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June 20, 2021 8:00 am
What are you being seated list type the word of God, and let's go back to the book of Philemon in the New Testament as a pastor you preach three Philemon yes, but when I was preaching through it and ever since then I haven't been able to get all over Philemon. The man as a pastor.
When I contemplate the things Paul says about this man. I know that Paul didn't just throw compliments around everywhere. I'm taken back. I'm somewhat enthralled with him you say will pastor I think you probably a great man of God, but I don't know about being enthralled.
We are not a pastor with apostle Paul was in the things he says about this manner are powerful there, stirring there encouraging and I want to build all the bedding bring a somewhat very different kind of sermon to you this morning for a different kind of reason. This morning we're initiating a new ministry at Grace like church and to be centered and are anchored in truth missions ministry and while I wouldn't call it a new beam. I told you the pastor training Institute was the final major beam in the house. A brace like church and anchored in truth missions, but it is an important room that complements the other foundational ministries that we have and not one that should take a lot of time or energy except for the a brother to that will maybe help leader believing it but Tom would've drawn most of it from the commendations that the apostle Paul gives of this layman in the church.
Philemon a few good men understand there's been a movie. There's a Broadway play entitled a few good men is also been a recruiting slogan for the Marines for many years.
I did some research on the phrase, and I found that the earliest known usage was by Capt. William Jones, the captain of the 28 gun frigate when he advertised in the Providence Rhode Island Gazette in March 1779 that he needed a few good men to join him on a short cruise and that's been around ever since and is been used by the Marine Corps in one way or another ever since the Lord Jesus. In like manner, had amassed a great following yes he began his earthly ministry teaching performing miracles hundreds even thousands and thousands followed him in the broad sense the word they were disciples, they were following after they were learning.
A lot of them were not converted write true Christians yet, but they were interested and I were following. One occasion Jesus pulls himself apart from the crowd and he prays all night. The Bible tells us, so the father and the next morning the gospel of Mark says.
He appointed 12 million that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.
You might say that Jesus knew that he would have a great host of children in his church, followers of him, but he needed a few good men that we do know, based on what the Bible tells us about Jesus. 12 disciples 12 apostles that they were not exceptional men out of their own inherent goodness are virtue, but it was his choice of them and he is a grace working through his discipling of them. That would make them to be exceptional men. For example, when Jesus was crucified. The apostle Paul denied the Lord three times right after that over next chapter 5 I read the Peter Nestlé parliament. If I did. Peter denies it three times in right after that annex.
Chapter 5 Peter is threatened by the religious authorities that he must cease to teach and preach the things of Christ, and he without even hesitating said yes but must obey God rather than men.
He went from being paralyzed by the fear of man the night Jesus was crucified denying the Lord three times to boldly not regarding the fear meant at all. That's what Jesus can do can change a coward into a bold man of God. I believe that if we were live in the youth last few weeks or months of the apostle Paul's life member. We been thinking about that as we been preaching through second Timothy in talking about the fact that he writes ticket second Timothy from the prison cell and he knows his execution is just ahead. I think if we were around the apostle Paul in those days. It's likely we could hear him say will most have forsaken me, Lord, if you just give me a few good men, and God didn't give him a few good men. Apostle Paul had lots of associates during his earthly ministry he want a lot of people to crises planted churches all over the world, but in those more difficult days, we found him looking for just a few good men, and in fact he found them. They were unusual men. Men of unusually deep conviction and of unusually sound character. Men like Timothy in on this for us and a woman like Lydia. And yes, the man named Philemon. Now that we can't verify from the biblical record that Lydia was indeed faithful in the end of Paul's ministry. I believe that she was but yet were going to look at her example to us we think about Philemon and then also think about on this verse were gonna think about Lydia also and look at the conviction and the character of these people. So we see the apostle Paul in his ministry, coming to that point we would say more. Just give me a few good men. Maybe one good woman. Lydia so I want us to look today at these two men in this good woman and draw some conclusions to lead to how were going to establish this new ministry not so much as Nona Philemon that we don't know about. In this for us and that we don't know about Lydia so will center on Philemon and his example and we will complement that with the example of the other two.
So here's how were going to do it. You are a Philemon wind number one, I you love and support your pastor we've been talking about this a lot because there's a lot said about that.
