Lakeland and the First Church (Acts 2:42-47)

October 25, 2015

Acts chapter 2 paints a beautiful picture of the first church. While it inspires us, it can also make us fell guilty--why aren't we more like Acts chapter 2? In this message we make sure we have not misrepresented the first church and renew our commitment to be all we can be as a congregation.

Philemon (3 of 3): Descending Into Greatness

October 18, 2015

The Gospel makes for a "topsy-turvy" worldview: those who wish to be great must become the least; those who wish to find their life, must lose it; Christ brings eternal life through death. Philippians 2:5-11, the "kenotic" (empty) hymn/poet/creed of the early church states Jesus "emptied himself, taking on the role of the servant." This is how Jesus triumphs. Paul says we must do the same. How shall we serve? How shall we live out this topsy-turvy lifestyle in the midst of "a top-dog wins all" world? The short Philemon series concludes with the practical application of Paul's letter to Philemon.

Tags: Philemon, Missional

Philemon (2 of 3): Power In the World (While Not OF the World)

October 11, 2015
Focusing on verse six of Paul's letter to Philemon, we grasp the idea that because of Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus' shared "mutual participation" in the cross of Christ, Philemon is compelled to receive back Onesimus as a brother rather than as a slave. Hebrews 9:21-22 states that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Forgiveness is Christ's work upon the cross. Therefore, no Christian can "rob" Christ of his sacrifice and judge another: one cannot act in the place of Christ and withhold forgiveness. This pertains to our life, for instance, Christians cannot ignore the poor, voiceless, helpless, and foreigner IF they are covered by the blood of Jesus. Our mind must be the same as Jesus' - there is no option. This is the theological understanding of verse six, which translators have had difficulty conveying the confusing Greek syntax of Paul in that verse.
Tag: Philemon, Compassion

Philemon (1 of 3): “Forgiveness, the Forgotten Way”

October 4, 2015
Paul writes a personal letter to Philemon asking him to forgive and receive back Onesimus, his runaway servant slave. Forgiveness requires the forgiver to "eat" the offense so that they may be free from the prison of bitterness. Dr. Lewis Smedes, forgiveness expert, theologian, and Professor of psychology, states there are three stages to forgiveness: 1) surrender your right to get even (eat the offense); 2) see the offender with new eyes; 3) wish them a better future. This is how we are released from a bitter mindset. Forgiveness is the core of Christianity.

Tag: Philemon, Forgiving Others