We have been studying the book of Philemon on Wednesday nights and it has been a real joy to read a personal letter from Paul. Before asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus, Paul praises Philemon as an example to others of how a Christian lives in verses 4-7. Then in verses 8-10 he lays out four reasons for him to forgive Onesimus before he makes his request known. I hope we all can learn the importance of forgiving others. My outline for this text is as follows:
#1 Obeying a command of a leader. v8 Paul had the right as an Apostle to require his forgiveness. But he chose not to force this on him.
#2 Obedience to Christ’s love. v9a “for love’s sake” Because we have experienced the love of God, we should share that love with others.
#3 Observing a compassionate life. v9b Paul refers to himself as the “aged” in reference to the miles more than the years of his life. II Cor 11:23-28
#4 Obligation to a changed life. v10 Paul reveals that Onesimus is now a believer and a new creature in Christ. This alone warrants forgiveness, love and encouragement.