In second Timothy so want you to know, embrace like church that I'm not preaching this because I think there needs to be some big correction in this area. You do love and support your pastor, I experience it all the time and I'm humbled by and I am grateful for it. So this is not because you need this correction, even though it's always true.
You need the truth of the word of God. No matter what it is you never arrive to what we don't need it I need is a pastor you did as a church member. So on the one hand for most of you men here today, and this really ties in well because it's Father's Day. I didn't plan it that way just cut all the dominoes fail for this to be preached today but because it's Father's Day.
And because you men are responsible for more.
The ladies are responsible and primarily Victor Tatian is to those men who have greater responsibility. They are men who own businesses. Men who have more wealth men who are responsible for more things. The Bible clearly teaches men, you have more accountability you have more responsibility and that's where Philemon was. It was that kind of a man so it's not because you need a correction, but it is to say let's stay the course and secondly don't miss this.
Let's organize ourselves so that we might take what were learning and growing as men of God in the local church and reproduce it in our other anchored in truth church plants and partner churches.
That's been our conviction all along has it not. We want to live in here, at least to a good degree before we reproduce and of the places. So in one sense I'm charging every man in this church jointly with me in a new ministry that's bigger than us. Have a vision outside of us, so let's look at this from Philemon's life were talking about your eye Philemon you have the spirit of a Philemon when you love and support your pastor and we see this so powerfully. As Paul writes this letter to Philemon. And of course the purpose of the letter is to persuade the manfully meant to take back his runaway slave on this, the musts and not just take him back but taking back.
No longer is a slave.
But now is a brother in Christ. And Paul says some quite amazing things about Philemon. So while I know I'm not emphasizing the major theme of the letter we preach that thoroughly I do to bring out some secondary truths, particularly looking at the conviction and character Philemon it's very important for us to look at an think about and apply to your life.
Verse one Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother to Philemon and those is it our beloved brother and fellow worker Paul knew this was a brother who loved him.
You're my beloved brother Philemon, implying among other things. I know you love me and you support me.
I jump down to verse four. He says I thank my God always know what the apostle Paul think God always and by the way, this is the apostle Paul who experience great rejection and persecution by the culture at large and significant difficulties, and even the churches. He started would have uprisings and people who would oppose his leadership.
So when he says to Philemon. I think God for years what it means to me as I know you love me folly and I didn't know you support me. That's Juan thankful for you believe it, but not just that he loved and supported Paul. Paul knew why he did, he did because he first loved Christ. Those who always go together once you gain any maturity in Christ.
You will love God's man. If you love God you love Christ, and Bassford. If you love Christ. That's what Paul is bringing out here. Look at verse seven.
If you will pieces for I've come to have much joy and comfort in your love for the because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother. This phrase comfort in your love is a powerful phrased it means Paul. When Paul woke up in the morning. He might be first reminded of all of those who were forsaking him but when he thought Philemon. He thought, praise God that man will stay with me.
He knew Philemon loved supporting that he had comfort in his love, and then down in verse eight. If you will, therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ ordered you to do what's proper context. He said I know I could order you to take on this most back.
I could order you to no longer view him as a slave but as a brother. He said I'm not going to do that. He said I have such confidence in you, among other things.
That's got to include that. I know that you love me as your spiritual leader and you support me and then we get down to him verse some 14 of Philemon and he says, he said, but without your consent.
I didn't want to do anything I'm not gonna force something on you Philemon so that your goodness goodness would not be in effect by compulsion but of your own free will. So here Paul is pointing out this man is a man who loves me and support.
There's more there than that but that is definitely there. And when your pastor, let's just say a pastor step member church leader who is really trying to build a spiritually biblically healthy church. It's worth everything to have some Philemon's around because there are plenty who are against you. You guys got to understand you been here very long. You think what we have is normal is not kinda unity and love and support that I experience is just it's just almost radically rare as we embed this in evangelical circles.
Now in in in balance of that are are in in continuation of that, I should say let's look at the example of on this for us. Look at second Timothy one of the on your screen. Second Timothy chapter 1 verses 16 and 17, Paul is rotting from prison and he says the Lord grant to the house of a mistress 40 all grant mercy rather very often refreshed to me and was not ashamed of my change but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me.
