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Sermon Notes from 8-26-12

“Forgiveness”

A Study over Philemon

Introduction:

What is the key to forgiveness?  Have you ever been hurt by someone and then hear about something bad happening to that individual and feel vindicated by it?  Have you ever been mistreated by someone and then hear that something good has happened to that individual and it made you angry?  Is there a name that I could mention this morning that would bring back painful feelings and experiences that you would rather forget?  The reason is that you have unforgiveness in your heart.

I will never forget at one church where I served as pastor I had a constant struggle with the deacons and the members trying to get them to follow Jesus Christ.  If I challenged them to share their faith there was resistance, if I challenged them to pray there was resistance, and if I challenged them to get into the Word of God there was resistance.  I remember when my job was threatened there.  A member came and said, “I have heard that you are intent on reaching out to the blacks in our area.  I said absolutely, God loves everyone no matter the color of their skin and plus God has given us favor in sharing our faith with them.  He said, “If you do, then we will fire you.  We don’t marry them and we don’t worship with them.”  My deacons didn’t stand up for me and I was hurt.  I wasn’t going to buckle, but I was hurt.  I felt the pain emotional, mentally, and spiritually.  Soon God removed us from that situation.  I thought time away from the situation would bring healing, but it didn’t.  About two years later a person mentioned the name of one of those deacons and I couldn’t think of anything good to say.  All I did was complain about how lousy they were to me.  God spoke to me and said, “D, I brought that man’s name up so that you can see that you still haven’t really forgiven him.”  My response was, “he hasn’t repented and even more he isn’t sorry.”  My problem was that their actions two years previous where still effecting me.  I have since found the ability to forgive them.  I can say with Joseph, “What you meant for evil, God meant it for good.”

This morning I know that you have come here wanting to meet with God or you have come wondering why your relationship with God hasn’t been everything you wanted it to be.  The issue is forgiveness.  You need to experience it in the Lord and then practice it.  I do believe your heart can be healed today.

As we examine the letter of Paul to Philemon we find that the purpose of the letter is forgiveness.  Paul had been the one who led Philemon to Christ.  Philemon’s relationship with Christ was transformational.  In verse 4, Paul writes, “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.”  Paul tell Philemon that he is excited about how Philemon was been living for the Lord and loving the saints.  It is amazing that we can be caught up living for Jesus and still have an issue of forgiveness in our lives that needs to be address.  We can love everyone else, but if there is one person who has sinned against us then we need to address it.

Philemon is a wealthy believer who also owns slaves.  Philemon is a slave owner and a Christian.  We may wonder how he could be both.  In Paul’s time a person most commonly became a slave not through birth, but through debt.  Let’s say I take a loan from you for my business or my house and then I am unable to pay off my loan, I could become your slave, thereby paying off my debt.  It sounds weird in our culture to think that someone would enslave themselves for money, but we do it all the time in our jobs.  Now you could also be a slave if your people had been conquerored by another group of people.  The victors would take you and make you work for them as a sign that they had authority over you.  This was common in Rome.  So for whatever reason Philemon has slaves.

Onesimus was one of Philemon’s slaves.  He became frustrated with being a slave.  Now we don’t know if he owed a debt to Philemon and hadn’t been able to pay it or if somehow Philemon had Onesimus as a slave through a Roman victory, but what is clear is that Onesimus steals money from Philemon and runs away.  Onesimus ends up in the same town that Paul is in and hears the gospel and becomes a believer.  Onesimus commits himself to Paul’s ministry and starts working to help Paul spread the gospel.   When Paul learns that Onesimus is a runaway slave from his friend Philemon, Paul knows what needs to happen.

If you are like me at this point in the story I am shocked that Paul sends Onesimus back to Philemon to seek his forgiveness.  Slavery is wrong and going back to Philemon could mean death.  Shouldn’t Philemon have had to apologize to Onesimus for making him a slave?  I am amazed that Onesimus is the one going back to seek Philemon’s forgiveness.

There is an important lesson here.  God won’t let you and I do the right thing the wrong way.  I have heard people say the ends justify the means.  I want you to know that Onesimus wouldn’t have truly been free until he had been forgiven.  Onesimus heads back as a believer to face the person he has wronged and seek forgiveness.  Onesimus also brings a letter from Paul to Philemon.  This is what I want to focus on this morning.  We now know the situation.  Now the question is how will Philemon treat the slave who has stolen from him and abandoned him?

