Lesson #1 SPIRITUAL SLAVERY
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus
Slaves to our wants, desires, and master passions OR slaves to God
Our natural condition, before we are saved from sin, is that of a slave to sin. We, by nature are enslaved by our own selfishness, greed, lust and pride.
John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
Romans 6:17 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
When I first believed the truth that Jesus is God and that He died to pay the penalty for my sin, I came face to face with the fact that I lived my life to satisfy my own selfish desires and that I was indeed in bondage to sinful practices.
When I first read Ephesians Chapter two, I was shocked.
Ephesians 2:1-2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
I realized that while I had thought I was a free person, I had actually lived my life as a slave to prince of the power of the air (Satan).
Though faith in Jesus, we are set free from sin.
John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
WE ARE FREED FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN BY ACCEPTING OUR RIGHTFUL POSITION AS A BONDSLAVE OF JESUS.
Romans 6:22 ” But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
It is clear that we were in bondage to our own sinful desires and by the hold Satan had on our lives. Notice in Romans that Paul speaks of redemption, payment for the debt we have put ourselves under. This is a debt that one sold into salvery as a debtor would have to pay. Jesus paid the price of our redemption.
In Mark 10:45 Jesus talks of ransom, payment for the release of a hostage. This is a price one would have to pay to purchase a slave that is held as booty from a battle. We were held in bondage by the prince of the power of air, and Jesus paid the price of our ransom.
In chapter six of Romans Paul explains that we are slaves, we have no choice, we are slaves. Our choice is to either serve Satan and Sin or to serve God.
Romans 6:16-18 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Just as Joshua declared thousands of years ago, it is up to you and me to chose whom we will serve.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
You and I ARE slaves. We get to chose whom we will serve.
1 Why do I do things that I am later ashamed of?
2 Who or what was I serving when I did that?
3 Do I really accept the fact that my actions are always directed by a master, whether for good or for evil?
Or, do I instead see myself as a free agent that is not led and directed by any force outside of myself?
Thank you, Father, that you have opened the door for me to have a full and rich relationship with you. Thank you that you have delivered me from the overwhelming power of sin in my life. Help me to say no to my flesh and to the cares of the world. Protect me from the lies of the enemy that would lead me away from You and Your love. I want to be Your slave, and to be free from the slavery to sin. Thank you that you love me and have given me life in Jesus. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Lesson #2 SLAVE/MASTER RELATIONSHIP
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus
When Paul wrote these words, he was living in a world that was under authority. When he declared himself to be a bondslave (doulos) he was fully aware that the words he used demanded a Lord (kurios).
Strong’s G1401 – doulos
A slave, bondman, man of servile condition, one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests
Strong’s G2962 – kurios
He to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord, the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner; one who has control of the person, the master, in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor. A title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master, this title is given to: God, the Messiah
When Jesus met Saul on the Road to Damascus, Saul asked:
Acts 26:15 ‘Who are you, Lord? ’
Jesus answered him: And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
With the use of the word “kurios” (Lord) Saul was declaring himself to be “doulos” bondslave.
God referred to Old Testament Saints as “My Servant”. 2 Samuel 3:18 My servant David
A servant “ebed” always has a master,
ebed” commonly used for slave as in Genesis 12:16
and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels
Strong’s H5650 – `ebed
slave, servant, man-servant,
Strong’s H113 – ‘adown
firm, strong, lord, master, king
Now, is it possible for Jesus to be your Lord and you not be a bondslavedoulos?
Luke 6:46“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
In Africa, where the chief form of governance is well known, this concept is well understood. In America, where “we the people” cherish our liberty, this concept is not understood and is all too often rejected. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” In America we turn this around. We say let all governing authorities be subject to us. Our form of government is the best in the world, however, we must not let our freedom and liberty as citizens of the USA keep us from accepting our rightful place as a doulos at the feet of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
QUESTIONS CONCERNING MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:
1 Do I see myself as one who does whatever God wants without regard for my own interests?
Or, do I see God’s role in my life as the one who should solve my problems?
2 Do I seek to serve God?
Or ,do I seek to have God serve me?
Father, help me to more fully understand my relationship with You. . Please correct me when I begin to think that my life is what really matters. Help me to see my life and the lives of those around me in an eternal perspective, and bring me to the place where I yield all that I have to you as my Lord and Master. Thank you Lord for your wonderful grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
Lesson #3 SUFFERING AS A SLAVE
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus
JESUS, IS THE GREATEST SUFFERING SERVANT. — Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
Luke 24:26Jesus said “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
We see the relationship of suffering and exaltation of the servant/slave in Philippians.
Philippians 2 He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him
In Jesus we see the suffering servant being exalted and glorified. This is God’s pattern for all of His servant/slaves. Jesus, of course, is the greatest servant/slave of all and is now Lord/master of all. Paul told the Thessalonians that their suffering was commonplace for Christians.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men,”
He wrote to the Philippians that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
In Paul’s letter to the Romans he relates suffering with Jesus to being glorified with Him
Romans 8 heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Peter also connects Christ’s suffering with His exaltation.