What Paul is saying here when everybody else fell away. There was one God love me and supported me on this verse. He went to great links, he exalted himself in an and literally put himself in danger by associating with me but he would not be deterred, and then he goes on to talk more about that, but then noticed the that Lydia has another example and were looking at this in acts chapter 16 if you will. Verses 13 through 15 in verse 40 Paul is preaching in Philip. He resides to the Riverside were a lot of people wrist resided in and rested on that date inches on the Sabbath day. We went outside the gate to the Riverside. When we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer and we sat down to begin speaking to the women who assembled there right next woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira seller of purple fabric. There outside the cell purple fabrics almost automatically meant you had wealth because it was a very, very rare God that was in the region of thought Tyrone were Lydia's house than that she's a long way from Qatar. Right now she's in Philippi she's doing business in other towns what she's doing and she's a sinner. Purple fabrics and purple was the color of royalty and nobility because it was so rare and so expensive and so she's a woman of some means of benefit. She's at least gotten home she has a home in Qatar and she has a home or place of business in your in Philippi also. And she's a worshiper of God. She's one who's come to embrace the God of the Jews, she was listening a notice and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the thing spoke about Paul is how God points out over and over again. It is the sovereign God who initiates conversion. The Lord opened her heart. Then she responded notices and when she and her household had been baptized. She urged us saying if you judge me to be faithful the Lord coming to my house and stay, and she prevailed upon us. What's the point. Her point is I want to take care of you Paul and your associates, how to support you for you to me Houston my houses are in my my buildings here. We will feed you food and I know that she gave them money to continue. There were I can guarantee you Paul if Philippi was saying I know there's one godly business lady in Philippi and she loves me and supports me. So we see that pattern and there are other patterns but powerfully seen in Philemon's live conferencing in the life of a nest for us and powerfully seen in this godly lady. Lydia is converted on the Riverside. There, in the regions of Philippi. If you have the Philemon spirit. God's done enough work in you to where you see it as pleasing to God and honoring God to love and support your pastor II URI Philemon when your pastor can trust you and depend on your support is just the other side of the coin, but I think it needs to be emphasized because not only is Philemon commended for what he is called basically all the way through his letter to Philemon says and what you do for me by letting me know I can depend on you fully letting me know you'll be there to support me is worth everything now there's one key point I want to bring out here because as you know that the main context of the letter Paul is writing to flame and saying Philemon I found your runaway slave. He bumped into meetings been converted these been a wonderful help and serve it to me. I'm sending him back to you Philemon. I'm not going to command you, I could command you, but I'm not going to but I want you to consider fully human.
Now he's no longer slave. He's not your brother in Christ, powerful, see what we forget, we read that we just gloss over it were all well aware of the dark, deep evil stain of slavery in the history of our country, but we sometimes forget is that for 6000 years at least leading up to the middle part of the 19th century, slavery was generally practiced throughout the world is just irrefutable throughout the world. Now the Islamic world in history was perhaps one of the greatest participants in the slave trade, the Arab nations enslaved many white Europeans and many Africans to be their slaves and by the way, when I was in India a few years ago we had a man who was in our pastor's class who was a slave to an Islamic family in India still practice in Islam. People forget about that in a thousand A.D., slavery was common in England, a matter fact so many of the Germanic peoples were slaves. The word for the name slob of the Slavic nations really came to be a word used for slave because it was just common. So many of them were slaves in their path.
Significant portion of people in the on the European continent, but affect moving on up in history.
Did you know that the Indians, the Cherokee Indians in particular, but they need. In general, when they were forced to move west.
They took their African slaves with them and their African slaves built the Indian nation out West.
So here's what I'm saying to you, slavery has been dominant in world history.
But if you come to this time when Paul's writing to fully fully met. There's probably no time in world history were slavery was more woven into the fabric of civilization than the Roman Greco Empire roams practice slavery.
The Greeks practiced slavery, but none more than the Rome orb in Rome during the Roman Empire. Some biblical scholars say it's possible that 50% of the citizens of Rome were slaves of 1° or another.
So in this context when all the businesses in all the businessmen and everybody usually utilized slavery. The apostle Paul, listen to me as such trust in Philemon that he believed with the latter, he can write to fully man and change that in Philemon's life. What that means. Paul trusted in this man trusted and knew he could depend on it. I know a lot about Tom's constraint here because you don't listen much past 1145 so I have to move all but the way Paul he says I could command you, but I'm not going to. I could force you, but I'm going to put the goodness of your heart, because I know what you're going to Philemon crisis changed you and Boone.
