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Calling on Family Support

Remembering the Ties that Bind
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Introduction to Philemon". See series.


A mother entered her daughter's bedroom one afternoon and saw a letter on the bed. With trembling hands, she read:

Dear Mom,
It is with much regret and sorrow that I'm telling you I've run away with my new boyfriend. I know how upset you'll be but I'm truly happy. So please find it in your heart to be happy for me. I have found real passion with Ahmed. He is so nice, with all his piercings and tattoos; his big motorcycle. But that's not all, mom: I'm pregnant! Can you believe it? Ahmed says we'll be really happy in his trailer in the woods. He wants to have more children and that's always been one of my dreams. I've learned that marijuana doesn't hurt anyone. So we've decided to sell it to help support ourselves and our children. In the meantime, please pray for the medical profession to find a cure for HIV. I pray every night for Ahmed to get better; he deserves it. Don't worry mom, I'm 15 years old now and know how to take care of myself. Someday I'll return so you and Dad can get to know your grandchildren.

Your daughter,
PS: Mom, it's not true. I'm over at Sarah's house. I just wanted to show you that there are worse things in life than the report card that's in my desk's drawer.

For most of us this would be a pretty unlikely scenario, but what if it were true? What if your 15-year-old daughter did get pregnant and run off with her boyfriend, and for three or five years you never received even a letter until one morning she unexpectedly showed up at your doorstep. How would you respond? Change the scenario: what if one of your most trusted workers embezzled $20,000 from a business account and fled to the Cayman Islands, only to return a few weeks later with empty pockets and a forlorn look on his ...

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Steve Aurell serves as pastor of recovery ministry at Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Onesimus’ chains

II. Appeal to family unity

III. Appeal to family encouragement

IV. Appeal to family service

V. Appeal to brotherhood