Thursday, August 11, 2011

Modern Day Slavery

Philemon 1:8 – 16, 21 Modern Day Slavery

“Life (or something like it) Manton Christian Camp 2011

“Without social piety (holiness) there is no personal piety (holiness)” John Wesley.

Buried in our spiritual heritage is a simple truth. If we are “holy” then it is not just personal (for us). The issue of “injustice” is actually one of “holiness.”

Without social holiness, our faith is hollow.

I. What’s the story?

A. State of slavery (by Emily J.)

B. Line from an old rock song: “too many churches and not enough truth.”

1. Is truth absent in our churches?

a. NO! It’s a common mistake/lie to charge Christians as not having “enough” truth.

b. BTW, we call it “theology.” (It’s the fancy word for “truth.”)

1.) How well do we know the Bible?

2.) How well do we know our theology?

2. Maybe what the song is complaining about is that there is nothing that makes us different.

a. Want fellowship?

1.) You can go to a bar.

2.) “Everybody wants to go where they know your name?” (Theme song for “Cheers” TV show… I didn’t watch much)

b. What do we have to offer to this world?

II. We offer “holiness.”

A. Holiness starts with love.

1. God’s love started it all:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]

a. Why did God do this?

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!” [John 3:17 CEV]

b. Why do we need to be saved?

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” [John 3:19]

2. Paul appeals to Philemon [v 8] “for love’s sake.”

a. He could have commanded or demanded… instead he reached deeper into Philemon’s soul.

b. There is something about love that compels us in a way authority or threats cannot.

B. Holiness changes our relationships.

1. It changes our relationship with God.

a. Without saving faith in Jesus we are God’s enemies:

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” [Romans 5:10]

b. But now everything is new!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]

2. It changes our relationship with others.

a. We now have a responsibility to bring reconciliation with God to others.

“What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace.” [2 Corinthians 5:19]

b. Look at what it did to Paul and Onesimus:

“I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.” [v 10]

a. Here’s the fun part… Onesimus means “useful.”

b. As a slave, he was anything but “useful.”

c. As a runaway slave, he was less than “useful.”

3. Paul now changes all the rules…

a. Roman society believed slaves were “necessary.”

b. Paul sends Onesimus BACK to his master…. WHY?

C. Holiness expects us to DO SOMETHING.

1. What we do we do because of love.

(From the musical “Don Quixote.”) He is asked by the woman “Why do you do the things you do?” Quixote’s response: “I hope to add a measure of grace to this world.” She spits: “That’s for your grace.” Quixote: “My lady knows better in her heart.” Her response: “What is in my heart will get me half way to hell.”

a. There is a world desperate to see God’s love… but only through those who call themselves by God’s name.

b. Paul appealed to the slave owner:

[v 14b CEV] “I want your act of kindness to come from your heart, and not be something you feel forced to do.”

2. Why?

a. Because, Onesimus is more than a slave.

“[15] For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, [16] no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother--especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

b. Paul is telling him that because of his relationship with Jesus, a slave is no longer a slave but a brother.

3. The expectation is not just “basic” it is “extravagant.”

“Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.” [v 21]

a. Wait: he’s not commanding or demanding… why the “obedience?”

b. Because loving God and loving others is who we are…

c. Because loving God and loving others does compel us from the inside.

d. Because loving God and loving others makes us extravagant beyond anything God would ask….

(Explain Blue Tree’s song “God of this city”… context is the sex trafficking industry in Bangkok.)

III. So what? What does this have to do with us?

A. The reality: (www.notforsalecampaign.org)

1. “Abolitionists fighting sex trafficking in both Southeast Asia and Latin America report that parents commonly sell their kids so that they can make an improvement on their home or purchase a vehicle or other consumer item.”

2. “Foreign children evoke even less sympathy than those who share the nationality or ethnicity of the mainstream population. For that reason, traffickers typically shift child slaves to the other side of the country or, even more effectively, across an ocean.”

3. “Sex traffickers target twelve- to seventeen-year-old children as their choice candidates.”

4. “The johns who pay regular visits to brothels prefer adolescents above any other age group.”

5. “The children are perceived to be criminals or sexual deviants or at best victims of their environment: desperate for survival, the kids “choose” to sell their bodies for profit.”

6. “Of course a child would not volunteer for the repeated trauma of ten (or more) grown men penetrating their bodies every evening.”

7. “We have a word for exploiting minors that way: RAPE”

8. “Adult “prostitutes” too can recount shocking testimonies of pimps locking them in closets, flogging them with coat hangers, and forcing them to service a staggering number of clients.”

9. Slaves do more than just that:

a. Slaves make your clothes…

b. Slaves mine the metals that make our cans…

c. Slaves manufacture your toys…

d. Slaves harvest your fruit, nuts, and veggies…

e. Slaves harvest, process, and transport your coffee…

f. Slaves make your cell phones possible…

g. Slaves are involved in almost everything you can buy…

B. Let’s talk chocolate: TIME TO RAISE THE BAR: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company

1. In 2005, children who had been trafficked from Mali to Côte d’Ivoire to work on cocoa farms filed a lawsuit in US courts against cocoa traders Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and Nestlé that is still ongoing. The children described being forced to work for long hours without pay and being kept by force on cocoa plantations.

2. As the predominant companies trading cocoa globally, Hershey purchases its cocoa from at least one of these companies

3. One politician put it this way: "D**n justice: It is necessity." [Wesley “Thoughts on Slavery”]

4. Wesley: “Long and serious reflections upon the nature and consequences of slavery have convinced me, that it is a violation both of justice and religion… Freedom is unquestionably the birth right of all mankind.”

5. The Free Methodist Church was the first to officially ask Abraham Lincoln to free the slaves. AND it was the first to condemn modern slavery.

6. B.T. Roberts wrote to Abraham Lincoln suggesting the reason the North was not winning the war was because the slaves were not free.

7. We denounce and resist all forms of slavery and human trafficking… (2007 General Conference)

C. Reality check:

1. The law of “supply and demand.”

a. We demand products made by slave when we purchase products made by slaves…

b. So slaves supply our demands…

c. We make owning slaves profitable…

d. Without our money slavery is pointless…

e. We, who “resist all forms of slavery,” are the cause of slavery…

2. Think about it…

a. No consumer…

b. No market…

c. No profit…

d. No incentive…

e. No slavery…

IV. Now what?

A. Pray

1. For those who are slaves…

2. For those who are trafficked…

3. For those who are exploited…

B. Join

1. International Child Care Ministries (Sponsoring a child will make it less profitable for a parent to sell a child to “recruiters.”)

2. SEED Ministry (Provides living wages, makes people less vulnerable)

“One of our livelihood groups in Kenya, Faraja Widows, is seen as a bulwark in the fight against trafficking of children from the Kibera slum in Nairobi.” (David Brewer: SEED Ministry)

3. Not for sale (free2work)

C. Look

1. Before you buy, do your research…

(The other day we were in the store on the free2work website researching the brands as we were shopping…. It takes time, but you will learn.)

2. Look for the independent verification: Fair Trade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Fair for Life. (To name a few.)


***** Personal note: A power point presentation (11 minutes) is available for III and IV from this sermon. *****

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Attributes of Holiness – Love

[Please note. To get the most of this outline... listen to the sermon on the media player]

Attributes of Holiness – Love Matthew 5:43 – 48

[B.T. Roberts reexamined]

“You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [47] And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:43 – 48]

“Holiness implies deliverance of all hatred of any human being.” [B.T. Roberts]

I. The human condition:

A. Hatred is part of the fallen human condition.

1. It may be open or hidden.

2. It may be subtle and secret.

B. Christians are no exception from this fallen condition.

1. “As long as selfishness remains in the soul, dislike is sure to follow.” [B.T. Roberts.]

2. Problem: we do judge others when we interpret their actions and words.

a. We generally put an “unfavorable construction” towards things and people we don’t like or understand.

b. Reality: “A truly sanctified soul has no sympathy with sin, he abhors it; but he looks upon the sinner with sincere compassion.” [B.T. Roberts]

II. It is natural to return hatred for hatred BUT holiness causes us to return good for evil.

A. Jesus taught this in Matthew 5:43 – 45 (among other places)

1. “This implies ACTIVE deliverance from all active hostility.” [B.T. Roberts]

2. In other words, we are not to simply AVOID not returning the hatred.

3. We are to go out of our way to ACTIVELY love those who hate, mistreat, and persecute us.

Think about it... spiritual drifting

Hebrews 3
“Think about it”

One of the themes of the book of Hebrews is “drifting.” It is how we drift and what to
do to prevent drifting.

As believers, we have a “heavenly calling.” Just like Israel escaping the slavery of Egypt
was called to the Promised Land; we are called to heaven. It is here for us to learn an
important lesson and heed a strong caution. This is the first fatal flaw of drifting… the tendency
toward “unbelief.”

