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  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

“Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/our-father-in-heaven

Download Notes in a .MD file

“Our Father in Heaven”

Matthew 6:9 (Missionary Kim)

6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…


The 3 languages I spoke in my greeting reflect my missionary journey for the last 27 years.

  • I lived in the Philippines,
  • then in the US,
  • then in Panama.

I was invited to serve a home ministry as the International Mission Director at Paul Mission International.

When I left Korea, I didn’t meet any single foreign resident on the street. Today, I see a BIG change. There’s been a rise in the number of foreign residents in Korea. In line with this, Paul Mission Intl, has been developing a ministry for the foreign residents: Thai, Vietnamese, English, African. We have different ministries – and there are 16 people involved with this. Pastor Heo and his wife are two of them.

I’m excited to be here this morning, but I feel sorry to be late in coming to you. However, you have been well spoken of around the city and so I wanted to see you very much.

This morning, I’m privileged to be with you. But since English is not my first language, I must struggle, but I’ll try my best to making myself understood.

“Our Father in Heaven”

This is based on what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Let me share 3 points.

#1 “Our Father”

The first phrase draws my attention. “Our father” – in both the traditional version, and the modern English version.

Every time I call, “My father” I feel confidence and inspiration about who I am and in my identity.

When we call “Our father in heaven”, I’m not a Korean, not an international mission director. I just stand in the presence of God as his child of God. This is Eph – this is enough.

Nothing else – but being a child of God – is a decoration of our outer parts. Being a child of God is “REAL” – it’s TRUE.

What is the MOST truthful thing in the world?

  • The son before the father is the most truthful.
  • Or creature before the Creator is the most truthful.
  • That which is added is not “truth” but just decoration.

When is your most truthful time?

  • When we face one another with no make-up on our faces. I’m a fake with make-up on my face.

The life relationship between father and son – and when Jesus was born – in Heb 1:1-3, “the Son was the radiance of his glory and the EXACT representation of his being.” The son expresses its father – the creature radiates the Creator.

So, let me bring you into his presence today as “children of God.” This is real.

What is the first question that God made in the Garden of Eden to the human race?

“Where are you?”

What had happened?

Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and they realized after having eaten that they were naked. So, they were embarrassed to be naked before the Lord. They wove thick leaves into clothes and made coverings for themselves and HID among the big trees.

This reflects human behavior to try to add something in order to cover up their nakedness before God – through double and triple coverings. This is human nature. They were afraid of being naked before God because of their sins and shame.

We often try to meet our own neighbors with make-up and not naked faces. This is my point. This is a tragedy.

People try to cover their shame, they try to cover nakedness with success, money, education, something big.

  • If you add money to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a rich man!”
  • If you add knowledge to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a doctor!”
  • If you add businesses to your nakedness, “Hello, Mr. President / CEO.”

This is who we are right now. There is no “being” – we try to show what we’re “made of.” But that’s NOT REAL.

What’s real is being a child of the Father. Nothing else matters.


[Quick story]

When my son was in graduate school, he met a girl who became his wife and my daughter-in-law. Her name is Sarah.

When they were dating, my son visited her parents’ house to introduce himself.

Her parents were Cambodian missionaries, and her grandparents were living in California. Her grandfather was in the nursing home due to a stroke. So, my son went to the nursing home to introduce himself, and he was bed-ridden and being cared for by nurses all day.

Sarah said, “Grandpa, I brought my BF to have him greet you.”

Grandpa had been sleeping, or thinking, anyway his eyes were closed. He heard the girl’s voice and turned and asked, “What do you do?”

My son, pridefully, “I’m getting my PhD, sir.”

Grandpa, “Huh. It’s all useless.” Then closed his eyes again. There was no more conversation after that.

These only words uttered from his mouth, “It’s all useless.”

My son told me this over dinner, and I told my son, “that’s exactly the summary of his life.” In fact, he was 82 years old, had immigrated to the US in the 1960s. At that time, it was not usual for Koreans to study in the US nor even receive a PhD. But he became a doctor and a prestigious professor, even at high ranking schools and the Police Academy. He wrote columns in the newspaper, he became famous, everyone knew him.

