Is There Such a Thing as Holy Slavery Ephesians 6:5-9

September 8, 2018


Sermon: Is There Such a Thing as Holy Slavery  Ephesians 6:5-9
It is hard for us in the 21st century to understand or even conceive of a holy slavery but over and over again the Bible compares the Christian as a Slave of Christ.  The Bible also compares us as the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, and Children of God and so on…  These are all earthly representations to describe our relationship to Christ.  If the Bible makes the comparison of us as slaves of Christ, there must be a disconnect between our earthly and sinful understanding of slavery and God’s.  Comparing slavery as we know it to being a Slave of Christ is like comparing apples to oranges.  It is a faulty comparison.  Today we will try to look at Slavery in the Bible.
Ephesians 6:5-9 ESV  
    • Bondservants – Slaves
        • Not employer, or employee
            • However, if bondservants obey masters, HOW MUCH MORE employees
        • A Christian employee???
            • How hard do they work???
            • Sadly, many false professing Christians
                • I know a boss who would rather NOT hire Christians
            • Because of you Christianity is reviled
            • As a Christian we bear the name of Christ
                • We are called OUT to be different
1 Timothy 6:1-2 ESV  
    • How does the world see you?
        • If they hate you because of Christ (without cause) then so be it,
            • BUT if they hate you for cause, woe unto you!
    • Bondservant really means slave
        • What’s the implication of this New Testament verse
            • What would you tell a slave today?
                • Or obey your master?
        • Does this verse still apply?
        • If slavery is inherently evil, why didn’t Paul denounce it
    • Atheists and enemies of God use this verse and other OT verses as an attempt to discredit the Bible.
        • They say, Your God did not forbid slavery!
            • Your God actually endorsed it?
            • You say you have a loving God, but what about slavery?
                • What do you say about your God now?
    • Many of our people are ignorant and fall into their trap!
        • We are far removed from the 1st century times, almost impossible to understand from our viewpoint
            • Early American and British slavery was cruel and evil
            • We have people sold into slavery today as well as sex trafficking
            • Look at the farm equipment we have today
            • We have washers, dryers, electricity and so on…
            • We don’t go to the fields we go to Walmart
            • Today we will compare slavery of the past to present
    • What if we say, everything but these verses we affirm?
        • Where does this end?
        • If you reject part of the scriptures, which parts?
            • Women pastors is barbaric
            • The homosexual laws are barbaric
            • Heterosexual living in sin – (what’s wrong with love?)
        • And so on…
    • How can you affirm what Paul is saying about slaves?
        • Our idea of slavery and Paul’s is completely different
            • The slavery this country participated in was unjust and wrong
                • Jewish and Roman slavery was not based on race
                • God gave the Jews strict laws on slavery
    • Kidnapping and selling someone was punishable by DEATH
Exodus 21:16 ESV  “
    • Our slave traders and slave owners (both) – death penalty
        • Modern sex trafficking, – Death penalty
        • You will see, we cannot compare the slavery we know with history
    • Yet, some in this country traded slaves under the guise of Christianity?
        • Fact: Some Christians owned slaves
        • Fact: It was a Christian movement that stopped slavery as we know it
    • William Wilberforce (a Christian) let a group of Christian men in the British empire to end the slave trade
        • The key is a changed heart
    • Slavery THEN was different than it is now, how?
    • Today, the closest think we know to an acceptable form of slavery:
        • The last US draft
            • Soldiers called themselves GI’s
            • They were told where to go, when to get up, what to do, they were not free to leave, they were fed and housed – but they were paid
    • How was it in Paul’s day and the OT
        • There was no welfare system as we know it today
            • If a family was poor, they voluntary became slaves
                • Work for a master or die of starvation
                • In exchange for work they had a place to live and food to eat
                • What would you do for your family? These were harsh times
                    • They didn’t have hours of TV and video games
        • Slavery was a form of debt repayment, no declaring bankruptcy
            • You owe someone and you can’t pay, you became their slave
                • You worked it off
                    • Restaurant – can’t pay for the meal – dishes
                        • I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel
            • Every 7 years all debt was forgiven and they had a new chance
        • Slavery was part of the economy, dedicated service for goods
            • Nurse loan repayment – work for a hospital for X years
            • Isaac served Laban 7 years for Leah and 7 more for Rachel
        • Slaves of war, Daniel was a POW, slave
            • You did not turn your enemy free to cause more rebellions
            • We put them in prison and require nothing from them
            • POW’s just didn’t sit in a prison, they were put to work
        • Slaves because of crimes
            • Prisoners used to make license plates and work on work gangs
            • In the OT a person who stole had to repay the debt to the person
                • Today, if someone steals your stuff, you get nothing
                • They may go to court or jail but you are not restored
                • Then if a thief could not repay, he became the servant
    • The poor also had gleanings
        • Not all of the field was harvested, some was left for the poor
