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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #4
Posted: February 25,2008


I began a section of Philemon last week of verses 8-19 which I have called “An Appealing Argument”.  We looked at two arguments last week; in verses 8-9, ‘A Beseeching Argument’ and in verse 10-12, ‘ A Blunt Argument’.  I want to look at two more arguments from our text that magnifies our great theme of “Put That On Mine Account”. Have your Bible opened to this rather lengthy text and I will not take study space to quote it.

            In verses 13-16 we find our third argument, which I have called ‘A Beloved Argument’.  Paul offers the ‘Argument Of The Gospel’ in verse 13.  Paul tells Philemon that he considers keeping Onesimus for himself.  Onesimus could have taken Philemon’s place in ministering to Paul.  Paul said I had to return him because of the Gospel.  Paul doesn’t attack slavery and the wickedness of this grave practice but he simply reminds Philemon of the ‘Gospel’.(The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Calvary summed up in one package.)  Paul refused to allow a spiritual ill like slavery to become a social movement.  Social reform works on changing man’s environment in order to change man.  The Gospel changes men’s hearts and guarantees a change in the man.  In every great move of God that History recalls of a ‘spiritual awakening’ it has always brought social reform in the lives of people.  Let us not fight the ills of abortion and homosexuality but just preach the Gospel.

            In verse 14 Paul offers to us the ‘Argument Of Giving’.  Paul said I had it in mind to keep Onesimus but I didn’t have your mind on the subject.  I felt you would have given him to me for the ministry but I didn’t want it to be a gift of necessity.  The best gifts are not ones given because of sheer duty but a free will offering given with no hint of coercion.  God said He loves a cheerful giver.  Our Lord gave Himself freely on the cross that we might richly enjoy all that He has.

            In verse 15 we find the ‘Argument Of Guilt’.  Getting right with God demands that we get right with man.  Onesimus has expressed the weight of God’s work of the convicting guilt of sin.  Paul is telling Philemon to receive him for he will never run away again.  Once we have been truly redeemed from the guilt of sin we become slaves without chains.  We do not have to be checked on if we have bowed.  We will continue to bow to His Lordship.  The Holy Ghost of God lives in me and ‘He’ is my accountability partner that questions and bears witness to my loyalty.

            In verse 16-17 Paul gives the ‘Argument Of Grace’.  Paul tells us that God has changed Onesimus from being a servant to now above a servant.  He is now your ‘beloved brother’ in the Lord.  We must exclaim with John Newton, ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved an old sinner like Onesimus.’  God is still saving old sinners like us!

            In verses 17-19 we are confronted with the fourth argument, which is ‘A Bountiful Argument’.  In verse 17 Paul gives Philemon a thought of ‘Bountiful Receiving’.  He asks Philemon to receive Onesimus just like he would if it were Paul who had come.  This is the only way the Father can receive us because we have been placed in Christ.  We stand in his righteousness alone.  He accepts us as he would his only Son. All that He knows to be true of His Son He believes to be true of His children.

            Paul shares with us in verse 18-19a a thought of ‘Bountiful Repaying’.  He tells Philemon if he owes you anything put that on mine account.  Our sins were placed on Christ’ account and that settled the debt.  My sin not in part but the whole was nailed to the tree and I bear it no more.  It is well with my soul!

            In verse 19b Paul shares a thought of ‘Bountiful Remembrance’.  Paul reminds Philemon that he owes his very spiritual life to him.  It was Paul that was the channel God used to bring the Gospel in order to save Philemon.

            A dear preacher friend wrote years ago these words that sum it all up. ‘Put that on mine account and settle all the debt; my sins were all so bad and great were their amount, but now I’m free at last; They’re all on Christ’ account.’ It would certainly be hard to win any arguments with the apostle Paul.