Memorise Ephesians 6:20-21
“I am an ambassador in bonds...”
WHAT ARE THE PRISON EPISTLES?
The prison epistles –Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon – are so named because they were written by the Apostle Paul during his imprisonment in Rome. His imprisonment was actually a house arrest as described in Acts 28: 16 where we are told that he was guarded by two solders, permitted to receive visitors (Acts 28: 30) and had opportunities to share the gospel (Acts 28: 31). Paul was indeed an ambassador for Christ as he was there in chains. His imprisonment produced three great letters to the churches of Ephesus, Colosse and Philippi, and a personal letter to his friend Philemon. Epaphras, the leader of the church in Colosse in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) came to Paul to report that a new false teaching had arose in the church there. To deal with this, Paul wrote strongly to them, presenting Christ as the all-sufficient head of the Church, “that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1: 18). In the letter to his beloved church at Ephesus, Paul wrote to instruct the body of Christ in the great doctrines of the faith (Ephesians 1-3). It was followed by instruction in the practical outworkings of that doctrine in Christian behaviour (chapters 4-6). Tychicus, a co-labourer together with Paul, personally delivered both letters, together with the letter to Philemon, as Onesimus the slave was returned to the owner Philemon. Epaphroditus’ arrival in Rome was the occasion for Paul to write the epistle to the Philippians. He came with a gift for his support, and the joy that Paul experienced prompted him to write this letter to thank them for their love and to strengthen them in the hope and joy that was theirs in Christ.
Dear teen, Paul’s time in prison brought about a great spiritual contribution to the cause of Christ. With the coming of Paul to Rome the gospel was brought from the Jewish capital of Jerusalem in the east to the Gentile capital of the world in Rome in the west. Do you see God’s sovereign hand in this? As Paul was bound captive to Rome but the glorious outworking of God’s purpose was served. It might be so in your life too. While you toil in your studies or in national service, remember to honour the Lord in your hardships and the Lord can use you in His own time.
Thought: The Lord’s ways are indeed past finding out.
Prayer: Lord, remind me to trust and honour Thee in all circumstance, walking by faith and not by sight.