Philemon 1:1-25 QUESTIONS FOR MODERN DAY PHILEMON’S
Intro: Ill. The context
of the book. This little letter is called the greatest piece of writing
ever put on paper. Even unbelievers have seen the greatness of this
little story. There are several ways to preach from this book. In fact,
one of the greatest examples of redemption and reconciliation in the
entire Bible is right here, Ill. The Story. Tonight, I want to take
a little different approach to this book and instead of trying to identify
with Onesimus, I want us to try and identify with Philemon. Here is
a Christian man who has been greatly wronged and is called upon to put
it all behind him and forgive. I believe that there are some lessons
here for every believer tonight. Please give me you attention as I preach
on the subject, Questions For Modern Philemon’s.
I. V.11, 18 HAVE
YOU EVER BEEN WRONGED?
A. Ill. The Context. Apparently, Onesimus
had stolen property from Philemon and
had run away, costing Philemon much money. (Ill. The average price
of a slave was 500 denarii)
B. Being wronged by our fellow man
is an unfortunate fact of life! Luke 17:1; Matt.
C. When we are wronged, we must know
how to react. If we react as the world teaches, then we jeopardize
our testimony. If we react as the Bible teaches, we glorify
God and point men to a Savior who can make a difference in the lives
of men. Notice the next three
questions that Paul asks:
II. V.12 DO
YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FORGIVE?
A. Ill. The Context. Receive = “To
take to oneself, To take by the hand, To grant access
to one’s heart.” Literally to totally forgive and be reconciled
(Ill. The difficult position Philemon
was forced into - If he was lenient, other slaves
would do the same, is he was harsh, he would hurt his ministry.)(Ill. Paul’s
solution - 1:18-19)
B. When we are wronged, do we have
the capacity within us to forgive the offender?
We are commanded to! (Matt. 18:20-35; Luke 17:1-5)We
have a good example to follow - Ill. Jesus - Eph. 4:31-33; Col. 3:12-13.
C. When we forgive, as Jesus did, then
we are walking in love toward man and God
- 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Matt. 22:39. (Now is the time to bury the hatchet!)
III. V.15-16 DO
YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO ACCEPT OTHERS?
A. Ill. Context. When Onesimus left,
he was a sinner and a slave, when he came back,
he was a saint and a brother to Philemon. Paul’s request was
for Philemon to receive Onesimus
as a brother in Christ.
B. Are we able to receive all men?
Can we receive them regardless of what they have done, what color
their skin is, where they come from, etc?
C. As Christians, we are to practice
the same type of acceptance that Jesus practiced, regardless of what
they have done to us - Eph. 1:6; Gal. 3:28! (Ill. The Prodigal Brother
D. Others should not have to meet our
standards to be accepted by us - James 2:1-9
IV. V.17 DO
YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO LOVE LIKE JESUS?
A. Ill. The Context. Philemon had no
problem loving the saints, v.5 The true test of His faith would come
when he was required to love Onesimus with the same degree of love.
Philemon had some big shoes to fill!
B. The test of our faith is our ability
to love others as Jesus loves them. Unconditionally,
to the saints - 1 John 2:10; 3:11; 14; 17-18; 4:7-8; 11;
to all men - Matt. 22:39
C. When we are able to love others,
in spite of what they have done to us, then, and only then are we
living out the Gospel.
Conc: As you sit here tonight, are you
aware of someone who as hurt you? Perhaps you have entertained thoughts
of revenge. Maybe you’ve held a grudge against that person for
some time. Let me tell you this, when you hold a grudge you are not
hurting the person you are angry with, you are hurting yourself. You
can never experience the fulness of God’s forgiveness until you
practice it in your life. There is no better time to begin than right
now. How did you answer these questions?