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Masters and Servants

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2022 2:00 am

Masters and Servants

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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May 16, 2022 2:00 am

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Turn your Bibles to first Timothy chapter 6 verse Timothy chapter 6 starting in verse one is looking at verses one and two, but all who were under a yoke as bond servants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God in the teaching may not be reviled as you have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers. Rather, they must serve all the better, since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved spray heavenly father or triune God father son and Holy Spirit. We pray that you would be with us this evening. We pray that we would consider the person of Christ, pray that we would consider how he submitted himself to the father, he humbled himself and came into a lost and dying world and communicated to us the life-giving gospel see that he had no will, in his own but he came to do the will of him who sent him. That is the father's will. We pray that we would have. This will in our own hearts. We pray that we would love your word that we would do the will of the father and that is look to the son by faith, honor him in our work honor him in our status in life and our placement in our work and our employment. We pray that you would write these truths upon our hearts their sins and we pray to see we are continuing our series through first Timothy.

And as you preach through a book of the Bible you cannot dodge any topic that the next passage comes across in so tonight as we go into this passage were going to be looking at work were to be looking at slavery were to be looking at what it is to be a employer or an employee within the workplace and how we are to conduct ourselves not only as the letter talks about the household of faith, but also how we are to conduct ourselves within the workplace today in our modern society.

There is a movement going on whether you're aware of it or not there is an anti-work movement there is a website going on where men and women who are fed up with working there done with work, they post online about quitting their jobs in a very triumphant way.

Posting text messages and emails with their overbearing and abusive bosses. The subheading for this webpages is for those who want to end work are curious about ending work want to get to the get the most out of a work free life. Want more information on anti-work ideas and want personal help with their own jobs or work related struggles. There is a movement going on but this isn't the first time we've heard this famous country singer Johnny paycheck wrote a song about quitting his job and it was so effective that it actually change the enclosed unemployment rate within our nation. Unemployment went up in America when that song came out in their bad jobs and their bad bosses and work in general is something that can be very difficult depending on the nature of the work, but work is good. It is not some sort of necessary evil.

We are commanded since the beginning since the beginning of time.

We've been commanded to work prior to the fall of mankind in Genesis 3 when sin entered into the world. We had the garden of Eden.

Work was a blessing from God of the covenant of works was an agreement between God and man. Where Adam and Eve would tend to the garden would take care of Paradise work was a great agreement.

Unfortunately, sin entered into the world and with sin.

There was a curse and the curse was that work would not be thought that work was the curse, but that work would be difficult thorns and thistles and by the sweat of our brow. We would work, and Adam did this, he worked. It was still good and necessary to work but now it was no longer easy and became a difficult process and so with the fall there's corruption not only within the land, but also within our own hearts and with our own attitudes toward work prior to the Reformation or Christian forefathers.

They wanted to work out what is a biblical view of work and they developed what is called the Protestant work ethic. Also known as a Calvinist work ethic are Puritan work ethic, and this is the biblical teaching on work and it goes into our theology or sociology, or economics and is well established throughout history and emphasizes three main concepts, diligence, discipline and being frugal with the money that we earn.

In other words, what we should do as Christians we should work hard. We should be disciplined in our work and be good at what we do and finally we should be very careful and save our money be frugal, so that we can take the money that God has blessed us through our hard work and that we can be good stewards of it, placing it in places where there is need and where we can best glorify the Lord. Beyond this, it was countercultural to the current Roman Catholic status quo at the time Roman Catholic view of vocational ministry that is they thought that Catholic priests because they were answering the high holy calling of being a priest in the church. They view this is a greater calling a higher calling.

What we remember from Peter is that we are a holy nation, a royal priesthood, we are all a priesthood of believers within the church. We are all called to our individual calling. This is a high calling, whatever our hands find a duty with all our might and that is our calling from God. So whether you are a priest in the church and pastor in the church, or if you are an entry-level worker at a company is a noble location. The work that we find ourselves.

To do. We must fulfill this work with dedication and do this with all our might have a positive view as Christians on the concept of work. Another topic, I must address before we get into verse one is this word as you see in your ESV but all who were under the yoke as bond servants. The original Greek, the word is due loss and while we clean up the language because I have. I appreciate what the ESV translators are trying to do here. They want to avoid the lightning rod that emotionally charged, politically charged word that is slave don't want to say that they want to avoid it. They don't want to bring in the background that we have as Americans in our American culture brings into many cultural assumptions it brings in too many implications for most Americans.

