“The Responsibilities of Spirit-Filled Slaves and Masters”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.5-9
Ephesians 6. Our text this morning will be verses 5-9. And we’ll read that now so that we know where we’re headed this morning …
Ephesians 6:5-9 5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
So the topic this morning concerns slavery. Now, there are a couple of issues to deal with first. A passage on slavery can be difficult for us to understand. Skeptics and sincere Christians alike have concerns about slavery as described in the Bible. And a passage like this brings those concerns to the forefront. And so we’re not going to just tip toe around that, but deal with it.
For example, how would you respond to this …
Earlier this very month, this was said … “Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place [referring to ISIS], remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country [referring to the US], slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. So it is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”
Slavery …was all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” Slavery was justified in the name of Christ…how would you respond?
The same person said this in 2006…
“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.”
Leviticus suggests slavery is ok … should that guide public policy? This is Barack Obama. How would you respond? Leviticus suggests slavery is ok. In other words, Mr. Obama is suggesting that’s a reality and it’s not necessarily positive.
Another point, how would you respond to this … An opinion piece written by a self-identified black, heterosexual Christian male who supports LGBT rights said … “I have a problem with Christians who simply quote scripture as the basis of their opposition [to LGBT rights].
To be sure there are passages, starting with Genesis 2:22, in the Bible that describe marriage as being between a man and a woman. But [he continues] if we are to take everything in the Bible literally, then we would also have to accept passages such as Colossians 3:22 and Ephesians 6:5 that speak of slaves obeying their masters. As an African American, I have a real problem with that. During our dark past, Christian churches used such passages to justify the institution of slavery.
Should I or my ancestors have simply accepted this lot in life as God’s will? And you can save all the nonsense about how slavery was different in biblical times. One man owning another is abhorrent in any era and I have never met a Christian who would exchange places with a slave and simply accept it as God[‘s] will. Would you be willing to accept the Bible so literally if you were the slave?”
How would you respond to that? You could get asked that!
We need therefore understand slavery from the Bible’s perspective.
You remember that since Ephesians 5:18, as we have noted on a number of occasions, we are in the context of what life is like filled by the Holy Spirit.
This is the last of the messages on life in the Holy Spirit. Now, believe it or not, from Paul’s perspective, in our text this morning, we are still in the home of Christians. Not every Christian is described here, but a large portion of Christians in the ancient world are.
There are Christian wives … Ephesians 5:22-24. There are Christian husbands Ephesians 5:25-33. There are Christian children Ephesians 6:1-3. And there are Christian fathers, Ephesians 6:4.
And now there are Christian slaves Ephesians 6:5-8 and there are Christian masters Ephesians 6:9.
Does this passage offend your proper Christian sensibilities? Do you allow for Christian wives? Do you allow for Christian husbands and parents? Do you allow for the possibility that there might be a Christian slave owner? God does.
But the truth is, slavery is foreign to our experience in 21st century Canada. Plus, our understanding of slavery is restricted to the slavery of 18th and 19th century United States. Because of this, we don’t understand why, even in God’s New Covenant, he would allow for slavery. We would read a passage on slavery and think, “Why wouldn’t God just tell every slave owner to let all their slaves go instead of ‘here’s how you treat them?’”
Part of the problem again, no doubt, is that our cultural understanding has informed us over and above the Scripture. We too easily take our preconceived notions of slavery and insert them into Scripture. We need to let Scripture inform us and interpret culture or slavery or whatever … based on Scripture. Let Scripture inform you and interpret modern slavery based on that.
TRANS: Under the Old Covenant, God allowed for slavery of the Israelites.
If you read the slavery laws in the Law of Moses, you’ll find a complete lack of harshness that is found in many other cultures in the Ancient Near East, when God’s people were under the Old Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, a slave was more than just a “purchased human tool.” Slaves were to be treated as human beings made in the image of God.
Some of the great men in the Old Testament had slaves. For example Abraham and Job both had slaves. But slave owners under the Old Covenant were strictly commanded not to be severe with their slaves. Leviticus 25:43 ~’You shall not rule over [an Israelite slave] with severity, but are to revere your God.
