I've got a sermon on Philemon coming up on Sunday. I'm looking forward to preaching it, but I have a young adult camp that I'm heading to at 9:30pm tonight (about 1.5hrs away) straight after our youth program finishes.

All in all this means I'm very busy and I'm not sure how good my sermon will be. I really need to get it finished today...

It's a great personal letter written by Paul to Philemon regarding Philemon's runaway slave Onesimus.

Few things that I've noticed already. Philemon owned slaves and whilst Paul might hint that Onesimus should be released (vv. 16-17) He does not explicitly condemn slavery or ask for Onesimus to be released. What does this mean about the Bible's view on slavery?

Whilst that is interesting, I don't really think it's the main point of the passage. It's not dealing with slavery but rather with how living out the gospel in fellowship and community with others should look markably different to the world around us, that as members of God's kingdom, changed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are to be people who act out of love for our fellow brother and sister despite what the world says. That is, Paul is asking Philemon to act out of love for his fellow brother in Christ, Onesimus, and to forgive his wrongs despite Philemon's right - by the worlds standards - to treat him as a slave. Not only that but Paul sends this letter to the whole house church, not just Philemon, showing that our lives and actions towards each other are meant to be lived out in community with other believers. You don't have private sins or grievances against others, it all affects the whole church.

I think that is the line I'll be taking in my sermon. Anyone think I'm heading down the heretical path or missed the point of Philemon entirely??