Paul starts his challenge of Philemon in verse 8-9, “Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love.”  Paul could have commanded Philemon to forgive Onesimus, but Paul knows something about forgiveness that he is sharing with Philemon.  If I order you to do something I am engaging your mind, but if I make an appeal on the basis of love I am engaging your heart.  Paul knows that you can’t choose to forgive solely because it is the right thing to do, you must forgive because you are choosing to free your heart to love.  Forgiveness isn’t a mental decision alone, it is a heart decision.  You have struggled to really forgive because you thought you could just mentally say, “I forgive you.” and that would be enough.  My friends if love isn’t springing forth from your heart then you have only engaged the mind in forgiveness.  This morning I want to challenge you to move from the mental side of forgiveness to the heart side of it.

The reason that forgiveness must come from our heart is that it is in our heart that we feel the loss, we feel the pain of abuse, we replay the lies, and we hold on to the rejection.  We know that scripture says that for every sin committed there was a debt that was paid through the cross of Jesus Christ.  The issue is that for every sin committed against you there is a debt and your heart is keeping track.  You wonder if there a way for the debt of their sin against you to ever be repaid.  When someone doesn’t acknowledge their sin, we are left carrying the note waiting and wondering will the debt ever be paid.

Paul challenges Philemon to forgive Onesimus because Paul was going to pay Onesimus’ debt.  V. 18-19, “If he had done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.  I will pay it back – not to mention that you own me your very self.” Paul tells Philemon to add up all the debt that Onesimus has inflicted upon him and Paul will pay it.  Sure Onesimus is now a believer, but there was still a debt.  Philemon could now let go of the debt because someone was going to pay it back.  Paul tells Philemon, you owe your life to me so you know I am good for it.  If I tell you that I will pay you back for every sin that Onesimus has done, you can take it to the bank.  You owe your life to me, I wouldn’t lie to you.  Forgive Onesimus because I am paying off his debt.  Now don’t miss this, Philemon had to give the debt over to Paul so that Paul could pay it.  If Philemon wanted Onesimus to pay the debt instead of Paul it would never had been paid.  Philemon transfers the debt of Onesimus to Paul and Paul says he will pay it off when the meet face to face.

Now let’s see how this whole story impacts you and I in our ability to forgive.  Clearly we have to make a heart decision if we are going to truly forgive.  Here is something even more amazing.  Philemon owed Paul his life because Paul shared the good news with Him.  I want you to know that you and I owe someone also.  We don’t owe Paul, we owe the Savior Jesus Christ.  Before you can be a forgiver you must be forgiven.  You must come seeking forgiveness from Jesus Christ for you sin, rebellion, and resistance.  The great news is that He does forgive you and is the key to your forgiveness of others.

Let’s start with that idea.  Are you forgiven in Christ Jesus?  Until you are forgiven you can’t be a forgiver.  Now just like Paul tells Philemon to turn the debt over to himself so that Paul can pay it.  Jesus does the same thing.  You and I are to turn our debt over to Jesus Christ and expect Jesus Christ to pay the debt.  Catch this, Jesus can only pay the debt that has been turned over to Him.  Do you want reimbursement from the person who sinned against you or from the Lord Jesus Christ?  Jesus is going to pay every debt that is turned over to Him.  You might say how is that possible?  Didn’t Jesus pay for your every sin?  Then it isn’t a stretch to realize that every debt of yours will be reimbursed.

You may have been abused and you have been carrying around that debt for years and you can’t forgive because you know what has been taken from you.  Turn it over to Jesus, everything that has been taken He will repay to you.  Every mean word that broke you heart and every hurtful deed that was meant to break you will be repaid and rewarded.  Just turn it over to him.  If you try to get your reimbursement back from the person you will never find forgiveness.  Onesimus had nothing to pay Philemon back with, but Paul did.  The same is true for us. Jesus promises to repay the effects of the sins committed against us when we meet Him face to face.  We will be repaid when we see him face to face.  Can you trust Jesus to repay you?  Well he saved you right?  Well if you can trust Him to save you, can’t you trust Him to repay the debts of others in your life?  Of course you can, you can forgive because everything they have done is going to be made up for by Jesus.

You thought you missed out, you thought you were done away with, and you were abandoned.  My friend everything you have seen and faced when handed over to the Lord Jesus will be repaid.  You will miss nothing.  Matter of fact, Jesus repays with interest!  Now you can forgive because their sin debt has been paid by the same one who paid your sin debt.

