October 13/Philemon

Apparently Onesimus was Philemon’s slave and he had runaway to Rome. He was probably hoping to get lost in the crowd but God had other plans for him. Remember that God is always working behind the scenes to bring about his will. Somehow Onesimus meets Paul in prison and Paul leads him to faith in Jesus Christ. According to verse 19 Paul had also led Philemon to faith in Jesus. So in a sense these two individuals owed their very lives to Paul. Paul was now sending Onesimus back to Philemon and he was asking Philemon to receive him back not just as his slave but as a fellow Christian brother in the Lord. He was asking Philemon to extend forgiveness to Onesimus. Lets see how Paul handles this delicate situation.

Verses 1-3 > Paul reminds Philemon of the grace and peace available in Jesus Christ. Would Philemon extend this same grace and peace to Onesimus? How are we at extending grace and peace when it is really not to our advantage?

Verses 4-7 > He asks Philemon to put his faith into action as far as love and generosity goes just like has for others. Paul wants him to refresh the heart of Philemon with the kindness he had given to many others. Kindness refreshes the hearts of other people. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you someone that you can refresh through and act of kindness. That would be an example of putting faith in Jesus into action. A slave could be killed for running away or they could be severely punished. Paul is asking Philemon to act like Jesus in this situation.

Verses 8-17 > Paul assures Philemon that Onesimus will be of much more use to him now that Jesus has changed his heart. Paul is also banking on Philemon’s changed heart to accept Onesimus back. When it comes to my heart I want to ‘keep the change’ don’t you. I believe we do that by continually showing kindness to all people.  I don’t want my heart to get hard and calloused. Philemon can keep his heart tender by forgiving and accept back Onesimus. Onesimus can keep his heart tender by working for Philemon as if he was working for Jesus!

Verses 18-22 > Paul said that he would pay Onesimus’ debt. Jesus paid our debt; love pays a price. God accepted us into his family because of the price that Jesus paid for us on the cross. God by his grace receives us as he would Jesus into the family. Paul asked Philemon to extend grace to Onesimus and receive him back just like he would receive Paul. I believe Paul is hinting to Philemon to consider releasing Onesimus from slavery just like Jesus released us from being slaves to sin! We are accepted in Christ and now we want our behavior to be acceptable to Christ so that he can say to us, “Well done”!

2 Corinthians 5:9 (NLT) — 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.

Are you a little down on this cold October day? Remind yourself of what Jesus has done for you and perhaps that will warm and refresh your heart! And then how could you warm and refresh someone else’s heart? May heart was warmed and refreshed yesterday by all the Happy Birthdays I received! The little things make a difference.

Be Inspired Hilltop!



  1. Mark Gundersen says

    Paul wants to show that emphasizes in this book that what you do for a brother blesses both of you.