Eph. 6:5-9 Christians must be the best employees and employers

Christians Must Be the Best Employers and Employees, Paul Addresses Servants and Masters. (Ephesians 6:5-9)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

 Have you ALWAYS had good bosses? Have you served as a boss? Have people always enjoyed working for you? What are some qualities we like in a boss? What are some qualities we like in an employee?

Sometimes Christians are known as the worst employees, and for that we need to repent. We should be the best. We should have the utmost integrity. We should have the best ethics. I once heard Chuck Swindoll talking about work and he referenced an employer who told him, “I will never hire another Christian again.”

 Chuck Swindoll shares about his own life:

I remember stealing six softballs when I was working as a stock boy in a five-and-dime store in my early years in high school. And I remember trying to find a place to hide them when I got home. I don’t know what in the world I planned to do with six softballs. To this day it just baffles me, the logic of it. But I stuck them in the back of my drawer and my mother found them. My father presented himself to me and told me that we were going to make a trip back to the store where I was going to talk to the owner and I was going to confess.

            I will never forget his instruction on the way. I mean, I was sitting there just dying thinking about it. It was just like passing razor blades to think about standing before my employer. Well, I stood there and told him what I had done. My dad was waiting in the car. He didn’t go with me. And I heard my boss say, “You’re fired.”

            I stumbled back out to the car and sat down. I was as slow as I could remember ever being. On the way, I remember my dad beginning to rebuild my emotions. I had done wrong, and I had learned an incredible lesson. He didn’t overdo it, but he drilled into me that when you steal, you get fired. And if you don’t get fired at the moment, you lose something that can’t be bought with any price, and that’s your self-respect. I remember, too, we got on the subject of what in the world I was gonna do with those six softballs.

            But there was something about the ornament of grace that came around my neck from my father who before we went in the house took the time to put his arms around me and to understand. This teenage kid was most concerned about my father’s not telling my friends. And as far as I know, he took that story to his grave and never told on me. [1]

My theme today:

Christians must be the best employers and employees, Paul addresses servants and masters.

  1. First, let’s talk about servants.
    1. In Ephesians 6:5-8 Paul address servants: Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
    2. You may find it interesting that Paul does not tell them to release all of their slaves.
    3. There are reasons for this. I will just name a few.
    4. The Christian group was very small at this time and they could not have the impact of bringing down all of slavery.
    5. Second, it was fairly easy to make the transition from slavery to freedom, and there was a growing tendency for Romans to free their slaves, and even establish them in a trade or profession.
    6. Third, by this time, the legal status of slaves was beginning to be eased, and it showed signs of further improvement.[2]
    7. Also, don’t apply all that you know of the African slave trade that we dealt with to this slave trade.
    8. The first century Greco-Roman slave trade was terrible, but not the same. These slaves were very educated. In fact, many times slaves were more educated than their masters. People would hire slaves in order to read to them. People would hire slaves to teach their children.
    9. The owner of slaves did have a lot of authority over them and their were abuses, but people would sell themselves into slavery in order to be provided for. There is debate but some have compared it to indentured servitude.
    10. One source shares: Some students of Roman history have estimated that about one-third of the population in the Roman Empire at the time were slaves, approximately 60 million individuals. Many of these people were Christians. Most ancient Greeks and Romans regarded slaves as little more than living tools. “Aristotle lays it down that there can never be friendship between master and slave, for master and slave have nothing in common; ‘for a slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave.’ A slave was nothing better, and had no more rights, than a tool. Varro, writing on agriculture, divided agricultural instruments into three classes—the articulate, the inarticulate and the mute. The articulate comprises the slaves; the inarticulate the cattle; and the mute the vehicles. The slave is no better than a beast who happens to be able to talk. Cato gives advice to a man taking over a farm. He must go over it and throw out everything that is past its work; and old slaves too must be thrown out on the scrap heap to starve. When a slave is ill it is sheer extravagance to issue him with normal rations. The old and sick slave is only a broken and inefficient tool.”
    11. Yet for various reasons, Paul addresses slaves and not the system.
    12. Slaves are to be respectful. They are to obey with “fear and trembling” or great respect and reverence.
    13. Slaves are to obey, not only when they are being watched but all the time.
    14. Slaves are serving the Lord ultimately.
    15. Paul addressed this in other places:

Col 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

1 Ti 6:1 All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.

Tt 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 

1 I.e. earthly masters, with fear 

  1. Paul addresses masters in verse 9
    1. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
    2. Paul uses very strong words here. Some translations say, “Stop threatening.”
    3. Just as slaves are to be respectful, so are masters.
    4. There are a few major principles here:
      1. God is all of our masters.
      2. There is no partiality with God.
    5. There is more cross reference: 4:1: Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
    6. Le 25:43 ‘You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
    7. Dt 10:17 “For the Lord your God is •the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.
    8. Ac 10:34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
    9. Col 3:25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
  • LET’S APPLY:
    1. I have been an employer, both as a pastor and as a McDonald’s manager. I have also been an employee.
    2. I served as a McDonald’s Manager for 5 years. I say that I did my 5 years of tribulation period at McDonalds and Jesus has not returned yet so He is coming back post-trib.
    3. I want to talk now about Christians as employers and employees. Christians must be the best employers and employees and I have been both.
    4. But can we apply this passage to employers and employees?
    5. I say, yes. We can apply the principles of the passage to employers and employees.
    6. One scholar said no we cannot apply it, but I like what Theologian Wayne Grudem said. He rejected the other view because he believed it nullifies in principle the moral authority of the entire New Testament. I like what Grudem shared.
    7. As a McDonald’s manager I had some very good employees. We had some very good ones. Then we had some which were not reliable.
    8. We wanted people to be on time and work while they were with us. We wanted people that respected others and did not steal. We caught people stealing a number of times.
    9. I also know that I am not perfect and I am sure that I had days when I did not work as I should. We all mess up and we must repent. What are the patterns of our life? Are the patterns reflected as being a good employer and employee?
    10. I have some applications:
      1. We must respect and obey all those in authority over us as if we are respecting and obeying Christ (Eph. 6:5-6).
      2. We must respect and obey those in authority over us whether they are watching us or not (Eph. 6:5).
      3. We must obey those who are in authority over us with “fear and trembling” (verse 5). This means that we must have utter respect for them. We must obey with reverence. We will respect their authority.
      4. We must understand that obedience, integrity and respect are the will of God (verse 6).
      5. We must serve as we are ultimately serving the Lord (verse 7).
      6. We should rejoice that we are rewarded for good things which we do (verse 8 and Heb. 6:10).
      7. We must treat those under our authority with respect. (verse 9)
      8. We must understand that we are all accountable to God (verse 9).
      9. We must understand that there is no partiality with God and there should be no partiality with us (verse 9; Gal. 3:28).
  • We must understand that we can only live the way God calls us to live as a servant or as a master by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
  • We must understand that we are all called to submit to each other in the fear of Christ (Eph. 5:21).

Close:

We are Christian everywhere we go. We are called to be filled with the Spirit everywhere we go (Eph. 5:18). We wear the Christian jersey at the work place too. Live out Phil. 2:3-4 everywhere you go:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Page 205pf Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes

 

[2] read these from John Stott, referenced on http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/ephesians.pdf

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