Sermon – Just Stop Slavery? (1 Timothy 6:1 – 6:10) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 15 of 18

Just Stop Slavery?

Pete Woodcock, 1 Timothy 6:1 - 6:10, 21 May 2023

Pete continues our series in 1 Timothy and preaches from 1 Timothy 6:1-10. In this section of the letter, Paul addresses slaves and how they are to behave in relation to their master? What can we learn about our freedom in Christ and how it changes the ways we behave?

1 Timothy 6:1 - 6:10

6:1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 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 good service are believers and beloved.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

We're gonna read from 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 1 to 10. So if you'd like to Take up your bible so you can follow along on the screen. 1 Timothy 6, and let's let's hear the word of God together. All who were under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered.

Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to Godly teaching, They are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies.

And quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of corrupt minds who have been robbed of the truth and who think that Godliness is a means to financial gain. But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, We will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. My name's Pete Woodcock. I'm 1 of the elders of the church if you're visiting and you're new, it's really, really lovely to have you with us. And yeah, we're going through 1 Timothy at the moment, we're coming towards the end although there is a few more absolute nuggets in this in this in this letter that Paul's written to a younger minister, Timothy, and we're gonna be looking at 1 of them today. Let me pray.

Father, we need you. We need you more than perhaps we ever really know We know that the Lord Jesus is the 1 that actually even holds the very atoms together that make us up So we need you. We need you to open our ears spiritually that we may hear you. We need you. We need you here by your spirit who cause us to be listeners not just hear us, but people that put your word into practice.

We need you. We can't do it on our own. We're not meant to. We're built and designed to rely on your grace and your generosity and your creation. And your power, we need you.

And lord, it is an extraordinary thing that you would speak to us through your word, this letter written 2000 years ago, What an extraordinary thing it is. We need you so that we can apply it to our lives right now today in 20 23. Thank you that over the years you've blessed so many people with this very word, bless us now we pray. Whatever are circumstances. Whatever are sense of injustices, whatever our sense of our rights, whatever it is, Lord, help us to put them aside and use the 2 ears you've given us to hear you speak to us.

Let me ask you this in Jesus' name. Our, ma'am. So turn back to that passage, I guess I I don't really need to spend a long time proving to you that freedom is is a big deal. Everybody wants to be free. People write all around the world, don't they, whatever culture?

They they wanna be free. They wanna be free from tyranny and free from fear and free from war and free from tradition and culture and family sometimes. Some people wanna be free from from their marriages. They wish they hadn't married that person. We wanna be free.

And we want to be free in the western sort of way to do what we want to do. Not necessarily free to do what we ought to do, We've turned it around and we want to be free to do what we want to do. Freedom's a big a really big deal. And actually, the great thing is when you turn into the bible, you see that the bible thinks freedom is a big deal. 1 of the fundamental stories in the bible is the story of the exodus.

In fact, in 1 sense, I don't think you can really understand the bible throughout without really understanding and getting to know something to do with the exodus, exodus, freedom of the people. Do you remember that song? I love that song. I don't I don't know why I'm looking at you, but But exodus it's because of people in the front row, you always get it. Exit freedom of the people, Bob Marley, remember?

I like I like that. Perhaps we're asked the band to do a sort of reggae version of the last hymn, exodus freedom of the people. And and basically the Israelites were found themselves as slaves to the to the Egyptians. They were in Egypt land and they found themselves as slaves, pharaoh, the Egyptian leader put more and more cruel and barbaric sort of laws onto their slavery and made them more and more sort of committed to their slavery or under slavery. God raises up Moses and who is able to go into pharaoh's presence with the word of God and the word of God is let my people go and pharaoh constantly said, No.

10 times, no. Let my people go no. God then sent these signs and wonders and plagues 10 of them, 10 plagues, let my people go, and eventually he had to let them go. So freedom is a big deal. Even in the bible.

In the western world and particularly in this country, freedom is such a big thing that we seem to be digging around trying to discover more and more things to be free from. We didn't necessarily know that we were in slavery. Until someone comes along and digs up a thing and says, no, you need to be free from this. 1 social commentator I read last week said this. Many people today interpret all situations in terms of the oppressor and the oppressed.

And the struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor. It seems to be that almost everything is is like that. In other words, the master and the slave, the oppressed and the oppressed. And then I love this. This is what the social commentators said.

If for the person with a hammer everything is a nail. I just love that thought. You know, Luke's got a hammer there's a little pank, babe everything's a nail. If if with the person with a hammer, everything is a nail, then our society with the emancipation narrative, in other words we want freedom, then our society with the freedom story, everything is an oppression from rich, liberation must be sought sought. Everything everything.

