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Joined: 2009/1/13
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 The Letter To Philemon-A Most Precious Letter

The Letter To Philemon-A Most Precious Letter

A small letter but it is a jewel.Three personalities are dwelt with in the letter and there is much we can receive that applies in our time also,especially when it comes with dealing with other brothers and sisters in Christ if we're at odds with them over something.The three personalities are Paul,Philemon and Onesimus.

We don't know very much about Philemon except from what is in this letter addressed to him from the apostle Paul.It's fairly evident that Philemon lived in Colosse.Archippus who evidently is Philemon's son is mentioned in (Colossians 4:17) and Onesimus who is the subject of this letter is also mentioned in Colossians and is stated that he was of Colosse.(Colossians 4:9)

"And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”(Colossians 4:17)

"with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here."(Colossians 4:9)

This tells me that this letter was written at the same time as Colossians while Paul was still in prison at Rome in his first imprisonment.He was expecting to be released and tells Philemon that he is coming there and to prepare him a lodging.
As has been mentioned before there is no written evidence up until the time of the writing of this letter that Paul had been in Colosse.But Paul did spend about 3 years total in Ephesus,which wasn't very far from Colosse and it is stated that while Paul was in Ephesus that all Asia (Asia Minor)heard the Gospel.So he could have went to Colosse during this time.
It is evident that Paul knew Philemon and his family very well.
This letter is really the most personal letter that we have written from Paul.In it we are given a window into the heart of the apostle.As mentioned above Onesimus is the subject of the letter and verse 10 seems to be a key verse.

"I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains."(Philemon 10)

Onesimus was a runaway slave that had been owned by Philemon who lived in Colosse.We aren't given the circumstances as to why he was a slave to Philemon.There were many reasons that people became slaves.One was because of debt to the owner and a person would voluntarily offer himself as a slave until the debt was paid.Whatever the case,Onesimus was a runaway and there is an indication that he might have taken some money because Paul say's that he will pay the debt for Onesimus.
Anyway Onesimus found his way to Rome and then somehow came acquainted with Paul and was saved.Then we can read in (Colossians 4:9) and here in (Philemon 8-21)just how Paul felt about Onesimus.I encourage you to read those verses.
If there is such a thing as Godly psychology,I believe we could say that we see some of it displayed by the apostle here concerning Onesimus and Philemon.These two men would have been at variance for sure and yet they were both beloved by the apostle.
Paul had to win over Philemon who felt he had good reason to be offended.Here Paul has to commend the offender and yet not deny the fault.He states that Onesimus which means "profitable"had been unprofitable but now could be profitable.Such a play of words but are very appropriate.He has to somehow declare Christian equality within a system that just barely recognized humanity of the enslaved.
Paul begins by praising Philemon about his love and faith and how the hearts of the saints are refreshed by him.Then very tenderly he reminds Philemon,that he is now Paul the aged and a prisoner.
Then he begins his plea for Onesimus in such a delicate and persuasive way that even Philemon would have to be touched.Then he tells Philemon that if Onesimus owes him anything that he Paul will repay it and writes it in his own handwriting.Then he gently reminds Philemon that he owed himself to Paul.
Other than a short greeting and salutation at the beginning and the end of the letter we can see that the heart of the letter deals with these three personalities,Paul,Philemon and Onesimus.
In (Philemon 4-7) we see Paul's praise for Philemon.Then in (Philemon 8-17)we see Paul's plea for Onesimus and in (Philemon 18-22)we see Paul's pledge and his assurance.
A most precious little book but chocked full of precious truths for us.It is full of Christian principles that should be taught and lived by.We can see how social evils can be changed by transformed lives.
Also there are applications to owner-versus-employee problems in our modern society especially when both parties are Christians.Not showing or expecting partiality,but mutual respect and love toward each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.Then even if only one party is a christian he could see how he is to behave as an owner or as an employee.
Then as mentioned above our dealing with brothers and sisters in Christ when personalities clash over circumstances and especially when we tend to let the problems of this world system get the best of us and say or do things that aren't becoming to people that are bought with a price as we are in Christ.
A lot to consider as we should continually remind ourselves that we could leave this earthly scene quite quickly because Jesus could come any moment for us and we could go to meet Him in the air and then the problems this world has wouldn't concern us.So why should we let it control our thinking so much now and let it dampen our hope and peace and joy that we can have through any circumstance.

 2016/12/6 9:09Profile

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