In Ephesians 6 & Colossians 3 & 4,Paul talks about the issue of slavery. It’s important to understand that American slavery & Roman slavery are very different. In American slavery, Europeans went to Africa& savagely took Africans. Those in Roman slavery were slaves mostly because of financial debt. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be preaching on Philemon.(Story of Philemon (master) &Onesimus (runaway slave) Before we study Philemon, I want us to examine what Bible about Slaves & Masters I find this topic to be very pertinent to many today. Very likely, many of you are in work environments That are less than ideal. You may love your job, but hate your work environment. You may like your co-workers, but not get along with your with your boss. You may not feel like an employee. You may feel like a slave. If you’re in that situation (or have been), this sermon is for you. Be forewarned: What I’m about to share with you, - will go against your natural instincts- likely NOT be what you want to do. What I can tell you:-It works!-It will make you happier & more content in your job. 1)Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear Notice the second word: Obey I told you that you might not like my message. Rebel is what we want to do. You say: “Pastor you don’t know what kind of idiot I work for.” I might have a pretty good idea. There are no caveats to this passage. The simple commandment is to OBEY. If God wanted you to be the boss,He’s certainly capable of doing so. In reality, He didn’t. You are where you are, because he put you there. You may: whine scream cry jump up & down That won’t change a thing. Bad work environments are difficult. Ask yourself this question:2) What is God trying to teach ME? Maybe it’s:-forebearance-patience-inner strength-dependence on Him How are we to obey our masters?3) Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear We may not like them, but we need to respect & fear them. If you’re like me, you need a job. Your boss holds the keys to your employment. Being a rebel never works. It makes both you & your employer miserable. Frankly, it makes you MORE miserable than them. As employees, it’s also important to protect our witness. It’s likely, your boss knows you’re a Christian. If you’re:-disrespectful-rude
IT ONLY HURTS YOUR WITNESS Regardless of how justified you may be, 'God still tells us: Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear Next, tells us to obey them:4) with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. If Jesus were your employer, How would you obey Him? That’s how he tells you to act towards your boss. Furthermore, he says: Do it "with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” Don’t be fake. Don’t be a put-on. Be realBe genuineBe sincere Regardless of how dumb you may think your boss to be, they’ll likely spot a fake. 5) Eph 6: 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. It’s easy to obey the boss when they’re looking, But what about when they’re not? As Paul says: "Work to win their favor" You may think:“That’s impossible" Regardless, that’s how we’re to work. 6)7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Your boss may never say: “Thank you” “Good job” “I appreciate you” But God will. 7) 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does In your employment, remember: “You serve an invisible boss” His name is: Jesus When you work for Jesus, it changes everything. Your attitude improves Your productivity improves Your much happier That’s what God wants. He wants you to be happy. Happiness is not determined by external factors, such as: Our earthly boss When we serve our Heavenly Boss, We are happy. In Colossians 3, Paul tells Colossian church much the same: 8)Col 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. In our work, it’s easy to get:-discouraged-frustrated-down In those times, remember who’s in charge. God’s in charge of entire universe. He placed you in your work environment. That wasn’t an accident. Perhaps, what your dealing with is God working on your heart. 9)
1 Peter 2:18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Jesus never calls us to do anything that he hasn’t already done. Our role is to emulate Him. May our employers & fellow employees see Jesus in us.