I think they think that slavery began in 1619. But for the rest of the world. Slavery began thousands of years ago and thousands of years ago it was, not necessarily only raced based slaves were across different races and nations, and ethnicity, sometimes within your own nation when you couldn't travel far away and get slaves, you just enslave those that were nearby you enslaved enemies in war. People would travel far and wide, but they would also just enslave those just to the east or just to the west.

Some historians even say that nearly everyone alive today has had an ancestor that either actually not either has been a slave or was an owner of slaves. Just about every body has had some ancestral connection to the institution of slavery and so before we go into this passage we need to understand what is the biblical concept of slavery. What is it mean when we pass over this word bondservant or slave in our Bibles going back to the Roman law back in the first century back in Paul's time. The Greco-Roman world was extremely brutal to their slaves masters could kill their slaves without warrant. They had no legal rights within Rome at the time estimates are one and three. Sometimes one in five of all people in major cities were slaves. They were free to walk around in the cities they were reasonably educated. Many slaves are allowed by their masters to earn wages they could over time through work purchase their manumission which their manumission was there certificate of freedom free person could sell themselves into a wealthy person's slavery. He could be an indentured servant, and they could use that money later to purchase themselves right back out of slavery, but slavery has really been the norm throughout the history of the world just is the reality in which we are living in when we look back in history. 50 million people in Paul's day just in Paul's day, not prior to or after, but at the time that Paul was writing to the church in Ephesus.

50 million people were in slavery. Two examples of this that are most common would be like indentured servitude, slavery came when you owed someone a debt and you needed to pay it off.

You could indenture yourself into their service and you could over time pay their pay off debt through your service. Another way would be by being a prisoner of war. We see this actually back in the Mosaic law back in Deuteronomy chapter 20 we see that there is a place for slavery due to prisoners of war.

Under Jewish law. They cannot be your slave for more than six years.

So even they are put into God's law that this was a temporary institution and not a lifelong institution sexy movie called kingdom of heaven. And the main character gets in a sword fight and he wins the Christian kills the Muslim and the Muslims translators says you basically are now your slave I he takes him to Jerusalem. And when he gets to Jerusalem, the Christian tells the Muslim I I've been close to a slave I'm knocking to keep one take my horse take your freedom and the Muslim explains to the Christian. According to your law, you know, according to Deuteronomy chapter 20 I could be your slave. If you wish it. Of course, as the movie goes later on they going to battle our main character becomes a prisoner of war in the Muslim wins the battle and you realize he's not just a lowly translator. He's actually a very prominent leader within the Army and just as he was shown mercy at the beginning of the movie later on he gets to show mercy to the Christian as now he has him at bay and he tells him he quotes the Muslim quotes the Bible to the Christian says you reap what you sow you've heard of this, so he gets to turn around and bless the Christian with his own word, but again it's just a fact. Back in the 12th-century that you gain slaves through war begin our Judeo-Christian faith. The goal here is to regulate. To minimize and correct the abuses of slavery and ultimately leading to its abolishment of slavery existed within his or like I said it was no longer than six years unless you stayed on longer if you had a good job and wanted to stay on for the economic gain. Slaves had rights they could invest money they could work and receive wages in food and clothing, and housing.

They had religious freedom reading our fourth commandment.

They were acknowledged in the Sabbath keeping slaves are more permanent than the day laborers. Jesus talked about day laborers in his parables and the slave would be the one that would hire on these day laborers. He had more job security than a free man who was doing day labor so he would be a property manager of farmland in American history. Unfortunately, we do have men that knew the Bible knew God's word knew the sinfulness of the race-based transatlantic slave trade that is its origin goes back to man stealing will get to that in a minute. Deuteronomy 24 verse seven condemns kidnapping and claiming someone as property, but great men like John Newton.

Unfortunately, let a slave ship he would later be converted he would resign from his position. But even as a new convert. It was an internal struggle there. Jonathan Edwards was critical of the slave trade, but he did himself have slaves George Whitfield had 75 slaves as he would build orphanages down in South Georgia with the use of slave labor to common hidden matter were all coming from where were coming from in history and we have to compare Scripture and commit to God's word. But at the same time I see where these men are trying to figure out and work through these doctrines and serve the Lord as best as possible.

