Using A New Convert

Title: Using A New Convert

Bible Book: Philemon 1 : 13

Author: Kenneth Hendricks

Subject: Forgiveness, Christian; Discipleship



It's indeed a rare thing to be able to trust a new convert. I've seen so many fall in the months following their encounter with God's Holy Spirit. Many have been left to wonder if Onesimus  continued in his walk and work with our Lord. In other words they've asked, How did Onesimus work out? Well the scripture is clear in Colossians 4:8-9 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. After Onesimus returned to Philemon he teamed up with Tychicus as a missionary team to follow up on the new churches of Ephesus, Laodicea, Hierapolis and Colossae. Further study also shows ancient history records Onesimus as a minister and still later as a bishop at the church of Ephesus (Ignatius, to the Ephesians, 1). So now what is Paul's heart for his new found friend in Christ?

I. Paul Expresses His Need, vs. 13.

A. Paul's Praise For Onesimus, vs. 13.

Whom I would have retained with me… vs. 13.

Paul noticed something special in Onesimus. He noticed that he has a deep love for the saints. We're unsure of the exact amount of time Paul actually spent with Onesimus but we're sure it wasn't long. This writing took place in 61A.D. and later that year we find Onesimus in Colossae working in the church. This shows us something of importance; it doesn't take long to size most new converts up.

Notice the following verses with me - Romans 8:9 reads, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 6:1-2 states, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 12:2 reads, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Paul knew what the Christian mirror looked like and when he looked into Onesimus he liked what he saw. He simply said to Philemon, “This is the kind of guy I want to be around.”

Not only do we see Paul's praise for Onesimus but also Paul's praise for Philemon.

B. Paul's Praise For Philemon, vs. 13.

…that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me… vs. 13.

Paul doesn't exclude his long time companion and fellow servant, Philemon. Paul expressed his need to not only minister but to be ministered to. This phrase is actually a thank you to Philemon and praise to him for his care, thoughts and supplication that he provided to Paul during his imprisonment.

Paul is careful not to over praise Onesimus and under praise Philemon. If we're not careful, we can sometimes do exactly that. Someone new will come in and we inadvertently push some quiet, faithful, hardworking saint aside and promote the new person into his or her position of service. This causes pain and a feeling of rejection, and sadly some of those people who have been pushed aside can loose heart. Paul was careful not to do that. He praised them both.

Not only do we see Paul expresses his need but also Paul explains his need.

II. Paul Explains His Need, vs. 13.

A. Paul Is Confined, vs. 13.

…unto me in the bonds… vs. 13.

The phrase here is obvious; Paul is in prison. The point is that while we're in difficult times we need  a minister to others. Don't think for one minute that your Sunday School teacher, your deacon, your program leader or even your ministers don't run into difficult times. And when they do, they need to be ministered to. Philemon, among others, had not only sent things to Paul but had actually visited him. The application here is be sensitive to the life of your church leadership. Sending a card or a letter, making a call or a visit is sometimes all they need to keep them going or freshen them up.

Not only do we see that Paul is confined but also Paul is committed.

B. Paul Is Committed, vs. 13.

…of the gospel: vs. 13.

Paul kept on preaching as evidenced by the conversion of Onesimus. It wasn't easy to be an early Christian but Paul was committed to the cause. In the passage before us, Paul is also reminding Philemon that some of the things we do for Christ's sake aren't easy. Forgiving Onesimus may not be easy but it is the Christian thing to do. That's our lesson here; don't do the easy thing or what comes naturally. Do what comes supernaturally through the power of God and the blood of the Lamb!

Posted in


Scroll to Top