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Philemon 1–25 NET
From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our dear friend and colaborer, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your house. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,because I hear of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.I pray that the faith you share with us may deepen your understanding of every blessing that belongs to you in Christ.I have had great joy and encouragement because of your love, for the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. So, although I have quite a lot of confidence in Christ and could command you to do what is proper, I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—I, Paul, an old man and even now a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus—I am appealing to you concerning my child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, that is, Onesimus, who was formerly useless to you, but is now useful to you and me. I have sent him (who is my very heart) back to you. I wanted to keep him so that he could serve me in your place during my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.However, without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your good deed would not be out of compulsion, but from your own willingness. For perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a little while, so that you would have him back eternally,no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a dear brother. He is especially so to me, and even more so to you now, both humanly speaking and in the Lord. Therefore if you regard me as a partner, accept him as you would me. Now if he has defrauded you of anything or owes you anything, charge what he owes to me. I, Paul, have written this letter with my own hand: I will repay it. I could also mention that you owe me your very self. Yes, brother, let me have some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.Since I was confident that you would obey, I wrote to you, because I knew that you would do even more than what I am asking you to do. At the same time also, prepare a place for me to stay, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given back to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you. Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my colaborers, greet you too. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

It takes Appreciation

Appreciation is one of the foundational pillars of the true follower of Christ. It begins with an understanding that you and I were slaves to sin, in conscientious rebellion against God, on the run to doing our own thing, living our own live, and having no purpose in this live but to die. It continues by forgiving others, allowing God to remove the resentment, revenge, and the anger from the bowels of an individual. Appreciation is the recognition of what God has done for us, and the extension of this recognition from us to others.

It takes an Appeal

This is an authoritative and legal term. Paul has the legal right and the authority as an Apostle to command Philemon to take back Onesimus, and view him as a brother in Christ, rather than a slave. If Philemon fails to do this, Paul provides the legality of removing Philemon from his position and the congregation which Philemon is hosting. Paul would rather have Philemon drop the charges, the accusations, and the legalities of the issue, and through the freewill of Philemon restore Onesimus, not free him from slavery, but not to charge him as a run away slave. Paul continues this appeal with the idea that Onesimus may have ran away as part of God’s overall plan for him to find Christ.

It takes an Adjudication

Paul is willing to assume the debt of Onesimus, that Onesimus owes Philemon. This debt is financial, was not asked by Onesimus, but was sought out by Paul. Paul is willing to purchase Onesimus from Philemon, this act the same was done by Jesus the Christ. Jesus’ body, and blood was the atonement for our sins, the redemption of all who believe. Paul is comparing what Jesus the Christ did on the Cross for His creation, and asking that Philemon do the same for Onesimus, if Philemon is unwilling, then Paul was willing to pay the debt.

It takes an Application

The theological applications of Philemon are enormous. This letter asks the very question of our belief in the saving grace of God. It reveals the Sovereignty of God and the Freewill of mankind on such a personal level. It simply asks where is God in your life, in your actions and deeds, the positions that you bring within our society? Is God only God on Sunday, or only God of the Supernatural or the Spiritual, or is God the God of all?
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