The Importance of Sisters

Philemon 1

If a pastor has to rush to a young widow’s side when her husband is suddenly killed in a car accident, his wife should not have to worry about the time her husband spends away from her as he cares for a wounded part of his flock. Or as her husband interacts at the close of his Sunday message with a woman expressing how much the sermon meant, she should never catch his eyes gazing as the woman walks away. But one thing 2018 did prove is that women are not any safer with their spiritual male leaders than they are with aggressive bosses, and many pastor’s wives are wrestling with questions about their husband’s fidelity.

To conquer sexual immorality, churches along with businesses and universities are drawing up comprehensive, detailed lists of guidelines for the interaction between the sexes. The hope is that these rules will make both women and men safe from the pain and deadly consequences of lust.
In the first century believers had a far more effective way to conquer temptation to break the 7th commandment. 

They related to one another as brothers and sisters, not just as sex objects. As the Apostle begins his letter to Philemon, we need to listen to how he addresses Apphia. From early in the second century many identified her as Philemon’s wife, but the text doesn’t explicitly say this. It does address her as Paul’s “sister.” 

“To Philemon, our loved one and our fellow worker, and to Apphia, our sister…” 

Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul were single men, but neither separated themselves from close interaction and relationships with women. Jesus talked one on one with the Samaritan woman at the well, and Mary and Martha were two of his closest friends. Paul not only called Apphia his sister but he also refers to Phoebe, a servant to the church of Cenchrea, in the same way (Romans 16:1). 

Both Jesus and Paul teach us that allowing the Holy Spirit to cause us to realize that a believing woman is our sister  or a believing man is our brother, will lead us away from ever treating one another as sexual conquests. Paul’s advice to his young protégé, Timothy, is still wise advice:  “Treat the younger women as your sister and the older women as your mother with all purity!” (I Timothy 5:2)

LORD, thank you for our dear sister in Christ who was so excited to share with us in a class on Sunday morning at St. John’s Missionary Baptist not only about the church’s more than 145 years of history, but about her own walk with you, from singing meters in cotton fields in Mississippi as a young girl to teaching Black History at a local college, and discovering a local church that focused on family. Cause the pure love existing among those who truly follow you to become a powerful example of how the sexes should get close to one another in this New Year.

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!