And slaves could be freed for many different reasons. For example, an Isaelite slave under the Old Covenant could even choose whether or not to stay with his master for his lifetime, based on the law of Ex. 21:5-6. And he could purchase his own freedom (Lev. 25:48-55). It wasn’t necessarily life-long slavery for the Israelite slave; if it was it was voluntary. In fact, they were to be freed on Sabbatical and Jubilee year cycles…some after 6 years… (Ex. 21:2-4; Lev. 25:40-43). They were to be released if treated inhumanely (Ex. 21:7-11, 26-27; Deut. 21:14). And, according to Deuteronomy 15:13-15, when a Hebrew slave was released, his master was to give him liberally from his own flocks, grain bins, and wine vats… “you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.”
And slaves from foreign countries could even eat of the Passover if they had been circumcised (Ex. 12:44).
Much of what the Old Testament Scriptures present as slavery is more like working for free room and board than the harsh treatment we’re used to hearing about from 18th and 19th century America.
Israelites were not to treat their slaves like they themselves were treated in Egypt. The Egyptians enslaved the Israelites because they were Israelites, they forced them to serve for life, did not compensate them, and forced them to work unbearably hard just to keep them weak. This is similar to the slavery that we picture from America, but this is not Old Testament slavery.
Unlike American slavery, the Mosaic Covenant punished those who kidnapped people to sell them. Exodus 21:16 “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” Under Old Covenant law, kidnapping someone to sell them into slavery was punishable by death. If 18th century Americans wanted to have slaves, don’t support kidnapping as part of the slave trade. But that was the vast majority of the slave trade.
Again, OT slavery was designed to be more like a voluntary working for free room and board than the harsh treatment we’re used to hearing about.
TRANS: Now Ephesians is written centuries later after the Mosaic Law. Paul is living in the Roman Empire. Roman slavery was much more cruel than what God allowed in the OT.
In the Roman Empire, for the equivalent of a few thousand dollars, you could own a slave. The slave trade in the first century was not race-based, but largely war-based. Rome would go off to war and the slave traders would follow along and purchase these people from the Roman army, who would in turn sell them to Roman citizens.
And because the Roman empire was so large, they had captured many millions of prisoners, who would be sold. And so slaves made up a large part of the population. Some estimates were around 20% while others estimated up to 33%and some as high as 70%… of the population were slaves, so no one really knows how many slaves there were.
Most of the slaves in Rome were treated severely, like purchased human tools and not human beings made in the image of God. Some in the Roman world sold themselves into the slavery because they were provided with food, clothing, and shelter, which they believed they couldn’t get without selling themselves into slavery.
And slaves in the first century Roman world worked in many different parts of the economy. They worked on farms, and were miners of gold and silver. They could be cooks, furniture makers, as well as bakers, teachers, accountants, and even doctors.
Even though it seems that most were treated unfairly, the treatment was dependent on the owners. There were advocates for proper treatment of slaves, but unlike God’s law, slaves under Roman law had practically no protection and so a slave master made up his own rules.
We even have a whole book in our New Testament given over to a story of a Roman slave named Onesimus. He’s found in the small book of Philemon right before the book of Hebrews. The story goes that Onesimus, as an unsaved man, escaped from his Christian master, Philemon. As a runaway slave, he ended up running into Paul, who led him to Christ. And then Paul sent him back to the Christian slave owner Philemon with Paul’s letter to Philemon in hand.
But Paul doesn’t tell Philemon to release his slave Onesimus, but urges him to receive him back now as “more than a slave” now “as a brother in Christ,” he says.
Philemon 1:17 If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.
Paul seems to be urging him not to punish him!
TRANS: And so why isn’t the abolition of slavery in the Bible? Well, if we study the history of people’s prospective on slavery, you would find that the abolition of slavery is more of a modern practice.
Because, first, God did not establish the New Covenant in order to radically change society from the top down. No, God established the New Covenant, Jeremiah 31 tells us, so that the law of God is written on the hearts of people. So God desires to radically change individuals who themselves would change society.
Otherwise, and secondly, if God advocated the abolition of slavery in the New Testament, you would have slaves in the first century converting to Christianity for, shall we say, more selfish reasons. And you would have slave owners revolting against the word of God and they would likely be willing to take up arms to fight against the Christians because of their view on slavery.
And third … why abolition of slavery is not in the Bible … unlike the false religion of Islam, Christianity is not a social or political ideology. It is a mission to change the hearts of individuals by the powerful and living gospel of Christ. Christ died for sinners and rose again on their behalf so that they who hate their own lives and desire to become the slaves of Christ, might walk in newness of life and be filled by the Holy Spirit. And in turn then to grow in Christ with love and grace and the fruit of the Spirit. And by this work of God in the hearts of people, people are changed and society is changed as a result.
Fourth, if you read the New Testament you understand the focus on eternity. The sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us, even if the sufferings of our life are under the hardships of cruel slavery.
On top of that, fifth, Christians are to be law abiding citizens. To publicly revolt against slavery in many parts of the world would mean to rebel against the government…God has chosen to work within human governments, and where God and government are in sharp disagreement, men should obey God, Acts 5:29, “obey God rather than men.” We, as those in Canada, have the freedom to help decide the direction of the laws in our country, but in many countries promoting abolition of slavery is equivalent to defying the government. But Christians are to be law abiding citizens.
Now, toward some arguments against slavery, the New Testament does give us some thoughts on that. In 1 Co. 7:21-23, Paul addresses slavery again. Here, Paul recommends that if slaves can become a free, that they pursue that. God desires that Christian slaves become free if they can obtain their freedom, but that is not a command forced upon the slave owner.
So because freedom is the desire of Christian slaves and because Christian masters should love their slaves as themselves, therefore, abolition of slavery should be considered. Not to mention that American slavery of the 18th and 19th century clearly violated the Old Testament.
The desire of God is as more people trusted Christ and turn from their sins and as they live in the fear of Christ by filling of the Holy Spirit … and as the gospel message spreads and people live it and allow the gospel to take hold in themselves and in society, more people should begin to view slavery from the slaves perspective as says in 1 Corinthians 7:21 … “but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.”
TRANS: And the reason why we went over all of this, again, is so that we understand slavery scripturally and so that you could talk to someone about it. I would not be surprised if someone talked about this last week or will talk about it this week. Will you be able to defend the faith?
Now, to address my second concern this morning let me do it this way … How many of you are slaves? You have been purchased or sold into the possession of another against your will…anybody like that this morning?
Ok, well I guess we should all go home! Should we go home?
The fact is, according to the campaign group Free The Slaves, that despite slavery being illegal in every country as of 1981, there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in human history, somewhere between 21 and 36 million people. Therefore, this passage is more directly applicable to more people than ever before.
But of course, for us here at Northlight Baptist Church in Canada, it is not directly applicable because we don’t own slaves and are not slaves. What, then, do we do with this passage?
There are parallels between slave-master and employer-employee relationships. There are great differences of course, but the point of similarity is work. For example, in the Roman world by one estimate there were 78 different jobs that slaves had.
And free men would also be employed in those same jobs. Therefore, the same principles in Ephesians 6:5-9 can be used for those who hold normal jobs.
But we also can go beyond this. This passage teaches us about motivation and who it is we are to truly please and also how we use the power and authority that we’ve been given. We learn that even in the mundane tasks of the slave or an employee, everything we do on a day-to-day basis concerns our relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything. Nothing is secular; everything is sacred.
And if a slave can serve Christ as a slave of man, then nothing that we could ever do would be mundane or unimportant. The Lord takes notice of every motivation whether we do it to please him or not.
Just think of the situation if a slave came to Christ. He would come to realize that he is no longer a slave of any man, but a slave of Jesus Christ.
