Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When a moment becomes a movement Part 2

In August, Regions Beyond which is Steve Oliver's Apostolic Sphere (which is a part of Newfrontiers ) held a Conference in the UK .

 At the conference Steve O and others shared on what the the apostolic, what is Regions Beyond and how do we relate as different apostolic spheres that share a common history, vision and values. 

This series of blogs is very useful to helping us understand who we are, what vision shapes us and what the future holds for us.
You can find the mp3 audio recording the sermons that we will be summarizing here by  City Church Gloucester website. This is PART 2 and  of Steve Oliver's first message.


 Philemon verse 1 Right in the opening address in the letter to Philemon we get an idea of what Church Planting looks like in the nations. To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:

Verse 4 : we see what makes an apostle happy.
Verse 6: You want to grow in God? Share your faith
Martin Luther referred to this book as “This is holy flattery of the finest kind”!
Now, to the crunch. Paul does not appeal on the basis of apostolic authority but love. Philemon’s mind must have been spinning.
 Verse 11- Onesimus means “useful”. Paul is playing on this name.
Verse 12- “ I am sending him who is my very heart” Do not miss the extent of the depth of relationships as they sought to reach the nations. There is no shyness in sharing their heart.
Verse 17 This was a huge thing for Philemon. It would mean Onesimus would not sleep in the slave quarters but in the finest of guest rooms of the house.
Verse18: “Charge it to me”

Verse 23 Ephapharas planted the church in Colossae and Laodicea. The gospel is going across the nations. He is at the cutting edge going to the nations, establishing churches and appointing Elders, engaging cultures and new situations.

In the Roman world 60% were in slavery. So the church was full of people who were in slavery.
Now Onesimus is coming face to face with the issue- a wealthy slave owner and a runaway slave.

One new man in Christ- how do I bring these two together? Philemon is a true hero. He knows what the law demands and the possible actions. But he responds to Paul’s wish.

Fifty years later in 110 A.D Ignatius a church father was arrested by the Romans. He was the Bishop of Antioch. He was taken to another city to be martyred. One their travel they stopped at Ephesus and the church served Ignatius. He was there for quite some time. He wrote a letter thanking them for their hospitality and he wrote to the bishop or Overseers of Ephesus. Can you guess who it was? It was Bishop Onesimus. It can’t be proved but many scholars feel it is the same Onesimus.

God loves to take the nothings and confound the world.
Philemon understand Apostolic partnership and that it will be costly to him, it will impact his reputation in Colossae and more so when they hear what he did for his fugitive slave. But he was sold out for the purposes of God. The young slave grows up. This letter became famous in the early church.

Bishop Ephesus is also responsible for compiling the 10 letters of Paul. We don’t know how he did this but we owe much to him. God does amazing things through the gospels.

The nations are waiting for us to hear the good news but it means partnering that goes beyond a constitution or organization but a partnering of hearts.
The world is waiting for us; we have many Onesimus' to unlock in the nations.

Two things I want to leave with you

1.      None of the story about Philemon or Onesimus would have happened if it were not for Apostolic thrust to the nations. Jesus told them to go to their cities. Samaria and then to the ends of the earth.
Young men born out of Paul’s ministry get caught up in apostolic ministry. Eph 4:11 Christ gave us the gifts God has a plan for each one of us. We need good strong healthy churches and we need those who will go.

2.      We need to note how to relate to a Sovereign God who works things our in our lives. You may be running away from something. What does God want for you? We need the businessmen who will partner with us as we go to the nations. God will not ask us to do something and not provide. We only need to bring our 5 loaves and two fish to God.

Paul’s letters are always about people and often we have turned it into static doctrine if I can call it that. Everyone is described with affection. We are here. We have people who have gone before us. We have the young ones as well. 

We could buy a killing filed in Burundi for 100,000 pounds to start a training center and church. We got money to work into India.
These are significant days. We need to rally our churches and see the purposes of God and join together in true relationships even though we are spread out.


Apostolic partnership is here and so we go! God is calling us and whatever it is, whether it is to be faithful in prayer , lets respond to God and take the opportunity , whether  it is local, global or somewhere in the middle.



   Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.

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