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”
Peter declares that, as Christians, we should expect to suffer as slaves (doulos) for our Lord (kurios).
1 Peter 2:21 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”
1 Peter 5:10 “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
1 Am I willing to suffer with Christ?
2 What have I sacrificed for Christ?
3 When I give and when I serve God, do I do it at my convenience at the least cost?
Or, do I give Him the things that cost the most?
4 Is there joy in my life, even when I suffer loss for my Lord and Master?
5 Am I willing to deny myself, pick up my cross daily and follow Him?
Lord help me. I am weak, and I am selfish. When I consider all that you have done for me, and how little I have been willing to serve you, I am ashamed. Help me be willing to lay down my life for You. I don’t want to be one of those whose fruitfulness gets choked out by the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches. Lord, forgive my failures. Today I submit anew to You and Your will, in Jesus’ name.
Lesson #4 SUFFERING – BASIC TRAINING FOR SPIRITUAL SLAVES
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus
It is essential that we lay hold of the concept of the Master/servant relationship God has for us.
The whole concept of Lordship is wrapped up in the concept of Lord and servant.
Romans 10:9 ” that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
When I enlisted in the US Army, I was sent to Ford Ord in California for Basic Training, and then to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for MOS (Military Occupation Specialties) Training.
Basic Training is a nine-week program that always comes first. Its purpose is to train every recruit that they are the property of the US Army. The Army has it’s own set of laws that severely limits the liberty of every soldier. Every recruit learns military discipline and obedience to authority in Basic Training. The second purpose of Basic Training is to teach every recruit the fundamentals of combat. Every soldier is trained first to be a servant and an infantryman. Specialty training follows. So it was with Paul. He was first a Bondslave, then an Apostle.
Galatians 1 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother
I remember Pastor Chuck Smith, years ago, teaching that God is much more interested in who we are than in what we do. We can easily get caught up in the “work” of ministry and begin to think that the “work” defines us. It does in fact define us before people, but it does not define us before God. So, we make a big mistake when we put the ministry (works) ahead of growing in our personal relationship with Jesus. Galatians 5 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
A new Christian may be gifted with the gift of prophecy and immediately find an opportunity to use that gift in sharing a recently read passage of scripture with another person. The gift of evangelism or the gifts of healing may be operational immediately upon conversion, and so on. However, every Christian is first and foremost a Bondservant in a servant/master relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to Timothy about the dangers of a person taking a position in the church before they are properly grounded in the Love of Jesus and His Word.
1 Timothy 3 ” This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.—– not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”
It is a mistake for anyone to skip the Christian Basic Training. In the Army we were stripped down and built back up and made better for it. As Christians, we must be humbled in order to be filled with the Love of Jesus. In my experience, it has been very difficult. At times I feel like I am being crushed under the conviction of the Holy Spirit as God works within me to rid me of the pride and arrogance that holds me back from serving Him in the way He would have me serve. I really don’t know where I am in the process; I only know that I am in the process.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 13:3 “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. “
Jesus said: Revelation 2:2-5 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
Lesson #4 SUFFERING – BASIC TRAINING FOR SPIRITUAL SLAVES part 2
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus
PAIN, SUFFERING, TRIALS, AND DIFFICULTIES ARE POWERFUL TOOLS
IN THE HANDS OF OUR FAITHFUL MASTER
WHO LEADS US AND STRENGTHENS US THROUGH CHRISTIAN BASIC TRAINING
James 1 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing
Paul THE BONDSERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST said at the end of his life:
2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Christian Basic Training – involves hardship and suffering
Paul wrote to the Philippians: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me
Paul helps us realize this truth as he testifies in 2 Corinthians 12
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong
So what is the point of this study?
1 Remember who you are.
1 Corinthians 7:23 “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
2 Remember what you have.
1 Corinthians 4:7 “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
3 Remember what your life is about.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
1 Do I put ministry work ahead of personal growth in the Lord?
2 Do I daily confess that I was bought with a price, and that I am not my own?
3 Does my life really glorify God?
Or do I live my life to glorify myself?
4 Do I give my life as a living sacrifice to God?
Lord I know that You are much more interested in who and what I am than in what I do or don’t do. Help me keep from judging myself based upon my actions. I know that all that matters to You is that I abide in Christ and that I yield my will to You. As we go forward, help me to see the futility and vulgarity of pride and instead focus my attention upon what You have done for me, what You are doing for me, what You have promised that You will do for me. Give me the strength of purpose to live my life always in humble submission to You and Your purposes. Thank you Father that all that you have done for me. I come before You and make these requests in the authority You have given me in Your Son, my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.