Now, when he became ill, he felt there was no meaning in life, that everything was useless.

What good is a doctorate, or fame, when he is bed-ridden and at the mercy of the nurses all day?

This reminds us of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, experienced ALL pleasures in life, and lived everything he could, and at the end, expressed, “Everything is vanity – utterly meaningless. What does man gain from all his labors at which he toils under the sun?”

So, what do we have in “being” except BEING his child.

  • “I am His child.”
  • “We are His children.”

This is real, this is true, this is ultimate. Everything else will be gone.

#2 “Our father in heaven”

Take a note of the plural form of “our father”. With this confirmation and understanding, what comes to mind as we call God, “our father” – not “my father”?

We are all the family of ONE father.

  • My question is: How are we related?
  • Look at the next person. Can you say, “You are my brother / sister”?

That’s true.

That’s the meaning of the truth.

That’s what it means by “congregation” = “our brothers and sisters.”

So, we are born into ONE family as brothers and sisters. And with this statement, I was reminded of the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. This church was multi-ethnic – Jews, Asians, Greek, Romans.

Paul emphasized two words: “remember” (chp 2)

  1. “Remember who you WERE”
  2. “Remember who you ARE”
  • You WERE – a Gentile by birth. You cannot erase or change your birth. You have no choice in your nationality.
  • You WERE “uncircumsized” by religious standards.
  • You WERE separated from Christ – excluded from citizenship in Israel – and foreigners to the promise and covenant of God to the Jews.
  • You WERE once so far away, and HAVE BEEN transferred into this family.
  • You ARE NOW ONE in Christ Jesus because he washed all your / our sins away.

Christ is our peace. Christ himself, our peace.

We have heard about the reconciliation of peace between North and South Korea on Friday – and the whole world rejoiced.

However, WE BRING unique news that JESUS CHRIST is our peace.

  • He is the ONE who has made two ONE.
  • He has broken the walls and hostility.

There has been war with Japan, discrimination of Jews in Germany, a wall between the US and Mexico. However, in THIS situation, we bring Christ – because he is PEACE.

You are no longer foreigners or aliens, you are members of God’s household.

Another verse: Galatians 3:10~ “You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Wherever this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew, Greek, American, Korean, African, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised.

Each race has its own religious tradition, and we respect that, but in Christ Jesus, we are ONE.

It doesn’t matter if you are civilized or not, educated or not, slave or free. What you have and what you don’t have – either you’re employee or employer – doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are ONE in Christ Jesus.

Mosaic Command

In line with this, I found wonderful verses from the Mosaic Command. Exodus 22 – following several chapters, there is the mention of 3 groups of people:

  1. Strangers (sojourners / pilgrims)
  2. Widows
  3. Orphans

These three groups were considered socially marginalized and underprivileged. God has a heart for them more than anyone else.

In the Mosaic Law, “Don’t mistreat the strangers, the aliens – because you were strangers in Egypt. Don’t take advantage of widows and orphans. If you do, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry, and I will arouse my anger against you. If you oppose strangers, foreigners, widows, orphans, I will kill you with my sword. Then your wife will be a widow, and your children will be fatherless.”

We must be warned in this way – against discrimination against the minor, or the weak.

Paul, then, after mentioning “no Greek, nor Jew” – after that, I found a wonderful verse in Galatians” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience.”

We must LOVE one another.


What is the SECOND question to man after the Garden of Eden?

“Cain, where is your brother.”

He replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Bible omitted the answer of God in this conversation. “Yes, you are.”

We ARE responsible for taking care of one another. Community in Latin is “come” and “munis” (gifts) – “My presence itself is a gift to someone else. I’m here because of you; because of you, I’m here.”

That’s the third point I want to share with you.

Where’s God?

  • Here.
  • Everywhere.

So, how can this be consistent?

#3 “In Heaven”

How can we make harmony with this knowledge and the first phrase of the Lord’s prayer: “in heaven”?

