Philemon 1:9 Read the entire book (only 1 chapter) to understand the context.
I am of the opinion that the word "love" is used far too loosely these days. We say that we "love" everything from pizza to people. It is far too simple a word to adequately declare our intentions. The Greeks did not have this problem, in their language (at least in New Testament times), there were half-dozen words used to described "love" in its various meanings. Today, we have a variety of meanings for just the one word.
What would you do for love's sake? It depends on just how strong your love really is. People claim to love each other, but do not treat one another with love. The love that once brought them together is no longer strong enough to keep them together. Love seems to be transient in our society, fickle and even foolish.
Jesus said in John 15:13 that "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Love to that degree makes us re-evaluate friendships!
In our text, the Apostle Paul intercedes for someone he loved to someone else whom he loved. He uses love as the basis of his intercession and the consideration of the restoration he sought.
Love's Testimony is seen in verse 5, where Paul recounts the character of Philemon. This was a man who had suffered loss when his servant, Onesimus, ran away. Because of Paul's acquaintance with him, his love was known. Love was a part of Philemon's character and behavior; it was something he was known for.
Love's Test is recorded in verse 9, where Paul appeals to Philemon's love for him in consideration of his pending decision concerning Onesimus. The Law of the Land permitted Philemon to treat Onesimus as he saw fit. He could punish Onesimus in any way he deemed necessary, even death. Paul's plea is that Philemon would not follow the Law of the Land, but rather, the Law of Love. He even offered to repay Philemon himself on Onesimus' behalf. This showed Paul's love in reconciliation.
Love's Treatment is seen in 1Corinthians 13. This is often referred to as the 'love chapter' and many think of it as what love is. But, it is more correctly a description of how love behaves.
We all have a testimony, something we are known for. What is it?
Our love is often tested. How great is it?
Our degree of love is seen, not in what we say about love, but in what we do in love...not only in what we believe about love, but how we behave with love. What are you doing that shows love? How are you treating others?
The great picture in this passage is that love of God for the lost sinner. Law demands justice, but mercy is displayed in love. Christ, our intercessor has paid the price owed...God has accepted that payment...that's what He did for love's sake.(John 3:16)
JESUS LOVES EVEN ME was written by Phillip Bliss. It reminds us that God's love extends towards every one, even me!