Slavery even today still exist. I think the most obvious example would be human trafficking and thankfully there are human their international laws against this and so were slavery still exist today. We are all in agreement to abolish this throughout the world a more positive example of like indentured servitude as is what biblical slavery really is a military service for a time you sign a contract and agreed to it. Of service I've heard people joke about those that are enlisting in the military or your signing your life away and is a little bit of truth to that. In one sense you are committing yourself, committing a portion of your life to service to your country. You are given a contract that you agree to and you cannot put in your two weeks and just leave you are committing yourself to a number of years in the service as the government trains you to be a weapon of the military back in World War II and Vietnam. They were called GIs in his government issue, the product of the government. But again, Paul uses this language.

He loves the idea being a soldier for Christ. Second Timothy chapter 2 verse four no soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits since his aim is to please the one who enlists and this is not a negative thing all does not look at this as a negative label.

He commits himself as a soldier of Christ Jesus, as we all should commit ourselves to this Christian service. Another example would be mortgages in a financial sense. Your signing up and committing yourself to a debt to the bank.

Proverbs 22 verse seven the rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is a slave of the lender the rich. In this illustration would be the bank in your indenting yourself to the bank and they're letting you live in the house until you pay off this debt.

You can sell the house and get out of this debt, or you can commit and pay off the house prisoners who are in prison.

They are paying off their debt to society.

The been given a designated amount of time to be in the prison system literally in chains and behind bars. They are serving the penalty that they are due and their only freed from bondage and imprisonment as they pay off this debt. As Eugene mentioned in one of his recent sermons and we see this in second Corinthians 7 Paul suggests that if you can get out of this this institution of slavery is a temporary thing and he is encouraging Christians. While it is your circumstances at the time seek to exit slavery seek to get out of slavery.

While you were there. Paul is encouraging Christians to follow biblical guidelines of Christian ethics, not just for slaves as he does address throughout his epistles.

What we also see as for masters and slaves to improve the conditions of slavery having mutual respect between slave and master, but to be clear, let's go back to chapter 1 of this letter is very clear that Paul does condemn further slavery. Looking at verse 10 in context here laws not lay down for an adjustment for the laws and the disobedient for the ungodly centers for the unholy and profane among them. Look at verse 10, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, and in slavers this practice as he finishes verse 10 is contrary to sound doctrine. Paul is crystal clear word here in verse 10 is referring to one who was a kidnapper, a man steal her.

This is the direct concept that comes out of Deuteronomy chapter 24 verse seven. If a man is found stealing one of his brothers of the people of Israel and if he treats him as a slaver sells him and that thief shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, Paul is clear here that we are not to initiate he say he sees the institution is just part of what is going on in the culture at that time he saying indoor what he is very clear on here is that we do not initiate any form of kidnapping or man stealing all stands with the law and we do to seeing very clearly that this is against God's law. Paul is working through this trying to figure out how do we best serve our brothers and sisters in slavery.

He's not a revolutionary.

He is a preacher he's not a particular is not a demonstrator is not seeking to overthrow the government and Jesus and Paul and the other writers of the New Testament there very clear they're not seeking out violent revolution what they are trying to do and I think they have done this throughout the history of the world is there trying to transform culture there trying to transform society and they did so they did this by effectively destroying all the foundations that are beneath sinful slavery, including racism, greed, class hatred and what we now have is a world that is trying to eliminate slavery where we see it is calling Christians not to propagate this not to further this not to initiate enslavement.

But if you find yourself in and continue to endure endure in these hard trials have respect for the one you call master Christian masters have respect for those that you would call a slave or a servant and oppose the pagan brutality that we see in the Greco-Roman slave trade by how we look at this this evening.

What is this mean for us today in 2022.

John MacArthur and his chapter on this passage. He says the conscientious Christian employee. The way that we look at this when you see the word bondservant. Think employee when you see the word master think boss or manager or owner.

What is the conduct of a Christian employee. What is it look like to be under the yoke of employment.

What is a relationship between employers and Christian employees. What we see very clearly here in verse one. Let all who were under a yoke is bondservant to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor webmasters is generic. It's in contrast to verse two, which refers to our believing masters. You could say here if you're working for an unbelieving boss. If your manager is an unbeliever endure regard your own masters as worthy of honor show honor to the one who is your manager a yoke that we all know what a yoke is a wooden cross pieces over the neck of two animals. It's guided in the gods. The plow we see this is sort of the symbol of our service as our work under an employer we would all like to have Christian bosses but often times in the marketplace we find ourselves with unbelieving bosses. We want a Christian.