This is not a matter of space or location – rather it is a matter of His character, quality, personality, and our respect for Him.

  • A being in heaven is very different from a being on the ground.
  • There are many boundaries, and biases and prejudices on the ground.
  • But the higher you go in the sky, the less our boundaries become.

So, we must live where our father lives – in heaven – as Christians, as believers.

Have you ever heard of the “overview effect”? This term was coined by astronauts. When they go HIGH up in space, they see things very differently. Their visibility is very different from ours. They are “in heaven.”

If we go (metaphorically) into heaven with our father, then we can SEE as he sees – that we are ONE, a global community.

I think this has a profound meaning. I’m so moved with this message with you this morning.

Key point: Everyone is ONE in the sight of God.


Water

Lastly: you know how important and essential for survival water is. Weeks ago I went to South Africa. In Cape Town, this place is very developed – like a European country. However, on arriving there, there was no water even in public service areas – like the airport. There was only hand sanitizer.

My host’s house was large, a two-story building, looks good. But when I went to the toilet, it said, “Only flush for #2, not for #1.”

It “looks” good, but actually is difficult to live in.

“Water” symbolizes Jesus Christ. Without Christ, nothing can live (spiritually). Without water, how long can you survive? Not long. This was all due to drought.

Ezekiel 47

“The River From the Temple

1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. ”

7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.

12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

This was to be healing for all nations.

There must be fertile land – and God wants his people to divide the land and reside there.

21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. **23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.**

Wow! great~ How fun for the Israelites to inhabit this land.

But this was not the end. God said specifically that foreigners were also to get their own land. Considering the exclusivity of the Israelites, this is extraordinary. They were to allow the foreigners to settle down as native Israelites.

The healing, the land, the leaves, the fruit, is not ONLY for Israel. This is for ALL nations. This is the heart of God. This is God’s vision.

But we are human. “I’m Korean.” I’m one-sided and biased. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, I mistreat, oppress, take advantage of those who are socially disadvantaged. But through God’s eyes and with his strength, we can love everyone.

  • We are children of God.
  • We are the family of ONE father.
  • We live in heaven with him.
  • We see as he sees.

Let’s pray.

  • Feb 19 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Be Righteous Before God (Romans 1:1-4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Be Righteous Before God (Romans 1:1-4)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Romans: Be Righteous Before God

1:1-4 (Pastor Heo)

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.


That’s ONE sentence. Wow.

The Protestant Reformation and Wesley Revival came out of this book, Romans.

In 1838? a missionary went unwillingly to a meeting in London. He wrote in his diary, “I felt my heart strangely warmed and I trusted in Jesus Christ alone, Jesus Christ alone, Jesus Christ alone. I was given the guarantee that he had saved me from all sin and death and hell.” — John Wesley

The message he heard that evening was the Preface to Martin Luther’s commentary to Romans. Previously, he wrote, “I went to America to convert the Indians, but who will convert me?” He was answered that evening and this began the Wesley Revival? that transformed all of England at that time.

This same story, power, and Holy Spirit who taught them, and moved them, and changed them, can also do these things to/for us. We also can experience Revival in our hearts. The HS who greeted those in the past can also greet us in this same way today.

This book Romans is no ordinary book. It can never be studied too much. The more it is studied, the better it becomes. It is more than just a book of theology, it is a book of practical exhortation. It is that the good news of Christ is not just a story, but FACTS. Also, it declares that a life of righteousness is to be (and can be) lived.

Key verses: 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Theme of Romans = The Righteousness of God

  • OR The Righteousness FROM God

Key verse = 1:16-17 “I am not ashamed… it is the power of God… “

Message of Romans = “Be Righteous Before God”

  • Shout to yourself: “Be Righteous Before God”
  • Encourage your neighbor: “Be Righteous Before God”

Why? Because God is righteous, so we must be righteous to be a member of his family/kingdom.

Are you righteous? By nature, nobody is righteous (Romans 3).

  1. So, HOW can an unrighteous person have a righteous relationship with God and live a righteous life in this unrighteous world?
  2. HOW Can an absolutely righteous God declare an unrighteous person to be righteous and still remain righteous himself?

Romans = 16 chapters, 433 verses, 4 major parts (but we can divide it into 3 parts)

  1. Chp 1-8 : Revelation of God’s Righteousness in Jesus Christ
  2. Chp 9-11 : Vindication of God’s Righteousness through Human (Israel’s) History
  3. Chp 12-16 : Application of God’s Righteousness through a Christian’s daily life

The righteousness we seek is not righteousness from a human perspective. This is not “morality” but having a “right” relationship with God.

Introduction:

“1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures”

Here, Paul introduces himself – makes him ID clear. In his self-introduction, Paul reveals his ID in 3 words:

  1. Slave (servant)
  2. Apostle
  3. Set apart

This is not only his own self-introduction, but also ALL Christian’s ID. Why is this important and meaningful to us? This is a picture of US. This is OUR identity in Christ.

So, let me make this clear with 3 words.

  1. “I’m a Slave” (servant)
  2. “I’m an Apostle
  3. “I’m set apart

Please remember this until next Sunday. Memorize it.

#1: “I’m a slave”

Do you like slavery? No. Then, we must make this CLEAR. There are two things we must make clear. Why do we not like to be a slave? Because there is no good method of slavery in this world.

The original word is “dulos” (Greek) = “slave” (bond-servant). 2000 years ago, the Greek word dulos was important because there were 6,000,000 dulos in that area. This person was looked upon as a piece of property, not a person.

A slave must obey absolutely, he has no choices, no freedom, only duty, only responsibility, none of his own business, but only his Master’s business.

But also, a slave’s future = no worries. His future depends ENTIRELY on his Master.

But remember, all Nature – we are made to BE a slave of something or someone. We are not the Creator – so we cannot be completely “Free”. We cannot NOT be a slave. Don’t ask, “Am I a slave or not?” Instead, ask yourself, “Whose slave am I?”

Who is my Master? Who / or what is my Lord?

Actually, Christianity’s basic truth = paradox (a statement that seems outwardly strange or impossible or wrong – but is actually deeply, inwardly, unquestionably TRUE). “Do you not know that when you offer yourself to someone in service, you are a SLAVE to that one? Whether to sin, which leads to Death, or righteousness, which leads to Life.”

We can choose:

  1. Slave of sin
  2. Slave of God

This leads to Bondage. Bondage of drinking, smoking, laziness, stress, depression, hatred, unforgiveness, envy, worry, fear, anxiety, …

Paul – after becoming a Christian “I’m a slave of Christ” – but before this, he was a slave of Legalism, murder, hatred (as Saul). Acts “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats…”

  • Outside of Christ = slave of sin, under the bondage of hatred, a murderous spirit.
  • Inside Christ = slave of God, under the bondage of love, a generous spirit.

Paradox: “If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to save your life, you must lose it (for me).” (Jesus)

Another paradox: Do you like to be a slave? NO.

Hmmmm…. the world thinks that the opposite of slavery = freedom. These two cannot go together. Actually, the paradox of Christianity =

  • True Freedom, satisfaction, safety, life is FOUND INSIDE Slavery (to Christ).

Truth: In the Creation of Genesis, God gave 2 mandates:

  1. Cultural Mandate: “Be fruitful in number, fill the Earth, and rule over all Creation” (kingship)
  2. Mandate: “Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – if you eat this fruit, you will surely die.”

From these two mandates, what can we learn?

From God to human beings:

  1. Recognize my kingship over you – you will be like kings over others and enjoy full satisfaction, life, etc
  2. Recognize your slavery under me

In the OT, Moses was called ‘dulos of the Lord’ (slave of the Lord). This means, he was ‘Acting God’ (like the Acting President now in Korea…)

When someone was a “slave of God”, he was “Acting God” to others. Joshua, the prophets, Moses, etc were “slaves of God.” So, when we introduce ourselves as “slaves of Christ” it shows our honor (majesty) and humility.

