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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bishop T. D. Jakes » TD Jakes - The Master Negotiator

TD Jakes - The Master Negotiator

TD Jakes - The Master Negotiator

So in my text today... it is not lost on me that there are only three characters in the parameters of the text. Philemon, who is a disciple of Christ, who is also a convert of the apostle Paul, and Onesimus, who has become a disciple of Christ, but wasn't always. And though Onesimus is saved now, he has to live with the mistakes of his past. And though Philemon is such a Christian, living in Colossae, that my research informs me that it is likely that the Colossian church started in the house of Philemon. Philemon then becomes central to the theology and the understanding of the New Testament church.

Living in Colossae, he becomes a vital component to the strategy of the apostle Paul to deliver ministry unto a multi-ethnic society. And though the book is small, the problem is huge, and though it only has three characters, it is quite complicated. It is about injustice. It is about classism. It is about forgiveness. It is about mercy. It is about destiny. But most of all, it is about disruptive thinking. When I told you that the apostle Paul was in jail, I negated to tell you that it was his body that was in jail.

You see, they locked up his body but they couldn't lock up his mind. The apostle Paul, even in prison, is the great negotiator and he understands the power of negotiating settlement against contestants, rivals, and uprisings. Had he been a contemporary of my day, he would have been like Charles Schwab who said, "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate". So crying because you deserve better will not get you better, if you're ever going to have better, it must be negotiated. It is not lost on me that the negotiator is an inmate himself, negotiating freedom for a slave while yet bound. And there he is in chains and cuffs, speaking a settlement between rivals who are free and he cannot reach them.

Neither Onesimus, Philemon, or the apostle Paul are connected physically. They remind me of what I learned in junior high about all things primarily being composed of molecules, and molecules being composed of atoms, and the atoms that make up the molecules exist from the perspective of understanding that there is a distance between the atoms, a space between them through which all material exists. That space between the atoms is imperative to how the molecule reacts. There is a space between Onesimus, Philemon, and Paul, that I choose to call the grace space. It is the place where God intervenes in spite of the distance.

In other words, I don't have to be near to you to change you. I don't have to look like you to help you. I don't have to be born in your generation or operate in your gender to be able to bring you out of chaos because, like the atoms, I am operating in a space of grace. The apostle Paul in my text is operating in a place of grace. He is the progenitor, the writer, the author, the curator, of the majority of New Testament theology, and even tied with his hands behind his back and shackles around his feet, even with his body locked up in a tomb, they could not hold his mind. It is my desire as your father that you keep everything that you were born with. But if I had to choose any one thing that you never gave up, is never give up your mind.

Your mind is the first computer that was ever designed with hard drive and software and the ability to process and to think for yourself and give somebody your car if you want to, give somebody your house if you please, but never give anybody your mind. Love him with your heart, but keep your mind to yourself. Because Paul, even though he was old... ow! Even though he was old and gray and locked up and in chains, the problem that made him so potent is that he still had his mind. And so he negotiates freedom from a place of bondage because he has, with his mind, influence. And he says to Philemon, my next character, I could have ordered you to do it.

How do you order somebody in jail? So they took away his freedom, but they couldn't take away his authority, 'cause authority has nothing to do with proximity. I am who I am. I never had to fight you to be myself 'cause as long as I know who I am, I am who I am. And he said I chose not to command you, but rather to convince you. He is the master negotiator negotiating with Philemon about somebody Philemon is upset with. Philemon is powerful. Paul is in Rome. Philemon is in Colossae, and I don't know where Onesimus is because, you see, Onesimus is a runaway slave. He is a runaway slave, follow me now, children. He is a runaway slave who bumped into Paul on the run and had a Damascus experience with the apostle Paul as a runaway slave that led to his conversion.

Now, Onesimus is converted, the runaway slave is converted, he is converted to believe. Now, do not allow your American mind nor your African American mind to get so hung up in slavery that you think slavery started in 1619, 'cause slavery has existed amongst many cultures down through history. And it is only mentioned in the Bible because it existed in the Bible, though it is not condoned by the Bible, it is mentioned in the Bible as a reality to pronounce the fact that he that came to set you free, operated in the midst of an enslaved society.

Onesimus is a runaway slave who has a conversion experience that is so pronounced and so powerful that when Paul writes to Philemon, he said he is my heart. I love him. Not only do I love him, but I would have kept him in your place. So the one you enslaved is just as gifted as you, but you couldn't see his gifting because you think of him as a slave. You never considered the possibility that he could be useful. So when Paul uses the term useful to describe Onesimus, he only brings it up because Onesimus means useful, beneficial, helpful. The worst things happen to the most useful people. Some of the great tragedies of life are targeted at helpful people and people who seek to make a difference. And now he who is named helpful is on the run for his life.

And Philemon's angry, and rightfully so, because allegedly Onesimus not only ran away but stole some stuff as he went. And even if the allegation is not true, he himself is property. His absence depreciated the net worth of Philemon, and Philemon is functioning at a deficit because some of your net worth is equated to not only what you owned, but who. So, even if he had not stolen his property, he himself was property, and the runaway Onesimus is not just a person or a race, it is a runaway dollar. And Philemon has suffered such loss that Paul has to negotiate with somebody who is functioning at a deficit because of a decision made by a subordinate. It is not as though that Philemon...