How do you get on with your life?  Paul challenges Philemon to let Onesimus leave and return to Paul.  You live everyday with the assurance and joy that Jesus has paid your sins in full.  Take that same faith and know that the Lord Jesus will repay you those debts.  Let us say to those who have and will sin against us, “You thought you could take my future, my hope, my joy, and my life.  Wrong on all accounts!  I forgive you because Jesus has repaid everything you had taken.  I have been repaid because I turned those debts over to Jesus.  Let’s pray.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Church Helps

 

Available

  I am excited to announce that I am available for revivals and pulpit supply.  I have over ten years of experience pastoring Southern Baptist Churches.  I believe the need of the hour is Biblical preaching on the life, death, resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I am passionate to share the difference that Christ makes in the life of an unbeliever and a believer alike.  Please email me @ d_burchfiel@sbcglobal.net or call @ 405-248-7433.  Money is never an issue as I will come for a love offering.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2009 in Church Helps

 

“Baptism of Fire” Part IV by Leonard Ravenhill

Let me look at this in Exodus 32. “Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle the cloudy pillar descended.” It was a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.

If you were in London going past where the queen lives and somebody says, “The queen is at home,” you would wonder how does he know. Well, because when she is at home the flag is flying, when she is not at home it’s not there. I believe the sign of God’s presence in a sanctuary is the pillar of fire. It’s the living vibration of an Eternal God who stands in the midst and does something you can’t explain. God is beyond definition. I cannot explain Him. I can experience Him. I know when He touches me as I am alone in the night, two or three o’clock in the morning. I know when His Living Presence comes into my office in a special wave of anointing.  But notice He did not come until they went outside the camp!!

There are very, very, few occasions when God Almighty has revived dead denominations. The men who stirred their generations had to go outside the camp. Doesn’t it say in Hebrews 13:12 that He went outside the camp?! That’s fine, but when it comes to verse 13 you go outside the camp and bear His reproach. Maybe before long God will bring a cleavage somewhere in this city, I hope He does. And you will have to get outside of the camp. You will have to leave your group, and you will have to go join a people who have the anointing of God. They may be poor, and have no stained glass window, and beautiful choir…

I am impressed with this, you may not be, but I am. Verse 9: “It came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle…. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful…? Imagine if you could answer your child as one of those Israeli mothers would. Her little boy wakes up at night and says,

“Mommy, sometimes I think of those days we were in Egypt, I think about that terrible journey we made and I wonder what’s going to happen.” She puts her arms around him and says, “Darling, you see that? That pillar of fire over there? That’s the holy place. Our Holy God brands it with His presence of fire.”

Doesn’t it say in Hebrews that God makes His Angels ministering Spirits, and His ministers flames of fire?We’ve got snowmen in the pulpits with icicles hanging all around. If ever the fire comes there’ll be some melting!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2008 in Church Helps, Devotional

 

Great Commission Resurgence

  “We need a Great Commission Resurgence” was the catch phrase at the Southern Baptist Convention this year.  After a year that saw a drop in total membership and baptisms there is cause for concern.  Personally, I am very thankful to hear our leaders talk about a renewed commitment to living out the Great Commission.  Since then I have been surprise to read several Baptist pastors and seminary professors questioning the need for such a commitment.  Before your jaw hits the floor, they believe this focus on the Great Commission could take away from our commitment to the inerrancy of scripture and could move us away from what it means to be a Southern Baptist.  Even though they have valid concerns, my heart is burdened that some of our Southern Baptist leaders would criticize a movement to focus on the Great Commission.  I have an even greater burden, no matter how you fell about the Great Commission Resurgence, I fell it is doomed to fail. 

  Many who support the Great Commission Resurgence are promoting it like the new Conservative Resurgence.  This mindset seems good on the outside, but upon closer look there are several things to be concerned about.  Let me say that I believe that the Bible is inerrant and that change was needed in 1979.  Many of my friends and heroes were and are a part of the Conservative Resurgence, but the Great Commission Resurgence must be different.  In the Conservative Resurgence the issue was about your beliefs about the Bible.  The goal wasn’t to change a leader’s views of the Bible, but literally to remove men from positions of power that held opposing views.  We labeled them liberals and blamed them for the decline in the Southern Baptist Convention.  The Conservative Resurgence was a battle among brothers and we still see the scars.  If the Great Commission Resurgence is a battle like the Conservative Resurgence then we only hurting ourselves.