The more we become slaves of Christ, the higher our level grows in this world. If you are slaves of Christ, you will be so blessed – and filled with so much satisfaction. Are you a slave of Christ? If you are not, you have no choice but to be a slave of sin. Please, be wise in choosing your Master.

  • We call Jesus our “Lord” – you know the opposite is “slave”. ‘dulos‘ = Slave; ‘culios‘ = Lord
  • If you call Jesus ‘culios‘, you recognize yourself as ‘dulos‘.

#2. “I’m an apostle”

Today in church, nobody is given the title “apostle” – why not? Before God, biblically speaking, we are apostles, we are priests (we have the right to enter the presence of God directly without any human mediator (1 Pet 2:9)). Like this, even though we aren’t given these titles, this is who we are.

Apostle = ‘apostolos‘ (Greek)

  • This means: ‘somebody who is called and sent by an absolute Authority with a Great Commission’

Yes, before we knew God, God called us, God sent us. We are called and sent with the Great Commission. If you believe and are sure that you are “called and sent”, then you are an “apostle.”

“I’m an apostle.”

#3. I’m set apart (for the gospel of God)

From next time we will study the gospel of God more deeply.

You know, Paul (Saul) was a Pharisee. This literally means: “set apart” for their own traditions, culture, religion. They were SO PROUD of themselves to be “set apart” from the ordinary people that they despised others.

Paul says, “before I was set apart for pride, jealousy, etc but now I’m set apart for the gospel.”

You are so special because you are set apart for service and ministry, God’s glory, God’s kingdom, God’s mission (away from sin). Please understand, your life in this world is not by chance, it is purposeful and meaningful.

Why are you here? Why in this country? Why in this room? This is not by accident.

We worship in this room as brothers and sisters, not by chance, but by the plan and purpose of God. God has a wonderful plan for us.

  1. “I’m a slave”
  2. “I’m an apostle”
  3. “I’m set apart”

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 15 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Charge It To Me II (Philemon)
Pastor Brian, Philemon: Charge It To Me, Sermons

Charge It To Me II (Philemon)

03.15.2015

03.15.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Charge it to me II

Philemon (Pastor Brian)

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do,9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul–an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus– 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him–who is my very heart–back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 

14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good– 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 

19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back–not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. 22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers. 

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


This is a short book and for a while was considered whether or not this book should be included in the Bible. It does not contain the same kind of doctrine and theology and teaching as the others. However, this does show much of his humanity (He doesn’t begin by saying “An apostle of Christ”) – he’s appealing to his friend Philemon on behalf of his runaway slave Onesimus. Both had become Christians under Paul’s witness.

Paul mentions that Philemon refreshed the hearts of the saints – he shared the Word, blessed them materially, etc.

Now, Paul is under house arrest in Rome – the elders had wanted him killed in Jerusalem? and knew that his only chance was to appeal to Caesar in Rome (because he’s a Roman citizen). He was in chains, but was able to receive people there. He even received the Jewish elders and preached to them – he said, “You may not believe, but the Gentiles will believe.”

Somehow, this slave Onesimus meets Paul and Paul introduced him to the Lord – no here’s the problem: he’s got a runaway slave convert that belongs to another friend of his. Legally, he is the property of Philemon and he would be subject to death under the laws of that time for what he’s done.

Paul appeals to him – persuasive – that he show mercy to Onesimus (name meaning “useful”). Paul writes “He wasn’t useful to you then, but he’s useful to me now. He ministers to my needs. If you were here, you’d minister to me, but providentially, your slave is here, ministering to me on your behalf even though you don’t know it.”

“I know what he did was wrong, but I’m asking that you take him back – not as a slave, but as a brother in Christ.”

From there, v. 15-16, Paul explains the providential hand of God on Onesimus’ escape. “Perhaps you lost him for a while so that you might receive him back forever as a brother.”

Commentators opinions = maybe he was a brother or half-brother of Philemon.

Ray Steadman took for granted that Onesimus was his brother – in a message he delivered once. In a way, it was almost a prodigal son style story. He may have got into debt at some point and indentured  himself to his brother to pay off the debt. Another option – theoretically – was that Philemon’s father got a slave girl pregnant and Onesimus was the result – a step-brother slave who has no “place” in the inheritance.

