Part 13 – The Unfathomable Power of Fellowship
We all probably realize by now that ultimately, the story of Philemon is a story of forgiveness. Onesimus has sinned against Philemon by running away and stealing from him, and Paul is insistent that Onesimus go back to Philemon and repent and be reconciled with his master, who is now also a brother in Christ. But not only is it a story of two people forgiving and reconciling with one another, it is a story about an entire church – an entire covenant community – working and learning together in the intimate fellowship that comes from being called into the family of God and into a local covenant community of Christians.
Not only would forgiveness and reconciliation be a blessing to Onesimus and Philemon, but Philemon's immediate family, the other household slaves, the community at large, and especially the local church that met in Philemon's home would be deeply and forever touched by the Christlike example exemplified by the merciful and gracious behavior of both Onesimus and Philemon. We saw in this final message that fellowship comes from the Greek word 'koinonia' and this kind of 'fellowship' is shared with those who are blood relatives. As Christians we are in the same spiritual family, purchased by the blood of Christ, so we are in an unique position to truly fellowship with one another.
This fellowship means that we love one another; pray with one another; encourage one another; work together; build together; give together and worship together – all in the name and power of Jesus Christ, who lives within the hearts of all believers. And when we as a local church love and fellowship in the unity of the Spirit, it will impact the world for the positive, and thus the Kingdom of God will advance.