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Read Introduction to Philemon


“I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart…”


I am sending him back.

Paul sent the fugitive slave Onesimus back to his master Philemon with a letter of reference, the epistle to Philemon.  Onesimus is standing in the presence of Philemon as Philemon reads this letter from Paul.  Onesimus’ credibility in coming to Philemon with this letter is apparent.

In Colossians 4:7-9, we learn that another person named Tychicus came with Onesimus to Colosse.

Co 4:7-9, “Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.”

Note that Paul calls Onesimus a “faithful and beloved brother.”  Onesimus was more than a casual Christian.  Paul could count on him, “I have complete confidence in Onesimus so you can count on him too, Philemon.  I stand behind him.  It makes little difference what he was; I want to tell you what he is.”

You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart

Paul’s spiritual son, Onesimus, was Paul’s “own heart.”  The word “heart” means the seat of emotions.  Paul had deep feelings for Onesimus.  Paul led Philemon to Christ, so how could he punish Onesimus if Onesimus was so close to Paul?  This is cordial persuasion!


Regeneration is the cause of conversion.


Regeneration is the cause of conversion.  The person who comes face-to-face with Jesus Christ cannot help but have his life turned around.  Instead of lying and cheating, they now care about integrity and be honest with other people.  Only Jesus Christ can make that change.  Jesus can do what psychology and sociology cannot do.