The reason for this is the statement: “a brother in the flesh and in the Lord.” Some have speculated about this – it sounds good, but I don’t think so. Paul uses this phrase in other contexts – he was unlikely a true brother or step-brother.

Nevertheless, this is good to see how Paul intercedes on behalf of a brother. Even in our own families and groups of friends, we need to extend mercy as we’ve received mercy. People offend us – we need to show mercy to those people.

Paul is very delicate in his appeal to Philemon. “Perhaps he departed for a while…” (Not, “he ran off with your money…”).

In some ways, his escape was nothing but trouble. It deprived Philemon an asset, a worker, and made Onesimus a runaway convict, possibly ready to get the death penalty. Yet, Paul saw a purpose for this. He writes: “Perhaps…” (See, he doesn’t say, “God SAID to me…”) Rather he says, “I think this may possibly be the purpose that God has in mind… what do you think?”

  • Philemon was a good man of the time – just a wealthy man with property of the day (slaves).
  • So, Paul appeals to him to make the best of a bad matter.
  • Perhaps in the providence of God, Onesimus ran off to find God and come back to you as a brother.
  • Paul reintroduces Onesimus to Philemon as a “new creation” and yet, he must still go back to “face the music” and pay retribution for what he’s done.

In this letter, Paul reduces the sting of slavery and begins the paving of the way for the abolition of slavery. This in and of itself did more for the abolition of slavery than the LAW itself. To consider a slave a “brother” was a complete turning of the paradigm on its head.

Spurgeon: “The transformation of the individual is the key to the transformation of society and the moral environment. The true reformation of a sinner is to be found in a new heart, and a new nature. I see many of my brothers whittling away at the branches of sin. But the gospel takes the AXE to the entire forest of sin. We cut down ALL the trees so that new trees of the gospel, the new life, the new heart, the fruit of the Spirit can spring up in their place.”

Paul says, “If he has wronged you, charge it to me.”

Looks like when he ran away, he stole something and confessed it to Paul.

“I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.” I guarantee I can pay. “Not to mention that you owe ME your own self – your own salvation.”

If you punish Onesimus, you are punishing me as well. “Put it on my tab.” IOU = I owe You = this is my personal guarantee.

Martin Luther: “Paul lays himself out for Onesimus and pleads his cause for his master – he pleads as if he himself is the slave and has wronged the master – even as Christ does for us, so Paul does for Onesimus. We are all Onesimi in God’s eyes.”

Ever seen Spartacus? At the end, the leaders were trying to find him. The Romans came and said, “Who’s Spartacus?” The whole group admit to being Spartacus – they’d followed him and were one with him in spirit.

We’re also all runaways from God the father – we are all Onesimus’.

Jesus has paid for us, for everyone.

This week = debt-free! couple in the church. The interesting thing is, what about ours? We’ve got some in Canada, when can we pay it off? Perhaps this month. We had a big struggle just to discover what we had left to pay. “Yours was paid off last year and mine was paid off six-months ago. And we have a little money here that used to go to the debt.”

The bigger thing is Abby and Phillip KNEW when their debt was paid – we didn’t know.

  • We ALL have a debt we cannot pay.
  • Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.

Do you realize you have a debt? Anyway, we are all indebted to our Father God – from Adam and Eve, we are all BORN into debt – we are all sinners and need a Savior. Jesus is the ONLY way, truth, and life. When we can admit “Yes, I have a debt” – then we can accept and acknowledge that Jesus has paid our debt.

That’s the only way to find TRUE forgiveness.

Think of all the other religions. They are trying to DO something to get forgiveness. But in this way, Jesus initiates FOR us and offers to pay our debt FOR us FIRST – as Paul has done for Onesimus.

