Summary: This is the 22nd sermon in the "Accounting" series from the Book of Ephesians.
Series: Accounting [#22]
Over the last several weeks, we have looked at several types of relationships. We have looked at the wife, the husband, the parents, and the children. Today, we are going to look at the employee and employer relationship. As I have reminded you each week, this sermon applies to all Christians here today. Jesus was born into a society where children had no rights. Male citizens had some rights; but no one else did. Jesus became a servant in order to bring salvation to this world. Jesus knew that all of mankind was slaves to sin, which brings death.
Some read the passage and wonder if Paul and the Bible endorse slavery. Paul is not endorsing slavery as a necessary social evil; but rather Paul is addressing what it means to be a Christ follower in a fallen world- Our attitude in that world. Paul is not addressing the wrongness in an abusive relationship; but what is our attitude; what is our heart in any given situation. Paul is reminding the Ephesians that God knows our circumstances and wants us to honor Him no matter what our current employment situation is. God wants us to honor Him even when we work with or for people who dishonor Him.
Scholars have estimated there may have been as many as 70 million slaves in the Roman Empire when Paul wrote these words. Slaves and masters were common in the Greek and Roman societies. A person became a slave in 1 of 3 ways: By birth to slave parents. You were sold into slavery to satisfy a debt. You were captured during a time of war and enslaved by a conquering army.
Ephesians 6:5a (NIV)
5Slaves, obey your earthly masters.
A Christian worker’s…
The activity of the Christian worker is pretty simple- Do what the boss tells you to do. In each of the jobs I have had in my life, I have heard many other employees say things like, “I don’t do that kind of work” or “If you want it done, do it yourself”. That is not how a Christian worker should behave. We are to do what the boss says.
Ephesians 6:5-7 (NIV)
5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
A Christian worker’s…
Paul gives us 2 things to do in order to have the right attitude.
? Be obedient with respect and fear.
The respect and fear you have is not directed to the boss. It should be directed to self. You should strive to do things in a way that bring honor to God.
? Be obedient to God.
Paul tells us in 4 different ways how to do this. He starts by saying, “With sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” You need to know that you are not there to just please your boss; but are there to please God. Then Paul says it in a negative way. “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you.” Do not be the worker that only works hard when the boss is watching. Paul says to obey, “but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” He then says it this way, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people”. Let me sum this up, do everything you do for the Lord.
Ephesians 6:8 (NIV)
8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
A Christian worker’s…
Paul wants us to be aware of the motivation that God gives us for working hard. The Lord will reward you for whatever good you do. This falls into the category of storing up your treasures in Heaven. This also means that the phrase, “You get what you paid for” is not applicable to a Christian worker.
When it comes to pay, no one feels like they get paid what they are worth. God says, “It doesn’t matter if you get paid as much as you think you should; because you are working for Me and I will reward you with far greater things than money.
There is 1 more verse in our text this morning.
Ephesians 6:9 (NIV)
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.