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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #3
Posted: February 16,2008


Let us return to our study of Philemon this week.  I want to begin a new section of verses 8-19 which I am calling “An Appealing Argument”.  I find in this text that Paul gives four arguments to magnify our theme of “Put That On Mine Account”.   Let us look at 2 of these arguments mentioned in verses 8-12 which says, “Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is mine own bowels:”

            In verses 8-9 I find Paul giving ‘A Beseeching Argument’.  I cannot imagine the tension that must have been in the air between Onesimus a runaway slave who waited as Philemon read a letter from Paul, his father in the faith. Paul doesn’t come commanding Philemon to take him back but beseeching him.  John Phillips said there are three lines of thoughts on getting one to follow a prescribed path of behavior. One is out of a sense of desire that says, ‘I want to’. Paul wants God to put the desire of ‘want to’ in the heart of Philemon.

            In verse 9 Paul gives three legs for this ‘Blessed Argument’ to stand firmly upon. One of the legs Paul stands his argument on is the leg of “Yet for love’s sake…” Paul has not come under handed but he has taken the high ground of appeal to Philemon’s basic quality of love for the brethren.  Only the most hardhearted would fail to respond in favor to such an argument. It was truly love that caused the Son of God to go to Calvary in our place.  The second leg of this blessed argument was the words “…being such an one as Paul the aged,” Philemon was well aware of what the aged man of God had endured to bring the gospel to such a one as himself.  He would be hard pressed to reject this request.  Paul’s third leg of the argument was in the words “…a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Philemon could not set Paul free but he could set Onesimus free.  The reason God could set us, slaves of sin, free was not because of anything He saw in us, but because of the fact we were placed in His Son before time began that gave us redeeming rights to be set free from the bondage and penalty of sin.

            In verses 10-12 we find a ‘Blunt Argument’.  He calls Onesimus his own personal son whom he saw born from above in his prison cell.  He reminds Philemon of the meaning of Onesimus’ name in verse 11.  Onesimus means profitable.  Paul said, profitable has been unprofitable, but because of a great salvation unprofitable is now profitable to thee and to me.  He will now live up to his name because Christ lives within him as He lives within us.  The great question of the blunt argument is found in verse 12.  Will you receive Him or not? It was the custom of that day for a runaway slave to be literally killed by inches as a warning to the other slaves.  Paul tells Philemon that Onesimus has become a part of his deep inner self. (Vs. 12)  Surely Philemon must answer ‘yes’ to such an appealing argument.  Fellow saints let me remind you that this is the way we got in.  We should have died by inches in Hell but Jesus appealed to the Father that our sins be placed on His account and that we should be set free.