Cornering A Con – Brad Lehman

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Sermon Notes

This week, Pastor Brad shares a message called ‘Cornering A con’, based on the book of Philemon.
1. The witnesses of a con: Find faithful accomplices [Philemon 1:1-3].
2. The victim of a con: Respond to victimization by refreshing others [Philemon 1:4-7].
3. The cornering of a con: Let God corner the useless to convert them to useful [Philemon 1:8-16].
4. Climbing into a con’s corner: Identify with the guilty [Philemon 1:17-22].
5. Greetings from more accomplices: Praise God for His grace [Philemon 1:23-25]. Let Jesus climb into your corner.
ICEBREAKER: What do you wish someone taught you a long time ago?
1. What prayer principles do you pick up from Paul’s prayer in Philemon 1:4-7? Compare with other Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Ephesians 1:15-19; and 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5.
2. How does a believer refresh “the hearts of the saints” [Philemon 1:7, 20]? What would that look like? Consult also Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Corinthians 16:15-18; and 2 Corinthians 7:13-16 for further insights.
3. Paul wrote that he had become the “father” of Onesimus during his imprisonment [Philemon 1:10]. What does this show about their spiritual relationship? What impact does the analogy of a “father” have for those who serve in Christ’s church [cf. Acts 20:25-35; 1 Corinthians 4:14-21; and 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12]?
4. Have you ever felt or been called “useless” [Philemon 1:11]? Who or what prompted this reaction? How does the good news of Christ restore one to “usefulness” [cf. Luke 19:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-16; and 2 Timothy 2:20-21]?
5. The world focuses on status symbols, titles, power, fame and wealth. In contrast, Christ’s gospel elevates all who trust Him to His beloved family members [Philemon 1:15-17]. How does this changed perspective influence how you treat each member of your church family [cf. Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-24; and 1 Timothy 6:1-2]?
6. How does Paul’s language in Philemon 1:17-19 echo that of the gospel? How does Paul’s advocacy on Onesimus’ behalf imitate Christ for us? How can we do this for others? Consider Luke 15:1-7; Acts 9:26-30; and Romans 15:7 for more ideas.
7. What did you find helpful or challenging about this Sunday’s message?
“Wherever Jesus has been proclaimed, we see lives change for the good, nations change for the better, thieves become honest, alcoholics become sober, hateful individuals become channels of love, unjust persons embrace justice.” (Josh McDowell)