Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Testament survey (18): Philemon

For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth [thee] ought, put that on mine account (Philemon 15-18)


[1] Philemon, from Thru The Bible Radio with Dr. J. Vernon McGee ©, with free downloads Notes & Outlines (PDF), Complete 5-Year Study (MP3), Charge It (PDF)

The primary purpose of this epistle is to reveal Christ’s love for us in what He did for us before God in pleading our case. This is the finest illustration of substitution: “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee anything, put that on mine account” (Philemon 18). We can hear Christ agreeing to take our place and to have all our sin imputed to Him — “For he hath made him…to be sin for us…” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took our place in death, but He gives us His place in life: “If thou count me, therefore, a partner, receive him as myself” (Philemon 17). We have the standing of Christ before God, or we have none at all. He took our hell, and He gives us His heaven “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Onesimus, an unprofitable runaway slave, was to be received as Paul, the great apostle, would have been received in the home of Philemon.

The practical purpose is to teach brotherly love. Paul spoke of the new relationship between master and servant in the other Prison Epistles. Here he demonstrates how it should work. These men, belonging to two different classes in the Roman Empire, hating each other and hurting each other, are now brothers in Christ — and they are to act like it. This is the only solution to the problem of capital and labor. (Read the complete article)
[2] Book of Philemon, from (this website is also available in Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese-Myanmar, Cebuano, Chinese - Simplified, Chinese – Traditional, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malaysian, Persian-Farsi, Portuguese, Quechua, Sesotho, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu, and 70 other languages)
Perhaps nowhere in the New Testament is the distinction between law and grace so beautifully portrayed. Both Roman law and the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament gave Philemon the right to punish a runaway slave who was considered property. But the covenant of grace through the Lord Jesus allowed both master and slave to fellowship in love on an equal basis in the body of Christ. (Read the complete article)
[3] Philemon, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)
WRITER: The Apostle Paul (Philemon 1:1)

DATE: Probably A.D. 64. It is one of the Prison Epistles. See Introductions to Ephesians and Colossians.

THEME: Onesimus ("profitable"), a slave of Philemon, a Christian of Colosse, had robbed his master and fled to Rome. There he became a convert through Paul, who sent him back to Philemon with this letter. It is of priceless value as a teaching

(1) in practical righteousness;

(2) in Christian brotherhood;

(3) in Christian courtesy;

(4) in the law of love.

The divisions are four

I. Greeting 1-3.

II. The character of Philemon, Philemon 4-7.

III. Intercession for Onesimus, Philemon 8-21.

IV. Salutations and conclusion, Philemon 22-25.

Read notes on Chapter 1

[1] If he hath wronged thee, or oweth [thee] ought, put that on mine account (Philemon 18). At the moment of salvation, God imputes or credits to the sinner the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:19). Please review our lessons on justification by grace through faith and the doctrine of salvation.

[2] Imputation, from Easton's Bible Dictionary
Used to designate any action or word or thing as reckoned to a person. Thus in doctrinal language (1) the sin of Adam is imputed to all his descendants, i.e., it is reckoned as theirs, and they are dealt with therefore as guilty; (2) the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them that believe in him, or so attributed to them as to be considered their own; and (3) our sins are imputed to Christ, i.e., he assumed our "law-place," undertook to answer the demands of justice for our sins. In all these cases the nature of imputation is the same (Romans 5:12-19; Philemon 1:18-19).
[3] Scriptures on forgiveness: Exodus 23:4, 5; Proverbs 19:11; 24:17, 29; 25:21, 22; Ecclesiastes 7:21; Matthew 5:7, 39-41, 43-48; 6:12, 14-15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25, 26; Luke 6:27-37; 11:4; 17:3, 4; Romans 12:14, 17, 19-21; 1 Corinthians 4:12,13; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; Philemon 1:10-18; 1 Peter 3:9

[4] Biblical instances of forgiveness:
  • Esau forgives Jacob, Genesis 33:4,11
  • Joseph forgives his brothers, Genesis 45:5-15; 50:19-21
  • Moses forgives the Israelites, Numbers 12:1-13
  • David forgives Saul, 1 Samuel 24:10-12; 26:9,23; 2 Samuel 1:14-17
  • David forgives Shimei, 2 Samuel 16:9-13; 19:23; with 1 Kings 2:8,9
  • Solomon forgives Adonijah, 1 Kings 1:53
  • The prophet of Judah forgives Jeroboam, 1 Kings 13:3-6
  • Jesus forgives his enemies, Luke 23:34
Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:110

[1] Materials by Daniel B. Wallace, Th.M., Ph.D
[2] The Pauline Epistles, by J. Hampton Keathley, III, Th.M. (also available in Spanish)

Sermons on Philemon (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] A Second Battle of Tours III, by Douglas James Wilson

[2] Friendship is a Sheltering Tree, by Greg Stuckey

[3] Sermons by Kevin M Ueckert
[4] Philemon, by Terry Long

For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

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