THE EPISTLE TO PHILEMON (1)

PHILEMON


The epistle to Philemon was written during Paul's imprisonment, probably in Rome (Philemon 9). The date of the letter was the late 50's or early 60's.

Philemon was a resident of Colossae and a convert of Paul (v.19). His house served as the meeting place for the church (v.2). Philemon was charitable, compassionate kind to other believers (vv.5-7), and his son,Archippus held a position of leadership in the church (v.2). Philemon might have other slaves besides Onesimus.


SLAVES

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION


Paul did not demand that Philemon call an end to slavery but Paul did try to appeal to Philemon's good nature by every way of treating slaves more kindly as brothers rather than as slaves or property instead of persons. Paul was diplomatic in his behaviour towards Philemon for he did his plea in three definite steps.


FIRST STEP


Prayer of Thanksgiving for Philemon (vv. 1-7)

The first step was a prayer of thanksgiving commenting on Philemon's life. This is reflected in verses 1-7. Paul wrote as a "prisoner of Christ Jesus," addressing Philemon personally, his family and the church that meets in Philemon's house with a prayer for his faith and love.


Philemon 5-7

  • Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
  • That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
  • For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.


Philemon and Onesimus
Philemon and Onesimus

SECOND STEP


Paul's Petition for Onesimus (vv. 8-16)

Paul did not command Philemon to pardon and receive Onesimus. Instead, Paul sought to appeal to his friend, Philemon's responsibility as a Christian to forgive as he was forgiven by Jesus Christ. He urged Philemon to receive him as a beloved brother rather than a slave (16).

  • Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?


ALL EQUAL IN JESUS CHRIST


Onesimus was a slave before in Philemon's household. He ran away and later became a Christian in Rome where Paul was imprisoned. Paul later wrote to Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him as a brother.


Romans 12:5 ONE BODY IN CHRIST

  • So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

1 Corinthians 12:13

  • For by one Spirit are we all baptized into ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:25

  • That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.


Ephesians 2:14 JESUS BROKE THE WALL OF PARTITION

  • For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.

Colossians 3:10-11 NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN GREEK (GENTILE) AND JEW

  • And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
  • Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Romans 3:29 NO RACIAL DIFFERENCE

There is no racial differences in the body of Christ. We are ALL created in the image of God and ALL worship the same God:

  • Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:”


We are One Body - spiritandsong.com

by Dana Scallon

http://www.spiritandsong.com/compositions/16432


Jesus at the door
Jesus at the door

EQUAL ACCESS TO GOD


Ephesians 2:18 JEWS AND GENTILES HAVE ACCESS TO GOD

  • For through him (Jesus Christ) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Acts 15:8-9 GOD DOES NOT DIFFERENTIATE

  • And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
  • And put no difference between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), purifying their hearts by faith.

Ephesians 2:11-13 GENTILES BECOME PART OF ISRAEL

Gentiles who are saved become a part of Israel. Apostle Paul, a Jew, wrote to Gentile believers at Ephesus, saying,

  • Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
  • That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
  • But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.


ALL ARE UNDER SIN


There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, for both are under sin and have fallen short of the glory of God:

Romans 3:9, 22, 23

  • What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
  • Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Ephesians 2:16

Christ died to reconcile both to God:

  • And that he might reconcile both (Jew and Gentile} unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

Acts 15:9

  • Both are saved by faith: “And put no difference between us (Jew) and them (Gentile), purifying their hearts by faith.”

Acts 4:12

  • Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.


THIRD STEP


Paul's Promise to Philemon (vv. 17-25)

Onesimus's debt to Philemon was placed on Paul who guaranteed it. However, He reminded Philemon of the greater spiritual debt which Philemon owed as a convert to Christ (vv. 17-19).

  • If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
  • If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account:
  • I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it; aleit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thing ownself besides.

Paul closed this discreet epistle with a direct and hopeful request (v.22), greetings from his companions (vv. 23,24), and a farewell benediction (v. 25).

Paul ended the epistle with a benediction on verse 25.

  • The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


BENEDICTION

A benediction (Latin) bene, well + dicere, to speak) is a short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of worship service.


PAUL'S EFFECTIVE WAY IN REACHING OUT


Paul had an effective way of reaching out to mediate between two people. He approached Philemon whom he baptized earlier to forgive his runaway slave.

In a non combative but humble way, which is the art of Christian relationship, he was speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). It was Philemon's legal right to punish or even to kill a runaway slave. Paul had hope (v. 19) that Philemon would receive Onesimus back as a brother in the Lord, not as a slave (v.16).

Christians can learn from Paul's effective approach to help two different men to reconcile, a master and a slave. It was a brilliant piece of reconciliation by Paul, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.


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Comments 8 comments

A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

einron, this is really good because this book is often forgotten or ignored by many Christians. All I could think of while reading it was the grafting in of branches in Romans Chapter 11. Once we understand that we are being fed by the same root system and our fellow brothers and sisters are in the same tree, we accept one another not as slave or free, Greek or Jew, rich or poor, or even a race or a nation. Onesimus returning to Philemon was as much for Philemon as it was for Onesimus - both showing their trust and belief in the new ideals of Christianity they have embraced. I'm sure (2) will be as good as (1). Peace.


einron profile image

einron 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

A. M. Werner

Thanks. I look forward very much to your comments. I am thankful that I wrote the hub for I learn more about the will of God. It is not easy to grasp the idea of all Gentiles being grafted into the Jewish roots of Christianity. They know that all believers are the body of Christ, but do not comprehend the real meaning of the truth.

"Well; because of unbelief they (Jews) were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

For if God spared not the natural branches (Jews), take heed lest he also spare not thee."

DISPERSION AND GATHERING OF THE ISRAELITES

http://hubpages.com/community/dispersiongatheringi...

I am sad that not many Christians believe in miracles for their churches do not have miracles and so preach that miracles are not necessary in the present age.

MIRACLES Across THE CONTINENTS

http://hubpages.com/health/miraclesacrosscontinent

Michigan, Israel, Malaysia, Russia, China

I believe in miracles as a child and also as an adult. May

God open the eyes of believers to witness the wondrous gifts of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless you.


A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

I too believe in miracles and have seen them. I am sad for those churches who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. Peace.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Einron, This really is a great study on Philemon! I just recently studied this most rewarding Epistle! You have brought out some very interesting points that further showcases this Book! It is such a wonderful story of God's Grace,Forgiveness & Reconciliation! Wonderful job!

Thank you for sharing, Blessings!


einron profile image

einron 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

A. M. Werner

It is most unfortunate that the churches who deny miracles are not doing the will of God. Jesus performed so many miracles that many believed. Peter also performed miracles and also Jesus' twelve apostles did when Jesus was on earth. Miracles must be accompanied by faith for faith without works is dead. Churches without miracles are just buildings without life, and are not of the body of Christ.


einron profile image

einron 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans,

Thanks for comments.

The epistle is indeed, a wonderful story of God's Grace, Forgiveness & Reconciliation! It also brought out Paul's

intuitive action in mediation between Philemon and Onesimus. We can also learn from Paul's behaviour.

God be blessed for giving us such an example.


jemz dejesus alindog 6 years ago

can you differentiate the sin from the jews to gentile?thank you


einron profile image

einron 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

There is no difference between the sins of the Jews and that of Gentiles. God treats all unrighteousness as sin. A Jew who steals and a Gentile who steals will be dealt with the same punishment. All are created equal in the sight of the Lord.

There is no righteous person in the world, but three persons mentioned, Noah, Daniel and Job. Peace!

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