Summary: To show that we are useful now to the Master. To compare our lives with Onesimus.

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Are you useful to the MASTER?




To show that we are useful now to the Master. To compare our lives with Onesimus.


Philemon 1:10-11 (Amplified Bible)

1:10 I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child, Onesimus [meaning profitable], whom I have begotten [in the faith] while a captive in these chains.

1:11 Once he was unprofitable to you, but now he is indeed profitable to you as well as to me.


We are now made useful to the MASTER.




A. Author: Apostle Paul

B. Date written: 60 A.D.

C. Purpose: To appeal to Philemon to receive, forgive and restore Onesimus even as Philemon would receive Paul

D. To whom written: Philemon.

He was apparently a member of the church at Colosse, which seems to have held its assemblies in his house (Philemon 1:2). His benevolence (Philemon 1:5-7), and Paul's request for him to prepare a lodging (Philemon 1:22), indicate that he was a man of some means.

As Paul had never been in Colosse (Colossians 2:1), Philemon must have met him elsewhere, possibly in Ephesus, which was not far away. It would seem that he owed his conversion to the apostle, Philemon 1:19.

—Thompson Chain - Bible Book Outlines

E. Main Theme:

A personal plea with Philemon to forgive and restore Onesimus, his once runaway slave, now converted through the ministry of Paul. As a runaway slave, it is inferred that he robbed his master and fled to Rome (Philemon 1:18). There he came under the influence of Paul and was converted (Philemon 1:10). He became a devoted disciple of Christ (Colossians 4:9). Paul would have chosen to detain him in Rome as a helper (Philemon 1:13), but not having the consent of Philemon (Philemon 1:14), he felt it to be his duty to send the slave back to his master. So the apostle writes this beautiful letter of intercession, pleading with Philemon to receive Onesimus as though he were receiving the apostle himself.—Thompson Chain - Bible Book Outlines

F. Keywords: Receive (forgive and restore) him

Philemon 1:12 (Amplified Bible)

1:12 I am sending him back to you in his own person, [and it is like sending] my very heart.

Philemon 1:17 (Amplified Bible)

1:17 If then you consider me a partner and a comrade in fellowship, welcome and receive him as you would [welcome and receive] me.

G. Keyverses:

Philemon 1:16-17 (Amplified Bible)

1:16 Not as a slave any longer but as [something] more than a slave, as a brother [Christian], especially dear to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer].

1:17 If then you consider me a partner and a comrade in fellowship, welcome and receive him as you would [welcome and receive] me.


A. Became Paul's son in prison

"I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child,"

Matthew 12:50 (Amplified Bible)

12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother!

Ephesians 2:19 (Amplified Bible)

2:19 Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God’s own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God’s [own] household.

Hebrews 2:11 (Amplified Bible)

2:11 For both He Who sanctifies [making men holy] and those who are sanctified all have one [Father]. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren;

Ephesians 3:15 (Amplified Bible)

3:15 For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name].

Our real Father is FATHER GOD in Heaven and all family copies or imitates that setup from Heaven. Whoever does GOD's will is JESUS's brothers, sisters and mothers.

B. Formerly useless to Philemon

"Once he was unprofitable to you,"

1 Corinthians 15:14 (Amplified Bible)

15:14 And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded).

The Law was useless.

Hebrews 7:18 (Amplified Bible)

7:18 So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness—

Faith without deeds is useless.

James 2:20 (Amplified Bible)

2:20 Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?

Onesimus was useless to Philemon, his master before because he has stolen something from his master that's why he fled from his master to escape but he met Paul in prison. Remember, before in our former life, we are useless to GOD and useless to other people as well, but GOD has made us useful.

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