Austin appreciates that we want to be a church that we want to honor the Lord's day and be with God's people on Wednesday night, but at times we find ourselves in the workplace. Working with on believers and so it's an opportunity to give a good example of what hard Christian work looks like under the weight under the yoke of employment and to be a witness to our bosses, despite their unbelief that we would give them an illustration of Christian work.

We are to regard them worthy of honor. This is a respect. That's not partial it's not begrudging or not dragging our feet but were looking at our honor were is due to Christ in our obligation to the Lord in our duty and our action. We honor the unbelieving employer. We go back to the sermon on the Mount member Jesus. He spoke on the heart of the law. Jesus said if you say – and not commit adultery but I say if you commit lust in the heart. You say – and not killed but I say not hate your brother Jesus gets back to the heart of the issue, much the same way when we read the fifth commandment, we default to our own parents. We think of our natural born immediate family parents honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God is giving you, but it does not end with just simply your parents and applies more broadly to all those that are in authority in your life are Westminster larger catechism number 124 tells us were met by father and mother in the fifth commandment by father and mother in the fifth commandment are men's not only natural parents but all superiors in age and gifts and especially such as by God's ordinance or over us. In place of authority, whether in family church or Commonwealth. That last phrase there Commonwealth speaking to the broader society speaking to the government. Speaking to the civil laws that we must obey our civil society within that Commonwealth would be those that we work for. We are to be good Christian workers.

We are obligated to honor the Lord through hard work, but why so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Titus chapter 2 verse 10 tells us bondservant's not to pilfer but show all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. This is not about our own honor. This is not about how others might view us as individuals. What this is about is the evangelistic witness of our lives in the workplace. This is about the opportunity to give God the most honor and glory through our hard work in the workplace to show people the love of Christ to show people the self-sacrifice of Christ to show people the humility of Christ, to glorify God by illustrating Christian character within the workplace. I wonder oftentimes what do our unbelieving employers think of Christians when they think of hiring Christians. What is the work ethic that they see are we known for being lazy are we, known for being proud and self-righteous. Are we known for being know it all's. What is the reputation of Christians by the watching world. When we go into the civil realm, and one since I want to say I don't care what the world thinks I care what Christ thinks.

But Paul's coming in and saying it matters to God how you represent him in the workplace. You think you're just representing you, but there is a bigger picture here.

You are the one Christian, they might experience be the best example of Christianity to your unbelieving employer and when we disrespect and when we gossip and when we slander and the unbelieving world joins in with her. The unbelieving world. We are called to something greater. We are called to set an example to the unbelieving world.

They take note and I do think to themselves. That's the way the Christians act so I hope that as we go out into our workplace that we would best illustrate we might best glorify God in our obedient service to our unbelieving employment, unbelieving employers. My hope with Paul's encouragement here in the Spirit's conviction.

My hope is that we would see our calling to be diligent in our work and to be good employees to those who do not know Christ. But secondly we see as a reference now to believing bosses those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers.

Rather, they must serve all the better, since those who benefit by their serve their good service are believers and beloved here believing masters are called brothers.

They are fellow brothers in Christ, we are brothers and sisters in the family of God, and we have one Lord and Savior and a heavenly father that we want to honor and glorify. Paul speaks to this equality. In Galatians 3 verse 28 there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus, and we just take that at face value, it seems like there is no distinction between a employer and employee. Quite the contrary. What this verse is referring to is our spiritual equality before God, as they say the ground at the foot of the cross is level we all have the same salvation we have all the same faith.

Some of us has stronger faith than others, but the idea is the same saving faith that saves you saves me saves anybody that looks to Christ and believes on him by faith. But there is still a distinction within the workplace where we must not be too chummy not be to buddy with our bosses here. The idea here is that where this can slip into sin is a believing masters must not be disrespectful. The way that they can be is that they are to chummy with their bosses. They are not giving their boss.

