Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us this Sunday! In-Person 9:00am & 10:45am, Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm

Join us at the next Sunday worship service:
9:00am & 10:45am,
Online 9:00am, 10:45am & 5:00pm


One thing: I need you


All of your relationships with your spouse, family, and friends are important, but temporary. Your only eternal relationship is with God. We need the bonds of family and friends to help us thrive in this world, but they pale to the significance of your relationship with the Lord. So how do we draw closer to God through our relationships?

Something To Talk About:

Relationships are hard. If we could do life without rubbing shoulders with other humans it would be so much easier.  We all mess up, we over-react, then we feel embarrassed about the muddied waters, and we’d even like to set sail to the next feel-good relationship. In our relationships, consider the following three points.

  1. Jesus’ love should stir our love for others: Jesus was asked what is the most important or greatest of all the commandments, and He said, “Love the Lord your God with all you’ve got—all your heart and soul and mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” What’s the main thing? Love. Love God with all you’ve got and love people. This command, love one another, is addressed directly to Jesus’ followers. Christians are to love one another. This doesn’t mean that we don’t love people who are not Christians. On the contrary, we are to love everyone always. We are to love our neighbors regardless of race, religion, age, or political affiliation. Love everyone always. John 13:34–35 says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  Because of what God has done for us in Jesus, we extend the same grace, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and love to those around us. Jesus’ love for us should change every facet of our lives and lifestyles.
  2. Jesus’s love should stir our love for God: We love God. That love for God leads to dependency on God. Dependency on God results in obedience to God. Love doesn’t start with us. Our love for God could never originate from our own hearts. And unlike a lot of love we experience on earth; God doesn’t love us because we love Him first… that’s actually backward. We love God for a very specific reason: “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19). Our love for Christ comes in response to His amazing love for us. I don’t think we can actually wrap our minds around how much He loves us. He died on the cross for us. He knows about all of our wicked sins, and yet He still loves us and accepts us. When you truly recognize that kind of love for what it is, and the Spirit shows it to you, you will find yourself enraptured with love for Him—it’s not something that you have to manufacture on your own. Just give it some thought. Ask God that His love for you will help you grow in love for Him. 
  3. Jesus’s love should stir our love for leading others to Him: It can feel awkward at times, even somewhat forced, to talk to others about our faith. However, if we are who we say we are, sharing God’s love and His Salvation through Jesus Christ can flow naturally from us, like breathing. How can we lead people to Jesus? By loving others as He loves us.  Remember who we were and be kind. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. Remember who we are and who we serve. We are here to glorify God. When we love other people, we are allowing them to see Him. Take time to meet other people’s needs. Remember who is with us and be encouraged. Jesus is our example of serving people in love. When we commit our lives to Him, His power strengthens us for any conversation, task, or personality we will face. The Lord will make us effective in evangelism as we watch Him make the way, and then we gently step into the door He opens. There, His presence and power are available to touch the person’s heart and draw to them His love. He will save those we lead to Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What lesson can we learn from Onesimus? What lesson was Paul teaching?
  2. Read Philemon 3–7. How does Paul describe Philemon? How does remembering his character and faith encourage the right response toward Onesimus?
  3. Read Philemon 8–11. Why is it important for us to not only make the right decision but to do it from the right heart? 
  4. Read Philemon 12–16. When caught up in the heat of the moment and facing a difficult situation, Paul reminds Philemon to look at this situation from God’s perspective. What is God’s sovereignty? How does remembering God’s sovereignty give us perspective when we are hurt?
  5. Read Philemon 17–20. Paul recognizes that restitution may need to be made for Onesimus’s release. How does Paul model the gospel here? What are some ways that you can model the gospel in difficult times?
  6. Is there any relationship or situation that you have been neglecting that God is calling you to address? How does the story of Philemon and Onesimus speak to this situation?
  7. How do you pursue God with one another? The best way to find God in your relationships is to pursue him together. Go to church together, go to bible study together, and love God with one another. If you are growing closer to God, you will grow closer together and your relationship will grow stronger.
  8. How do you look for God in your relationships? Look for ways that God is moving in your relationship. What is he doing in your relationship? Do you see him pushing you in positive ways? Is he showing you signs that, that person is meant to be in your life? These are all questions to ask yourself about all of your relationships. Look for ways that God is moving your relationship in positive ways.
  9. How do we use our relationships to lead people closer to God? Lead them closer to the Lord. Encourage them in their walk with the Lord. You can do this by doing a bible study together or volunteering at your church. Get out of your comfort zone to serve the Lord and join a community of believers together and make more connections with people who love the Lord as you do.
  10. In what specific ways can you practice loving others well this week?
  11. How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?

Take One Thing Home with You:

“For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.” – (Philemon 1:7 NASB)

Paul says that he has experienced much joy and comfort as he heard of Philemon’s love. Please remember, Paul is in prison, he is chained, his physical movements are confined, his recreation is very limited, and his pleasures are denied; in these circumstances, Paul makes the statement, “I have come to have much joy.” He is not just joyful, but he has “much” joy because of Philemon’s love. Paul says, “The hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” Paul here implies that true refreshment comes from one saint to another as they enjoy each other’s company.