You offer someone a seat on the on the train and they're saying, who do you think you are to offer me the seat? You know? In a case, it just becomes mad, the oppressive and oppression. And and and so, you know, that goes through our minds, our bodies, and how we find ourselves and all of that. And it seems to me as someone who tries to read the culture that we've now made this oppression liberty thing almost a slavery, and people are in fact in misery now.

Trying to look for what they need to be free from. It's interesting because in the exodus It's not simply let my people go and that spells freedom. It never was that. It's let my people go so they can worship me. God.

That's where freedom is. And then of course, if you follow the story of the Israelite people, they go into the wilderness, they escape from slavery, but they come to Mount Sinai where they're given laws and rules. They're given the very commands of God. And under the command of God, that spells freedom. That's what freedom is.

Freedom is to come under God's rule and live as God wants us to live. So freedom, big thing. Now, With that in mind then, we come into the new testament, that's where 1 Timothy is. And it's written in the context of first century Rome, And first century Rome had 60000000 slaves around Europe. In fact, we're told that at the height of Rome, sort of power, that 1 third of the population of the city of Rome were slaves.

So slavery was it was deeply embedded in the culture of the Roman society. Most well-to-do people, in fact, didn't have to be that well-to-do, had a slave, and many wealthy people had hundreds of slaves. So it's quite an interesting thing. Now what you've got to get is although although the the the the slave was at the bottom of the rung in Roman society, It wasn't necessarily like the African slaves that we think of when we hear slavery. In the eighteenth, nineteenth century.

Many slaves had had sold themselves into slavery because it was a way of getting out of debt. Slaves could be because they were criminals, and it was that was the punishment for their crime. Slaves could be because their family were slaves and their children were born into and you were born into that family and therefore the master owned you. There are lots of reasons why you were slave. It wasn't necessarily the brutal vicious.

It could be that, but it wasn't necessarily the brutal vicious, sort of racist slavery that you got in the 18, the nineteenth century, or that you even got with the exodus. However, if you're a slave, you're a slave. Even if it was sort of quite nice for some slaves, You were a slave. 1 person owned you. 1 person told you what to do.

And there were plenty of slaves in that 6 60000000 that wanted out and, of course, there were slaves that were treated badly. So there we are now. We are thinking about freedom. We've got the idea of slaves coming out of the exodus in the old testament. We come into the new testament, and Paul is writing into the new testament world with all that slavery going on and here's the apostle that means someone who's speaking on behalf of Jesus Here is the apostle Paul speaking on behalf of Jesus or writing a letter and he's writing to Timothy, a young leader of the Church of Ephesus who have many members in that church who are slaves.

What is Paul gonna write? Is it gonna be the new Moses? Is it gonna be the exodus of the people? Well, have a look at it. Chapter 6 verses 1 and 2, and that's all we're gonna look at this morning.

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of slaves. Bit disappointing, isn't it? Isn't it?

Exjudice of the people. That's exciting. Go to fairroom, you know, do some miracles. Call says, sort of, carry on as normal. It's a bit disappointing, isn't it?

Where's the revolution? Yeah? Where's the cry for justice? That's my first point. Why not a call for revolution?

Look at it again. Verse 1 of chapter 6. All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider. Now that's a good start. Isn't it?

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider the word yoke that Paul uses there is a word that you would use for oxen or horses or something. And you'd have this beam of wood over the neck I mean, that's significant over the neck of of of of an ox, and sometimes over the neck of another ox, And then on that piece of wood, you know, were were metal or strips of leather or something that would then have to pull the plow that the yoke is a picture of oppression on the yoke over the neck on its back. So Paul's got that right. Slavery is a bondage. It's it's a yoke.

Great start, Paul. All who are under the yoke of slavery. If he's gonna gather the slaves together, all who under the utter slavery, what do we want? Freedom. When do we want it?

Now. Yes, says, Paul. Let's glue ourselves to the Roman roads. Let's throw ourselves in front of the Roman horses. But he actually doesn't say that.

Verse 1, all who are under the yoke of slavery should consider, consider rebelling, consider our terrible position consider their masters. What? Worthy of full respect. So that God's name and teaching may not be slandered. Slavery you see to us is self evidently immoral in our ears, isn't it?

Any kind of oppression. Yeah? But here, Paul seems to be sort of ride with it. Don't worry too much about it. It's fucking incredible, isn't it?

I mean, is this passage immoral? Or is Paul just so out of date that we can't really use these scriptures to apply today, you know you know, maybe that maybe that's it. I mean, Christians have been involved in the abolishment of of the slave trade, you know, all the way through history Christians have been. So what's he talking about here? It feels disappointing.

Why didn't the Lord Jesus Christ? Why didn't his apostles, criminal, criminalized slave owning. Why didn't he say, if you're a Christian, you cannot have a slave, you've got to get rid of it. Well, why didn't the early church launch an anti slave campaign? Just stop slavery.

