Summary: Philemon was led to Christ by Paul, probably at Ephesus. If Philemon forgave Onesimus what would the other slaves think? If he punished him what would other people think about his testimony as a Christian? Let's notice how Paul gently led Philemon down th
Purpose: To see a real life picture of forgiveness.
Aim: I want the listener to repent of any un-forgiveness and humbly extend forgiveness.
INTRODUCTION: Philemon was led to Christ by Paul, probably at Ephesus. He must have been wealthy because his home was big enough for the church to meet in and he owned slaves. Onesimus was a slave of his who robbed him and then ran away to Rome (to get lost in the crowds?). Somehow he met Paul (or sought him out) and was won to Christ.
Now what should he do? Should he stay and help Paul? Should he return and risk the death sentence? If Philemon forgave Onesimus what would the other slaves think? If he punished him what would other people think about his testimony as a Christian?
Let's notice how Paul gently led Philemon down the path of forgiveness.
Vs.1-7 I. Philemon's Qualities
Vs.1-3 A. His calling in Christ "beloved...worker...grace...peace"
In verse 1 Paul reminds his friend that he himself is a prisoner, a worse situation than being a slave, and yet he shows more concern for the slave than himself. Then Paul reminds Philemon of their friendship and the team work they did together.
Then in verse 2 Paul is pointing out other believers that Philemon was accountable to. Apphia was his wife.
Vs.3 Grace: live realizing everything good comes from God "grace to you" This would be a Greek greeting.
Peace: live realizing everything is controlled by God "peace from God"This would be the traditional Hebrew greeting.
Vs.4-5, 7 B. His love for the Lord and His followers "love...faith...refreshed"
When you have to address a problem, start with a compliment if you can.
1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another.... (NAU)
Matthew 24:44, 46 44 "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 46 "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. (NAU)
Vs.6 C. His need for more growth "faith may become effective"
I.e. that it would have an effect! What effect? FELLOWSHIP Literally means "Sharing or generosity." Then Paul explains what we should share: OF YOUR FAITH.
Ephesians 6:19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, (NAU)
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; (NAU)
We should pray for our fellow believers with motives that are pure and selfless. 1 Timothy 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. (NAU)
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (NAU)