
Subject: Brotherly Love; Christian Living; Philemon

Philemon 1:15-17 (KJV), “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; 16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? 17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.”

In this passage we see that there is nothing any more pure or beautiful than Christian brotherly love.

The Distinction of Brotherly Love

a. Love that stands beside one another
b. Love that stands up for one another

The Declaration of Brotherly Love

a. Declared in ones words for each other
b. Declared on ones works for each other

I. The Eternal Reception of Onesimus and Philemon

Paul and Philemon had a wonderful brotherly love for each other and Paul desired that this same love be extended to his new convert. Paul desired that Philemon do something unique and supernal, allow Onesimus to come back as a brother in good standing forever.

A. Pure Brotherly Love without Hesitant Reservation

It is one thing to say that we love another person but another to love them in their faults and their failures. Paul pleaded with Philemon to extend this brotherly love to Onesimus without any reservation. It must be freely and forever, if not it was not true brotherly love.

B. Pure Brotherly Love without Harsh Retribution

The normal thing would have been to invoke harsh cruel evil punishment upon the back of Onesimus, but not so for a born again believer. Paul asked Philemon to resort to higher standards in     accepting his runaway slave back into the fold. It must be without retribution and without harsh punishment.

II. The Elevated Relation of Onesimus and Philemon

Paul wanted Philemon to extend Christian courtesy and love to his new brother in Christ. If he could not do this, then Philemon may need to inspect the standing of himself with Jesus Christ.

A. The Authenticity of his Conversion

Paul had witnessed the conversion of this slave and vouched for his reconciliation. Philemon should not afford him the handshake of an owner to his slave, but that of a saved brother to another saved brother.

B. The Duplicity of his Coming

In allowing him to return and offering him the right hand of Christian fellowship and love Philemon would be gaining himself a brother and a more productive worker. The salvation experience had eternally changed his runaway slave. The duplicity of this request would be beneficial to Philemon. Philemon would receive a new believer into his church but also a new worker in his affairs.

III. The Emotional Representation of Onesimus and Philemon

Paul desired that Philemon would do this as if he were accepting Paul into his arms. Paul desired to stand in the place of Onesimus. The reconciliation of these two men meant much to this preacher and prisoner of Jesus Christ.

A. The Emotional Question - Do You Treasure our Brotherly Bond?

Paul reminded Philemon of their close relationship and wanted him to honor their bond that had been formed in doing the kingdom work. In life we may have to respond to a specific situation on the reputation and character of someone we trust, true brothers in Christ can take this chance.

B. The Endorsed Reception - Do You Trust my Basic Beliefs?

I believe that Paul had earned the right to make this request of Philemon. He had proven himself in the work and in the word. The basic beliefs that Paul had exemplified in his day to day conduct afforded him the honor of making this request to his dear cherished friend. The time will come when we must step out on faith when it comes to trusting a brother in Jesus Christ.

The letter had nearly been completely read, the time was coming for a major decision in the life of Onesimus. It was going to be looming largely in his mind and in his heart, could he trust the desire of his dear brother in Christ? It is the pureness of brotherly love that allows us to step out of our comfort zone. Philemon was challenged as never before with this request.