The lights going to go on your guerrillas.
As a Christian I cannot participate in slavery any longer.
That's a powerful truth you you see Paul didn't appeal to the power of the state. That's too slow. Paul didn't appeal to the arm of the flesh shall force you to do it. You say listen Christianity reverses slavery from the heart out history records that the nations who were quickest and most thorough to remove this scourge from their lands or Christian nations had strong Christian principles and influence in them. So here we see a powerful statement of Paul who is functioning as the pastor of this local church that meets in Philemon's house having this deep confidence that this man can be trusted and depended upon. In addition to that again in verse one. He calls for leaving his fellow worker. I know I can depend on me as a fellow worker again. He says your comfort to me. In verse seven.
Your faithful support comforts me. I can't depend on some churches and some individuals aflame and I know I've always been up depend on you and then go to verse 20 if you will win fully human.
Just brother. Let me benefit from you in the Lord and refresh my heart in Christ. He's asking for that to happen, but you can tell, Paul knows he can trust for Lehman to do the right thing here. Verse 21 having confidence in your obedience.
I write to you since I know that's I can trust you Philemon. I know you will do even more than what I say Philemon had the kind of spirit were his pastor knew he could trust him and he could depend on them to do the right thing and something interesting here if we going to verse some 22 at the same time. Also, prepare me a lodging or a hope that through your prayers. I will be given to you.
Philemon was most likely the wealthiest men in the church. He had the kind of house where he could have up a guest quarters. If you will and in its inch-thick Paul does not sheepishly say a Philemon.
I just hate to bring this up in.
I don't impose on you and I I'm embarrassed to ask this, but what you think Philemon that it might be okay if I stayed at your house a few days when I'm there. Such a trust in this man sucked up a knowledge that Jill rejoiced to help me.
I can depend on him. He just get ready. I'm coming with us either so there's many many families in the church. I feel that way about.
I hadn't asked for room as far as I know, for many of you, but if there was a need. I had on, I could pick up the phone and I know just a moment and I would feel confident that you would want to pastor I'll do that for you. You understand something I don't have needs. I'm not asking for that. All I'm asking for is you have that heart attitude. I for Lehman heart attitude will taken care by not preaching this for me, but a lot of our churches. We partner with the law. The churches we plant part they are yet there men need to learn the Philemon spirit. That's where I'm going with this. You gotta help me help them get there. The course again. The example of a mistress.
I'll not go there for time how he was diligent to seek Paul out find Paul in Roman prisons minister to them the example of Lydia in the Bible since Leah didn't just suggest to save on house the boxes she prevailed on Paul. Paul, you got to stay here and let me take care of thing so should call would say I know I can trust and depend on the support of a mistress. I know I can trust and depend on the support of this godly lady Lydia and certainly he knew he could trust and depend on the support of godly Lehman Philemon number three you are for Lehman when you strongly support your local church. This ties into the earlier's points understand that, but it is a separate thing you supporting God's pastor is supporting the local church, but it's more than that to and we see this, and though in the book aflame and it jumps out so powerfully. Again, if your pastor this means more to you because you are fellow shipping with pastors and in my case, mentoring, and encouraging trying to train pastors who are not experiencing this kind of blessing that a Philemon brings to the church. Verse two again and Althea are sister are chip with our fellow soldier notice and the church in your house. Philemon said we don't place the meat church coming to my house. It was a church strongly committed to the local church. In verse five Paul writes I hear of your love and the faith which you have for the Lord Jesus and is always follows and toward all the saints policy if you love Christ and that's always seen in that you love the church you love the site. That's gotta mean primarily those who are meeting in the church in your house for Lehman to someone who is strongly committed to the local church. Paul writes in verse seven.
Again, note this number seven go to verse 17, maybe if then he's right you for Lehman you regard me as a partner accept him as you would make notes that Harris apostle Paul is aflame in your my partner partner and what did I have a pit tent making business on the side. I don't think so Paul did that. I don't think that's what he thought were not partners in the business when he sings this in my solitary vision of preaching the gospel concerning those converted in establishing local New Testament churches Philemon you've been a faithful partner to me in that that's what you say you're strongly committed to the mission. I'm about starting local churches throughout the world.
