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Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Philemon 1:18

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Intro. The story of Onesimus. He was one of the many slaves in the Roman empire. He evidently stole some money from his master Philemon and fled Asia for Rome. Through circumstances that we do not know he ended up in prison with Paul. Paul no doubt shared the gospel with him and he accepted Jesus Christ. He became as a servant to Paul who was still in bonds. Paul after a time discovered that he was a runaway slave, and when Onesimus told Paul who his master was, Paul said, "I know Philemon, I led him to Christ." Paul desired to keep Onesimus with him there in Rome, but would not do it without the consent of Philemon. The runaway slave when caught was punished severely often put to death, so Paul is sending Onesimus back to his master with a letter of intercession for the man who Paul had come to love. He is pleading for mercy and grace from Philemon to his runaway slave.
A. In verse 10 Paul beseeches Philemon for Onesimus, who Paul calls his son, that he begot in the faith.
1. Paul was willing to acknowledge him as a son, to identify with him in a close relationship.
2. I think of how Jesus was willing to identify with us, though He was God, He became man.
a. He became what we are, in order to make us what He is.
b. "God made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him."
c. He said to His disciples, I no longer call you servants, but I call you friends.
B. In times past he was unprofitable to you. (This is perhaps a play on words for Onesimus in Greek means profitable.)
1. He had rebelled against his master.
2. He had stolen money and fled.
3. I think of how our lives were once so unprofitable to God when we were living in rebellion against Him.
4. We partook of the goodness of God without ever giving a word of thanks or appreciation.
5. The very purpose of your existence is to bring God pleasure. Some have never brought God one moment of pleasure, it never comes into their minds. They live only for their own pleasure.
C. Paul asks Philemon to receive him as he would receive Paul.
1. Don't look upon him any longer as a slave, but as a brother in Christ.
2. Receive him even as you would receive me.
3. I think of that great verse in Ephesians that declares that we are accepted in the beloved.
a. As I am in Christ Jesus, God accepts me as His own son.
b. I have no right for God to accept me, justice would demand that God reject me. Yet we are accepted in the Beloved.
D. "If he has wronged you or owes you anything, put it to my account."
1. Charge it to me.
2. Paul is willing to bear the debt that Onesimus owed.
3. This is exactly what Jesus has done for us.
a. He took upon Himself our debt of sin.
ISA 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
ISA 53:5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
ISA 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
b. He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay,
4. To you who have been born again through Jesus Christ, He has become our mediator, our advocate interceding for us.
1JO 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1TI 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
ROM 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
HEB 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
5. When I sin, and the righteousness of God demands my punishment, Jesus says to the Father, "Charge that to Me."
6. Satan is there making all kinds of accusations against me, in the scriptures he is called the accuser of the brethren.
7. We are told that he accuses us both day and night before the Father.
8. He might be considered the prosecuting attorney, bringing against me all kinds of charges and accusations.
9. But Jesus stands before the Father for me and says, "Just charge it to My account." and the Father declares, "Justified."
ROM 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?
ROM 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
ROM 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? [It is] God that justifieth.
ROM 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
E. Note,
1. God is for you.
2. God is for you so much that He delivered His Son up for you.
3. God is not finding fault with you, He has justified you.
4. Jesus is not condemning you, He is interceding for you.
ROM 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
ROM 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
ROM 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
ROM 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
ROM 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
F. Note:
1. Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.
a. No negative circumstances of life.
b. No powers that exist now or in the future.
2. I am not just a conqueror, but more than a conqueror through Him.
A. God's purposes are sometimes worked out in our lives through adverse circumstances.
1. We are told that all things are working together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
2. At the time of adversity we often cannot see the good that God is working out through our circumstances.
3. Sometimes it is years later before we can see the good purposes of God.
4. One of the many advantages of growing old is that you can see life with a much clearer vision, for hindsight is better than foresight.
5. Things that I thought were a bane, I can now see that God intended them as a blessing. I think of how I was pleading with God to remove those things, that God had placed there for my good.
6. When Philemon discovered that his slave Onesimus had stolen money and had run away, he no doubt was angered as he thought about his loss.
7. Paul is suggesting that perhaps the temporary loss was intended to produce an eternal gain.
B. We see our child go away from God and we greave and mourn, yet God's hand is on them because of our prayers, and how do we know that the trouble that they are in is a part of God's plan to work His eternal purposes in their lives.
1. When St. Augustine was a boy growing up in Alexandria Egypt, he got into bad company and was a real concern to his godly mother who prayed earnestly for her son. One day he announced to his mother his desire to go to Rome. She pled with him not to go. She began to pray desperately, God keep Augustine from Rome. Don't let him go. When one day he waved good bye to her, and said, I will write you from Rome, she was devastated and thought that God had failed her. One day she received a letter from her son in Rome which told her of his meeting some men in Rome who really challenged him to surrender his life completely to serving Jesus Christ, which he had decided to do.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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