            • They had to go harvest their own grain
            • They had to process it and prepare it
                • They didn’t lay around all day doing nothing
                    • Even the poor worked
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 ESV  
    • The OT bondservant system was highly regulated
        • It actually protected the poor from starvation
        • Our welfare system seems to encourage laziness
    • Slaves could be redeemed by paying the redeeming price
            • Even Roman slaves could earn their freedom
    • God is in the business of freeing slaves
        • God freed Israel from the bondage of Egypt
        • The entire Bible leads up to Christ freeing us from slavery
            • He redeemed us by the price of his blood
        • God sent Christ to free us from the bondage of sin, death and the devil
    • No slavery would have occurred if it were not for the fall
    • What did Peter say on this subject?
1 Peter 2:18-19 ESV  
    • We must NOT discount any set of verses in the Bible
        • Let’s look further at these verses
 (6)  not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,  (7)  rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,
    • Not following the commands is disobeying Christ
        • We are submitting to Christ not just an earthly master
        • When the wife submits to her husband, she is submitting to Christ
        • Employees submit to their employers they are submitting to Christ
    • Our service is to the Lord, and not to man
    • We have been freed but in our freedom we willingly become slaves of Christ
        • He bought us with a price and we belong to Him
        • This form of slavery is a good thing
            • The analogy is used so we must understand
                • We are provided for
                • We are cared for by Him
                • We are under His protection
                • We belong to His house
                • And we are His servants
    • Other analogies are used, Bride of Christ, Body of Christ, Child of God, Friend of God, Slave of Christ
        • If God uses Slave of Christ as an example to us, there is such a thing as a holy bondservant
        • Our wicked past has ruined our view of many good things
            • Abusive husbands have ruined our view of the submissive wife
            • Abusive parents have ruined our view of spanking
            • Drunkenness has ruined our view of wine (Abolitionist)
    • The world does not understand but I am proud to be a slave of Christ
Galatians 1:10 ESV  
    • Who is your master, whom do you strive to please?
        • If we consider ourselves servants of Christ, it is easier to submit
            • The unjust husband or boss is irrelevant
 (8)  knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.
    • Our salvation IS NOT a reward for works
        • There is nothing we can do to pay the price for our sin
        • The redeeming price was paid by Christ
    • However, the works we do as his bondservant are rewarded!
        • Submitting to someone who is unjust is a rewarded work
        • Serving each other is a rewarded work
    • Think about it – How bad is your life? We may curse our life NOW
        • You may have it worse than most
        • This will actually turn into a blessing later
        • The Rich man and Lazarus (TH)
Luke 16:25 ESV  
    • It’s not about your best life now, do you see the big picture
        • It’s not all about what you have now
        • You are told to store up your treasures in heaven
1 Corinthians 7:19-24 ESV  
    • Notice we are to serve as we are called
        • Some encouraged Christians to divorce your un-believing spouse
        • Some encouraged Christians to leave their masters
            • Paul does not convey this, the opposite
    • Our earthly situation may or may not change
        • The prosperity gospel is a lie
            • God is going to make you rich???
            • You status according to the FLESH might not change!
                • What happens when people don’t become rich?
        • You may remain poor here
            • What does it matter to you?
            • Is Christ not enough?
            • God has not promised to change your earthly status
                • BUT our eternal status has changed
    • Has tragedy struck your life?
        • Are you in poor health?
        • Are you a poor person?
        • Are you persecuted now?
            • Pray about your situation
        • If you are not comforted now, you will be comforted then
            • This is how you deal with suffering
            • Look to Christ and eternity with the good master
Psalms 62:12 ESV  
    • He will repay you for any suffering and injustice you receive
    • The love of God demands he will repay the evil for their evil works
        • Earthly masters beware!!!
  (9)  Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
    • Masters / Employers – How do you want God to treat you?
        • Has the power you have gone to your head?
        • God is both your master and your workers master
        • Do you NOT know you will also answer for any injustice?
        • You may be over someone in the flesh but we are all the same
            • We are all made in the image of God
    • We must not discount any Bible verses
    • If attacked for a verse, do your homework
        • Your God is Good and just
        • Man is evil,
            • We must not compare man’s evil to our understanding of God
    • There is a perfect and good form of slavery
        • We are slaves to Christ and this is good
            • It’s hard to see in this evil world
        • The world cannot understand this
    • When we submit to a master or a husband we are submitting to Christ
        • When we rebel we are sinning against Christ not just one another
    • Employers and masters
        • As the husband is held accountable for his relationship, you will be held accountable for your employees
    • To all
        • If you call yourselves Christian, act like one
1 Timothy 6:1 ESV  … so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

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