"Who We Are: Slaves"
If someone who wants to know how we are different than other “good people” the easiest is to call ourselves “disciples of Jesus.” What does it mean to be a disciple? Paul would use a few other words to describe discipleship.
Who We Are: Slaves
A. July 4th is a major holiday in our country. We call it “Independence Day.” If there is something many of us believe in, it is our independence. We love our democracy. We love to vote for our favorite candidate or against our political foe. We love our rights, especially those “inalienable rights” including, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
B. But what if I asked you to defend the concept of individual rights from the Bible; I believe you would find it more difficult. The reason is simple enough, I belong to God not God belongs to me. The easier and more biblical concept is that of slavery. Yet most English translations shy away from that word and have since their printing. We prefer the word “servant” or “bondservant,” the main word used has meant and only has meant “slave.”
C. The point Paul makes in our text is that you are a slave – that is fact. The only individual choice you make is what you want to be a slave to – or who do you want to serve?
I. Slave By Choice
A. Before getting into our text of Rom. 6, I want to take you to a situation the Moses talks about in Ex. 21:1-6.
B. What a picture! Here is a person who chooses to stay with a master because he loves his master and the family he received while being a slave. But his willingness to be a slave forever came at a price – his ear was pierced with an awl. That doesn’t sound like a hygienic jeweled stud that some girls get as their first earring.
C. What is happening is a picture. The master takes this person to God, presumably a where the judgement of God is given or is verified by the judges who speak on behalf of God. Then the master would take the slave to the doorpost of the house, probably the master’s own home and drive an awl through the earlobe signifying this man was permanently attached to the house.
D. The point is that this man chooses to remain a slave forever. Whether a ring or tag was placed in the ear for others to see and know, the text does not tell us. Many believe a ring was used because that was customary with other countries.
II. Who We Are
A. Paul would write in 1 Cor. 6:20 that we were “bought with a price.” Think about that. You can’t buy something that is not for sale. I sold myself to sin, but Jesus came along and purchased me from my master of sin and now I am going to live willingly with my new master.
B. Peter calls it “redemption.” In 1 Pet. 1:19 we were redeemed by “the precious blood of Christ. To redeem is to buy back. While Jesus set me from sin, he didn’t set me free to live for me. He set me free to live the best life I could live, one bound to him forever.
C. So let’s come back to our text in Rom. 6:15-18. Bondage is scary to me. I can’t imagine a person who has been abducted and bound by their captor, but that is what sin does. It “entangles us” it “binds us” and Jesus came to set us free from that terrible bondage. It is amazing to me that real freedom is not living the way I want or how I feel at the moment. Real freedom is not living in the bondage of sin.
D. How do show Jesus that we want to be his slave forever? Obedience. We call Jesus “Lord.” That word means “master.” Jesus buys us back from sin and we are owned by him. That terminology may not sit well with you, but that’s the biblical understanding. I can choose to sin or I can choose to obey God, but that is as far as my choices go.
E. Look at a story Jesus tells in Luke 17:7-10. Not only am I a slave, I have done nothing to merit any favor of my master. If I lived a perfect sinless life I simply have only done what was my duty. If I get to heaven it won’t be because I did enough humanitarian works. It won’t be because I attend enough worship services. It won’t be because I share Jesus with enough people. It will be because of the grace given to me by my master.
III. Who We Serve
A. I want to close by taking you to the words of Jesus recorded in Matt. 6:24. You cannot be a slave to two different masters at the same time. Even if you were, you could not obey them equally. You would have to make a choice which one will get your loyalty.
B. I want to tell you about my master, Jesus. Unlike any earthly he wants what is best for me. Most earthly masters what is best for themselves, but the master I serve see me as valuable. He loves me for me, not for what I can do for him, but because he started the relationship by creating me. I belong to him at the very beginning. I chose to either ignore that relationship or I intentionally chose to leave that relationship. Either way, I thought my was the most fun and the most fulfilling. In truth, I didn’t serve me, I served a master called sin that deluded me, blinded me, and let me think I was in control of my own destiny. All along I had become a puppet of sin.
C. At a point in my life, I came to my senses and realized how far I had fallen. What I wanted, I could not obtain. I didn’t have a relationship with God, I only had sin. But the love of God came to this earth and paid the very price that sin demanded – death. Then, having conquered death, this wonderful master called me. I know had a choice. I could either serve sin or I could run into the arms of the one who would pay the price I could not pay. I chose a new master. This one who loves me and cares for me, and more importantly has prepared a place for me with him for all eternity. What I am called to do is obey this new master. Not out of fear that he will hate me, but out of love for the grace he continually gives me.
A. I am slave of Jesus Christ. I am defined as one who lives for his master. My master was nailed to cross, but I offer my ear. I offer me to Jesus, just as I am. I am not great, but he makes me free indeed. Free from the evil that was killing me. He offers you that type of freedom if you come to him.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister