Today we will be looking at Ephesians 6:5-9 which speaks to the transforming power of the Kingdom of God in Bondservants and masters or in today’s language, the relationship of employee and employer. First, let’s review what we learned last week:

  1. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church
  2. We learned that the husband wash’s his wife with the word of God ruling in his life
  3. We learned of how closely this relates to Christ view toward His church by presenting her as “glorious”
  4. As husbands, we learned that we need to put nourish and cherish in front of our vocabulary
  5. Chapter 6 begins with Paul’s instruction to children
  6. We saw how a “culture of honor” was key to how children learn to honor their parents
  7. A husband, ought to love his wife as his own body even as the Lord love’s the church.
  8. Children honoring and obeying their parent is the first commandment with promise

 

Ephesians 6:5-9 Bondservants and Masters

 

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. NKJV

 

Bondservants, let’s explore word meanings here (noun plural noun: bondservants – a person bound in service without wages, a slave or serf. A bondservant is a slave. … Basically the only difference is that a bondservant is owned and is a slave. An indentured servant is more or less working off a debt. He is under contract until the debt is fulfilled.

As a point of interest relating to the subject of a bondservant, Our first President, George Washington who owned, slaves, wrote in his last will and testament, “Item Upon the decease of my wife, it is my Will and desire, that all the slaves which I hold in my own right, shall receive their freedom. To emancipate them during her life, would, tho’ earnestly wished by me, be attended with such insuperable difficulties on account of their intermixture by Marriage of other slave owners . . . He also willed that all those of old age or bodily infirmities, and infancy who cannot support themselves; it is my Will and desire that all who come under the first and second description shall be comfortably clothed and fed by my heirs while they live;

Some believe that slavery was part of the DNA of America. I believe that George Washington’s “Will” gives witness that in the heart of our first President was a biblical understanding that slavery was wrong and an abhorrent. An act of his choice stated his will to see this “atrocity” eventually done away with. The DNA of true freedom was in George Washington because of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Under Roman rule, slavery was a reality, and the Gospel of the Kingdom was at work both in the “bondservant” and in the “Master” who owned his bondservant. A personal opinion is that slavery would have ended a long time before it did if the church would not have fallen away from her true mandate of discipling nations and brought them by the Holy Spirit under the Rule of King Jesus who is the liberator and emancipator.

So, under the present situation of which Paul is writing, controlled by Rome, Paul instructs the “bondservant’s, ‘be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of heart, as to Christ. Do you see the theme, “in Christ?” Biblical submission is always “in Christ” or unto Christ. We have been buried with Him in baptism. Our life belongs to Him. We are not our own any longer. Paul recognized masters according to the flesh. He understood the bondage and the darkness of the world, but he also knew that a whole new world was being created. He understood that even in this “flesh” condition, God could produce a new heart in man, whether that person was Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female.

We need to examine our hearts. This is where the real issues lie concerning class, social issues, and justice issues. (see Micah 6:8).

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? NKJV

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11  NKJV)

So the sincerity of the heart is the issue which leads to Vs 6, not with eyeservice, as man pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Paul is saying don’t be looking for or expecting the man to see what you are doing for good. Do it unto the Lord and know that He is watching your good work. Do everything for the Lord and unto Him. Paul goes unto say, “doing the will of God from the heart.” Again we see it is about our heart. It is in the inner man that transformation happens and it is the heart that God is looking on.

What comes from the believer’s heart is “goodwill.” All our service is to be to the Lord, and not to men. What an attitude the Lord wants to give to His people. Paul reminds us “that whatever good anyone does, they will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Finally, Paul turns his attention to “masters.” Vs 9, Paul says, “And you masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening’s or intimidations, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”

The Lord used these scriptures to teach me lifelong understandings that have served me well. When I went to work in 1967 for a large electronics company, the Lord told me how I was to behave. He said to me, “make your boss a success and I will make you a success.” He also said not to ask for a raise. He assured me that if I served Him, He would make sure I was taken care of. The Lord was faithful. I was honored and taken care of by the Lord through my employer. They never knew of my “secret” agreement with my Savior and Lord. In the 7 years, I worked for the company, I never asked for a raised but received one, every 3 months. Years later, my former manager, Don wanted to hire me to run a business he had bought. That was not the Lord’s plan, but I appreciated Don reaching out and asking me. God is good!

Next week, as we begin with verse 10 we will begin to consider the “spiritual warfare” aspect of our life in Christ. We are being equipped daily for the spiritual battles of life. Paul teaches us how to be fitted with God’s armor for the battles so we might stand strong in the Lord. We will see that our strength and our power comes from His might.