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Saturday, September 24 2016

Philemon 1: What Did Paul Do With A Runaway Slave?

"Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the LORD?"

The apostle Paul's letter to Philemon was a petition ("A formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority") for the freedom of a runaway slave - Philemon's runaway slave, Onesimus. It was a bittersweet request - Paul wrote the epistle when he was himself a prisoner, held in chains by the politically-malignant Romans (see Romans: In The Heart Of The Beast).

Paul was appealing to a fellow Christian, for the freedom of another fellow Christian, while being held in chains himself.

Paul In Prison

"1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother [see 1 Timothy: Godliness With Contentment and 2 Timothy: In The Last Days Perilous Times Shall Come], unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,

1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house [see Houses Of The Holy and Can You See The Church?; also the complete series about the true meaning and purpose of the "Church of God": The Church In The Garden, The Church In The Wilderness, The Church Today, The Church In The End Time, The Church In The Kingdom Of God and The Church: Mission Accomplished]:

1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philemon 1:1-3 KJV)

Paul's greeting was much the same as in all of his epistles (see also The Apostle Paul's Gramma), however it seems certain that Philemon already knew the purpose of it - Paul had the runaway Onesimus deliver the request for his freedom to Philemon. It was a bold act of faith by Paul, and of Onesimus - and a test of faith for Philemon, "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual."

"1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God], and toward all saints;

1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother." (Philemon 1:4-7 KJV)

Paul then reminded Philemon of the apostle's own circumstances, "Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ." From that vantage point, Paul made the request, "I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds." Onesimus had run away from Philemon, encountered the apostle Paul, and was converted by Paul while Paul was in chains i.e. "I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds."

While Paul could have ordered the slave to be set free ("Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient"), like any good preacher, Paul enabled Philemon to do the right thing by a personal choice between right and wrong. Right or wrong isn't something that someone can do for someone else. Everyone will be judged for their own thoughts and behaviour.

"1:8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, 1:9 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. 1:10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: 1:11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

1:12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: 1:13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: 1:14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. 1:15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; 1:16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?" (Philemon 1:8-16 KJV)

Paul made the plea, to a fellow Christian, to free a fellow Christian.

"1:17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. 1:18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; 1:19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. 1:20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. 1:21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say." (Philemon 1:17-21 KJV)

There is no Biblical record of what Philemon did in response to the request, however Paul intended to follow up with a personal visit - if he was himself ever set free.

"1:22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you." (Philemon 1:22 KJV)

Two of the Gospel Book writers were also with Paul at the time, Luke ("Lucas") and Mark ("Marcus").

"1:23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; 1:24 Marcus [see Mark: Was It John Mark?], Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas [see Luke: The World Of The LORD and Acts: Luke's Second Letter To Theophilus], my fellowlabourers.

1:25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen." (Philemon 1:23-25 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the original meaning of "Christian"? How did the word mean "slave"?
See Who Are The First Christians? and Where Believers Were First Called Christians


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This Day In History, September 24

768: Charlemagne (from the Latin meaning "Charles the Great") was crowned the first King of the Franks, a confederation of Germanic tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine. Charlemagne was the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the original Roman Empire three centuries earlier. By the twelfth century, Charlemagne's kingdom grew into the end-time prophetic "Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation" (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

Europe

787: The Second Nicene Council began under Pope Adrian I. Closely allied with Roman emperor Charlemagne (see Emperors and Popes; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy), Adrian condemned supporters of iconoclasm - the opposition to the use of religious statues and images because it violated the Commandment against idolatry.

Charlemagne

622: Muhammad completed his "hijra" from Mecca to Medina (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1180: Alexius II Comnenus became Byzantine emperor at age 11 upon the death of his father Manual I Comnenus.

1332: Edward de Balliol was crowned king of Scotland at Scone after the death of 7 year old Queen Margaret. The famous Stone of Scone (pronounced "scoon") is used as the "Coronation Stone" for all new British monarchs, and was just recently returned to Scotland after 700 years in Britain.

The Stone Of Scoon

1493: Christopher Columbus' second voyage to "America" was completed. All of the four voyages of Columbus were actually to the islands of the Caribbean Sea and southward to the coasts of Central and South America. See the map at Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy.

Voyages of Christopher Columbus

1545: Cardinal Albrecht died at age 55. He was the object of Martin Luther's protests concerning the sale of indulgences.

1664: The Dutch settlement of Fort Orange surrendered to the British. Renamed to honor the Duke of York and Albany, it would become Albany, New York.

1683: Jews were expelled from all French territory in "New France" (i.e. French colonies in North America).

New France
1706: During the Great Northern War (1700-1721), the Treaty of Altanstadt was signed by Swedish king Charles XII with Augustus II the Strong, king of Poland and elector of Saxony.

1830: During the Belgian Revolution, a revolutionary committee formed the Provisional Government of Belgium (formerly the southern provinces of the Netherlands).

1852: The first engine-powered flight of a dirigible was accomplished by French inventor Henri Giffard. He flew about 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) from Paris to Trappes in a craft powered by a steam engine.

1889: The Declaration of Utrecht was signed in the Netherlands. It became the doctrinal constitution of the so-called "Old Catholic Church." Among other things, they reject the pope's leadership and clerical celibacy - but still maintain most of the anti-Bible errors of the rest of the Christian-professing world, Catholic or Protestant.

1914: During the First World War (1914-1918), the German Army captured St. Mihiel in the Alsace-Lorraine area between France and Germany (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars).

1948: Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio propagandist "Axis Sally," pleaded innocent in Washington, D.C., to charges of treason.

1950: Forest fires blacked out the sun over eastern Canada and New England. A "blue moon" was seen as far away as Europe.

1950: Operation Magic Carpet - all Jews from Yemen were transported to Israel.

1956: The first transatlantic telephone cable system began operation.

1957: U.S. President Eisenhower ordered federal troops of the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas to protect nine black students while they attended the newly-integrated high school.

1962: Riots erupted at the University of Mississippi when James Meredith was announced as the first black student at the university.

1976: Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison for her part in a 1974 bank robbery that occurred while she was supposedly a kidnap victim.

1990: The government of the Soviet Union approved a change from communism to a market economic system.

1996: Representatives of 71 nations signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.



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