Series: Living FREE, the Prison Epistles
Title: “In My Prison – Prejudice is Confronted”
In a Nutshell: When does someone of another race or ethnic background become a “brother” or “sister” to you? When should a baby in the womb be regarded as human, or “one of us”? How you answer the previous two questions will define your views of the value of human life. Ignoring those questions is an assault on the “image of God” and an insult to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ice Breaker: Can you tie an historical event to your full realization of prejudice in your life or the importance of the value of human life? (e.g. the loss of a baby, an abortion, the “dissing” of a close friend from another race) Tell your story. (The issue of the value of human life is a serious issue in this year’s election. Think it through biblicaly – Biblical Issues Up for Election.)
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXT:
1. It has been said, “Every part of this letter was written to persuade Philemon to send back his slave, Onesimus.” How might the following phrases/elements of Paul’s prison epistle to Philemon have been targeted at inspiring him to free Onesimus?
- “For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (vs. 6) “refresh my heart in Christ” (vs.20)
- “for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus” (vss. 9,10)
- “prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you” (vs.22)
2. In light of the power of the gospel being motivated by love how important was it that Philemon free Onesimus out of compassion rather than compulsion? (vs.14)
3. Which side of a person (the sinful side, or the saintly side) would prefer to have an individual as a “won over brother” rather than as the “cheap labor” he had been before?
4. What did Paul notice about differences between individuals once they have become Christians? Col. 3:11-15
5. In light of Ps. 86:9; Is. 49:6; Is. 66:18 why do you think it was so difficult for the Jews to avoid prejudice toward the Gentiles? (Consider Peter’s heartfelt conviction in Acts 10:34-35)
6. What is Jesus point in Mk. 7:24-30? (see also Mt. 15:21-28)
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
1.Can you describe a time when in the struggle of sharing your faith with someone else you gained a deeper understanding of your faith, an insight you had never understood before? (see Phil. 6)
2. How does prejudice continue to show up in your life, your faith?
3. What nationality, economic class, or demographic difference would be hard for you to accept as a son, or daughter-in-law?
4. What has a close friend convinced you to do that no one else could have convinced you to do?
5. What are the signs that a wholesome level of competition has turned into a sinful arrogant prejudice?
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:
1. What are the signs that a church is effectively fighting against prejudice of any or all kinds?
2. Is there such a thing as “denominational” prejudice? If yes, what does it look like?
Us vs. Them & the Birth of Prejudice: http://clg.portalxm.com/library/keytext.cfm?keytext_id=167
For some historical context on 1st Century Slavery: http://bible.org/article/some-initial-reflections-slavery-new-testament
Title: “In My Prison – “I can Bring God Glory”
Text: Philippians 1:18b -26
Questions: Many people are committed to the Lord and the furtherance of His kingdom, because they trust they will come out on top with Him. However, very few people are committed to the Lord when it begins to cost them personally. Paul’s commitment was the same whether the personal results were life or death. Paul had died to himself. You can’t kill a dead man. http://www.awmi.net/bible/phi_01_20
Parents with your children: Consider listening to the story of Burchakahm and Abrahim early in the week and discuss with your children through the week how people who suffer, are hurt or killed for their faith in Christ might bring glory to God. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=24jtaz-2TQg