Book of Revelation

Business and management writer Peter Druck said, “Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.”

Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, most famous for being the location of both the vision of and the writing of the Christian Bible’s Book of Revelation. One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,998 and an area of 13.15 sq mi (34.05 km). The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 883 feet (269 m) above sea level. The Municipality of Patmos, which includes the offshore islands of Arkoi (pop. 44), Marathos (pop. 5), and several uninhabited islets, has a total population of 3,047 (2011 census) and a combined land area of 17.390 sq mi (45.039 sq km). It is part of the Kalymnos regional unit. Patmos’ main communities are Chora (the capital city), and Skala, the only commercial port. Other settlements are Grikou and Kampos. The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The current mayor of Patmos is Grigoris Kamposos.

None of us knows what tomorrow holds, but the Lord Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega, knows the end from the beginning, and in the book of Revelation He tells how history will conclude.

It’s true that Revelation is full of apocalyptic visions, but the very title of the book implies God wants to reveal His plans to us.

A special blessing is promised those who study this book, and without it our lives would be incomplete.

The apostle John received Revelation while exiled on the Island of Patmos. The immediate recipients were seven churches in Asia Minor.

After an opening introduction in chapter 1, and exhortations to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3, the writer launched  into chapter after chapter of vivid descriptions of the events of the Great Tribulation, leading to the dramatic moment of Christ’s return in chapter 19 and a tour of our eternal home at the end of the book.

The book of Revelation tells us that regardless of what happens in life – no matter how depressing the news or difficult the times – life in Christ has a happy ending for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, who pray: Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Key Thought:

God has a plan for the future and for eternity. Regardless of what happens in life, no matter how depressing or difficult the news, life in Christ has a happy ending for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Key Verse:

“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Rev 22:3).

Key Action:

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).

 

Book of Jude

Tyre was founded around 2750 B.C. according to Herodotus and was originally built as a walled city upon the mainland.
Phoenicians from Tyre settled in houses around Memphis, south of the temple of Hephaestus in a district called the Tyrian Camp.
Tyre’s name appears on monuments as early as 1300 B.C. In Jesus’s time the city was particularly known for the production of a rare and extraordinarily expensive sort of purple dye, produced from the murex shellfish, known as Tyrian purple (Acts 16:14).
This color was, in many cultures of ancient times, reserved for the use of royalty, or at least nobility. Jesus visited the region of Tyre and Sidon and healed a Gentile (Matt 15:21; Mk 7:24) and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mk 3:8; Lk 6:17, Matt 11:21–23).
A congregation was founded here soon after the death of Saint Stephen, and Paul the Apostle, on his return from his third missionary journey, spent a week in conversation with the disciples there.

A recent book about backpacking in Canada warns us to purchase accurate maps before hiking in remote areas. Several travelers have died by following hastily printed maps with erroneous data.

Doctrine is the roadmap of life, and the New Testament writers vigorously warned against following faulty teachers. The tragedy of such heresy is the theme of the small book of Jude.

Jude grew up in the carpenter’s family of Joseph and Mary. He was the half-brother of the Lord Jesus. He became a leader in the early church and apparently wanted to write a book about what he called “our common salvation.”

But the spread of false doctrine caused him to change subject matter and appeal to God’s people to stay alert, to contend for the truth, and to keep themselves spiritually and theologically strong.

This brief letter divides into three parts.

  • The first section exhorts God’s people to contend for the faith.
  • The second section warns against destructive teachers.
  • The final part urges us to stand firm in truth and love.

According to Jude, we’re to explain and defend the Gospel as best we can while humbly rooted in the knowledge, love, and practice of the truth.

In today’s world, heresy spreads with the click of a button or the turn of a knob. We must follow Jude’s call to be built up in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and to contend earnestly for the integrity of the faith entrusted to the saints.

Key Thought:

God’s people must defend the doctrines of the faith by preserving biblical truth, battling heresy, and humbly standing up for the Good News.

Key Verses:

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21).

Key Action:

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the nation’s major ports. Tourism is a major industry. The city has a number of ancient sites, including its Roman Hippodrome.

Book of 3 John

Damascus is where Paul was going to persecute Christians when Jesus spoke to him (Acts 9). Today it is the capital and the second-largest city of Syria after Aleppo prior to the civil war. It is now most likely the largest city of Syria, due to the decline of Aleppo because of the ongoing battle for the city. It is commonly known in Syria as ash-Sham and nicknamed as the City of Jasmine.