Hear the successful businessman, relatively speaking, wealthy man in this local church shows a clear and strong commitment to the local church on this for us. Now when we look back in second Timothy again we think about this godly men on this for us. He was so diligent. Seek out Paul, I think it's probable that on this Miss probably had a church in his house. We know Paul talks about on this bus and his whole household.
Being blessed be receiving God's mercy. I can't prove that I don't know but I think it's possible maybe probable, but certainly on this. Miss knew that when I support this man Paul I'm supporting what Paul's about preaching the gospel. Planning local New Testament churches that's that's something that's gonna happen inside of a Lehman where he says I'm beginning to say that God is pleased and glorified primarily and principally when his gospel is preached and churches are planted and built up throughout the world. That's world.
Nessim us was when this verse was and that's where Philemon was. What about Lydia this a powerful thing here about the local church in the testimony or in the narrative concerning the conversion of Lydia. If you will look again at Lydia let me leave that for a moment believe that for a moment and inlet. Let me let me talk about this for just a moment in Christian ministry, and in New Testament teaching Christian ministry is much more of a rifle shot than a shotgun blast. You know the difference shotgun has many pellets and issues I just go everywhere cricket you more of a rifle shot it. For example, Paul Wooten called the plant churches and in a polished one of his associates wasn't called to tent crusade meetings and part of Barnabas wasn't called to street ministry and Titus wasn't called to businessman's Fellowship and John Martin wasn't called to chariots for Jesus gets a bonkers visit and have motorcycles and all these none of saying these are bad and we support some things like that but my point is, when you look at the New Testament all the so to talk like a rifle shot.
They all preached our supported that preaching I nailed plant local New Testament churches, and the bill hippos note local New Testament churches matured so they could cooperate and plant more local New Testament church is just a rifle shot. That's what you see in the New Testament, and that's why we are not dogmatic about being centered on preaching and planting churches and revitalizing churches were not dogmatic about it were bold dogmatic about others might do other things are not going to condemn them with the New Testament is overwhelmingly full of this rifle shot so that's we want to be about what God is most often talking about in his word now is talk about Lydia. Acts chapter 16 and we look at verse 13 again on the Sabbath day. We went outside to think this is in Philippi. Lydia has come from thought Tyra selling purple in the region of Philippi apostle Paul happens to be there. The seizure by this Riverside Paul says in verse 13 below the verse we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer. We sit down to begin speaking to the women who had assembled and a woman named Lydia from the city of thought Tyra selling fabric. I got worse from God was listening and the Lord opened her heart responded things spoken by Paul know those first 15 and she and when she and her household had been baptized. That's anything to you and the woman is just converted and already Paul is planning a church in her house that quick you don't baptize people just out on the street or in the community or inducement of the baptism is an ordinance which places you in the membership of the local chart that shows you the powerful priority and centrality of the local church and the apostle Paul's ministry and in the heart of Lydia. She said let's do it. So she starts this church in her home. That's what that means.
We sit in the example of Lydia. She prevails that the apostle Paul stayed there with no looking over verse 40 skimming on down. Paul gets in trouble his preaching is because some businessman to start losing money and you get bit. You mess with some businessman's money. They'll hate you like the preacher that messes up their money idle, but verse 40 says when they went out of prison. They entered the house of Lydia. That's confidence in that they trusted that they knew she they were welcome there. And when they saw all the brethren will set me that meets the church. The brother churches meeting there when I saw the brethren they encourage them and departed. You have the spirit of Philemon your Philemon when you are strongly committed to the local church like Philemon was a lock on this for us was in like Lydia was. Let me give you one more thought of sharing this with the brother and I'll talk to him in a moment, but some think about marital status status by way of illustration.
Here are parallel. I should say when your marital status changes it permeates and influences the totality of your life in like manner when your spiritual status changes. You receive Christ to become a member of Christ Church that new association and commitment and belonging is that you don't attend the church you belong to church contend church you contend the church meeting with what you're doing right now, but you you belong to church it your family and once that happens that to influences and permeates the totality of your life. Everywhere you go.
That goes with you for example info if the couple gets married and after they're married the husband continues all lucky, as if he was single when he spends his finances only does this budget he's at. Doug didn't just like he did when he was single and when he was involved in his hobbies and his social things he did the same things he did when he was single and when he has his friends and buddies. He hangs out with. This is like saying Gazans when he was single you think you said when you don't understand marriage.
It flavors all of that.
All that starts changing sinewave course for the ladies, and so it is with the local church is to permeate the totality of your being. Your one of God's children and you have faith belonging to this family that's eternal and it flavors everything you are you guys who play ball when you go out, play golf ball for the junior high that I scoop you not just a ballplayer who attends church here are ballplayer who belongs to brace laughter to show it when you mean going to the factory. You may go in your business that you all.
You're not just going in there and there is a follower of Jesus Christ who belongs to Christ. Laughter shows it flavors everything you do.
It's just that we have such a dumb day own understanding of the local church today since it's a woeful deficiency in our understanding of the local church.
For example, the majority of pastors.
I'm not exaggerating here and I'm not running these dear brothers now because so many of them tried and they just get obliterated by other church members when they try to get things right now and I have a heart for these past but most pastors will fully teach that membership is of no real consequence's former opacity was quite humorous. He used to say if you could teach a chimpanzee to walk down now fill out a card. Most beds churches would boating in his point was it's a mess. It's a mess. Most pastors will basically tell you there is no evaluation or qualification to come in and join membership and if you join there certainly no accountability or discipline for your life after you join is radically wrong to none biblical not been spending decades trying to correct that. God bless you for taking in there with me as we been on this journey single that the same illustration is just as marital status touches and determines the totality of life. So dose one status as a Christian and a member belonging to one of God's local churches that was Philemon.
As you look at it you look at what Paul says about Philemon. It's everything to wrap together his his household is there. The church meets in his household his business. More than likely that they most all business function out your household with your blacksmith.
What if you did may have sold things in the marketplace with you mated in your home and your household. And so it permeated everything. I mean Philemon brings Christianity and even the chart trying to the center of his business life and his home life. Powerful stuff. It's a lesson for all of us in a bodily timeout.
Hey guys, listen to me. Some of you think you will you know Pastor could build hard for business.
If I'm too upfront about Christ in my business. You know the antagonism and resistance to Christianity. In this day and flame and just didn't say I'll be known as a Christian. He said meet in my house, but his business and everything on the line for the good of the church in honor of Christ that brings me to our last point IV your Philemon. When you view your business and wealth as belonging to God and gladly yield them for the greatest purpose.
That's what Philemon did and everything.
I am now everything blows to me it's all centered in Christ centered in Christ work.
Christ purposes and Christ church. We don't know much about on this verse.
On this point, but definitely Lydia was like Philemon.
When this woman, this purple fabrics, probably making fantastic profits said I don't care because right after Lydia's baptize in the church is starting her home. Paul is persecuted by a businessman in the community and gets locked in prison… The matter to me. My business on the Leinbach home is on the line the rep that it's all Christ.
Powerful stuff. Stuff so we see the example of Philemon and in Lydia this lack of divine goodness. It's all wanting Christianity in my commitment to his local church permeates all of it. Actually, Lydia, and Philemon and on this for us, remind us of another man. Actually several, but one other all mentioned in the New Testament.
Joseph of Arimathea Bob's calls him a righteous and good man and he was one of the leaders in Israel, which meant he had wealth and influence. When Jesus died, he boldly goes to pilot and asked for Jesus body and associates himself with the most scorned and hated and rejected man that they probably known in centuries and didn't just say I'm going to take his body and babysitting him putting him in my room, put it out there. I'm one of his do you remember James Cash Penney, Miriam million-member JCPenney Sangha JCPenney at the early part of the 20th century built an empire of dry goods stores, JCPenney, you may not know was raised in a preacher's home. His dad was a Baptist preacher, don't tell anybody, but he was a Calvinist Baptist preacher and his godly mom is not a dead toward biblical truth into him, but affected young age he bought his first stored it was called the Golden rule store. They were called JCPenney's at first golden rule stores get great vision. He had great discipline. He was super successful. He builds this empire, but his heart didn't yet belong to Christ.
The Great Depression hits his empire begins to crumble his finances begin to dwindle, but not primarily from the depression, but because he had made some foolish investments in banks and real estate JCPenney when into the despondency and depression.
He became suicidal. One of his dear friends encouraged and go to sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan, and he did and he checked himself into sanatorium in JCPenney's own words is that one morning I woke up before breakfast and I was walking down the hallway and I heard some people in a room. He walked into the room which was the chapel there. Some doctors and nurses were sharing Scripture and praying before the day started in one of those doctors quoted from the words of Jesus coming to me all you who are weary and heavy late and then I will give you rest. That's all it took.