And so slaves begin to realize that they serve a higher power than their slave owner. And thus they could become disobedient and bring shame to the gospel. But if he received proper biblical instruction, all the work that he did would become a glory to Christ.
And slave owner who realizes that their Christian slave has a higher allegiance than to himself, could become harmful and threatening to them to demand obedience.
So to alleviate the situation, Paul gives these commands for slaves and masters.
So, first this morning from the text … The responsibility of Spirit-filled slaves. The responsibility of Spirit-filled slaves … and we’ll apply this to employees. And if you are an employee this morning, apply this to yourself.
The Responsibility of Spirit-Filled Slaves (Ephesians 6:5-8)
What is a Spirit-filled slave? A Spirit-filled slave is a human tool who is owned by an earthly master. He respectfully, wholeheartedly obeys his earthly master just as he would obey his Heavenly Master.
In verse 5, we have the command given…Obey your masters
The Command Given: Obey Your Masters (Eph. 6:5a)
Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh,
This phrase “masters according to the flesh” is setting us up for Paul’s focus on our Heavenly Master. These are earthly masters, human masters.
But slaves are commanded here to be obedient to their earthly masters. The word “obedient” is the same word back up in verse one where it says that children are to obey their parents.
A slave maybe at one time both a father and a slave. Just as his children are to obey him, so also he is to obey his earthly master. You may be a father and an employee. Just as your children are to obey you, so also are you to obey your boss.
TRANS: But Paul doesn’t leave the command there. He also helps a slave to focus properly in his obedience to his master.
And in these verses there are three major focuses. Obey them with fear and trembling…. Second focus to help in obedience…. slaves are to obey their Masters wholeheartedly, and third, slaves are to obey their Masters as they would Christ.
The Foci in Obedience (Eph. 6:5b-7)
Obey them with fear and trembling (v5)
You could mark this phrase “fear and trembling” with a little ‘1’ in your Bible and put ‘focuses in obedience to employers’ in the margin.
“Fear” refers to the inner attitude of respect or reverence and “trembling” is the outward demonstration of fear … Fear so strong you can see it.
I doubt there should be visible shaking…but together this is describing a response because of awareness of being in the presence of God and His mighty works. This is not merely a response to human masters, but it is a response to human masters with the idea that you are in the presence of God!
To illustrate this, in Exodus 15:16 this response of fear and trembling, is predicted to be the response of the Canaanites when the Israelites come up out of Egypt into the land of Canaan.
When the Israelites come out of Egypt by the strong arm of God and the plagues, the Canaanites in the land of Canaan will hear about all of what the Lord has done and they will respond to the Israelites with “fear and trembling” because they know the hand God is among them.
And so the same way slaves are to respond to their masters. Slaves should respond to their masters with fear and trembling knowing that this is God’s design, God’s order of authority. Slaves serve in the presence of Christ. Slave owners rule under the authority of God.
APP: And so, as an employee, obey your employer in the Lord, knowing that by God’s design, they have some authority over you. Do so with fear and trembling and beautify the doctrine of God your Savior. Make the gospel attractive, obey your employee.
So, obey with fear and trembling. Now, secondly … Slaves are to obey their masters wholeheartedly. We see this in verses five and six. And you could mark these phrases I’ll point out with a ‘2’… to indicate a second focus to help you obey your employee.
Obey them wholeheartedly (v5)
Ephesians 6:5-6 5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, [here we go…] in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 [also verse 6….] not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, [and the last phrase of verse 6…] doing the will of God from the heart.
Also, verse 7 with good will, serve. These are all the second focus to help obedience.
So, we are to obey verse five in the sincerity of your heart…. Also not by way of eyeservice as men-pleasers…. and doing the will of God from the heart, with good will serve. Verse 7, with good will.
These are all phrases that describe the wholehearted service of slaves to their masters.
“Obey them in the sincerity/singleness of your heart” (v.5)
The sincerity of your heart, the singleness of your heart… This is wholehearted honest service. Have a pure motive as you serve.
