PUT THAT ON MY ACCOUNT
Philemon 18, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;”
This is the story of a slave called Onesimus, whose owner was a Christian named Philemon, a member of the church at Colosse in Asia Minor. It appears that the Colossian Church met in his home.
The Apostle Paul become involved in this story when he encounters Onesimus in Rome after he had fled from his master in Colosse. The Lord uses the Apostle to bring about a happy ending to the story.
I. ONESIMUS FLEES IN REBELLION
A. Onesimus was a servant (slave).
1. He represents man as a slave to sin, Romans 7:14, “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
2. He does not know how to do good, Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
B. Onesimus was a rebel and unfaithful, Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
1. He was unprofitable, Philemon 11, “Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:”
2. He was suspected to have stolen something, Philemon 18a, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought,”
II. ONESIMUS RECEIVES CHRIST
A. Onesimus flees to Rome
1. There he encountered the Apostle Paul.
2. There he heard the gospel of Christ, perhaps for the second or third time for Paul knew his master.
B. Onesimus was converted to Jesus Christ under the Apostle Paul, Philemon 10, “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:”
1. Paul refers to him a “my son” confirming Onesimus’ conversion to Christ.
2. Paul declares that it took place in Rome where he was in prison.
C. Paul sends the young man back to his master, Philemon, with a letter, Philemon 11-12, "Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: 12Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:”
1. He was unprofitable in the past, but now he is a new creature in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2. Paul asked Philemon to receive Onesimus as if he would be receiving the Apostle, Philemon 12, “Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:”
III. IF HE OWES YOU ANYTHING…
A. He was a sinner, Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
1. Thief? It appears that he took something.
2. Rebel? He refused to obey his master, Romans 11:32, “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”
3. He was an unprofitable servant, Romans 3:12, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
B. Put that on my account, Philemon 18, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;”
1. Paul was so impressed with this young man that he was ready to take on his debt.
2. That is what Jesus did for you and I on the cross. He took our sin-debt to the cross and paid for it in his own blood, Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
3. He paid our debt, Matthew 18:27, “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.”
C. Onesimus becomes a profitable servant, v. 11, “Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:”
1. Now he is more than a servant, v. 16, “Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
2. Now he is more than a servant, he is a brother beloved, v. 16, “Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?”
Onesimus had caused his master a lot of trouble as a rebellious servant. He had fled seeking freedom only to run into the arms of a loving servant of the Lord in the Apostle Paul.
Paul won this young man to the Lord and sent him back to his master not only to be a faithful servant, but as beloved brother in the Lord.
What is your situation with your master today? Are you unprofitable, angry, and rebellious? What you may need it to receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour. He can change your life as he did the life of Onesimus.