Summary: Real freedom is slavery - slavery to Jesus!
Intro: Sandy Perceval lived in a 97 room manor, built in 1864. He had lived there more than 30 years, he had been going into the cellar, when needed, to get a cigar from the bunch of cigars that he had found there.
He never thought much about it until in 1995 he gave one to a friend. This friend was so impressed with it that he asked if he could take a few of them to be appraised. It turned out that the cigars had been rolled in 1864, making them the oldest smokable cigars in the world!
Sondra Bazrod writes in The Hunt for Amazing Treasures, “Thanks to the mist from a nearby lake, the Irish damp, and the temperature of the wine cellar, the cigars survived in perfect condition.”
Originally there were thousands of cigars but by 1995 there were only a few strays left, plus an unopened box of 500 cigars. The estimated value of that one box - $1,000,000!
2. Who would think that some old, smelly, cancer causing cigars would be so valuable? It’s the same with Slavery – who would think that slavery would be something of inexpressible joy!
3. The Joy of Slavery.
Philippians 1:1 (NKJV)
1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
I. For starters, slavery Defines Paul’s Ministry.
A. The History of slavery.
1. The Situation in Paul’s day.
a. The various Routes to slavery: Birth, if your parents were slaves, so are you; Debt, if you could not pay off your debts, you could sell your children into slavery to pay them off; Adversity, if you were captured in war, or kidnapped you would go into slavery.
b. The Results: it is estimated that about 50% of Rome were slaves.
c. The Recipitants of this letter.
(1) Mostly Gentiles. Slavery for them usually meant cruelty. But could mean Dignity if they were slaves in a royal household.
(2) Jews, like Paul, could only be forced slaves by fellow Jews, for 6 years (Deut.15:12, 16-17). If a slave loved his master he could choose to be a slave, they would bore a hole in his ear (Ex. 21:5-6). Gal. 6:17, the word “mark” refers to a slave’s brand.
2. The Correlation to us.
We are born in a Slave Market, this worlds system (I Jn. 5:19) under a Slave Master, Satan (Jn. 12:31), thus all of humanity are Slaves (Eph. 2:2-3), until we are Saved from it by the Blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 2:14-15/I Pet. 1:18-19). Now we are only slaves by choice! (Rom. 6)
Abraham Lincoln detested slavery. He once came upon a woman who was being auctioned off. He made the highest bid on her and then told her she was free. She said,
“Free to do whatever I want to? Free to do whatever I want?” He said, “Yes, you are free!” She said then I’m going with you, while Abe turned the offer down, our Lord does not.
B. The Ministry of slavery.
Paul’s ministry was all tied up in being a slave of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1/Tit. 1:1). Every real man of God ministry is tied up in slavery to Jesus Christ. Whether it is Abraham (Psa. 105:42); Moses (Num.12:7/Josh. 14:7); Joshua (Josh. 24:29/Jud.2:8); David (Psa.89:3); and all the prophets (Jer. 25:4/Ezk.38:17).