Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. 22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
What was Paul’s focus on Philemon? What did Paul overcome and how did he choose to do so?
Thank You, Lord, I have been blessed with family, friends, and acquaintances. As wonderful as relationships can be, eventually people disagree, say or do hurtful things intentionally or unintentionally. Philemon had a legal right to be angry with Onesimus, his runaway slave. but Paul helps bring Onesimus back as a family member to reconcile and restore their relationship even better than it was originally. This is an example and a challenge to me to bring love, forgiveness, and reconciliation to those in my church, my family and everywhere I go. Forgiveness involves extending love and mercy to someone who has wronged or hurt me. It clears the way to reconciliation and restoration of a relationship. It is not easy to do but it is so worth it because restoration brings us back together as Your family. Spending time with people I love and who love me, whether it is family or friends, refreshes my heart and soul. Lord, thank you so much for the church and the love of brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You for how they refresh my heart and soul. Amen