Love and Philemon


Introduction: Book of Philemon

1. On more than one occasion Paul referred to the love of Philemon (vs. 5, 7, 9).
2. In fact, he said he had “great joy and consolation” in that “love” (v. 7).
3. But why did Paul have that “great joy and consolation?” What would be comforting about knowing about Philemon’s love? The answer is be­cause he knew what love would do.
4. Philemon is a prime example of the love that Paul described in First Corinthians 13:4-7.
5. In the man Philemon we have an application and a demonstration of First Corinthians 13.
6. It is no wonder then that Paul appealed to Philemon to receive Onesimus back “for love’s sake” (v.9).
7. It is no wonder that Paul says,” Therefore (i.e. because of your love and faith)….I appeal to you…..” (v. 7-9). He knew what love would do.
8. In this study we will look at Philemon in light of what Paul said about the characteristics of love in First Corinthians 13:4-7.


In First Corinthians 13:4-7 Paul lists 15 characteristics of love that would be encouraging to Paul in sending Onesimus back to this man of love. Paul had great joy and comfort in the love of Philemon because love:

1. Suffers long – Paul knew that Philemon would be longsuffering with Onesimus. Philemon loved “all saints” (v. 5).

2. Is kind – Paul was kind to Onesimus because he loved him (v. 12), and he knew that love would cause Philemon to be kind to him.

3. Does not envy — Paul didn’t mind sending Onesimus back because Philemon would not be jealous over the fact that Paul had converted Onesimus, nor would he be jealous or envious of the new relationship of Paul and Onesimus.

4. Does not parade itself – Philemon, because of his love, would not parade him­self before Onesimus as if he were better than he and would not boast of any superiority.

5. Is not puffed up – Paul knew Philemon would manifest a spirit of humility toward Onesimus and be humble in his dealings with him.

6. Does not behave rudely – Paul knew that love would keep Philemon from being harsh, rude or discourteous in his treatment of Onesimus.

7. Does not seek its own – Paul was unselfish in sending Onesimus back (v.13,14) and he knew that Philemon would not be selfish in dealing with him. A selfish person would have to get even for the wrong done, but not one who loved like Philemon.

8. Is not provoked – Paul knew Philemon loved and, therefore, he was no hot head or one who flies off the handle at the drop of a hat. He would not be easily angered in dealing with Onesimus.

9. Thinks no evil – Paul knew Philemon wouldn’t mark up all the wrongs done against him by Onesimus or plan evil toward him.

10. Does not rejoice in iniquity – Philemon was not the type who like to see people in sin – he did not delight in seeing one like Onesimus do evil.

11. Rejoices in truth – Philemon would rejoice that Onesimus was now practicing truth.

12. Bears all things – Philemon would bear the wrong done to him and also bear with Onesimus. He would protect and stand by him.

13. Believes all things – Paul had confidence in Philemon (v. 21) because he cared about him (v. l) and he knew that love would cause Philemon not to doubt, distrust, or be suspicious of Onesimus. He would look for the best in him.

14. Hopes all things – He would not only look for the best in Onesimus, but he would also desire and expect it.

15. Endures all things – He would endure any wrong done by Onesimus and would stand by him and with him because of his love for him. He would not expect Onesimus to be perfect, but would support him in every way he could.

Conclusion: It is no wonder Paul had “great joy and consolation” in the love that Philemon had for all saints. It is no wonder he wanted to send Onesimus back to a man who loved like this. Paul knew what love would do. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

A Fool and His Money

(Luke 12:15-21)

Misers are miserable. The greedy are the real spiritually needy. (Think about Mr. Scrooge at Christmastime.) Think also about the man in this parable that Jesus told. Notice:

I. HIS PROSPERITY (v. 15-17) “The ground of a certain rich man…”

1. His bondage to covetousness (v. 15)
2. His bountiful crops (v. 16)
3. His boastful comments (v. 17)

II. HIS PLANS (v. 18, 19) “I will”

1. I will pull down my barns.
2. I will build greater barns.
3. I will store up produce.
4. I will have many goods saved up for many years.
5. I will eat, drink, and be merry.
Man’s prosperity is sometimes the major cause of his adversity.

III. HIS PUNISHMENT (v. 20) “but God said unto him ‘This night your soul will be required then’…”

1. The position of a fool.
2. The pain of sudden death.
3. The plight of losing it all.
4. The place of divine judgment.

This is the example Jesus gave of how a “fool” and his money was “soon parted.” It was a case of “Sudden Death.” Actually God said, “Tonight’s the night.” “Turn out the lights…the party’s over.” Someone ask, “How much money did he leave?” The answer is, “He left it all!”

Riches are sometimes deceitful. This rich man (and most others) would have thought that he was financially “cool,” but Jesus said that he was a financial “fool!” His covetous greed was a curse indeed! His wealth cost him his health. His money made him miserable. His great gain…brought him grief and pain.
The “love of money is a root of ALL KINDS of evil” and it is also a “kind” of evil in itself. Covetousness (greed) is idolatry (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). The greedy already have a “god” which is money/possessions! A lot of rich men are robbers! (Mal. 3:8-19). A statement I have heard often is: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep…in order to gain what he cannot cannot lose! If we rob God when it comes to our gold…it can cost us riches untold!

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.11 But you, O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:9-11).

Having said that, we need to be reminded that God gives us riches for us to “enjoy” and therefore we should not feel guilty for “having and enjoying our money/possessions.” But if our money “has us” then there is a problem. If we trust in our riches…God cannot trust us with His riches! One thing is certain…riches are uncertain!

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to TRUST IN UNCERTAIN RICHES but in the living God, who GIVES US RICHLY ALL THINGS TO ENJOY (1 Timothy 6:17).

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20).

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MONEY (Matthew 6:24, ESV).

Wayne Dunaway