I. Consider Jesus. [v 1]

A. What does it mean to consider?

1. Consider: "to think carefully about in order to make a decision" [www.dictionary.com]

2. What do we need to think carefully about?

a. In chapter one, we learn that Jesus is fully and eternally God.
Jesus is not a created being, such as an angel.

b. It chapter two, we learn that Jesus is also fully human.

c. The reason is so Jesus could share our struggles; suffer as we do,
so we can be offered salvation and sanctification.

d. We need to consider Jesus so we do not go off course in our daily
walk.

B. The idea of considering is to narrow our focus down to one thing and fix our
mind on it!

1. Israel in the desert wanted to turn back… for food.
(Meat and veggies)

a. They were not willing to depend on God.

b. When God miraculously provided “manna” for them, they were
not satisfied with it.

2. When Israel finally got to the Promised Land, they refused to enter.

a. Simply put, they were afraid of the giants.

b. They saw the giants as too big to defeat.
(Lack of trust/faith in God.)

***** When David faced his giant… he was able to depend on God… who had proved Himself
faithful against the lion and the bear. The giant was bigger than his other problems but God
was the same. *****

II. Consider the Caution [vv 7 – 17]

A. Don’t harden your hearts! [vv 7 – 11]

1. God speaks [v 7]

a. God spoke to His people in a variety of ways
(like this sermon)
.
b. What do you do when you hear a sermon?

2. The choices we make determine our heart
(and vice versa).

a. We can deliberately harden our heart against God.

b. That should be a terrifying thought!

B. This caution is to “brothers” NOT those who have never believed. [v 12]

1. We would like to think that “an evil, unbelieving heart” [v 12] is about
those who are not Christians or are false Christians.

2. “Context is king.” This is written to believers.

a. Israel is the example: [read vv 16 – 18]

b. BTW, what was the main symptom of their unbelief? It was
grumbling (expressing discontent, complaining).

3. The result of developing “an evil, unbelieving heart” is that it will lead you
to “fall away from the living God.”

C. We can be hardened by “the deceitfulness of sin.” [v 13]

1. Sin deceives us because it seems right…

a. It looks good, it feels good, and we want it to be right.

b. When right comes from the context of the individual rather than
God… it is sin.

2. The main mistake that Israel made was thinking they we secure in their
position.

a. Problem: they confused the institution of Israel, which was
secure, with the individual, who were not secure.

b. “They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have
never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?" [34] Jesus
answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. [35] The
slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever… [37] I know that you are
offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.” [John 8:33
– 35, 37]

3. It is sin to claim any sort of security outside a right relationship with God
through the broken body and shed blood of Jesus.

III. Consider our Confidence [vv 6, 14]

A. Our confidence is in Jesus, not ourselves.

1. When we grumble we are the center of our attention.

a. It becomes about us, not Jesus.

b. Notice in verse six there is a shift. We have been reading the
name “Jesus” but now shift to Jesus’ title: “Christ.” (It’s easy to take Jesus lightly when we think of Him as a friend. It is more difficult to take Him lightly as Almighty God.)

2. When we have a false confidence based on supposed position, we
become the center of our attention.

a. We are told to “hold fast” meaning “hold the course”

b. In the Greek this is clearly a contingency and a doubt. [Robertson]

c. In other words, our reaching heaven is contingent on us being
faithful, not developing an evil, unbelieving heart… and not grumbling!

B. Our confidence is our “original confidence.” [v 14]

1. What was our original confidence?

a. We were convinced we were under the condemnation of eternal
hell because of our sins.

b. We entered a right relationship with God broken, in repentance,
knowing we are absolutely wrong and sinful about everything.

c. God the Father, in His everlasting kindness and love, took the
initiative to provide the payment of our sin though the broken body and blood of Jesus Christ.

d. We have no hope other than the grace God has extended to us…

***** The woman who said the “even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs that fall from
their master’s table.” [see Matthew 15:27 and Mark 7:28] *****

e. Like the mutt under the table, we joyful receive what we are
given.

2. Our problem can be that we have become so used to our position of
grace that we don’t notice we have drifted.

a. What was once sincere has become outward and empty.

b. What we once clung to like the drowning man gasping for one
breath of air we now undervalue.

c. What we once were joyful to receive in repentance, we despise in
judgment of others.

RESULT: For Israel it was 40 years of the desert, waiting to die… praying the next generation
would do better.

LESSON: There is a point of no return. If you are moving that direction, you should be alarmed
and do everything possible to reverse that direction. If you are already there, this sermon has
gone “over your head” or “offended” you.