Series: Philemon - Glimpses Of Early Church Life (2 of 2) by Stuart Briscoe

This content is part of a series.

NOTE: This sermon is part 3 and 4 of a 4 part sermon series. Two sermons outlines are included in this download.


Part 3: The Prodigal in a Fix
Series: Philemon - Glimpses Of Early Church Life
Stuart Briscoe
Philemon 1:10-19

Onesimus, the runaway slave, found his way to Paul, the prisoner from whom he heard the gospel. He believed, continued in the faith, matured, and became indispensable. But the time came for him to go home and face the music.

I. The Circumstances of a Runaway Slave.

A. Slavery in the first century Roman Empire.
1. Various classes of people leading to envy, enmity, and friction.

2. Necessity for strict rules and regulations to maintain order.

3. Slaves: born into slavery, sold into slavery, or captured.

4. No basic human rights; regarded as property.

B. Onesimus: a runaway and probably a thief.

1. Disgruntled with his circumstances.
2. Desirous of freedom: escapes and finds himself in a dire situation.


Part 4: The Church in a House
Series: Philemon - Glimpses Of Early Church Life
Stuart Briscoe
Philemon 1:2

The expression "the church that meets in your home" sounds strange to us because the idea of "church" has changed dramatically since Paul wrote about it. What did he mean by "church"? What should we know about it and should it affect the modern church?

I. The Church as a Building: A Contemporary Misunderstanding.

A. Originally Christ's followers met in private rooms, homes. Acts 12:12
B. Occasionally they used public facilities for larger gatherings. Acts 19:9
C. Eventually, in 3rd and 4th centuries, adapted the basilica: nave, apse, atrium.
D. Constantine's church buildings, e.g. St. Peter's on "site" of Peter's grave.
E. Churches "consecrated" like temples where the "gods" dwelled.

II. The Church as a Body: A Biblical Mystery. Ephesians 3:6f

A. Church as "ekklesia" an assembly, a community of the "called."
1. Called like soldiers mustered for battle.

2. Called like citizens summoned to responsibilities.

3. Called by God to be part of His eternal purposes. Romans 8:28f

B. Church as "kyriakos"; belonging to the "kyrios," the Lord.
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