Last week I opened using an illustration about the most polar opposite people I could think of, and after hearing a few responses from you guys you heard my own group of polar opposite people: Hillary Clinton, Osama Bin Laden, and Jerry Zaccone. I then asked a question: what would it take for this group of people to treat one another as family? Do you remember the answer? AN ACT OF GOD. In the same way, remember here in the letter of Paul to Philemon we have another group of polar opposites: a once proud Pharisee (Paul), a wealthy gentile slave owner (Philemon), and his slave (Onesimus). What could ever break down the barriers that would naturally exist between these people? AN ACT OF GOD yes, but specifically – the gospel of grace.
Last week we looked into the greeting and first remarks of Paul to Philemon, and saw how much affection and bond of friendship Paul feels towards Philemon. We also saw how in the first 7 verses of this small letter Paul is preparing Philemon to hear the request he is about ask of him. Paul employs a careful and calculated gospel-logic in his appeal, and we can learn much from it. So let’s turn our attention to Philemon 8-16