Dr. A. W. Tozer pointed out that a hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork will automatically be tuned to each other.

In the same way when each of God’s workers is tuned to Christ we’ll be in harmony with one another. But beware the discordant note.

One of the joys of being a pastor, as I’ve been for many years, is watching how harmoniously God’s people labor side-by-side for His kingdom.

One of my sorrows is seeing how one person with a personal agenda, jealous spirit, or harsh personality, can disrupt the work.

The apostle John faced the same thing as he wrote 3 John. He expressed gratitude for those working alongside his friend Gaius, and he encouraged them to show continued hospitality toward traveling workers.

But John expressed dismay at one man,

Diotrephes, who loved attention, sowed discord, and turned away John’s emissaries.

This short letter, small enough to be written on a single parchment, tells us that those who selflessly support the Lord’s work are to be commended, but those serving Satan’s agenda, particularly if they infiltrate the church, must be confronted.

In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant. The city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 as of 2009. Doesn’t look bad here from a distance, and even up close, but then again…

God wants you to be a Gaius, not a Diotrephes. Maybe He doesn’t intend for you to preach before an entire congregation, but He wants you to support those who do.

We each have a place in God’s work; and as we labor in harmony and mutual support, we’re walking in truth, and that brings joy to the whole church.

Key Thought:

Those who selflessly support the Lord’s cause are to be commended; those who don’t must be confronted.

Key Verses:

“For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 Jn 1:3-4).

One of the rare periods the Barada river is high, seen here next to the Four Seasons hotel in downtown Damascus

Key Action:

Diligently encourage God’s work and show hospitality to His workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of 2 John

Khirbat Karraza was a Jewish town known as Chorazin in the 1st century C.E.
The town was partially destroyed in the 4th century, possibly as a result of an earthquake.
Khirbat Karraza was populated by the Zanghariyya Bedouin tribe and the village contained a shrine for a local Muslim saint, al-Shaykh Ramadan.
The villagers used to store grain close to the shrine, certain that nobody would steal it and thereby violate the sanctity of the shrine.

A strange thing has happened to the concept of “tolerance.” It once meant we accepted the fact other people had a right to their own views, even if those views were different from ours, and even if they were wrong. But culture now defines tolerance as accepting all other views as being equally valid to our own.

The Bible proclaims an objective truth and an exclusive Gospel. As a result, Christians are sometimes accused of being unloving and intolerant. The message of 2 John is: We should love one other deeply, but we cannot tolerate error and evil in our homes or churches.

John addressed this short note to a woman and her children, which metaphorically may indicate a church and its members. He reminded them of the command, both old and new, to love one another. But in plain language he also warned his readers to reject the false teachers who were traveling about.

Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge Christ as coming in the flesh, John said, is a deceiver and an antichrist. We mustn’t accept such people, he wrote,

“For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 Jn 1:11).

What a vital balance! We’re to be loving, but discerning. Every day we come face-to-face with a world God loves; but we also daily encounter a world in which we must stand for the truth. Only John could have articulated such a delicate balance, and only 2 John explains it so concisely and plainly.

Key Thought:

Khirbat Karraza was a Palestinian Arab village in the Safad Subdistrict.
It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 4, 1948 by the Palmach’s First Battalion of Operation Yiftach.
It was located 5.2 miles (8.5 km) southeast of Safad.

While we must love one another deeply, we cannot tolerate error and evil in our churches.

Key Verse:

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 Jn 1:9).

Key Action:

“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 Jn 1:8). 

Book of 1 John

Chorazin was an ancient village in northern Galilee, 2½ miles (4 km) from Capernaum on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Chorazin is now the site of a National Archaeological Park. Extensive excavations and a survey were carried out in 1962-1964. Excavations at the site were resumed in 1980-1987.
The site is an excavated ruin today, but was inhabited starting in the 1st century. It is associated with modern-day Kerazeh.

In a world of complexity, people crave simplicity.  Retailers use simple slogans to sell us products, and the best teachers make complicated issues as simple as ABC.

Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Computers, said, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean, to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there you can move mountains.”

That describes 1 John. It’s deep as the ocean, yet simple enough for anyone to read with benefit. John didn’t write in a linear way, so his book is hard to outline. But its circular style corresponds to the way we live and learn.