Once, in my life, I was a mess – I was offered a way out of legal trouble if I outed someone else. I didn’t want to out him just as an excuse because I was then a Christian. At that time, I was going to an apostalic church. My pastor, Pastor Angel – understood my convictions and went to court with me. It took a year until my case came up. Pastor Angel testified on my behalf “I know this young man and believe that he’s had a genuine conversion and genuine change.” I got in trouble for selling something for 100L that accumulated upwards of 30-40,000L and I couldn’t pay. Miraculously, they fined me only the original 100L that I’d sold it for.

In this way also, Pastor Angel was stepping in on my behalf with the court to plead my case just as Paul did.

We are all brothers in the flesh, we are all debtors, we all need Christ to intercede for us, plead our case before God, pay our debt for us. But it’s up to us to DO with this what we should.

Paul didn’t COMMAND Philemon to take Onesimus back, likewise Jesus doesn’t COMMAND us to accept his offer.

Is Christianity just “another religion” like the others? No. All those founders were “brothers in the flesh” – part of fallen humanity. Christ was “God in the flesh” – sinless and paid the debt for us.

Ray Steadman used this as an appeal for families.

If you are having struggles with family members or close friends, remember what the Lord has done for YOU and bring forgiveness and mercy to someone in your life who needs it. Recently, I did this with someone in Canada for something that happened years ago.

If God is calling you to do this, don’t put it off. It’s necessary and worth it.

Let’s pray.

  • Mar 01 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Philemon Sermon Art
Backgrounds, Resources

Philemon Sermon Art

Here’s a collection of the sermon art I created for Pastor Brian’s series on Philemon. Click any image to download a larger copy.

Widescreen

(1366 x 768px (720p HDTV size))

PPT

(1024 x 768px (for projector))

philemon-2-ppt

Inspiration and Resources

I drew the concept from Les Miserables, using the same font, font-treatment, and a similar background and silver candlestick holders. The reason for this is simple:

Onesimus was a slave who (probably) stole something from his master’s house when he fled – in much a similar way that Jean Valjean stole the silver candlesticks from the Bishop when he fled.

The two people are quite similar in that sense, so I thought a Les Miserables treatment would be a good fit.

  • Mar 01 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Charge It To Me (Philemon)
Pastor Brian, Philemon: Charge It To Me, Sermons

Charge It To Me (Philemon)

03.01.2015

03.01.2015-PBrian

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Charge it to me.

Philemon (Pastor Brian)

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do,9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul–an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus– 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him–who is my very heart–back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 

14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good– 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 

19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back–not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. 22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers. 

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


 

27 million slaves in the world today.

During the time of Paul’s life, 60 million.

Abe Lincoln, Amazing Grace (written by John Newton – a slaver), William Wilberforce – these all had a hand and influence in abolishing slavery.

Christianity is NOT in favor of slavery, however, had Paul militated against slavery at that time, he would have been unsuccessful in preaching the gospel.

When the time was right, Christians led the way (and are still leading the way) to abolish slavery.

Here, now, Paul is making a plee on the behalf of Onesimus – a runaway slave of Philemon. Here, now, is Paul’s letter that expresses his desire to help Onesimus.

“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, …”

  • Paul was under house-arrest in Rome, yet he didn’t consider himself a Roman prisoner, nor a prisoner of the Jews, nor a government prisoner. He was able to receive visitors and talk with them and share the gospel with them.
  • Paul here considers himself a prisoner of Christ, he knew he was – in all circumstances – in God’s will. He addresses the letter to Philemon, “my friend”. This is the only place in the NT he’s mentioned by name.
  • Paul had won him to Christ, he was a wealthy man, and they had a good relationship.
  • Paul uses a familiar phrase “Kairane” – which means “greeting” – he changed it to “Karass” – which means “grace.”

We have received grace from God – we have acceptance from God and have peace with God.

He mentions Apphia – probably the wife of Philemon – as she had charge of the slaves in the household. Archippus was likely the son – he is also mentioned in Colossians “tell Archippus to fulfill the calling God has on his life.”

The church in the home of Philemon is greeted. Up to the 3rd century, most churches were house churches – there were no buildings specifically for churches there. When buildings were built, they were often built on the spot of house churches.

