slave owner and recipient of letter= Philemon
slavery was that of indentured bondservants
Significance of the book
I. model of how we are to treat one another
II. real life illustration of the gospel
I. 1. There is a difference between empty flattery and sincere praise. (4-7)
2. Onesimus would now be useful to Philemon. (11)
3. Human classifications still exist, but they don't matter. (Colossians 3:1, 22-4:1)
4. The only label God puts on people is believer or unbeliever.
II. 1. God could have used His authority over us to create us in a way that would have made us unable to sin.
2. Christ appealed in our behalf.
3. The basis for this appeal was love. (9)
4. The result of this appeal is that He has made us useful for His kingdom. (17)
Christianity is never an escape, but always a conquest.
Onesimus sought to be free from slavery, but found he could never be free until he returned to it.
When we were freed from the slavery to sin, we turned to a new kind of slavery. (Romans 6:6-22)