Summary: Exposition of Philemon 1-7 that deals with the character of one who forgives, Philemon

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Text: Philemon 1-7, Title: From a Godly Prisoner to a Godly Man, Date/Place: NRBC, 11/11/07, AM

A. Opening illustration: Recently, a survey was made of 200 married adults in regards to forgiveness (1). The researchers were wondering how one’s ability to forgive others would affect their marital satisfaction and personal well-being. The results were astounding! This research suggests that there is a huge relationship between marriage satisfaction and forgiveness. In fact, it appears that as much as one third of marriage satisfaction is related to forgiveness. Not only does the ability to forgive impact the marriage relationship, it was significantly related to personal emotional distress. As forgiveness ability went up, individuals reported fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue! These results are powerful and suggest that all counselors, both secular and faith-based, should be helping people develop the skill of forgiveness.

B. Background to passage: This is the first of two truly personal letters that were sent in the NT (the other being 3 John). The book is about forgiveness needed from Philemon to a runaway slave name Onesimus (more on the main theme later). Three times in this letter and five other times, Paul refers to himself as a prisoner for Christ. This letter was written in prison, but Paul understood the Lordship of Christ, that he had been bought with a price and was no longer his own. Forgiveness of past wrongs and hurts is so desperately needed in churches today. Proverbs tells us that is it to our glory to overlook a transgression not giving place to bitterness or the devil in our lives. And after a short greeting, Paul gives us information about the impeccable Christian character of Philemon.

C. Main thought: Paul notes the character of Philemon as a godly father in preparation for a request to forgive

A. Closely associated with the church (v. 2)

1. Paul mentions two other names in this greeting which are probably names of Philemon’s wife and son. Then Paul also mentions the church that meets in their house. Explain about churches not having buildings. Philemon allowed the church to meet in His home. And the family atmosphere was an open and honest atmosphere. And this letter was intended to be read by the congregation. There were no secrets in the lives of the saints, but there was plenty of accountability. What do you think Philemon would do after the letter was read aloud? And Philemon led his family to be right in the middle of the church, not for power or prestige, nor for any self-righteous fancy, nor for the earning of salvation.

2. Heb 10:25,

3. Illustration: me asking Ricky to hold me accountable about some money that was given to us, Females have a much higher spiritual involvement than men. They are more likely to be absolutely committed to Christianity, read the Bible, attend church, pray to God, participate in a small group, and have a quiet time. Men are much more likely to be unchurched. (Barna Online 3/5/01), Staying home from church-ill file

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