Summary: They say that love and forgiveness is powerful, but you put the two together and it is supernatural.

The power of love and forgiveness

Philemon 8-20


They say that love is powerful and they say that forgiveness is powerful, but to put the two together is supernatural.

Only the power of God and the Holy Spirit working in our lives can we love and forgive people.

Even if you don’t go to church, you can finish this song, Jesus loves me, this I know….For the Bible tells me so.

A lot may know the song, but a lot of people don’t feel loved.

People may know that the Bible tells us that we should forgive, but that does not make it easy for us.

This morning the text is about love and forgiveness.

It is found in the book of Philemon (8-20)

This book is short, it is not preached out of often because it is basically a letter from Apostle Paul to Philemon.

Inside of that letter are nuggets of truth for all of us this morning.

Happy Mother’s day again to all the Mom’s this morning.

I can think of no love like a Mom’s love.


Ancient story goes that this young man had a girlfriend and the girlfriend demanded of him if he loved her, he would bring the heart of his mother. He was running back to the girlfriend with her heart and he slipped and fell on his mothers heart. In a smothered voice from under him, he heard his mother ask him if he was alright. Love of a mother, forgiveness of a mother is great, but it does not compare to the love and forgiveness God has for each of us.

Let me set up this text this morning

Paul is writing a letter to a man named Philemon, a slave owner who became a believer under Paul’s ministry.

One of his slaves, Onesimus apparently had stolen something and ran away.

Under Roman law, that was punishable by death.

Onesimus also met Paul and came to Christ and became one of Paul’s ministry helpers.

Onesimus the slave wanted to make things right, he needed to return to his owner Philemon.

Philemon (8-20)

Apostle Paul’s audience is Philemon, the church of Colosse, and each one of us.

The theme of this short letter is Apostle Paul urging Philemon to show grace to his runaway slave Onesimus.

How hard is it for you to forgive?

I cannot picture Paul “smoothing things over”, kissing up to someone, I see him telling it like it was.

Philemon was a believer in good reputation, Paul makes the request because it was the right thing to do.

Philemon would do the right thing no matter how hard it is.

Paul was asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus and restore him to the position that he had before he ran away. (They were a big part of the family)

Philemon had an opportunity to model what Christian forgiveness is all about.

Paul told Philemon that if he could not forgive the debt, to just put it on Paul’s account.

The theological word for that is imputation.

That is exactly what Christ did for us on the cross. He took our sin upon himself so that we would not be held responsible, so that our relationship with God could be restored

Imputation- To take responsibility.

Romans 5:8

“But God demonstrated his love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

“For it is by grace you have been saved; through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

There is power in forgiveness, and it comes from God, we are not able to forgive as God forgave us without the power of God to help us.

Forgiveness comes as we release the situation or the circumstance to God. It is not based upon the response or actions of the offender.

C.S. Lewis

“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea, until he has something to forgive.

Deep wounds come from many places.

They usually come from people we have gotten close too.

God is not asking you to get over it. God is not asking you to put it behind you.

He is asking you to release that person of what they have done to you, so that you can move on.

Keep forgiveness in mind as a read this verse again

“Therefore, all though in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love, I then, as Paul- an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus- I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly, he was useless to you, but now he has become useful, back to you and too me. I am sending him- who is my very heart-back to you.”

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