Hard conversations_Paul and Philemon

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This final message in the Hard Conversation series focuses on Paul's hard conversation with his friend Philemon, whom he challenges to "pay it forward" by showing grace and Christian brotherhood to his run-away slave, Onessimus. Paul prepares Philemon for this challenge and carefully makes the case for one of the most radical acts of forgiveness in the Bible.

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Hard conversations_Paul and Philemon

  1. 1. “When we avoid difficult conversations we trade short-term discomfort for long- term dysfunction.”Peter Bromberg
  2. 2. Big and Small When our minds are not set on something big, they will be consumed by small things.
  3. 3. Paul and Philemon Philemon 1
  4. 4. First Point Let people see that you value them before you challenge them.
  5. 5. Philemon 1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. 6. Some unique characteristics of the Book of Philemon •9 of Paul’s epistles are addressed to churches. 4 are addressed to individuals. •Philemon is addressed both to an individual and a church.
  7. 7. Some unique characteristics of the Book of Philemon •In the majority of Paul’s epistles, he identifies himself as an apostle in the greeting. •Philemon is one of the few in which Paul does not do so.
  8. 8. Some unique characteristics of the Book of Philemon •Most of the Pauline epistles are filled with doctrine and exhortations to Christian living. •Philemon is a deeply personal epistle lacking these features.
  9. 9. Philemon 4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,
  10. 10. Philemon 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. κοινωνία (koinōnēa) Fellowship
  11. 11. Philemon 7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
  12. 12. Second Point Compelling other’s grace makes hard conversations harder.
  13. 13. Philemon 8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—
  14. 14. Philemon 10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.
  15. 15. Philemon 13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,
  16. 16. Philemon 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.
  17. 17. 15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
  18. 18. Slavery in the 1st Century Roman Empire •It is estimated that there were 60 million slaves in the Empire.
  19. 19. Slavery in the 1st Century Roman Empire •It is estimated that there were 60 million slaves in the Empire. •Slavery was not based upon race.
  20. 20. Slavery in the 1st Century Roman Empire •It is estimated that there were 60 million slaves in the Empire. •Slavery was not based upon race. •Slaves could earn money and pay for their freedom.
  21. 21. “Difficult conversations are almost never about getting the facts right. They are about conflicting perceptions, interpretations, and values.” Douglas Stone Harvard Law School
  22. 22. Paul’s assessment of Onessimus •“my child” (v. 10) •“useful” (v. 11) •“my very heart” (v. 12) • a “keeper” (v. 13) • a beloved brother (v. 16)
  23. 23. Philemon 13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,
  24. 24. Philemon 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.
  25. 25. 15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
  26. 26. Third Point Help people see an opportunity to be their “best me” in Hard Conversations.
  27. 27. Philemon 17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.
  28. 28. Philemon 19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
  29. 29. Philemon 21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.
  30. 30. Philemon’s “best self”. •He is Paul’s partner. (Receive Onessimus as you would receive me.) – v. 17 •He is a refresher of others. (Refresh my heart in Christ) v. 18 •He is reliably grace-filled. (Confident of this…) verses 21-22.
  31. 31. Philemon 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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