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Sermon Notes

The Gospel (The Power of the Good News)

  1. What it is.
  2. What it can do
  3. A specific application

How does the gospel apply in the real world?

The Three Main Characters:

  • Philemon – wealthy home owner; elder inside a house church and close friend of Paul
  • Paul – the Apostle who saw Philemon saved; trained him to lead and became very close to him
  • Onesimus – a household servant in Philemon’s home, who stole from his master and left town with this new wealth

The Crazy Coincidence

  • Paul is under house arrest in Colossae
  • His path crosses with Onesimus
  • Paul leads Onesimus to be a Christ-follower

Paul’s Legal Responsibility

  • Provide Safe Haven
  • Convince the Runaway to Return
  • Sell the Slave and Send the Money to the Master
    Philemon 8-21
  1. The gospel theology brings equality
  2. We who have the gospel must use our power to
    • Share its message with others
    • Raise others to equality
    • Seek healing to those who might be offended by past sins

When those with power have the gospel, they must use their power to benefit those without power. They must usher them toward equality.

The Challenge: We are tempted to ignore how the gospel can address the deepest needs in people’s lives.

Discussion Questions


Philemon 8-21


  1. Read Philemon 8-21. What issues do we find Paul dealing with in this situation that are similar to some of the issues we are struggling with in our culture today?
  2. Read Ephesians 2:13-22. According to this passage, how does what Jesus accomplished on the cross impact our relationship with Him? How should that in turn impact our relationships with other people?
  3. Read Galatians 3:26-28. Although a variety of traits and characteristics combine to make up who we are as individuals, what is our primary identity if we are in Christ?
  4. Read Matthew 22:36-40 and Matthew 7:12. In Philemon 9, Paul states that he is appealing to Philemon “on the basis of love.” In what ways do we see Paul applying these teachings of Jesus to his relationships with Philemon and Onesimus?
  5. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. How does Paul carry out “the ministry of reconciliation” in his relationships with Philemon and Onesimus?


  • Is there anyone in your life right now with whom you are experiencing a strained relationship? What do you think love would look like on your part? What could you do this week to begin moving in that direction?
  • Do you see yourself as a “minister of reconciliation”? Why or why not? Name one thing you could do to step into that role in a greater way this week.