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Sermons on Philemon
Paul can ask Philemon to receive Onesimus because he knows this is the way Christ receives him. In Romans 5:6-11, he talks about reconciliation found with God through Jesus as being possible because “at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” and showed an immeasurable amount of grace for us that we didn’t deserve. This kind of grace amazes followers of Jesus, because it is not only undeserved, it is completely unexpected and abnormal. It is much more than just a pleasant surprise. It is mind-blowing.
This is a first-person narrative of Paul's letter to Philemon. In his correspondence, Paul puts his friend and co-laborer from the Colossian church to the test. He begs him to receive back Onesimus, a runaway slave, as a fellow brother in Christ. While Paul does not elaborate on the details of Onesimus' desertion (cause, fault, cost, etc.), he makes abundantly clear the need for restoration. The core of the gospel is God's act of reconciliation between rebellious humans and Himself. Thus, the practice of the gospel in daily life demands forgiveness and restitution. Ultimately, the letter to Philemon reminds readers throughout the ages that the gospel changes human relationships.
Who is really free? If you are free to choose something you want, are you capable of achieving it? Simply wanting something is not the same as having the freedom to achieve it. In this sense, everyone is limited by some boundary. Most of us are bound by our natures and what it wants naturally. Would it ever naturally want to choose to do what God commands? This message explores the notion of Free Will and the arenas in which it is discussed. It concludes with the theological point that Christians have a restored nature that may not freely choose everything they ought; but is more free than ever as they anticipate the freedom of eternity with God.