We continue our study of Philemon this week and, as we do, we come to the well known apostolic greeting which proclaims the grace and peace of God to its readers. This greeting appears in one form or another at the beginning, and often at the end, of nearly every New Testament letter. It is a most welcome statement to the church of Christ because it is essentially the gospel in summary. The good news of God in Christ is a message of God’s grace which brings peace with God to all who will receive it.

The purpose of this greeting in Paul’s letter to Philemon is very simple and can be quickly stated. But given the importance of this greeting to all the NT letters and given the full meaning behind its simple words, we’ll greatly benefit from taking the time to unpack it and examine ourselves in its light. So please pray for God’s blessing on this message and that any who are yet strangers to His grace and peace may come to know it while all who know it may come to prize it more than heretofore.

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Dr. James La Belle

Pastor La Belle was born in Florida, raised in Alabama until he was 15 years old, and then lived in Washington until he was 30, when he and his family left for Seminary in Philadelphia. He and his wife Chantry have been married for 24 years and have 7 children from ages 19 to 9: River, Schylie, Forrest, Terra, Sandy, Rocky, and Chantry. Pastor La Belle has published two books with Joel Beeke (Living by God's Promises and Living Zealously), with a third forthcoming (Living for God's Glory in Marriage) and is currently working on a Doctorate in Puritan Studies.

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