  The Great Commission Resurgence must be different if it is going to be effective.  This movement is about what you practice as well as what you believe.  It starts with a commitment to the authority of Jesus Christ.  Jesus begins the Great Commission revealing that all authority belongs to Him.  There is no other position for Christ to hold in our life except that of Lord if we are going to be committed to the Great Commission.   This isn’t about battling our brother, but praying that God will ignite a fire within our hearts for the lost world so that they may acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  In the Conservative Resurgence we sat at the doors of our churches guarding who got in, now we have to bust down those doors as we realize we are the church and proclaim Christ in our communities.  The Great Commission doesn’t do away with inerrancy, but it puts feet to it.    The Great Commission Resurgence must bring change in our hearts and inspire us to boldly spread the goodnews of Jesus Christ.  In the Conservative Resurgence we as Southern Baptist were the defenders of God’s Word.  If the Great Commission Resurgence is to succeed we must realize that we are dependent on God to bring the changes needed.  If the Great Commission Resurgence becomes a style, a program, a battle ground, a measurement, or a source of pride then we will fail.  I pray that God will allow us to experience a Great Commission Resurgence for His glory alone.  As I finish this article my sense of doom is gone and my burden is lightened because with God all things are possible.     

 

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2008 in Church Helps, Uncategorized

 

New Members Material: Week 2 – Serving in Christ

As a new believer in Jesus Christ, you are starting a journey which will end with you becoming Christ-like and spending eternity in heaven with the Lord. Between now and then, you have been given a ministry to fulfill in Christ.  You weren’t saved by good works, but saved for good works.  As Christ changes you into His image, He wants to change your world through you.  As you identified your life with Christ for salvation in part 1, this week you will be challenged to identify your life with Christ for service in part 2. 

 

 

1.  Read Mark 10:45 and write down the reason Jesus came to earth?

 

 

2.  Read Philippians 2:5-8.  The text tells us that Jesus Christ, even though He is God, became a servant.  What does the text encourage you to do?

 

 

3.  Read John 17:18.  What was Jesus’ purpose and what is your purpose as His follower?

 

 

 

 

  Once you realize that life isn’t all about you anymore, but about serving God and others, you may feel overwhelmed.  You may feel unworthy or unable to serve, but the good news is that Christ has given you everything you need to do all that He wants.  Right now, I encourage you to trust Christ and be willing to take the first step of service. 

 Your life of service begins with Baptism.  Baptism is the act of not only identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection but also with His life of service.  Reading the baptism accounts of Christ, one realizes that Christ was baptized first and then He began His earthly ministry.  Why should you be baptized?  You should be baptized because you are ready to serve the Lord. 

 

1.  Read Matthew 3:13-17 and describe the events of Jesus’ baptism.

 

  

2.   Have you been baptized?  If you have write down when.  If you haven’t what steps are you going to take to be baptized?

 

  

The second step in living a life of service for the Lord is joining a local church.  Paul describes the church as the body of Christ.  Christ is the head of the body and each member functions together so that the body can work properly.  Think about this, if someone came up to you and said, “I love your face, but your body is ugly.”  Would you take that statement as a complement?  Many are doing the same thing when they say they can love Christ and not want to be a part of a church.

 

1.      Read 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27, describe the church and your role in it?

 

  

The third step of service, after being baptized and joining a local church, is attending church.  It is hard to serve if you don’t show up.  Studies show that two thirds of those on the membership roles never show up.  How will you be different?  There are three areas where your participation is needed.  Here is the great news; if you participate in these three areas you will become more Christ-like the more you’re involved. 

 The first area of involvement is participating in one worship service.  As a member of this church, you need to choose at least one worship service a week to participate in.  You serve God by worshipping Him along with other believers.

 The second area of involvement is participating in one Bible Study group.  You need to experience and share the intimacy of a small group where the Bible is taught and accountability is shared.  Most people allow Sunday School to be their Bible Study group, while others have a group that meets at another time of the week.  We aren’t concerned with the time that a group meets as long as it meets weekly.

 The last area of involvement is participating in one ministry.  We need you to choose a place of service.  There are tons of ministries in the church.  The great news is that when God saved you, He empowered you to serve.  You were created to serve in this church.  Where will you serve?  Here are some questions to help you find your spot of service.

 

 

1.  What are your skills?

 

 

 

2.  What are you passionate about?

 

 

 

3.  What experiences can you share and learn from?

 

 In closing, you have identified with Christ through salvation and now you are identifying with the church through serving.  You are a minister and your ministry begins with baptism.  As you declare that you are ready to serve God, He gives you a place to serve and that is the local church.  Join the local church and your participation in one worship service, Bible Study, and ministry will make a world of difference not only in your life, but also in the lives of others.  All the while, Christ works through you and makes you more like Him.  
 