Slavery, rebellion. Well, there are many reasons. Summer are alright. But there's 1 that's really important. Many slaves were actually happy being slaves, but that's not necessarily a reason not to campaign about it.

To dismantle slavery all at once without sort of thinking about it would of society, probably turned to anarchy. The Romans wouldn't allow that to have happen. There would be a bloodbath, but maybe we should call for that. That their reasons not to do it. But I think this is the main reason.

It would turn Christianity into a political revolutionary movement centered on this world, centered on how you live in this world. How free you are in this world. Nothing to do with spirituality. Only physical. Therefore, I think they would lose the very message of freedom that they have that they can present towards the world and live in this unjust world.

It would deny the freedom that Christians have whether they're slaves or free, the inner spiritual freedom. And lastly, I think, Paul's got a much better way of rebelling, a much better way of rebelling which we get to. So why not call for revolution? Because actually there is a better way. But hold it, let me just in my second point, I'm gonna go quite quickly here, and I'll shout out the texts for those that write notes and you can look them up later.

Let me give you a quick overview of the teaching of Paul on slavery in the new testament. I'm not gonna read all the passages. I'm just gonna comment very quickly to give you the whole picture. So here's an overview of what Paul teaches because it's not only here in 1 sick at at 1 Timothy 6. We'll come to those verses in a minute.

But a quick overview. So in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul says, were you a slave when you were called? Were you a slave when you became a Christian? Don't let it trouble you. Although, if you can gain your freedom, do so.

So what he's saying there is, look, if you can gain your freedom fine, that's great. But if you can't, don't let it trouble you. You're not a lesser Christian. You can serve God, as we'll see in a minute, just as well as a slave as you can a free man. You could show the glory of God in the way you live as a slave just as much as you can show the glory of God as if you're free and you can speak out the gospel traveling around the Roman world as a free man.

So don't worry about it too much, but if you can gain your freedom, it's a good idea to do that. Then he talks to slave owners and there's a number of passages, Ephesians and colossians, where he says to slave owners. Treat your slaves with justice. Remember, you've got a master in heaven. So treat your slaves with justice Don't be cruel to them.

You're a Christian. He does say in 1 Timothy chapter 1 verse 10 that sell buying and selling, slave trade is is wrong. So don't buy and sell slaves, but if you have slaves, treat your slaves in the same way you would treat the Lord Jesus Christ. Yeah? Then he says in Galatians chapter 3, that slaves and free men, Jews and gentiles, male and female, you're all 1 in Christ.

If you're in the church you're all 1 in Christ, a master isn't bigger than his slave if you're in the church. We'll come back to that. Then we have our passage here. Just just look at our passage, that you should treat slaves you slaves, you should treat your masters with full respect. Just look at verse 1 again.

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. If you turn over to Titus 2 and verses 9 and 10 and it's worth doing that, he spells out what that respect for a master is. So slaves, the first thing you want to do is not get your freedom The first thing you want to do is know that you are just as able to serve the lord in your slavery as anyone else, Know that you are right before God as much as your master is, but actually respect your master. And in Titus 2 9 and 10, he spells it out. Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything to try to please them.

You you may not be able to please them but try. Not and here we go, here's respect. Not to talk back to them, not to talk back it's very simple, isn't it? Not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them but to show that they can be fully trusted so that in every way they may make the teaching about God are Savior attractive. Your aim as a slave is to make the teaching of God attractive, and you can do that as much as a free man can do that.

In fact, in this situation, only you could do it because you're the slave in that situation. And and and just think how revolutionary that is, that you can be trusted. You're not gonna nick anything. That's revolutionary, isn't it? No security on the way out.

No could I have a look in your bag. You're trusted. It's extraordinary that, isn't it? That's respect. I'm not in there.

There's no back chat. There's no wee, no, fuck italy. There's there's nothing like that. Or to your to your colleagues. Oh hello, master, lovely to see you how honorable you are.

Stop it by the master door. Don't do that. Have you I've been in offices. I know exactly how it works. You know the the the the office manager comes in.

Oh, lovely. Oh, yeah. Happy birthday. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. You got your cake. Lovely. Bitch. It's extraordinary, isn't it?

How it changes? No back Imagine no back chat No stealing, obedience and respect. And as colossians says, even when his eye, the master's eye isn't on you, you get on with the work. Yeah? Now look at verse 2, serve the Christian master even better.

Look, those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers. And are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. So masters are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. But there's another temptation here with Christian slaves.

And that is, oh, my oh, my masters are Christian, I can do some shabby work. My masters are Christian here let me off getting to work on time, I can I can manipulate him a bit? I can say you're a brother. You should forgive. You should forgive.

Yeah. Yeah. I did shoddy work. I didn't turn up on time. You should forgive.

You need to learn to forgive. Paul says, the slave, master relationship you don't mess with it. Okay? Work hard. Now that's a summary and I've told you all of this because now it come together, I hope.

