Philemon is about reconciliation and relationships between Christians. Onesimus (which means “useful”) was a slave of a believer named Philemon in Colossae. Apparently Onesimus had stolen from Philemon and fled. At some time while Paul was under arrest, Onesimus met him and became a Christian. Paul apparently wrote this letter at the same time as Colossians and gave it to Onesimus to carry back to Philemon (see Col. 4:9). Paul appealed to Philemon to accept Onesimus back into his household, but as a brother in the Lord rather than a slave. In Paul’s estimation, Onesimus was far more “useful” (v. 11) now that he was a Christian. Paul even promised to pay whatever debt Onesimus might owe Philemon. (ESV Study Bible)
Onesimus was a ___Slave___. His name means “useful.” (V. 11)
Paul calls himself & believers:
1. _Prisoner (of the Lord)
3. _Coworker (Partner, co-laborer)
4. _Soldier (spiritual warfare)
5. _Church (called out ones, body of Christ)
6. _Child (son or daughter)
To understand and experience ALL the good things we have in Christ, a believer MUST experience the above identities. It is not enough to know about them.
- Bookish knowledge of a surgeon
- Vows in Marriage
- Knowing people at church
- The “knowledge-oriented discipleship” vs. the loving, relational servant discipleship
CONTINUUM OF KNOWING GOD:
The purpose of being Christian is to change into Christ’s likeness. Are you being changed?
(v.6) Love doesn’t demand–even things that are known to be right. Love offers and asks.
(V.15) Christians see the greater purposes of God in all of life.
(V.18-19) Christians bear each others’ costs, and forgive completely.