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Read Introduction to Philemon


“…who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.”


who once was unprofitable to you,

Paul speaking to Philemon, the slave owner of his slave Onesimus, says that he was “unprofitable” to him.  He frankly admits how Onesimus stole from Philemon and fled as a fugitive from Colosse to Rome.  Onesimus was not a good business deal to Philemon.  Now Paul is sending Onesimus back to him. 

but now is profitable to you and to me

The meaning of the name Onesimus is useful.  Paul uses a pun and clever play on words to indicate that the “unprofitable” slave has become profitable to both Paul and Philemon.  He ministered to Paul in prison, and he will make a difference in Philemon’s business.  Onesimus now lives up to his name. 


God’s grace radically transforms those who yield to it so that they become profitable to those around them. 


Personal transformation in Christ changes one’s perspective on a broad range of values.  It changes spirituality and morals, but it also changes how people view their work. 

There are two time periods for every Christian: 1) before Christ and 2) after Christ.  Before Christ, we had one set of values, and after Christ, another set.

Eph 2:1-7, 1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Those transformed by Christ make a significant contribution to society.  The chief way to change society is to change the heart of individuals.  We change a nation by transforming one individual at a time.  No government can reach its potential without a maximum number of individuals committed to the highest of values. 

Without a set of values, we do not truly live but simply exist.  We work, eat, drink, and sleep.  Horses do that as well!  This explains why there is so much barnyard morality out there.  People live like animals.  Jesus Christ can take the raw sewage of human nature and give that person a new nature.