Summary: 60th message from Ephesians dealing with faithful servant or the responsibility of servants to masters and masters to servants.
Servants obey your masters who are to treat you with respect
Ephesians was written to the Christians in a thriving port city over two thousand years ago.
Strangely, its message is as relevant today as it was when it was sent and studied by the church who gathered together in the city of Ephesus. Many perhaps tuned out or at least saw little relevance last week because you are not a father yet or your children are already raised.
The reality is that as we develop in our relationship with Christ we move toward the “Father” level of maturity. At that level of spiritual maturity God entrusts each of us with the task of nurturing spiritual children. From pastor and elders on down, everyone is a “father” to someone and the principles of nurturing apply. All of us need to take to heart this nurturing responsibility. Discipling and the nurturing go hand in hand.
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
A. Live in Unity 4:1-16
B. Live in Newness of life 4:17-24
D. Live in Purity 5:3-14
E. Live in Wisdom 5:15-6:9
1. Seize every opportune moment 15-16
2. Seek to understand the will of the Lord 17
3. Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit 18-20
a. Speaking and singing truth to one another and praise to God
b. Giving thanks for all things
c. Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ
1) Wives submit to husbands who are to love them 22-33
2) Husbands submit to wives who are to respect them
3) Children submit to parents who are to nurture them.
4). Servants submit to masters who are to respect you
This week we shift to Paul’s admonition concerning slaves and masters. Lest we dismiss the principles here because we are neither a slave nor a master we should step back and look more carefully. Yes these verses were originally addressed to those who were literal slaves and masters. There are some things that apply to employees and employers. The fact is, ALL of us are called to be slaves and servants; first of Jesus Christ and then we are called to be servants to each other.
You were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13
Beyond that, there will always be relationships of authority in this world to which these principles clearly apply. With that in mind, we want to look at this passage along with some others and brush up on our service ethics. Paul reveals how sons of the kingdom should approach service to God and others in this world. All of us serve someone, here is how it is to be approached.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. Ephesians 6:5-8
Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:22-25
Slavery was a pervasive social structure in the first-century Roman Empire. In fact, it was so commonplace that its existence as an institution was never seriously questioned by anyone. Slaves of all ages, genders, and ethnicities constituted an important socioeconomic class in ancient Rome. Roughly one-fifth of the empire’s population were slaves—totaling as many as twelve million at the outset of the first century AD. Not surprisingly, the entire Roman economy was highly dependent on this sizable pool of both skilled and unskilled labor.
MacArthur, J., Jr. 2010. Slave: The study guide. Thomas Nelson: Nashville
The whole issue of slavery in America is beyond the scope of this passage. Neither Jesus nor Paul tried to eradicate it, but regulate the relational aspects of it. Let us first get a general concept of servanthood before we delve into this passage.
A servant is anyone who assumes or is charged with the responsibility of accomplishing an assignment or task for someone else.
Voluntary or mandatory.
Compensated or not compensated.
Continual or temporary.
Actual slaves, Employed servants, Employees, Military, Children, Parents, Spouses, Pastors,