The Book of Philemon
I. UNDERSTANDING the SITUATION
A. The INHUMANITY of Slavery
B. The CULTURAL REALITY of Slavery
C. The LAW around Slavery
II. Paul’s HARD SELL
A. Slave, OBEY your MASTER (Phil. 10, 12; Eph. 6:5-8, Col. 3:22-23)
B. Master, LOVE your SLAVE (Phil. 6-8, 15-16; Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1)
C. Be RECONCILED as BROTHERS (Phil. 15-18; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Col 3:11)
III. The EMBODIED GOSPEL
A. Transcends Our IMPULSES (Col. 1:21-23; Eph. 5:8-10)
B. Transcends CULTURAL NORMS (Romans 12:2; I Cor. 3:18-19; James 4:4)
C. Transcends our APATHY (John 8:35-36; Gal.4:4-7)
Questions for further reflection:
1. Kid’s question: Is it easier to follow someone when you love them? If the answer is yes, do you think we should focus our attention on being perfect for God or on loving God?
2. As we’ve looked at wisdom in Ecclesiastes and James this summer, are there any connections you can make with Paul’s instructions to Philemon?
3. Slavery can often seem very removed from our modern situation. Slavery, however, is still very much a part of our modern world. Take some time this week to research and pray about slavery in our world today. What, if anything, can you do to play a role?
4. Are there current laws where we can follow Paul’s example of relational subversion?
5. When have you had strong impulses that contradicted the Gospel message? How did youdeal with those desires?
6. In what ways have you equated being a “good Christian” with being a “good Canadian”?What areas of your life do you need to allow the Gospel to speak truth into?
7. In our interconnected world, when we hear about tragedy on a daily basis, it is hard not togrow calloused and apathetic. Think of a time when you felt compassion for someone and were moved to come alongside them in their pain. What compelled you?
8. Paul plays the role of a reconciler in this relationship. What relationships do you have that need reconciliation? Are there relationships you could (with wisdom) play the role of reconciler in?