C – H – I – L – D
Class conflict – vs. 2, 16 Those that have and those that have not so often come into conflict. Here a citizen and his slave came into conflict.
Heist – v. 15 – Onesimus had enough of the oppression. He took action, and that action was deemed a first class theft. He stole his freedom.
Imprisonment – v. 1 – Paul was the one in prison and not Onesimus. The runaway slave may have suffered many pangs of guilt, when he considered his freedom and Paul’s imprisonment. He was convicted by the Holy Spirit.
Duty – v. 17 – Paul asks a small favor. How small? He asks the master just to treat the runaway as if he were Paul. Don’t forget that Philemon owed his salvation to an evangelist named Paul. In faith we should be asking that brothers and sisters be treated as you would treat Paul or Jesus.
Exemplary story: In college we were enrolled in a class that focused on evangelism. I’m not sure how much I remember. I do remember the instructor citing Mark 5:19. The demoniac was turned back when he wanted to get into the boat with Jesus. He was instructed to return home. Our teacher said that would be one of the most exciting opportunities – the opportunity to evangelize at home. That was the opportunity that was given to Onesimus and to Philemon.