JCPenney's testimony as my heart was changed immediately.
I became a different man is almost lost my wife and my children. It was my own fault but God gave me all of that back. He went back to rebuild his stores and he got greater than ever before became one of the greatest business is in the world of his day, certainly in his lot of work.
JCPenney that didn't did something that you probably thought he had already done. He went to a local church and he was baptized became a member will of course he did know you understand.
JCPenney was had great bitterness and resistance to the organized church because when his when he was a young boy. His father was preaching and teaching the church that they needed to start a Sunday school you do instead is undisputed always been around Sunday school movement was starting and it was designed initially to get the kids of unchurched people into the church and teach them the things of God tees in the gospel and he wanted to reach these children. But the men of his church adamantly opposed him and fired him and read about the church and they were lived in abject poverty for years. It was so difficult probably part of the reason why James cash Penney gave himself to build such an empire gained wealth he knew would select have nothing. He was resistant to church but God and change is hard, and he realized the church's right and I'm to be baptizing John the church and gave his life to serving the Lord.
JCPenney spent the latter days of his life leaving his company to view his business now as a tool for God in his latter years. He said I'm not here to be successful. I'm here for a different calls.
He developed many ministries in Christian ministries and charities or things of speaks to makes most strongly safe, he bought 60 acres of land and filled it with homes and gave those homes to Christian missionaries and Christian ministers when they retire because in those days guys would retire leave a past Orem and be in poverty have nowhere to live.
That was the heart JCPenney JCPenney was changed by the gospel and then he was changed so that he began to use his business and his wealth for the greatest purpose. So I come to this new ministry that I'm initiating today by the Chad Epperson is agreed to direct this ministry and a brother, Chad was on our staff of fibs to separate times one whole time said, but he was director small groups and children's director, but the whole time he was here he owes himself a noisier he's kinda headed business minded about Chad.
I member that you and I said in the parking lot in front of the building. We are talking about one if I get the money and buy this and start a business. You can started any lower than Chad started when you go to Jeff knob and ask him about where to get money start business you just got the bottom of their nothing more than that. He just won't honor his pastor, but I member sitting in the parking lot at chads had a vision of structuring the whole business to have a witness for Christ.
I know that's part of a lot of our men, but Chad just, that God has it all structured and organized and we talked of years and had a burden for that one long ago that he and I were talking is a check we did get this in the local church more and get it multiplying to our church.
Denise account only. I love that so you asked for brother. So here we come up so I appreciate his willingness to head this up and take the decades of learning.
I think the last I heard your your view have about 100 employees round that I think and so God's greatly blessed his business, but it is a strong and faithful witness for Christ. So were calling in going with the tile at the time were calling this the grace lot church Philemon Fellowship is the Philemon Fellowship project OGC there is to develop an encouraging mentoring fellowship of men to build great businesses that exist for the greatest purpose.
That's the objective that some sub points there. These will not be on the screen but as for Lehman was we want these men to be loyal supporters and trusted friends of their local church pastor you're already doing that well, and the spirit of full Lehman. We want these men to be to develop their businesses to have a high priority of supporting God's church and missions through God's local churches.
So many of you God doing that well and thirdly see the Philemon Fellowship as an extension of our foundational ministries but not by replacement. This cannot become your church. It cannot become your small group. If it does I'll dismiss you from you, not faithful in those areas. Now you can't be in the Philemon Fellowship that the upside down right decision only for businessmen actually lots of some you guys are young guys maybe don't got you dreamed about starting a business.
We need you in their sin. You guys are just going to work and punch the clock and that's wonderful. That's audible. We need you there because more than anything, this is about being a witness in the workplace for the glory of God.
It's not in any way going to be that legalism cannot do if you don't do these things away. Chad did it away. This brother doesn't think no not doing any of that benefit chads been very, very humble to tell me several times pastor, I need to learn from these brothers we can learn from each other be more like a full Lehman Morlock JCPenney in his latter days.
So that's basically the object of the meetings were talking about meeting once every two months on a Sunday evening. This is where having services on Sunday and the evening at this time and this is the first will be August 22 at 6 o'clock will provide dinner all right, open to all men you not say will pastor you preached about Lydia, what about the ladies. I don't know I'm not against that but here's what I'm seeing happened a number of our men already Fellowship around these trees now and will Chad.
