Philemon 1:2 “…to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house…”
and to the church in your house
Churches met in homes until A.D. 200. There were no church buildings until the third century. This church met in Philemon’s house, not Archippus’ house.
Paul wanted the letter to Philemon to be read in the local church. This is an epistle to the local church as well as to Philemon. The design of this epistle was to teach the principle of forgiveness.
Ro 16: 3 “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.”
1 Co 16: 19 “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
There was another house church in Colosse that met at the house of Nymphas. Some people in Colosse preferred to meet in Philemon’s house and others preferred to meet in Nymphas’ house. There is room for individuality and difference in the family of God.
Co 4: 15 “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.”
It is imperative that every believer attach himself to the local church for encouragement, edification and service.
The word “church” occurs 114 times in the New Testament and is used upwards of 100 times for the local church. A local church is a geographically identifiable organized group of believers with local leadership. Local church members are baptized and identified with Jesus Christ in their local church. Every true Christian must belong to a local church.
Ac 12: 5 “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”
1 Co 1: 1 “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth…”
1 Co 16: 1 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia…”
2 Co 8: 1 “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia…”
We all need the local church for encouragement, support and service. Are you an active part of the local church?