The Prison Epistles Teaching Notes – 2009 Series Paul's by Guttermouth

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The Prison Epistles                                        Teaching Notes – 2009 Series

Paul’s letter to Philemon                                       Philemon 1

                             Becoming useful to the master

Opening thoughts:
   Trevor has taught the book of Philemon – I want to take about the journey back to
      the master.
         o Life is messy – human restoration is a lifetime process.
         o Only after we are restored to God (the Master) will we restore human
            relationships.
   Review of Onesimus –
   Seeing Monique – “I have terminal cancer – Ask me why I’m smiling ”
         o Zeal is a choice
         o A life of devastation restored – unworthiness – unloved - unwanted
         o Faith in eternity that is real – excitement for the next adventure – death has
            no sting.
         o Making every minute count – another round

      The natural speaks of the supernatural – A real life story of the prodigal son.
         o Reconciliation with “the” Master.
         o A beautiful picture of the Gospel.



      The Journey back to the master:
         o Destiny – Onesimus = “Useful” - to “the” Master. – God’s intent for his life.
         o Running away. An act of rebellion.
                 We have all been rebellious slaves to sin
                 We have all tried to do it our way.
         o Destitute and empty – useless to the master – unworthy, rejection,
            unacceptable.
                 vs. 11 Formerly he was useless to you…
                 Useless to God, useless to ourselves and useless to humanity – self
                    oriented & centered. Living for ourselves and our own pleasures.
         o Devine appointments – meeting a Paul – a person of truth.
         o Overcoming risk, apprehension, doubt and fear – Misconception (i.e. paying a
            penitence of debt – I must do something to earn my way back.)
                 This is a fork in the road.
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         o Turning around – repentance – vs. 12 I am sending him—who is my very
           heart—back to you.
         o Son-ship – vs. 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while
           I was in chains.
         o Freedom & Free will – vs. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your
           consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. 15Perhaps the
           reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him
           back for good— 16no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He
           is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the
           Lord.
                 No longer a slave but a brother
                 All are one in Christ – No slave or free, Jew of Greek
         o Grace - The debt is paid in full - vs. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome
           him as you would welcome me. 18If he has done you any wrong or owes you
           anything, charge it to me. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it
           back—not to mention that you owe me your very self.
         o Now useful to the master – vs. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has
           become useful both to you and to me.
                 Useful in the natural world and useful to the Kingdom.
         o A journey of faith, trust, pain & confusion – we don’t know how the story
           ends. The mystery of the outcome of a preferred future.
                 Speculation by some early theologians suggest that Onesimus may
                    have been the bishop of the churches of Emphases some 50 years
                    later. They also suggest that he was instrumental in the collection of
                    the Pauline letters.


Final points:
    We are all terminal! – “I have terminal cancer – ask me why I’m smiling.”
          o Attitude
          o Perspective
          o Right choices
    Making yourself useful to the master – the sin of wasting precious time.
          o 9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul—an old man and now
              also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—
          o Never too late – Paul an old man and in prison – still ticking
          o Don’t blame circumstances – Monique is in a hospital bed, Paul was in
              prison
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Philemon 1
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    Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

  To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, 2to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow
soldier and to the church that meets in your home:
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    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear about your faith in the
Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 6I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so
that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7Your love has
given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the
saints.
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   Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9yet I
appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ
Jesus— 10I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.
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   Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13I would have liked to keep him with
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me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14But I did
not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and
not forced. 15Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might
have him back for good— 16no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is
very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has done you
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any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I
will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20I do wish, brother, that I may
have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your
obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in
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answer to your prayers.

 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24And so do Mark,
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Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
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     The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

								
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