Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Author Edmund Clowney wrote, Full righteousness and satisfaction are coming when we are eternally with Christ. There's only one before whom we will stand in the end, so we must live with His opinion in mind. My reflection of Christ and the glory of God are higher priorities than protecting my rights, my comfort, and my survival. Now have your copy of the Scriptures open to 1 Peter chapter 2.
We continue our series through this letter by the Apostle to a category of people, Christians, scattered throughout parts of the Roman Empire, generally in areas of Asia Minor. The title for this whole series is Live as People Who are Free. And in this series, particular sub-series, we're looking at 12 characteristics of people who are free. Do you know the nature of your freedom? Do you know the nature of your freedom? Do you know that in Christ you are free from the bondage and the penalty of sin and the guilt of sin? But you are also free to know God and walk with Him and delight in Him and serve Him with delight.
You are free to do that because He has, as was prayed, He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. So we're looking at 12 characteristics of people who are free as Peter writes to these people. The first four, first of all, feeding on His goodness. People who are free are feeding on His goodness. People who are free are proclaiming His goodness. People who are free are living His goodness. People who are free are free through submission. Look at verses 13.
Look at verse 13. Let's go back there. Be subject for the Lord's sake. Don't miss that, okay?
Be subject, what's the next phrase? For the Lord's sake, to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. Here it is. You want to know the will of God for you?
Here it is. This is the will of God that by doing good, you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free. You can't live free if you don't know the nature of your freedom. So we are called to that, to live as people who are free. And then the fifth characteristic of people who are free is today's focus, and that is the people who are free are faithful through sorrow. Faithful through sorrow.
Just because we're free doesn't mean we don't have sorrow in our lives. We sang lament this morning, and all the songs that we sang this morning are so important for us to maintain perspective, to be anchored in truth. But this is why Peter begins his letter the way he does in that text that I'm asking the church to memorize. 1 Peter 1 verses 3 through 9. Peter gives us the big picture. That's what we must maintain, the big picture, as we endure the fallenness and brokenness of this creation and the sorrows that that includes. Now, as he writes this, people who are free are faithful through sorrow. Our focus today is going to be verses 18 through 20. The first word in today's text, verse 18.
What's the first word? Servants. All right, stop there. That's not talking about a maid or a hired caretaker. That's talking about a slave. It's a household slave.
So he's writing specifically to household slaves. But there's a lot of sorrow that can be involved in that. So what I want to do to begin this morning, because what he says is, servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust.
Now, you're going to be honest with me this morning, aren't you? That's a hard pill to swallow. But listen to me. Here's the point. Free people can do that. Wait a minute. This is so oxymoronic, Rich. They are slaves and yet they are free?
Yes. Because these slaves are no longer living for the dot. They're living for the line. And in that, they're free.
Because they serve Christ. Now, let's stop for a moment and let's consider what slavery looked like in the first century, because we have our history of slavery and it's not the same thing. Some similarities, but also some huge differences. Slavery is not a new thing. It has existed from the almost from the beginning of humanity.
It is a product of the fall. We'll talk about that a little bit later. But in your notes there, I want to run through this here. Let's talk about slavery in the first century when it says servants. What did first century slavery look like?
The process means this. How did people become slaves? The primary way before the first century that people became slaves was as by becoming a prisoner of war. One nation would conquer another.
One city would conquer another. They would take the loot and they would take prisoners and that person would be a slave in their new land. People were also slaves because they were born into slavery. Any child that was born to a mother who was a slave, that child was a slave.
Didn't matter what the status of the father was. If a child is born to a slave mother, that child was a slave. Here's another way that some became slaves and it was a form in the Roman Empire.
There was a form of post birth control. If a child, if a baby, a newborn was unwanted, it would be abandoned. And slave traders would collect that baby and raise it into and place it into a slave family and it would become a slave.
Not so delightful, is it? Sometimes children were sold by their parents because of the pressures of poverty. Can't afford to raise their kids, so they sell them into slavery.
Hard to imagine, isn't it? It was a very much a reality in the first century world. Sometimes a man would sell himself into slavery because of his own poverty and he would sell himself so that eventually he would be able to actually retire or buy his freedom and then be in a better state than he was before he entered into slavery. Now that sounds very different from what we're used to thinking about in slavery. Slavery, there was also penal slavery for mainly two reasons. A judgment against a debtor and that debtor would become a slave until he could earn his debt off. Crimes committed against the state would often result in someone becoming a slave and relegated to slave labor. One's freedom as a slave, one's freedom could be purchased eventually. There was also the reality that if one had been a slave for all their life, they could retire at 60, believe it or not. So the slavery, this sort of slavery was not permanent nor was it based on race.
Not at all. It was not at all based on race. The only exception to that might be, for example, like a prisoner of war. If one country was battling another and the people of that one were brought back. Judah, for example, taken into exile, Israel taken into dispersion by the Assyrians and Judah was taken to exile into Babylon. Many of them were slaves over there. What were some of the positions that slaves had in first century slavery? Well, clearly, a lot of it was menial labor.
The day to day tasks of running a household or a business. But they did so as slaves. Some of them were household servants.
And that's what Peter is addressing here. Household servants, not hired servants. They were slaves. But some of them were also managers of estates.
We have an example of that in scripture. Joseph. Joseph was a slave of Potiphar, a Hebrew slave of this Egyptian man. But he was the manager of Potiphar's estate. He had huge responsibility.
Potter entrusted everything to him to take care of. There were also some who were slaves who held positions similar to what we would consider professional positions today. For example, some of them even became physicians. They were slaves. But they became physicians. There may be physicians today who think they're slaves.
I don't know. But also some of them would become teachers or tutors. And yet they were slaves. What did it mean that they were slaves? If you were a slave, what it meant was you were someone else's property. They owned you. And this is where it became pretty gruesome. Because if you became a slave, there was a complete loss of rights, ownership, and all previous relationships were wiped out.
All of them. You became the property of your owner. That being said, the treatment of the owner toward his property, the treatment of his property, was completely left up to the disposition of the owner.
There were some who were people of integrity and kindness and justice, but the vast majority of them were very cruel. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-24 14:07:58 / 2023-04-24 14:12:19 / 4