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Notes on Philemon

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PHILEMON

1-25 - ‘He was useless... now he has become useful’ (11). This is the story of Onesimus (the name means ‘useful’). A runaway ‘slave’, he became ‘a beloved brother... in the Lord’ (16). It appears that Onesimus had stolen from his master, Philemon (18-19). He landed up in prison - and there, he was converted! This is what Paul is telling us when he speaks of ‘Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment’ (10). Why did God allow Paul, His faithful servant, to land up in prison - for the sake of the Gospel? Part of the reason was Onesimus. God wanted Paul to meet Onesimus. Paul was to lead Onesimus to Christ. Sometimes, our difficult circumstances may feel like a prison sentence. You want to get out, but you can’t - until God has fulfilled His purpose: the ‘useless’ becomes ‘useful’ - in the service of God.

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