John emphasized a number of subjects – love, light, knowledge, life – and kept circling back to them throughout his letter.

He presents Jesus as the Son of God who came in the flesh. Those who reject Him are heretics, antichrists, and liars. Those who receive Him are children of light with assurance of everlasting life. It’s as simple as that, and as certain.

The purpose of 1 John is stated at the end of the letter:

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 Jn 5:13).

The majority of the structures are made from black basalt, a volcanic rock found locally.
The main settlement dates to the 3rd and 4th centuries. A mikvah, or ritual bath, was also found at the site. The handful of olive millstones used in olive oil extraction found suggest a reliance on the olive for economic purposes, like a number of other villages in ancient Galilee.

Christian living isn’t easy, but it is simple and certain – a matter of staying in the light, walking with Jesus, confessing sins, loving others, and knowing we have eternal life. That’s the wonderful message of 1 John.

Key Thought:

Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. Those who reject Him have the spirit of antichrist. Those who receive Him are children of light with the assurance of everlasting life.

Key Verse:

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 Jn 5:13).

Key Action:

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn 3:16).

Book of 2 Peter

Nazareth is the capital and the largest city in the Northern District of Israel.
Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel”. The population is made up predominantly of Israeli Arabs, almost all of whom are either Muslim (69%) or Christian (30.9%).
In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.

If you were dying but had the opportunity of writing a final letter to friends, what would you say? That’s a heavy question, but it helps us understand 2 Peter.

Knowing his remaining time was short, Peter wrote this letter, probably from Rome, as he neared the time of his martyrdom.

Had you been Peter, what would you have written? Perhaps you’d want to give a reminder of your core beliefs, then you might leave instructions about a critical issue, finally you’d focus on the joy of Christ’s return.

That’s exactly what Peter did in the three chapters of his letter.

  • In chapter 1, he affirmed that God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness, and we must diligently grow in these virtues.
  • In chapter 2, he warned us against false teachers who speak with great swelling words of emptiness.
  • He concluded with chapter 3 devoted to the Lord’s return, when heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat.

In light of this what sort of people ought to be? We should be people who are known, Peter said, by our holy conduct and godliness, as we look for and hasten the coming of our Lord.

Key Thought:

While awaiting our Lord’s return, we must stand on His great and precious promises, which provide all we need for life and godliness.

Caesarea Philippi: remnants of the temple of Pan with Pan’s grotto. The white-domed shrine of Nabi Khadr shows in the background.

Key Verse:

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Pet 1:10). 

Key Action:

“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Pet 3:14).

Book of 1 Peter

Nazareth is the capital and the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel”.
The population is made up predominantly of Israeli Arabs, almost all of whom are either Muslim (69%) or Christian (30.9%).
In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.

If someone had the capacity to retain everything he read, of remembering every fact and date, of summoning to mind every particle of learning; if he could tell you the answer to every question on every exam and provide every statistic known to man, he still would have nothing valuable to say without one other component, experience.

That’s why we read 1 Peter with such interest. Simon Peter was one of our Lord’s original followers and he experienced every dimension of discipleship, both good and bad.

  • He’d been on the mountaintop with Christ,
  • Had walked to Him on the water,
  • Had fled from Him at the cross, and
  • Had served Him in the early Church.

In 1 Peter, the old fisherman drew from a lifetime of experience to tell us how to conduct ourselves as pilgrims and strangers in the world.

Peter hit several themes in his letter, including:

  • Our conduct,
  • The power of grace,
  • The importance of submission and
  • Separation, and the role of tribulation in life.

Much of his letter is written with suffering in mind, teaching us how to respond when grieved by various trials. We’re to commit ourselves to God, to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and to give others an answer for the hope within us.