“Obey them by doing the will of God from the heart” (v. 6)
Verse six, this is obeying your master by doing the will of God from the heart.
There is no room it says for eyeservice or men-pleasers. In other words, the focus in your work is not for the sake of getting people to like you…. You’re not to suck up to your master, not try to be, as it were, the teacher’s pet. You’re not pleasing man to get more of what you want from them.
This is all doing God’s will from the heart; obeying your earthly master wholeheartedly.
APP: so you obey your master or you obey your employer whether he is looking or not and whether he will notice what you’ve done or not. Don’t give eyeservice; don’t serve just for the sake of human eyes.
Seek to bless your employer with your hard labor. Pray that the company you work for would be better off eternally and temporarily because of you being there.
And don’t expect favorable treatment from anyone, especially from Christian employers just because you have good fellowship.
TRANS: So with fear and trembling and with your whole heart, obey your masters. And the final focus encourages the other two …Obey your master or your employer as you would Christ.
Obey them as you would Christ
You could put a little 3 next to these phrases … each one starts with ‘as’ … this is the third focus to help us obey…
Ephesians 6:5-7 5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart,[here it is…obey] as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,
As to Christ verse five, as slaves of Christ verse six, in verse seven as to the Lord…. These are all phrases to describe a slave’s obedience to his master or the obedience of an employee to employer. You obey them as you would Christ, that’s the point. Obey them as you would Christ. And, the point is also, you obey them out of obedience to Christ. Obey them as you would Christ and obey them in obedience to Christ.
A slave who has an earthly master is to serve as, not as a slave of man, but as a slave of Christ. Everything is to be done then as service to Christ.
APP: And so we see a breaking down between the secular and sacred. Everything that you do is to be done out of your service to Christ.
For Brother Lawrence in the book The Practice of the Presence of God, which I recommend as it has had a profound effect upon me personally. AW Tozer and John Wesley have also recommended this book. But in that book Lawrence says … “common business,” no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God’s love. The sacredness or worldly status of a task matter[s] less than motivation behind it. “Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do [it isn’t necessary that we have monumental jobs to do]. . . We can do little things for God; …Lawrence says … I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
You don’t need great jobs to do, every small job can be done for the glory of God.
TRANS: As a slave or employee, serve your master or employer as you would serve Christ. And there is great reward!
The Motivation for Obedience: Reward (Eph. 6:8)
Ephesians 6:8 [Serve Christ by obeying your master…] knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
Obedience to the Lord on this matter is specifically rewarded. God is motivating slaves to obey with reward. Obey your master “knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”
Obey your master knowing that he will reward you. Reward you for the good that you do.
There’ll be many times as you serve, whether you serve a master or employer or whatever, there will be many times in which your service will seemingly go unnoticed. But instead of drawing attention to your service to your master like, trying to catch his eye, know this that as you obey as to Christ, that you have caught the eye of Christ! And that should excite you! A Christian slave serves the Lord in his service, only expecting reward from Him.
And not one slave is exempt from this. Each one will be rewarded. And it is whatever good thing will be rewarded. Any good work can be rewarded, no matter how big or small, if done for Christ, it will catch Christ’s eye.
Indeed, before the judgment seat of Christ, we will receive back from the Lord the good done in our bodies, 2 Corinthians 5:10. But if your life is full of useless motivation in your service, you will receive little. In everything, serve the Lord Christ.
This goes for any who are slaves or who are free it says. We are all equal in Christ though we have different roles.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:11 there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
The point is there is no social status, or high class or middle class or low class, no one receives special treatment or favoritism…. We are all rewarded on equal grounds. “he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free”
A slave of men could, in the end, receive more reward in glory over and above that of his Christian master …or a laymen could receive more reward in glory over and above the service of a preacher or a Christian king. That’s because only what’s done for Christ will last and He rewards with no partiality. “The first shall be last.”