This shows that each house should also be a church: worshiping, teaching, a heart of ministry – everybody’s home should be a church. Cell groups are a good example.

Paul makes mention of Philemon in his prayers – this statement is also used in different contexts – to the various churches he’s written to in his epistles. He doesn’t forget Philemon in his prayers – he mentions him and the churches in prayer.

“Hearing of your love and faith…to all the saints” – to all the Christians – we’re becoming saints and already saints.

Also, remember James, the practice of practical Christianity and sharing/living out your faith. Philemon ministered to the poor, and those in need. John also says the same in his epistles. “Don’t just say to your brother, ‘God bless you’ and go about your own business if you can do something to help.”

The hearts of the saints have been refreshed by Philemon.

v. 8-11 – Paul now pleads for Onesimus – the slave who’s fled from Philemon.

Paul, though he’s an apostle, doesn’t use his authority to COMMAND what he wants Philemon to do. Even here, in the greeting, he DOESN’T say “I’m an apostle of Christ.” (In 9 of 13 of Paul’s letters he wrote this) It’s as if he doesn’t want to force Philemon to do this.

“Isn’t he being a bit manipulative…?”

Well, this is “heavenly” manipulation for the benefit of someone else.

He says, “I’m old, I’m a prisoner, but I’m in chains for Christ… now listen, my ‘son’ (of the faith – one of his converts) is returning home.”

When Onesimus ran away, it’s very likely that he would go to Rome – large crowds, easy to get lost and not found.

But in God’s providence, he met Paul.

Roman customs allowed slaves sanctuary at an altar – even an altar in the home. He was required to provide protection for the slave and try to convince him to return to the master. If the slave refused, he was to sell the slave and send the money back to the master. Here, he’s trying to work on the problem.

Actually, “Onesimus” name = “profitable/useful”. Paul writes, he once was “useless” but now is “useful” (Onesimus).

It’s significant that Paul claims that IN CHRIST the useless person has been made useful. He pleads with Philemon to accept him back on his behalf. Paul says, “Onesimus ran away but is ministering to me, so you are in a sense ministering to me as well.”

Crystal glasses – a slave was carrying them, and dropped one. The master said, “Throw him to the piranhas.” Onesimus surely could have been sentenced to death if caught. The Romans thought that this kind of harsh punishment was necessary to avoid a revolt of the slaves (which eventually did happen under the leadership of Spartacus).

A runaway slave may have been killed or branded with a red F on his forehead (”fugitive”).

When we think about what Paul is doing here, he’s reflecting Christ. Paul himself was converted and brought to realize the grace of God and though he’d done his best to stamp out Christianity, when Christ saved him, his entire life was reversed and changed. Now, he’s interceding on the behalf of a slave.

Perhaps we also are now slaves of one kind or another – and we WERE slaves of this world before we believed. As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper – we can acknowledge our past, slavery to different vices – and we can thank the Lord for buying us by his death and sufferings, and by his resurrection life has changed us.

He has redeemed us, Jesus paid it all.

So let’s be thankful for his setting us free from sin and death and the enemy and bringing us into the kingdom of his Son.

Let’s pray.

  • Jan 13 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Genesis 37-39 (Bible-365.13): Joseph and more Bad Sex
Bible-365, Grow

Genesis 37-39 (Bible-365.13): Joseph and more Bad Sex

Observation

In Genesis 37, Joseph becomes the obvious favorite of Daddy after receipt of his rainbow coat, and his brothers hate him for it (and the fact that he tattles on them). But Joseph arrogantly reveals dreams to them where they serve he (he obviously knows he’s Daddy’s favorite – teenage punk). Jacob sent the kid to the fields to keep an eye on his brothers, but they decide to kill him. Reuben (the firstborn – the one who slept with his Daddy’s third wife) saves him by convincing them to just throw him in a big pot (he would rescue him later). Judah (the second born) convince them to sell Joseph to Ishmael’s descendants (Islam eventually sprouts from Ishmael’s line) and take him to Egypt. They do, Reuben freaks out, they pour blood on Joseph’s coat, his Daddy freaks out, end of story…

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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen