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The Proper Use of Authority- Part 2

Diego Silva
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Diego Silva

Pastor of the Miles City Seventh-day Adventist Church in Montana

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  • February 4, 2017
    11:30 AM
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We're going to continue today and our study and the little book of family men so many give you some time to reach out and grab your Bible and turn in. The New Testament to a very small book one of the smallest books in the Bible fully human just one chapter this is the shortest letter that Paul wrote. And we started talking about this last week some of you were nine year I'll give a little bit of a review for Lehman was a Christian who lived during the first century in the little city of the law say in Asia Minor. What's interesting about this man that Paula dresses here in this letter is that for Lehman was a christian slave owner he was probably the leader of a local congregation and that region Colossus' a lay of the sea. And the church of worship in his home. And we don't have a lot of information about the leading men other than what is in this very small letter one chapter and that's what we're going to be studying today and I've been titled that this sermon or this series the proper use of authority because that's what the book of for Lehman teaches us how our SO use of for it to be in a Christian way all of us have to do with Already some of us. Are in positions of authority all of us have to relate to authority in some way whether it be parental authority civil authority church authority. There is a thorough T. in our lives and most of us exercise authority if not all of us even my little to you. Old is already exercising authority she exercises authority over her little brother and so I think that there is something for us to learn about authority in the Bible how God exercises authority and how God's men exercise authority and so let us study this remarkable book that illustrates tact and wisdom in exercising authority. The apostle Paul gives us a beautiful picture of God and how he deals with humanity and with the scent problem. Paul is the writer and he was in prison when he wrote this letter and let's just take a look at the letter as a whole I just want to give you an outlying to begin with the letter Paul begins the letter like he does in all of his letters with a salutation you can see that in the first three verses and then he appeals to fully men's compassionate heart by commending him for his faith to God and love for his fellow Christians this is not a letter of rebuke even though fully man is a christian slave owner Paul begins by highlighting his faith to God and His love for his fellow man for his fellow Christian the heart of the letter is verses eight through twenty one that's the knee that's the essence of what Paul is trying to communicate. To this man it's Paul's appeal to fully men for a man named an S.M.S. a nurse and this was a slave that ran away from fully men's household and in Rome was converted to Christianity isn't that remarkable. Scenario some of the you might not have ever realized that this was in the Bible you have a slave that runs away from his Christian master and in a Rome finds Jesus and becomes converted through the efforts of Paul this letter is Paul's appeal to fully men to treat a NASA mess. In a crisis like way incredible and then the last four verses beginning in verse twenty two verse twenty five is Paul's little greeting get to close and benediction. But the heart of the letter is verses eight to twenty one Paul appeals to fully meant to gently except an S.M.S. a fugitive slave who was converted through Paul's ministry and some may be wondering slavery in the Christian church that just doesn't seem very compatible or well in the Greek or Roman world of approximately two thirds of the Empire consisted of slaves in other words there were more slaves than there were three people. A substantial part of the economy depended on the institution of slavery slaves were interned all part of the social structure. There were harsh punishments for fugitive slaves to make them feel. If they were ever tempted to run away. Matter of fact that they could be killed without any penalty slave owner is treated their slaves as property some were more humane than others but the institution of slavery was alive and well in the world in society and even in the church and that's what we're going to look at today how does Paul deal with the issue of. Slavery How does Paul deal with fully men a Christian leader who own slate there is so much for us to learn through Paul's example how did Paul deal with the huge Paul was not trying to start a revolution or a great war a social change that was not Paul's call it was not his mission but Paul did plant seeds that would produce a harvest of the real change in the hearts of people. Though Paul did not directly condemn slavery I believe that the principles taught in his A pistols and in the Gospels of Jesus and even in the Old Testament. Laid a foundation that would eventually undermine the very institution of slavery I believe we live in a society where slavery has been abolish largely because of the principles that God has communicated through the Bible over the centuries but in the Bible you don't get a direct condemnation of slavery on the contrary in the Old Testament Abraham who was a friend of God's own hundreds of slaves in the fourth commandment of the ten commandments you have provision for the slaves to have rest on the Sabbath just like everybody else so far from can then install a very God This seems to tolerate it and regulate its practice notice how Paul deals with it for example in collage in chapter four verse one Paul writes to Christian masters and he says masters give your slaves what is just then fair knowing that you also have a master in heaven and this really turns people off so. In times because they fail to understand the context it comes across as. The Bible condoning the very wicked practice of slavery one person owning another person is property but if you understand the context you'll see that Paul was actually sewing seeds that were revolutionary for his time it was a very progressive and it was very very much going in the right direction and parish center where society was Paul instructs christian slave owners not to give up the practice of owning slaves although that was God's ideal but his counsel was to treat their slaves fairly and kolache in chapter three verse twenty two he tells slaves to obey their masters it can easily be misunderstood also in efficiency Chapter six verse nine Masters forbear threatening knowing that he who is both their master and yours is in heaven and that there is no partiality with him. Paul instructs slave owners christian slave owners not to use threatening first son this is offensive because God doesn't condemn slavery but for those that were reading back then this was revolutionary. This was amazing that Paul could actually tell slave owners to not use the right name and to treat them in a humane and Christ like waving. He warns Christians slave owners that they have a master in heaven who values slaves just as much as he values slave masters So in summary I'm just giving you a summary of what we talked about last week Paul statements were revolutionary for his time his teachings moot. Of the social standing of slaves in the Christian community from the prevailing norms to one of the acceptance equality and brotherhood was this the ideal absolutely not how do we find that God's ideal Well you have to go back to the beginning Jesus says if you want to understand what God really things go back to the beginning when he was asked about divorce Jesus was asked Can a man put away his wife for any reason and Jesus says in the beginning it was not like this you see if you want to know exactly how God feels about polygamy about killing about slavery about marriage you have to go back to the beginning. The Old Testament and the New Testament for that matter is largely descriptive not necessarily indicating how God feels. Or what his ideal is for humanity but it's describing how humanity has rebel and deviated from his ideal and how he as God and sovereign of the universe relates to disobedience and a lot of times how God relates to disobedience and to situations that are contrary to his ideal surprises us because you go to Egypt Babylon Persia Greece Rome and even the United States of America and many other superpowers that have risen and fallen through the ages and you find that a lot of practices and a lot of cultural norms that are so high entry to God's ideal and yet when you look at God's people of Israel in the Old Testament the Christian church in the New Testament there are often not that much better slavery was a part of Jewish society slavery was a part. Of the Christian community. Very surprising and very disturbing for many but remember God is working with humanity to try to take them from bad to the best but what is between bad and best better and so when you go to Israel and you go to the Christian church and you look at the issue of slavery yes there was slavery but let me tell you God. Gave instructions that were calculated to regulate and made the institution of slavery a whole lot better among his people than it was among the heathen but what was his ideal What was he trying to accomplish he was trying to take them from bad to what best and if you want to know what best is you go back and. God is a patient and he values freedom above anything else his ideal for humanity is higher than the highest human body could ever reach and he is constantly trying to migrate or take his people transition them from bad to beds without violating freedom of choice. So let's go to this letter what was Paul trying to accomplish in this letter shall we look at it together let's look at it for Lehman chapter one that's the only chapter by the way so really we could just say for Lehman versus fifteen and sixteen and I want you to just see the heart of this letter this is what Paul is trying to accomplish right here Paul is writing to fully man who is a christian slave owner and he's right in regarding this fugitive slave named the NESA miss that was converted through Paul's ministry in Rome and he says. Perhaps he departed he escaped he left for a while. For this. Purpose that you might receive Him for ever. No longer as a slave but more than a slave of the love of brother especially to me but how much more. To you both in the flesh and in the Lord. Always Paul trying to accomplish he was trying to help fully men not abolish slavery but actually go beyond that. That you might receive him no longer as a slave but more than a slave a beloved brother Wow that is a very lofty goal now this Paul accomplished this that's the beauty of this book how does Paul used his position of authority. To bring about a change. In the heart of his recipient. Let's look at the. Letter more carefully the first seven verses just an introduction. Notice his introduction. He compliments the man that he is about the put in a very difficult position remember this is not an easy issue to address and Paul is going to try to appeal to for Lehman's heart to do what is right but let me tell you this is not going to be an easy decision so he begins by complimenting he calls him a beloved friend a fellow laborer a brother. He touches for Lehman's compassionate heart by pointing to number one Paul's own present this craze and hardship and the great joy and consolation that. Paul finds in fully man's love he starts by saying for Leman I greatly admire you for your love to all Christians is that a beautiful introduction he doesn't start by rebuking the man telling him how wicked he is for owning slaves he says fully men I believe in your love for people and I value your friendship. He points out the very qualities in fully men that he wants to see. What a difference from that of Saul of Tarsus. You remember Saul of Tarsus. A man that was so zealous for God that he would enforce obedience Acts Chapter eight verse three tells us that he put men and women in prison because they didn't conform to his own ideas that's the same Paul that wrote the book a fully Man what a transformation Paul the Apostle respects fully men's individuality and freedom Saul of Tarsus. Did not tolerate disagreement he put people in prison for disagreeing with him but Paul the Apostle. Says Philemon I want to appeal to your heart not just the way Paul approaches this man. Though I might be very bold in Christ to come and. This is in verse eight Why don't we read that together look at fully human verse a this is the heart of the letter this is where it all begins after he finishes his introduction he says therefore filling in a Virgo I am not to be very bold in Christ to command you to do what is fitting that is to do what is right in other words Paul is saying as an apostle. I have the right. To boldly come Mangi to do what is right. But what does he do look at verse nine yet yet for love sake I rather wide appeal to you is there a difference between commanding in appeal. Big difference what are we talking about today the proper use of a forward T.V.. How many of you are enough for a tape position you don't have to raise your hands but I just I know that the majority of you whether you're a father or husband are parents. Or bosses were. A forward thinking. Oh it's a lot easier to command isn't it to enforce. It's a whole lot easier to get conformity and yet compliance when you. Impose. But Paul says though I might be very bold in Christ to command yet for love sake I rather appeal to you. He says With than your consent I wanted to do nothing how many of us who are in positions of authority feel like we need to have the consent of those who are under us in authority. Paul says I have confidence in your obedience this is all the letter I want you to notice the home that Paul uses in addressing from women. Now here's a really fascinating one look at verse nine. Yet for love sake I rather appeal to you and then call this scribes himself as he appeals to fully human yet for love sake I rather appeal to you being such a. One as Paul the aged and now also a prisoner of Jesus cries when you want to. Elicit. Obedience What do you appeal to. Make a back I don't know about your dad my dad. I'm the boss here right you appeal to your position of authority Roman this week was telling me about his new position at work he's working at the correctional facility and he was describing to me how to use authority in a way to command the respect of those under him very interesting learn many insights and I tell you you know there are so many things you can do You could tell them what your position is you could tell them how much power you have you can. Appeal it countless ways to command obedience but I want you to notice here what Paul the US noticed what he pointed to in himself being such a one as Paul. Full of a forty and apostle of Jesus Christ vested with power and. Authority is that when he says two things. The aged That means the old man. And a prisoner of Jesus Christ now being old is that a position of strength or a position of weakness. If you want to assert your power and authority when you appeal to your old age. That a position of strength or weakness. Apparently it's a position of weakness if you're a prisoner is that a position of strength or weakness. I want you to notice what Paul is doing here. Instead of telling fully men the power powerful he is and how strong he is he says this is how weak I am all and I'm a prisoner is that sound like a very. Strategic way of commanding respect and obedience. I want you to think about Jesus. On the cross for just a moment. Is that a position of strength or weakness. Sometimes I wrestle