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Philemon-Detailed Outline
Philemon 1:1-1:3 Paul makes his plea on the basis that he is a prisoner (v. 9). He was not in prison because of the cleverness of the Jerusalem religious leaders or the power of Roman officials. He was in prison because Jesus Christ willed it. Philemon is not only dearly beloved, but is associated with Paul and Timothy in proclaiming the gospel.
B. Paul's Praise of Philemon
Philemon 1:4-1:7 Paul had made Philemon a subject of prayer. This would seem to denote a special and close relationship between them. Philemon had a good reputation as a believer. His love was toward the Lord Jesus and toward the other believers. His faith was toward the Lord Jesus, and he was faithful to other believers. The life of Philemon was a testimony. “Every good thing” in Titus, and us, is the result of the fact that “it is God who worketh in us both wants to and likes to do it. Paul had joy and consolation in the love of Philemon for other believers. Paul had and we should have great joy because we love other believers and they love us
C. Paul's Plea for Onesimus
Philemon 1:8-1:17 Paul now comes to the purpose of the letter and approaches his subject diplomatically and cautiously. Paul is not too old in years. His suffering and persecution as a missionary for Christ have aged him. He is a prisoner of Jesus Christ, in bonds in Rome, and could not come in person. Onesimus…name profitable. Onesimus had been unprofitable to his master, maybe even robbing him and fleeing to Rome. In the mean time Onesimus was saved. Paul makes a subtle suggestion: Philemon could return Onesimus to him to minister to him in prison, and since Onesimus has become a believer, his status and relationship to Philemon are different. He is still a slave according to the Roman law, but he is more than that — he is a beloved brother. He is now really profitable. He can live up to his name for the first time. Behind Paul’s plea is Christ’s plea to the Father on behalf of the sinner who trusts Christ as the Savior. That sinner is received on the same standing that Christ is received. In other words, the saved sinner has as much right in heaven as Christ has, for he has His right… “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
D. Paul's Pledge of Repayment
Philemon 1:18-1:22 The reason the saved sinner is accepted in heaven is that Christ took his place down here. The sins of the sinner were put on Christ, and He paid the penalty. Paul agrees to pay the entire debt of Onesimus. Philemon is to receive him as he would receive Paul. “I will repay it”. Paul pleads for Onesimus. Paul feels that Philemon will do more than he requests. Paul expects to be released from prison and he requests prayer in that direction.
D. Final Greetings
Philemon 1:23-1:25 There are personal greetings to mutual friends.

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