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July 4_2010 Sermon_Fort StocktonTX_First Christian Church

July 4_2010 Sermon_Fort StocktonTX_First Christian Church

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Published by DixonDA
The story of Paul's request of a Christian slave owner to set free Onesimus is an appropriate subject on this July 4, 2010.
The story of Paul's request of a Christian slave owner to set free Onesimus is an appropriate subject on this July 4, 2010.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: DixonDA on Nov 26, 2010
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11/26/2010

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³Appeal for Reconciliation´Danny André Dixon Sermon on PhilemonJuly 4, 20101IntroductionWould you open your Bibles to the book of Philemon. This season of theyear has special significance to me, particularly as I think about the celebrationsassociated with the beginning of our country. We think about the
 Declaration of  Independence
, that magnificent document which begins with the recognition that³all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certainunalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.´AndI can¶t help but smile as I think about the boldness of that document and theresolve that stood behind it as it enumerated no less than 27 major headings of wrongs that had been brought upon the American Colonies by the King of England, with several times that many subheadings justifying the idea that sincegovernments are granted their ruling power by the people, the people have the rightto alter or to abolish the government over them. It is a document that says, ³Thingshave gotten so bad and have gone so wrongly for so long a period of time that it¶s just time that we called it quits and went our separate ways.´ And they werewilling to die to see just that done.And then I cast my mind back to a former time; a time when the biblical perspective was not quite the humanistic one that served as a motivating force todefy the king and begin a new country. I think of Daniel¶s observation in chapter 2verse 21 of his book in which he notes that God ³changes the times and theseasons´ and ³removes kings and set up kings´²and that includes the good onesas well as the bad ones²but all for his ultimate purposes on the earth. I think of that comment made during the days of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon,dethroned by the Medes and the Persians under Darius, conquered by Alexander 
 
³Appeal for Reconciliation´Danny André Dixon Sermon on PhilemonJuly 4, 20102the Great of Greece, whose empire fell to that of the Romans under Pompey. Ithink of that Roman empire, a republic governed for a short time under the firstamong Senators Julius Caesar, his assassination and the dynasty that began withhis nephew Octavius, better known to us as Augustus, the emperor on the Romanthrone when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It was the time of the succeedingemperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius in the earliest days of the Christian Churchand finally the time of Nero, the first Roman Emperor to exercise a local butvicious persecution upon Christians in and around Rome for a brief time²a timethat included the latter ministry of Paul, who writes the letter to Philemon while in prison for the first time in Rome under Nero in the year 64 A.D. He would bereleased briefly, three years later, before Nero would arrest him again anddecapitate him after a second imprisonment as part of that Christian persecution in67 A.D.But it was indeed a different time²a time when slavery was the norm.There were thousands and thousands of slaves brought into Rome because of war.Slaves ³were the teachers and doctors, they were the accountants and clerks, theywere they were the household servants and the field laborers´ (Arthur Mayer Wolfson,
 Ess
ential 
 s
in Ancient Hi
 s
tory
[New York, NY: American Book Co.,1902], pp. 432-433).Under Hebrew law, a slave was the money or property of his master andcould be beaten to within an inch of his life, according to Exodus 21. Under Roman law, if slaves ³tried to run away, they were whipped, burned with iron, andsometimes even killed´ (I. Akatsa [03-21-2000], ³Slavery in Ancient Rome.´
 Hi
 s
tory and Thought of We
 s
tern Man
. Rich East High School. Park Forest, IL.
 
³Appeal for Reconciliation´Danny André Dixon Sermon on PhilemonJuly 4, 20103Retrieved 07-04-2010 from http://www.richeast.org/htwm/Greeks/Romans/slavery/slavery2.html). We¶ll come back to that in a little while.If you¶re wanting to take notes on our lesson this morning, you might want to begin with the idea of 1.
 
The Church Leaders Remembered²1-9If you¶ve ever followed the chronology of the book of Acts, you¶ll find thatPaul was obsessed, or maybe I should say led by God¶s spirit to make his way toRome to preach there. All of this begins in Romans chapter 23 after Paul makes aspeech to an assembled crowd of Jews who end up wanting to tear him apart for challenging them on their hypocrisy. You could start reading about this in Acts23:11 where the Lord tells Paul that he must be a witness for him in Rome. Wewon¶t read this material. But it¶s enough to say that it takes him five chapters of adventures to finally get to Rome in chapter 28:14 where he is put under guard in prison chained to a Roman soldier.It¶s from here that Paul writes his epistle to the Colossians on the supremacy of Christ; the epistle to the Ephesians on the glory of the Church in God¶s eternal plan; and to the Philippians, which is a letter on looking to Jesus as the ultimate pattern of service and humility within the Church as Christians live in harmonywith one another. He also writes the letter to Philemon, who was probably theowner of a large home, which served as a house church wher e he served as anelder. Notice verses 1-3 of the letter:
 P 
aul, a pri
 s
oner of Chri
 s
t Je
 s
u
 s
 , and Timothy our brother, To
 P 
hilemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our 
 s
i
 s
ter, to Archippu
 s
our fellow

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