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Posted by on June 7, 2008 in Church Helps

 

New Member’s Material

  A couple of months ago I wrote material for a four week new member’s class that I started in our church.  The first three weeks, I focused the material on identifying with Christ for salvation, service, and stewardship.  The final week I focused on being Kingdom focused in a Southern Baptist Church.  Over the next week or so I will post my material.  You are free to use it, but please email me stories about how the material was used and the results.  I hope this material strengthens your own New Member’s Class. 

 

 

New Members Class, Part 1 – “Living In Christ”

 

  Congratulations!  You are in this class because at some point in your life you answered the call of Jesus Christ by committing your life to follow Him.  You are also here because you have joined or you’re seeking to join this church.  The goal of this 4 week class is to help you experience the living Christ.  In order for you to grow in relationship to God and this church, you need to understand and apply what the Bible teaches about being a Christian, a church member, a tither, and a Southern Baptist. 

 

What is a Christian?

 

1.  Read John 1:1 and John 14:6.  Who is Jesus Christ?

 

2.  According to Romans 10:9-10, how does someone become a Christian?  Does this describe what you have done?

 

 

3.  Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 and write down the most important truth in the Christian life.     

 

 

4.  Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and describe what impact Jesus has made on you? 

 

 

In Christ, what’s new with you?

 

Trusting in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and trusting in His death and resurrection from the dead is more than the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die.  It is about Christ changing your life now. 

At the moment you committed your life to Christ three key things changed about you. 

 

  First, you have changed because in Christ you have a new identity.  By trusting in Christ, you have identified His death as your own.  You have identified His resurrection as your own.  Your life is based on who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for you. 

 

1.      Read Galatians 2:20 and describe how Paul saw his new identity?  

 

 

  Second, since your life is now identified with the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you experience something brand new, complete forgiveness from sin.  You have a new freedom, not to self, but to God (2 Cor. 5:21).  His forgiveness through Christ has given you freedom. 

 

1.      Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, describe what effect Christ’s death and resurrection has had on your sin?

 

 

2.      Is there a sin that has had control over you?  What has Jesus done to this sin?

 

 

  The last area of change is exciting.  God has entered into a new relationship with you.  You are no longer just His creation or just a servant, but you are His adopted child.  Through Christ, He accepts you and makes you part of His family.  You belong to Him.

 

1.      Read John 1:12 and Romans 8:14-17 and describe the type of relationship you have in Christ?

 

 

 In Christ, what remains the same?

 

  Now that you have an understanding of how Christ has changed your life, you need to understand what parts of your life are the same.  The first area that hasn’t change is your circumstances.  Many people want Christ to help them to escape their problems.  The truth is when you trust Christ He helps you to face and solve your problems.  Christ won’t automatically solve your family, your job, or you’re your financial problems.  These problems will only change as you choose to live in Christ.

 

  The second area that hasn’t changed is the area of temptation.  The same things that tempted you before you were a believer will tempt you as a believer.  The good news is that Jesus was tempted in all ways, but was without sin.  God wants you to overcome temptation by trusting Him and allowing Christ to live though you. 

 

  The last area that hasn’t changed by inviting Christ into our lives is our thought patterns.  We are told that we must renew our minds.  We are also told that we must take every thought captive in Jesus Christ.  The first conflict a new believer faces is between his new faith in Christ and his old thought patterns. 

 

How Do I Live In Christ?

 

You will live in the tension between the reality of how Christ has changed you and the frustration of how He hasn’t until you make a commitment to three principles.

 

-The first commitment is to the principle of faith. 

1.      Read Romans 4:21-22. How did Abraham show His faith?

 

 

2.  Read  Hebrews 11:1, 6.  What is faith and how is it shown?

 

 

-The second commitment is to the principle of reading God’s Word.

 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for training, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

 

How to study scripture:

1.  Circle all the words that impact you in the verse above.

 

2.  Pick one word and right out a definition for that word.

 

 

3.  Re-think the verse in light of the word.

 

4.  Decide how you can apply this verse to your own life.

 

 

– The last commitment is to the principle of prayer.

 

How to pray:

 

  Prayer is communication with God.  God speaks to us through His Word and we respond back to Him in prayer.

 

1.      Take the verse above and make it into a prayer:

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2008 in Church Helps, Uncategorized

 

Hybel’s interview with Bono: Part 2 of 7

Check out the One Campaign

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2007 in Church Helps, Uncategorized

 
 
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