Nazareth Illit (“Upper Nazareth”) is built alongside old Nazareth, and had a Jewish population of 40,312 in 2014.
In 1954, 1,200 dunams of Nazareth’s land, which had been slated for future urban expansion by the municipality, was confiscated by state authorities for the construction of government offices.
In 1957, for the construction of the Jewish town of Nazareth Illit. The latter was built as a way for the state to counterbalance the Arab majority in the region.
In 1958 May Day rally where marchers demanded that refugees be allowed to return to their villages, an end to land confiscations, and self-determination for Palestinians. Several young protesters were arrested for throwing stones at security forces. Martial law ended in 1966. As of the early 1990s, no city plans drafted by Nazareth Municipality have been approved by the government (both the British Mandate and later Israel) since 1942.
In the 1980s, the government began attempts to merge the nearby village of Ilut with Nazareth, although this move was opposed by residents from both localities and the Nazareth Municipality.
In 1991, Ilut was designated by the Interior Ministry as a separate local council.
In 1997, permission was granted to construct a paved plaza to handle the thousands of Christian pilgrims expected to arrive. A small group of Muslims protested and occupied the site. Government approval of plans for a large mosque on the property triggered protests from Christian leaders.
In 2002, a special government commission permanently halted construction of the mosque.
In March 2006, public protests followed the disruption of a prayer service by an Israeli Jew and his Christian wife and daughter, who detonated firecrackers inside the church. The family said it wanted to draw attention to their problems with the welfare authorities.
In July 2006 a rocket fired by Hezbollah as part of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict killed two children in Nazareth.
In March 2010, the Israeli government approved a $3 million plan to develop Nazareth’s tourism industry.

Peter’s letter is a reminder for Christian pilgrims to look at their passports occasionally so we’ll remember we’re citizens of another kingdom, purchased by the blood of Jesus, and headed toward an inheritance that can never fade away.

Key Thought:

Suffering is an opportunity to walk in our Lord’s steps and live as pilgrims in a pagan world.

Key Verse:

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet 4:12-13). 

Key Action:

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet 3:15).

 

 

 

Book of James

Capernaum was a fishing village where Jesus lived as an adult. It was established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500.
Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is said to be the home of Saint Peter. The village was inhabited continuously from the 2nd century B.C.E. to the 11th century C.E., when it was abandoned sometime before the Crusader conquest.
This includes the re-establishment of the village during the Early Islamic period soon after the 749 earthquake.

Most of us know the value of a wise pastor to whom we can go for advice and counsel, someone whose biblical messages give us daily nourishment and practical guidance, who cares for us and speaks wisdom to our circumstances.

Capernaum was a fishing village where Jesus lived as an adult.  It was established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other.  A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is said to be the home of Saint Peter.

The village was inhabited continuously from the 2nd century B.C.E. to the 11th century C.E., when it was abandoned sometime before the Crusader conquest. This includes the re-establishment of the village during the Early Islamic period soon after the 749 earthquake.

Well, all of us have a pastor like that whenever we read the book of James.

As the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, James was a respected leader in the early

Church; and he became the head of the church in Jerusalem.

In that role he wrote these five chapters to fellow Jewish Christians outside Jerusalem, to those scattered abroad.

James spoke to them as though he were their pastor, giving commands, warnings,

wisdom, and instruction.

As we study this epistle, we become equal recipients of its message. In some ways, the book of James resembles Proverbs. It’s pithy, practical, and full of everyday wisdom, and its advice we need.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (Jas 3:17).

Capernaum synagogue, view from Peter’s house, present day. Today visitors to Capernaum are impressed by the white limestone remains of an ancient synagogue.
Archaeological excavations indicate that this synagogue was built over the remains of an earlier synagogue dating from the time of Jesus. Thus we can say with some measure of confidence that this is the place where Jesus healed the demon-possessed man (Mk 1:21-28) and preached the sermon on the bread of life (Jn 6:25-59).

True faith, he wrote, is wise and translates into daily action.

If you need a regular dose of wisdom from a beloved pastor, read the book of James and listen to his instructions about dealing with trials, caring for widows and orphans, taming your tongue, and managing your money.

The more we know of this little letter, the more the wisdom of our ways and the integrity of our walk will increase.

Key Thought:

The wisdom from above, God’s wisdom, teaches us how to deal with trials, care for the needy, control our temper and tongues, and glorify God by the integrity of our daily lives.

Key Verse:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jas 1:22).

Key Actions:

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27).

 

Book of Hebrews

Bethlehem is a Palestinian city located in the central West Bank, Palestine, about 6.2 miles (10 km) south of Jerusalem. Its population is approximately 25,000 people.
It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate. The economy is primarily tourist-driven. The earliest known mention of the city was in the Amarna correspondence of 1350–1330 B.C.E., during its habitation by the Canaanites.
The Hebrew Bible, which says that the city of Bethlehem was built up as a fortified city by Rehoboam, identifies it as the city David was from and where he was crowned as the king of Israel.

The president of a Christian university was famous for telling discouraged students: “It’s always too soon to quit.” Those words ring true for all of us, because life is difficult and we sometimes want to give up.

Hebrews was written to tell us to persevere, to keep going, to focus on our great high priest, and to run with patience the race before us.

According to background given in chapter 10, Hebrews was addressed to some Jewish Christians facing renewed challenges.

Though they had confessed Christ as Savior and been faithful in the past, they now faced a new wave of persecution. Some were in danger of reverting to Judaism.

The writer of Hebrews, whoever he was, exhorted them to remain strong in Him who is greater than anything or anyone in the Old Testament.

Jesus is truly our great High Priest, who instituted a new and better covenant and who ever lives to make intercession for His people.

Words like better, more, great, and greater appear about forty-five times in this book, making Hebrews a book of superlatives about Jesus, who is superior to all the angels, prophets, writers, systems and sacrifices of Old Testament days.

While most of us don’t have a heritage steeped in Levitical tradition, we all face discouragement. Hebrews tells us to hold firm to our faith, keeping our eyes on our

Great High Priest, and to persevere, never giving up. With Christ on our side, it’s always too soon to quit.

Key Thought:

We must never yield to discouragement, for our Great High Priest is supreme over-all and sufficient for all.

Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus and it was destroyed by the Emperor Hadrian during the 2nd century Bar Kokhba revolt; its rebuilding was promoted by Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who commissioned the building of its great Church of the Nativity in 327 C.E.
The church was badly damaged by the Samaritans, who sacked it during a revolt in 529, but was rebuilt a century later by Emperor Justinian I.
Bethlehem now has a Muslim majority, but is still home to a significant Palestinian Christian community. Bethlehem’s chief economic sector is tourism. It has 30 hotels and 300 handicraft workshops.

Key Verse:

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” (Heb 4:14). 

Key Action:

Persevere!

Book of Philemon

Colossae was an ancient city of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and was the location of a Christian community.
Writing in the 4th century B.C., Xenophon refers to Colossae as one of six large cities of Phrygia. It was populated by peoples of Greek and Hebrew origin (Antiochus the Great having relocated there, two thousand Jewish families from Babylonia and Mesopotamia), as well as other cultures and ethnicities, as it was an early center of trade given its location on the Lycus (a tributary of the Maeander River) and its position near the great military and commercial road from Ephesus to the Euphrates.
Commerce of the city included trade in wool—the dyed wool collossinus was named for the place—and in the products of weaving and other trades. It was also known for its fusion of religious influences (syncretism), which included Jewish, Gnostic, and pagan influences that in the first century A.D. were described as an angel-cult (a matter addressed by the Pauline letter). The city was decimated by an earthquake in the 60s A.D., rebuilt independent of the support of Rome, overrun by the Saracens in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D., and then destroyed, ultimately, by the Turks in the 12th century, with the remnant of its population relocating, among other places, to nearby Chonae.
As of 2015, it had never been excavated, though plans are reported for an Australian led expedition to the site.

There are two things we seldom see nowadays, a personal handwritten note; and someone who says to us, “Put that on my bill.”  In this little letter, a man named Philemon received both.

This is one of the most personal stories in the Bible and it provides us with Paul’s only piece of truly private correspondence in Scripture.

Paul wrote it from prison, addressed to a wealthy man named Philemon who lived in the Turkish town of Colosse.

Philemon possessed bondservants, one of whom, Onesimui, had run away and fled to Rome. It’s likely he had robbed Philemon.

There in the capital city of Rome, Onesimus crossed paths with the apostle Paul who led him to faith in Christ.

The young man found new life, and Paul took this boy into his heart like a father to his son, mentoring and discipling him.

But the day came for Onesimus to be sent back to Philemon with this slip of a letter, an appeal from Paul to Philemon regarding Onesimus.

“Receive this young man as a brother,” said Paul, and “if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account” (Phil 1:17-18).

Onesimus left a runaway slave; he returned a dear brother, and we’re left with a book that teaches us the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

We can’t claim to experience God’s love if we refuse to forgive others. Christian forgiveness knows no boundaries. Christ put our sins on His account that we might be both forgiven and forgiving.

Key Thought:

Being members of God’s family obligates us to attitudes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and mutual respect, one for another.

Key Verses:

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Phil

1:10-11). 

Key Action:

Receive, respect, and refresh your brothers and sisters in Christ.