The full honor and respect that is due to them, the attitude that now that I work for a fellow Christian I can do whatever I want now on this is that this is a wrong view. This is not the viewpoint that we ought to have his employees. We do not presume on our employers. What we must do is honor our employers through hard work, we must, if anything be further motivated. What does Paul say here. Rather, they must serve all the better, since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved, we should work all the more for a Christian employer. We ought to work better for our Christian bosses. We ought to set a greater example that we want to lead the way that we want to along with our boss be a better example to the unbelieving coworkers that we work amongst. We best. We want to best serve Christ by serving our employers and are businesses that we work for right there under the subheading will see the last little phrase here teach and urge these things.

Paul writes to Timothy, but he also writes to the church at Ephesus and is a minister of the gospel in one since I feel like Paul's writing to me but know he's writing to the congregation is writing to every one of us here teach and urge these things we want to look at this is something that we apply to ourselves the same phrase coming out of first Timothy 411, Paul talks about training and godliness. He ends with command and teach these things. Titus 215 declare these things exhort and rebuke with all authority.

Let no one disregard you teach these things to the fellow saints in the church. This is application for us. In conclusion, a few points of application work hard. We are called to work. Whether it's for a paycheck or whether it's raising and taking care of children were to work hard were to embrace work we do the best job that we can in our job is to do the work at hand.

It's not necessarily to evangelize.

I had a professor tell me one time. If you're on the clock and you're supposed to wait tables and you start evangelizing people at the restaurant and you're off task. You are not honoring the Lord with diligent work. Thankfully, in my job as a pastor I get to tell people about Christ. I love it. But if my job is to wait tables. My primary goal is to wait tables to the glory of God as best as I can.

Martin Luther speaking this concept. He said the Christian shoemaker does his duty not only not by putting little crosses on shoes by making good shoes because God is interested in good craftsmanship.

I think a Chick-fil-A. It's great that we can support a Christian company. It's great that the leadership of the company is very clear on their Christian conviction. II love that. But if they start making chicken sandwiches with salmonella. People started getting sick. Their Christian faith is great but they are not making chicken sandwiches to the glory of God.

We need to do a good job. If your particular Chick-fil-A work make a good chicken sandwich submit to the government to the governing bodies at your company, your employer or boss is an application of the fifth commandment just the same way that we look at the governing society which we look at the government that is over us we see Romans 13 E person be subject to the governing authorities. There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Whether you're serving your employer or serving of the local police by keeping the civil law we are honoring the Lord when we honor authority that God has placed by his providential hand where it asks us to sin.

We must practice civil disobedience.

That's very clear in acts chapter 5 were Peter and the apostle say we must obey God rather than man, but as it agrees with God's law of us keep the civil law Joe MacArthur was it G3 and he spoke about how we ministers need to preach judgment and how we must preach the reality that our nation is under judgment.

A spoken Isaiah chapter 3 he said we know the were under judgment because Isaiah chapter 3 verse 12 says my people. Infants are their oppressors and women rule over them is that our VP is a woman and our president is an infant, so I took a jab at the same time he does acknowledge government has been placed by God and we are to honor the office honor the governing office that God has placed finally, I think the most obvious point that I want everyone to take home is to consider Christ. Consider the example of Christ, like Christ beer model, consider the fact that he was a dual loss that is a slave to the will of the father Paul in Philippians chapter 2 verse six and seven, Christ Jesus who those in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant root word there being a slave. He took the form of a slave being born in the likeness of men are not greater than our master, the Lord Jesus Christ and let us willfully submit to the Lord Jesus Christ. He came down from heaven not to do his own will, but to do the will of him who sent him. That is the father. Let us serve our employer as we would Christ let us serve our employers with humility, just as he serve the father we serve Christ we are slaves to Christ. Alongside our older brother. The apostle Paul. In conclusion, like to share these words from Paul himself from Colossians chapter 3 verses 22 to 24 bond servants.

That is, slaves obey and 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 a reward you're serving the Lord Christ.

Let us pray.

Heavenly father, pray that your spirit would work mildly within our own hearts and prepare us for the daunting task that you put before us to submit to submit to an unbelieving employer to those that hate you revile the faith. We pray that you would undergird us that you would strengthen us under the circumstances that you set out father we pray that we would delight in our Christian service, especially alongside a Christian believing boss or manager, we pray, no matter our circumstances that we would see contentment. We would love Christ above all, and that we would do all that we can to honor him and that we would always look to Christ is our example, the father you can put this in our hearts. You can sanctify us by your spirit, we pray that you would work these things mightily within us and cause us to work with all diligence with hard work on are you your sins and we pray, amen

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