Summary: No matter how low or base, useless and unprofitable, sinful and derelict, crippled and diseased, ugly and unattractive, unapproachable and distasteful- a person needs to be received and brought into fellowship of Christ and believers

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Philemon 4-21

by Cesar Delgado

April 30, 2005

OBS, Tupas donsol


A. People like us

It is generally true we like people who are most like ourselves. In contrast, we tend not to build friendships as quickly with people who are not like us. Sometimes, if we are not careful, prejudices can develop toward those who are not lie us.

1. Today’s lesson from Philemon encourages us to take a closer look at how to view people and see them as Jesus sees them.

2. This letter is not a theological issue, instead it address a very real circumstances.

3. Paul appealed to Philemon to display a willingness to break down social barriers in the name of Jesus.

4. Not just social change at stake; the importance of forgiveness is also pivotal issue.

B. Lesson background

1. Philemon is one of the personal letters of Paul. In this book, he addresses sensitive issue, which of runaway slave Onesimus. He worked with Philemon but fled and may have stolen something.

2. He meets Paul at Rome. As a result, he became a Christian.

3. Now what do you think Paul will do?

4. The purpose of this epistle is to encourage Philemon to personally forgive Onesimus.

5. Slaves and masters are to work together.

6. Written probably 60-63AD during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome.

I Paul’s Old Friend- vv 4-7

A. His love and Faith (vv.4, 5) much of the prayers of Paul is devoted to the needs of Philemon. The name Philemon means loving. His commitment was expressed in his love for the Lord. (Paul was about to ask a loving thing for his slave)

This is a twofold dimension of love: For God and for others. It has both vertical and horizontal dimension. Our relationship with God will always affect our relationships with others.

B. His evangelistic Success (v6) His faith become more effectual (effective) because he will understand more fully the goodness of God.

C. His support (v7) Paul’s notes that Philemon’s love has been a source of great joy and consolation to him and to others. It means “encouragement.”

Paul is now preparing Philemon for the favor he will ask. He is depending on Philemon compassion to govern how he will treat his runaway slave.

II Paul’s New Son (vv 8-16)

A. No longer Useless (v8-11) Paul now begins his appeal to Philemon. He told him that he has reason for him to order Philemon what he desires, but he will not do so. Paul prefers to appeals to his conscience that he will do what he ought to do simply because it is the right thing to do.

9. Paul appeals for love’s sake. However, he is not unwilling to tug at Philemon’s emotions. His description of himself as Paul the aged is a bit hyperbole. He used this in spiritual sense, describing himself as someone older in the faith, which could give him some authority to request.

10.-11 Finally Paul name the person Onesimus. Philemon must have been surprised to see the words my son attached to the name of Onesimus. Paul was able to present the gospel even in prison. Now Paul wants to send back onesimus. However, he did not force him. He is profitable not in name only, but in reality.

B. No Longer a Slave (vv.12-16)

12. Paul continues to include emotion. Paul indicates that this slave is not just another convert. He is very precious to Paul.

13. Paul admits that he would consider keeping Onesimus with him, to minister with him. However, to do this would jeopardize the friendships of Paul and Philemon. Paul then chose a different course of action.

14. Paul did not bring legal issue in keeping Onesimus; instead, he goes right to the matter of friendship. (Principles: a gift given out of necessity is not gift at all)

15-16. Paul believed that in some way God had been at work in this situation. There may be a purpose behind his running away and eventually meeting Paul. Onesimus had departed for a season, but now he is no longer a slave but as a brother.

III Philemon’s New Brother (vv.17-21)

A. count Him as a Friend (v.17) Can you imagined the respect and honor that Philemon would have given Paul if he were the houseguest? Can he show that kind of kindness to Onesimus? Paul depends on Philemon’s fellowship as a partner in Christ as a basis for his request.

B. Forgive his past offenses (vv. 18-21)

18. This verse suggests that Onesimus may have taken some money or something else of value from Philemon. However, Paul says that all of Onesimus debt be put into his account. It was Paul desire that the bond of fellowship and friendships be restored. He is very much concerned about reconciliation that he would pay any price.

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