with Abigail and. She probably doesn't understand how strong Dad Vietnam mother is strong but compared to Abigail and pretty strong. And she will pin me down. And I let her right and how does she feel about that she feels like she's pretty strong right. Because she doesn't understand what I'm capable of doing and I let her pin me down. You know when Jesus was being crucified you realize that that's kind of like Dag pinned down by his two year old girl. You understand that Jesus could have at any moment made a decision to call the host of heaven. To deliver him from that cross those soldiers felt like they were in a position of strength Jesus looked like he was the one that was losing right well little little did they realize that they were dealing with one that was able to buy a very far just. The word destroy them all from existence. But is that how God wins the great controversy is that how God brings people to submission to him by asserting his strength power and authority How does Jesus win the battle. Through a position of strength or a position of weakness. Being on the cross he is weak or what Paul said when I am weak then I am strong. Let's look at that verse one more time for Leman verse nine Paul says and yet for love's sake though I am I command you yet for love's sake I rather appealing to you being such a one as Paul the aged and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. See the Gospel turns everything upside down. Paul the aged. Paul the present. In the world you. Commander respect and you bring people to obedience by showing them how strong and powerful you are but the Gospel of Jesus. Turns that whole concept upside down and god says the only way that I can win you to me and to bring you to submission to me is through weakness. Through appeal. Paul says I am sending him back you therefore receive Him That is my own heart. Paul did not have to do this Paul says I'm sending him back. Why. Why does Paul say I'm sending him back let's read it verse fourteen. Policemen verse fourteen but without your consent. I wanted to do nothing. Does that sound like a person that's very powerful. This dad have to say to the little child without your consent. I will do this for you. I don't know too many dads that do that. I don't know too many presidents for that matter or bosses owners of companies that will without her consent that kind of language you don't say to those who are subordinate but Paul says without your consent I wanted to do nothing then your good deed my God by compulsion as it were but voluntary. I'm sending him back you therefore receive Him That is my own heart would for Lehman do harm to someone like Paul. This is one of the most persuasive statements you could have made I'm sending him back to receive him as you would my own heart. To Paul is making it very difficult for fully men to say you know. If you regard me. As. A partner receive him as you would me. So here's an important point God does not force but he also will make it very difficult for us to say no. Paul is making it impossible. For filling in the saying well if only even says no to Paul it's because his heart is absolutely hardened Paul is not using force he's not using compulsion he's appealing to his heart he's giving every. Persuasive piece of evidence he could give to make him say yes though Paul did not use power or force or authority to make for Leman do what is right he was very persuasive we could say that Paul spawn a web of persuasion around for Lieberman he points to for Lehman's love for other Christians he points to his own weakness as an old man and prisoner he says to fully men receive him as you would me Paul if appealed to him in every conceivable way being persuasive does not mean being forceful or manipulative it means making your case in a winning way a gracious way and irresistible way this is a great example of Christian persuasion at work as Christians we're not supposed to be forceful we're not supposed to be. Manipulative. But we should be persuasive Paul had the art of persuasion. He gives the fully men every reason possible to do what is right. And then he says I have confidence in your obedience I believe that you're going to do what is right. At this time I want all parents to listen up. This is so bored and I pray that for me or just be theory I want to practice this in my own experience as a parent but this is so important. As parents for educators and I want to read a statement from the book education's about parenting teachin children young people so so. The wise educator will seek to encourage confidence and to strengthen the sense of on that's what Paul is doing with Fellini. Suspicion their moralizers producing the very evolves it seeks to prevent. While. Will lead the youth to feel that they are trusted and there are few who will not seek to prove themselves worthy of the truss on the same principle it is better to request then to come and let me tell you that this is totally contrary to my background my grandfather there were three things that he believed it was absolutely inappropriate for a father to do with his children show affection. And ask instead of a man you don't ask children you demand that includes young people as long as you're only your group there under your authority this is how to deal with it and you never apologize to your children. Because by doing those very things you will lose their respect for you so you show no affection. If you need them to do something you tell them to do or don't ask them to do it. And don't ever say you're sorry. And. If you think about it that is how we exercise authority that is how the world exercises authority if you're in a position of authority in order for you to then the respect that you need to exercise your position you can't show weakness and. Showing affection asking instead of telling or saying you're sorry in the. World is a sign of weakness is it right. Or is that how it is. This beautiful statement goes on to say the one thus addressed has opportunity to prove himself loyal to right principles his obedience is the result of choice rather than compulsion. Today we're talking about the proper use of authority. And that if we want to understand how to properly use authority the best being in the universe we can learn from his gob How does God exercise authority. That your good deed might be voluntary and not something force those are the words of Paul the fully. Fully man I have every right to command you to do what's right I have every ride with the authority given me by God as an apostle of Jesus Christ I have the right to tell you. The institution of slavery in your home let an S.M.S. be a free man but Paul says I will not come to manage you I will appeal to you and I trust that you're going to do what is right. Because I want your good deed I want your obedience to be voluntary and not something force. Isn't that beautiful. Do you find that to be beautiful Paul treated for leading men with confidence and respect he struck a blow at the very foundations of the Leavell that he intended to counteract without leading fully men to feel that he was looked upon with suspicion. For Lehman was made to feel that he was a trusted coworker to him or was given an opportunity to prove himself loyal to right principles here's a. B.D.'s would then be the result of his own a voluntary choice rather than compulsion. Before going in the past or I was working with young people in boarding schools for over ten years. And let me tell you something that I learned over the years. Young people actually want to do what's right. But if you look upon them with suspicion. And you are treating them as if you were expecting them to mess up. You are actually going to get the very results you're trying to avoid. If you want young people. To do what is right show them that you have confidence. Instead of imposing appeal to their hearts. Instead of using coercion used persuasion. Paul learned through his own experience that force. Is. Less effective. Than persuasion. Paul had a clear picture of what was right regarding slavery regarding many other issues but he chose not to use his position of strength in authority in the church that changed people. Jesus US totally revolutionized the concept of Dorothy The disciples were arguing. Who is going to be greatest who is going to have the greatest amount of the forty in your Kindle Jesus responded with these words. You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles the Lord it over them and. They're great ones exercise of forensic over there. But Jesus says it shall not be this way among you. Jesus said whoever desires to be great among you shall be your slave. And whoever of you desires to be first in authority shall be slain of all that is radical that's what made Jesus unpopular by the way he was turning the cultural norms upside down. Instead of attacking slavery he attacked the very foundation. The very principles that made slavery. Possible in a Roman society. Have you made a commitment to submit to God's authority. There's no better thing in life than to submit to God's authority. Do you have a difficult time submitting to earthly authority parents civil authority anyone in positions of authority you have a hard time holding down a job in this world you'll have a hard time making it in the world if you have not learned to submit to authority and by the way you never learned to submit to God's authority if you haven't learned to submit the earthly authority. The problem of submission to authority is a problem to you but that's not what I was talking about today. Today I'm addressing those that have authority what is your attitude. As you exercise your authority. Do you use a forty for selfish advantage. Do you. You. Seek to preserve your dignity. Is self more important than those that are so the board to. Use your authority for yourself or to use it to bless those that you lead if you are in a position of authority. Does your character. Elicit respect or does your position and the consequences that you. Threaten with. Command the respect. The you rely on your position of strength. And Sapir your A team or do you rely on the sweetness of your character. How did Jesus use his authority your Remember when they came to. Take him. Just before his crucifixion Peter took out a sword cut off the ear of the man that was about to take him. Jesus. Takes that year and puts it back he could have use strength that's not the way he was going to win the controversy this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons to the W.W.W.. Or.

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