Apr 16, 2023. Philemon 1:17-25

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A DEBT REPAID. Philemon 1:17-25. 4/16/2023. #2.

17 If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides. 20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

1. A very personal appeal

                a. Onesimus is Philemon’s runaway slave

                                a1. Onesimus had stolen from his master

                                a2. Paul had led Onesimus to the Lord

                b. Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon with three appeals

                                a1. Forgive Onesimus for the wrong he had done

                                a2. Receive him as a brother in Christ

                                a3. Release him to the service of the Lord

                c. Paul spends much of his letter praising Philemon for his Christian grace and service

                                a1. This is not vain flattering

                                a2. Paul is relying on Philemon’s character to grant his request

                d. Paul puts pressure on Philemon to respond properly

                                a1. Onesimus’ life is at stake

                                a2. Paul appeals to Philemon’s sense of duty to do what is right; not what is his legal rights

                                                b1. Morality and legality are not the same

                                                b2. I Corinthians 6, grace means at times we suffer loss and allow sleights to go unrequited

                e. Paul personally wrote this letter (not dictated)

                f. Philemon would have to subdue his vexation

                g. Paul makes the appeal very personal

                h. This rises to the level of a personal favor

2. Paul lays out a thorough case

                a. Paul’s relationship with Philemon:

                                a1. Partners (koinonea) in the ministry

                                a2. Paul depends on Philemon spiritual character

                b. Covering Philemon’s losses

                                a1. If Onesimus owes anything to Philemon, Paul says to put it on his account and he will repay

                                a2. Paul reminds Philemon that he owe him his own life, for through Paul, Philemon heard the gospel (more was owed to Paul than to Philemon) – Philemon 3

                c. Paul expresses confidence that Philemon will respond with grace and generosity

                                a1. He will exceed Paul’s expectations

                                a2. Not to do what Paul asks would let Paul down (something that Philemon probably

                                       would not risk)

                d. Paul’s letter shows that Philemon probably would not have forgiven Onesimus on his own (Matthew 18:21-35)

                                a1. Often, we must be given a proper perspective to do what is right

                                a2. Paul had to overcome Philemon’s indignation

                e. In the body of Christ, it is important to give each other perspective, whether in counsel, comfort, or courage

                f. We do not know how this turned out, but Paul was confident that Philemon would do what was right

                                a1. It takes a right relationship with God to do what is right

                                a2. If we do not listen to godly counsel, then we will do what is sinful

3. An interesting entourage

                a. Paul’s benediction includes people of interest

                b. Epaphras = planted the Colossian church

                c. Mark = when Barnabas had appealed to Paul to forgive Mark and allow him to come, he refused

                d. Demas will soon abandon Paul (II Timothy 4)

                e. Paul is confident of his release and travel to Col.

                f. Grace must be learned – to receive and to give

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”