Vs. 7, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” This letter is almost like peering over Philemon’s shoulder as we read his letter from Paul. Paul was a very wise & tactful man! Instead of demanding or asking upfront for Onesimus’s life…Paul expressed sincere appreciation for Philemon. In Paul’s compliments, it’s obvious to see Philemon was a Godly man. Paul appeals to Philemon to consider saving Onesimus’s life and see what God has done for his slave. It was obvious that Paul valued Onesimus and saw what kind of man he was. In fact, Paul is willing to pay for any loss that Philemon might have occurred because of this.
Regarding application…Willing To Pay The Price. Vs. 18, “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” Paul was willing to take this disobedient slave and pay the price so that Onesimus would not endure shame or even death. As great of a picture as this is…the letter to Philemon addresses a far bigger concept & application…We see in this a picture of Christ! Christ came to save sinners & forgive them. Philemon was a slave to sin and then was saved. Philemon’s servant Onesimus was his slave and he too was saved. Now Philemon had the choice to either punish & kill or save & accept. While Philemon had the right…he could choose to forgive. Jesus had the right to destroy all of us…but thankfully by His grace he too forgave.
Just as we were paid for and forgiven…this letter reminds us that we too must forgive! Question: How can we hold grudges when God did not hold grudges against us? We received a precious gift, now we must give that forgiveness to others! It’s not just about witnessing…it’s also about forgiving. Think of Jonah, he witnessed to the Ninevites, but did he really forgive them for what they did to his people? That’s the position that Philemon found himself in. This is the position that we too find ourselves in. Think of the people right now in your life….Family, church family, friends…who in your life right now can you extend the hand of forgiveness? We’ve been doing a four week study on “Dealing with Conflict” in the Youth group and we talked about forgiveness last night. Let’s choose to pay the price and forgive!