In all of what you do, from the simplest tasks to the most spiritual, prayerfully do them for the glory of God. Pray that … 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
TRANS: Well, if there is no distinction, and slaves serve a higher power and if they can be rewarded just as a master could, then the master is probably thinking … “Ok, I’ve got to threaten this slave of mine to make sure he does what I want him to do.”
The Responsibility of Spirit-Filled Masters
But Paul counters that with … Ephesians 6:9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
And so here we have a Spirit-filled master. What is a Spirit-filled master?
A Spirit-filled master is one who treats his slaves as he himself would want to be treated and does not manipulate with threats.
“And masters, do the same things to them,”
Masters are to do the same things to their slaves as they would want their slaves to do to them, is the idea.
And we listen to that without batting an eye. But this is a shocking statement for masters in first century Rome. Masters were known for being very abusive; they would threaten beatings and beat their slaves…. And so for Paul to suggest that they love their slaves as themselves is a radical requirement.
Paul is calling them to love their slaves, to care for them as they would care for their own selves … and they were to govern their relationship to their slaves in light of their own relationship with the Lord.
And this disallows any manipulative threats… Any threats of beatings or threats of selling family members, which would happen… none of that!
But the point here is not to disallow all forms of punishment…the point is that masters must not manipulate their slaves by issuing threats.
And masters are to be motivated to treat their slaves with respect because they should know that both the slave’s master and the slave owner’s master is in heaven. And an earthly master is to recognize that he has a Master in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that very Master has said Matthew 25:40 … Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.
If a Christian master treats his Christian slave properly who is sick or in need of care and is kind to him and treats him well, he is doing it to Christ Himself.
And we are now beyond even the golden rule of treating others how you would want them to treat you. This is treating others like you would Christ!
And with Christ, employers and masters should know … Christ is without partiality. He doesn’t show favorites. He will judge and on that day, having a higher status in society on earth makes no difference at the judgment seat of Christ.
Employers, you will not be able to manipulate your way out of the Lord’s evaluation of your life. At the same time He will reward faithful Christian masters and employers for their Christlike treatment of their slaves or employees.
APP: Now, Christian employers do not manipulate your employees. Treat them fairly. Don’t give favoritism to Christians and don’t expect Christian employees to do more work for less pay. Show no partiality, just like your Master in heaven.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.5-9
So there is no room for thoughts and expressions of inferiority or superiority in the kingdom of God. One is not more or less valuable than another. The Lord is impartial in his judgment and doesn’t show favorites based on the higher-level position that we have in this life.
So neither should we. Christian employers must not dehumanize or tyrannize those under their care, nor ought we to feel we can be frustrated and angry with the employees but with someone of higher status, we should be more patient. No, patience all around … it is the Lord Christ whom you should be serving with fear and trembling, no eyeservice…. You are not to serve based on human eyes.
And if you are feeling like your employer is doing this to you and they are not Christians, understand that you serve Christ and He rewards.
And in the end whether we are slaves or masters or employees or employers, we are all slaves of Christ.
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 21 For you have been called for this purpose
[you want an example of that? … Christ!]
…since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and
it even goes this far …not only did He not revile in return when mistreated but He went this far…. To the point that
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. That’s 1 Peter 2:18-25
Paul in another passage…
9 Slaves [are] to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering [that is not stealing from your employer, not his stuff, not his time, not his food…], but showing all good faith so that [by doing so, slaves or employees] will adorn [make attractive] the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. 11 [why? … why should we be a good testimony like this? … It’s because ] For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds…. That’s … Titus 2:9-14
Work as a slave of Christ; it matters…every day it matters. The testimony of the gospel of Christ is at stake in your life every day out in the workplace. Will people look at your life and think that you are making attractive the gospel of God in every respect as you work? Or do they scoff at your Bible simply because of your attitude?
Do your unsaved employees think you are a hard, angry master or do they see the greatness of God our Savior in how you handle difficulties on the job?
Don’t short change the routines, and don’t go through the motions… Teach as to Christ, care for others as for Christ, fix, cook, clean, drive …do it all for Christ and for the sake of His testimony in all the earth!
Not I but Christ 537
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