I feel like preaching now, y'all, this is a problem. It is not as though Philemon has not survived. He has established a church. He has maintained a presence. He is the focal point of influence. He is the progenitor, according to historians, of the Colossian church, he has survived, he is valuable, he is potent, he is powerful, he is influential, but there is something missing, there's something missing out of his net worth and there's something missing out of his ego. Because to be publicly humiliated by a runaway slave has in some way diminished his influence in his community. Because if you can't keep what's in your own house, people always throw it up in your face. Let the church say amen. Can I have...oh my gosh. I just, I just looked at the clock, just give me 10 minutes and I'll wrap it.

Now, Paul has to negotiate without going. Do you know how hard it is to negotiate from a distance? I mean, out of atoms, bombs were made, but they have to reach a target in order to detonate. Now, Paul must explode at a distance and reverberate to the heart of Philemon and Onesimus. So in a letter, he negotiates a settlement between two rivals without being present for the debate. And he says to Philemon that I believe that Onesimus is more valuable to you as a brother than he ever would have been as a slave. He is so beneficial, he is so beneficial to me that I wanted to keep him for myself. But because I am neither narcissistic nor selfish...

If you have the dexterity of thought and the nimbleness of mind to be disruptive in your thinking, if... let me break it down, if you have the ability to see him as a brother once you have seen him as a slave... See, it is hard to re-imagine people once you categorize people, once you decide because I hurt you, I am an enemy, other people liking me only gets on your nerves. And disruptive thinking is the ability to form an alliance with somebody who is not normally an ally. Disruptive thinking requires that you are willing to shatter how you saw me, to see me in a new light.

And I chose this little passage and I chose this little seldom preached text and I chose this complicated scenario, this dissonant saga, to the intent that we might learn something that God wants us to understand, that how you experience me at one stage should not limit you from the ability and the capacity to disrupt how you saw me and open your mind to the possibility that the relationship that we have now could be greater than the relationship that we had been.

And I preached this message so that every ex-wife and ex-husband would stop being angry over an experience that happened 10 years ago and not recognize that even if I'm not helpful to you, I might be helpful to your children and to your grandchildren. And I might be able to help you in the hospital when your daughter has a disease because I know something about my family history that you might need to know. But if you are too petty to be able to disrupt your thinking, then you will incarcerate the opportunity for me to bring you out of bondage. And you have to have the flexibility to let people go that you held hostage in your mind and to let the resentment and the anger and the hostility go because he whom the Son has set free, is free indeed.

Can I go a little bit deeper? See, disruptive thinking is what the Bible calls repentance. Yes, I believe that in order to have revival, we must repent from sin. But in the Bible days when it talks about repentance, the inference of the word was bigger than being sorry for sin. The inference for the Greek word was stronger than that. It went much deeper than that, it was more comprehensive than that. The word is metanoia and what it really means, it doesn't matter how much you cry at the altar, it doesn't matter how much you weep, it doesn't matter how much you lay at the altar and feel bad about what you did.

The word metanoia means to change your mind. I'm gonna close because I think I'm supposed to, I'm not gonna close because I finished but I'm gonna close so you can go eat. But without explaining your reasons, without justifying your decision, without feeling bad about disappointing anybody, without feeling bad about letting them go and what they had in mind for you, touch three people and say I changed my mind. I simply change my mind because if I can change my mind, I can change my destiny. If I can change my mind, I can change my circumstances. If I can change my mind, I can change my reality. If I can change my mind, I can change my family. If I can change my mind, I can change the world.

And I came here to tell you, you don't need an angel to change your world. You don't need another Dr. King to change your world. You don't need a Nelson Mandela to change your world. You don't even need a T.D. Jakes to change your world. You don't need a JFK to change your world. You don't need a Helen Keller to change your world. You don't need a Fannie Lou Hamer to change your world. You don't need an emancipator to change your world. We don't need Ronald Reagan to change our world. We don't need Abraham Lincoln to change our world. We don't need Michael to change our world. We don't need Gabriel to change our world. We don't need another God to change our world. All you need to change your world is to change your mind.

And I get ready to close. I wanna put a witness on the witness stand. I don't know his name, your honor. We call him the prodigal son. I know he had gone broke. I know his family relationships had fallen apart. I know he was alienated by his own culture. I know he was down in the hog pen and about to eat like a homeless man, out of a trough, and just when he was on the verge of eating with the pigs, the cursed pigs, the pigs he was raised not to eat, the pigs he wouldn't even touch, just when he was about to do something crazy. It wasn't that the stock market went up. It wasn't that the economy went up.

It wasn't that Caesar died. It wasn't that a new power came. It wasn't that the Jews accepted Christ as a Messiah. But the Bible said, with mud in between his toes and corn husk in his hair, and gnats flying around his head. It simply says he came to himself, and there in the hog pen, he got a deliverance that came into his life that made him say I will arise.

The reason I'm here to preach this gospel is so that you might come to yourself, whether you're sitting on the couch or whether you're in your living room, whether you're sitting at your dining room table, I came to tell you if you come to yourself, there ain't a witch out there, there ain't a hex out there, there ain't a spell out there, there is not a demon that can hold you down once you change your mind. Who am I preaching to? I feel the anointing of the Holy Ghost in this place. Flip around in a circle and tell the devil I change my mind. You almost killed me, but I change my mind. You almost took me out, but I changed my mind.
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