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Be Forgiving       Philemon 1:3-22      May 29,2011


       How easy is it for you to be a forgiving person? Forgiveness opens up the avenue for us to be forgiven and

help our prayer life. A lack of willingness to forgive really hurts both parties. We need to Be Forgiving.


1.   Be Forgiving . . Complementing Others For Their Expression Of Love.. 1:3-7

      A.   Complementing His Love for Which We Can . . Give Thanks. v 3-4

      3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank my God when I

       mention you in my prayers,


      B.   Complementing His Love for Which We Can . . Glory In The Lord. v 5-7

5 because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. 6 I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ. 7 For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

       For some people forgiveness does not come easy. I know a man that almost acts proud that his family does not forgive easily. Paul did forgive easily and expected other Christian to do the same. Paul gave thanks in advance for the forgiveness Onesimus would give to Philemon. Do you know some Christians who you can count on as forgiving people? Paul gave glory to God for the forgiveness he expected Onesimus to give to Philemon


2.   Be Forgiving As . . Commanded By The Lord. 1:8-13

      A.   Commanded Through His . . Silence. v 8-10

      8 For this reason, although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right,

       9 I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of

       Christ Jesus, 10 appeal to you for my son, Onesimus. I fathered him while I was in chains.


      B.   Commanded Through His . . Sending. v 11-13

11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you as a part of myself. 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place.

       Paul indicated he had freedom to command Onesimus to forgive and reinstate Philemon. If a people refuse to forgive they will have much difficulty receiving their own forgiveness and freedom in praying. Paul was so confident in Onesimus’s forgiveness that he sent Philemon back to him. If you lived in a day when there were slaves such as Philemon and he ran away but is now coming back to you; can you imagine the benefits to you and your family and work force? Forgiveness is one of the finest qualities Christians can possess and express.


3.   Be Forgiving As Paul . . Called for from Onesimus. 1:14-16 

      A.   Called for Through A . . Request By Paul. v 14-15

14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of

       obligation, but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps this is why he was separated from you for a brief

       time, so that you might get him back permanently,


      B.   Called for Through A . . Regenerated Philemon. v 16

       16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave—as a dearly loved brother. He is especially so to me, but

       even more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

       If you put yourself in the place of Onesimus and you get such a request for forgiveness to be given to a runaway slave how do you react? I think most would remember the hardship caused from this act of Philemon

and perhaps say I am not forgiving that scoundrel. But then you analyze that this request comes from Paul and this man has become a Christian and has served Paul well. The request by Paul represents a request from a regenerated Philemon. I believe that would make a difference and I would personally begin to think of all the work he might accomplish.


4.   Be Forgiving As . . Consideration from A Partner. 1:17-22

      A.   Consideration Through . . Paul’s Charge Account. v 17-19

      17 So if you consider me a partner, accept him as you would me. 18 And if he has wronged you in any

        way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will

       repay it—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self.


      B.   Consideration Through . . Preparing A Guest Room. v 20-22

20 Yes, brother, may I have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Since I am confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 But meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you. HCSB

       Paul sort of writes tongue in cheek as he asks, “if you consider me a partner.” That really works on the emotions of one brother for another. To be considered as a brother by Paul would be a compliment and most of the Christians of that day would be honored to be in a special relationship with Paul. He then ask Onesimus to place any debt Philemon might owe to be placed on his charge account. Then Paul reminds Onesimus that he owes him even his own life. That really puts things in perspective. Paul also asks for a guest room. That seems to add for us how good of a friendship they had. Paul further encourages Onesimus to pray for his ministry and journey to come to him. From this letter we all should see the call to Be Forgiving. Amen!? Amen!