You'll greatly just builds bonding and closeness. I just am not comfortable with ladies being interspersed in that kind of intimacy and bonding and closeness of church needs to be disciplined about those things so I don't know yet. I just don't know right now is just for the men are topics when we have these meetings every two months will be like first when we cannot divide our lives. Secondly, you don't own it. Thirdly, God's standards are not the world standards. Fourthly, your business is an extension of your ministry of the session. What what do you are water must do roles for Christian CEOs and etc. etc. not to be a lot of time spent explaining how you can be opening your witness for Christ like for Lehman was in his business, but Lydia was surrounding her business. Without getting into a lawsuit is a big concern today and there's a real strong, clear law about this and how you can follow these things and avoid some of the pitfalls that could come upon you. Lastly, the vision for this ministry is to see God or God's work rather of planting and revitalizing sound local churches flourish to the ends of the earth for the glory of God. I can guarantee if you sit down for Lehman said that Lydia said no not know what are you about other so we will have a great business but won't. You know were supporting Paul in this work, planting churches in getting this to the ends of the earth that that's the broad vision. More specifically, for us grace lot church Philemon Fellowship will be a fellowship of godly men in grace lot church whom God might use to mentor other men and other churches to build great businesses that exist for the greatest purpose that fires me up. I'm not after your money cannot tell you something only to money only to money. I don't God have your heart and Christian ministry does require money. This lot no doubt Philemon generously supported Paul financially about Lydia generously supported Paul frontage that's always there, but I'm free from that temptation will limit say that I don't walk in that temptation. God wants your heart think there's anything wrong with you working hard in building a great business and living comfortably and with not stuff I'm not against that is I can't thing the Bible but I am against you making an idol out of that business in an idol out of that stuff and not seeing is a tool for the glory of God are you listening to me by the way. That's true whether you make $20,000 a year or $20 million a year. It's the heart that's my brother something all of us can benefit because this is going be a fellowship of men who get together without legalism without saying you got good, like me, but to say are we committed to these broad biblical principles. The iron sharpening iron and one man sharpens another no limit say this to you. Some you guys who had worked in business for years and you might say well I don't think I've been very good at that and maybe you're even saying I don't know I may have failed it look first of all, the pastor's attention. Secondly, you do a lot of good things to some of you don't think you have you got a lot of solid God centered. Good stuff. You can help some brothers, especially jealous for our young men because some you guys are starting out your investing your building businesses and I want you to be wildly successful, but I don't want you to end up with 20 million. I want you to end up with 200 million because God could bless you more because you put him first. Yesterday I was running some errands with my wife as you get older you do that on Saturday knows that they be jungle Sam's on Saturday because of the slow people to I was in Sam Saturday we were driving through the Regency Square mall parking lot and we came across that great big vacant building that used to be JCPenney's doll, empty, abandoned by the fact I read were JCPenney's just in recent days has closed over 150 stores just come out of bankruptcy. They're having some hard times and who knows they may go completely out of business.
But if every single JCPenney store closes and his financial empire is over what Mr. Pini did with his vast wealth for the Christ and his church will last for eternity.
I'm still being blessed by the management in heaven for good while. What's going to be your legacy. I mean that everything's changing Internet nouns to the JCPenney's. But what's done for Christ will last, but the enrollment Mr. Pini and his descendents had a wonderful comfortable life in retirement. Everything but he made an investment read some of what he was getting 90% of his wealth every year to Christian colleges.
By the time he died, let's have the spirit of a Philemon Lydia in this verse, and let's pray and ask God. God let this come from our hearts would let us be real about it and let us walk in it so we can take it to our sister churches and plants and help their mentor until you guys just listen to me so few pastors have what I have been don't have the kind love and support you give me.
I don't deserve it but God what you get. You get that it's not about me it's about you love and got enough lives pastor.
That's all it is, warts and all, but some of our churches would be so helpful if we could take this out of our church and meet with some of their men and get them thinking this way is huge hips of these pastors and churches that's the vision that's the ministry will require much time at all. The pray for us as we go forward with the glory of God now told you it was a different kind of sermon with a different kind of purpose but I hope many many many of you guys will get in on it.
Think now what that really don't apply to me. If your breathing man you're in the world of plasty