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Summary: Beloved, Martin Luther saw the power of this short letter (Philemon) in his statement: "We are all his Onesimi if we really believe it."

Beloved,..... we are going to step into the shoes..... of Onesimus (o-NES-e-muss with long 'o' and 2nd 'e') ...this morning (evening).

We are going to put ourselves ....in his place .....thus hopefully .....have a better understanding ....of what Christ did ....for us.

Martin Luther saw the power ...of this short letter..... in his statement:.... "We are all his Onesimi .....if we really believe it."

Within this epistle .....we will hopefully see..... how we are like Onesimus .....in at least 3 ways:

(1 Finger) An Un-deserved Substitute ( Philemon 1:17)

(2 Finger) An Un-payable Debt (Philemon 1:18)

(3 Finger) An Un-believable Payment (Philemon 1:19)

Beloved....... (1 Finger) We have ..... We have......An Un-deserved Substitute( Philemon 1:17)

Hear God's Word BIBLE "If then .....you regard me as a partner,.... accept him ......as you would me." END

Paul begins his discourse ....with a condition.

The stipulation.... Seeks to find a coming ground....that is .....regarding Paul .....as a partner .....in the faith.

The Greek word Koinonos ( Koy-no-nos) ....meant much more ....than a partner ....for the word itself... is derived from the Greek word..... for fellowship.

A Fellowship ....a Partnership ......based on .....their common life .....in Jesus Christ.

In his heart and mind..... Philemon (Phil-'e'-mon) most certainly regarded Paul..... as a Koinonos (Koy-no-nos).

After all,.... it was Paul ....who led Philemon.... to Christ.

It was Paul ....who refers to Philemon ....in the opening sentence .....as a beloved brother ......and fellow worker.

Paul indeed ....was a partner with Philemon .....in the fellowship of faith..... and in the ministry ....of the Gospel.

Understanding that condition is met, .....that is Philemon ..... recognizes Paul as a partner ..... then the result of the condition is this:..... "...accept him as you would me."

Philemon ....was to accept Onesimus ....as if he ...were receiving Paul... himself.

Simply put ....Paul was taking Onesimus' place.

He became a substitute..... for Onesimus.

Welcome him.... as you would welcome ...me.

Forgive him..... as you would forgive ...me.

Thus .....as Philemon was standing there.... looking at Onesimus, ....he was to see the face.... of the Apostle Paul.

Paul became a substitute, .....taking Onesimus' place.

And like Paul......., Jesus takes ......our place.

And this analogy .....would not be lost.... on Philemon.

Jesus appeals to the Father .....on our behalf ...Father accept them ....as you would me.

At the heart of Christianity ....is the Atonement:

Atonement is the true meaning .....to Christ's death .....for he sacrificed Himself ....in the place of us, .....in the place of us .....condemned sinners.

Hear the word of God BIBLE "He ....who knew no sin ....became sin ....on our behalf; ...that we might become ...the righteousness ...of God .....in him" END (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Paul described it to the Galatian believers in these words BIBLE "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, ....having become a curse ....for us..." END (Galatians. 3:13)

(1 Finger) Beloved....We have an undeserved Substitute (2 Fingers) And We also Have an Un-payable Debt (Philemon 1:18)

Paul goes on in his epistle: BIBLE "But if he has wronged you ....in any way.... or owes you anything, ...charge that ...to my account;" END

Onesimus had incurred a debt;.... a debt which he could.... never repay.

The debt,.... which Onesimus owed to Philemon, ....was first of all,...... a monetary debt. (Pause)

We know that Onesimus ....was a runaway slave.

The price of a good servant in 60 AD..... was 500 denarii.

That would be the equivalent to almost a year and a half in freedman wages.

Almost an impossible amount ....for free man at that time ......to save...let alone a slave.

In addition, ..... it is apparent .....that Onesimus ...stole possessions ....or money .....from Philemon; .....possibly to fund his flight.

Onesimus by his escape .....has incurred .....a second debt, ....which he also....could never repay.

And for that....There was ....the penalty ....of death.

Conceivably, .... If he was a free man......it might be possible to repay the money, ...but this slave, ....according to Roman law, ....had put himself ....under the death penalty,..... for abandoning his master, ....the one .....who purchased him.

This was the debt ....that Onesimus could never escape.

No matter how long he toiled, .....or how good he was, ....Onesimus ....had broken... the law.

Justice demanded his life.

It could only be satisfied ....by his death.

A very bleak picture.... indeed.

Yet, ....that is the exact picture ....that you and I ...and all of humankind face .....apart from Christ!

Like Onesimus, ....we have incurred a debt ....which we cannot pay.

Onesimus ...is in the position ....before Philemon..... that humankind is in..... before God.

The debt ....which God placed ....as a penalty for disobedience .....was more than physical death.

The death which was incurred for disobedience ......was spiritual death.

Spiritual death .....is the separation of the soul ....from God, ....the separation of the creature ....from the Creator.

The Scriptures are clear...crystal Clear, "The wages of sin .....is death." (Romans 6:23)

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