So if you're a bit of sleep, wake up. Yeah? You don't sell people slave trading is wrong for the Christian to ever do. If you have a slave, you could go to philemon, Paul encourages you to let the slaves go, but you don't have to. You are under a yoke that's true, but you can serve the God under that yoke.

You can do good, and therefore respect your masters and particularly Christian masters and masters don't treat slaves badly. And that brings me on to my third point, which is the revolution. Because all of that teaching under that second point, you bundle it all together and you see that teaching is revolutionary in our world, not to backchat and not to steal is revolutionary enough. Put it all together is revolutionary. So here's my third point.

You ready? You're alive on this 1 now? Give me some indication. Yeah. Yep.

Do you want to hear the third point? Yes. What about the fourth point? What about the nineteenth point? Getting a bit tired there.

Here's the third point. Real revolution part 1, live for God. Real revolution part 1 live for God, whatever your circumstances. It's revolutionary. See, the apostle Paul didn't launch a social campaign against the injustices in society and there were many of them you know, loads more than just slavery.

Which 1 is he gonna choose? He didn't do that. But the Lord Jesus and the apostles aren't encouraging injustice and abuse, by not calling for a campaign, they're encouraging forbearance and that is revolutionary. Be an example to the world, Christian. Be an example of faithfulness in very difficult times, Christians.

Be an example when you feel that you're unjustly treated Christian. Be light in a dark place of injustice. Be sought in a decaying world Christian. Your actions speak loud. Earn the right then to be able to speak with words.

By your actions. Earn the right to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. Earn the right to be heard by your life whether you're a free man or a slave. This is the greatest freedom. Look at verses 1 and 2.

Just have a look down on verses 1 and 2 and answer this question What's the overarching concern in these verses? What's the foremost point? What's the big point in these verses about slavery? Look at verses 1 and 2. What's the big thing Paul wants us to to have here?

What is it? Well, I'll tell you, first 1. So that god's name and our teaching may not be slundered. That's the big thing. Get that right and whether you're a slave or a free man, you're free.

That's the sentence that drives Paul's life. That's the sentence that he wants to drive your life whatever your circumstances you're in. We saw in Titus too that when you respect your master and I love this line, You respect your master so that in every way they will make the teaching about God and our Savior attractive. The overarching thing that Paul wants about your life is not whether you're a free man or a slave, but actually you're making your savior attractive whatever you're circumstances. Even if your life, you know, it's not the life you hoped for, Even if even if you're at the bottom of the social structure, whatever that may be.

He wants you to be free and you can be free in whatever situation you're in, even if it is slavery even if you're under the yoke of injustice because you can make Jesus attractive in that situation. And if you live like verses 1 and 2, it will be attractive. Not ugly, not moaning, not self serving, not all about you, but respect for someone else and their position. This is extraordinary liberating. The way that God has chosen to transform a culture, if that's ever his desire, is not revolution, but personal transformation.

The matter of your circumstances, they might be, you know, there might be some relevance to that. And if you can get out of it, get out of it, Paul says, But the matter of your circumstances, you know, it's not irrelevant, but it's not the big issue. My rights, my comforts, even my identity. It's not important. It's the glory of God that's important.

Paul, I think, had the leadership ability to raise up a revolution. He was doing it before he became a Christian. So I can't see why he couldn't have done it in the Roman world. He he he had leadership abilities to to to head you know, go for a revolt. A campaign.

Just just stop slavery. He could have done it. But what result would have that been? The glory of God, wouldn't Paul gone down as just a revolutionary, Spartacus, someone to be crucified, someone to oh, it was a rebellion. Think of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If Christ had been thinking about his rights, he wouldn't have gone to the cross, would he? What injustice If Christ had been thinking about his circumstances, he wouldn't have lived where he lived. Would he? If Christ had been thinking about the injustices to him and there were so many of them, he would have claimed justice, he wouldn't have died. The whole central emphasis of Christianity that cross itself underscores this principle.

We don't live for ourselves. Father not my will, but yours be done. And I want to glorify you. And if I'm a slave, I'm gonna glorify you in being a slave. And if there's injustice that I am suffering, I'm gonna glorify you in that.

And if there's a marriage that isn't quite the way I want it to be, I'll glorify you by obeying you within that marriage. And if there are circumstances that are going against me, I'll glorify you when I'm concerned about my name and my rights and my just this. I'm probably least useful in the kingdom of heaven than I could ever be. The reason for our existence is not health wealth and wisdom, in the world's wisdom. It's not about me.

That's a false gospel. These very verses knock out those prosperity gospel preachers right over. They would never preach on this. 1 of the reasons why we preach through the bible, section by section, because you don't choose to preach these things. But the prosperity gospels is all about me, it's all about money now, it's all about this world now, it's all about me having this now.

Me, me, now, now. The world that's passing through how I feel now, my wealth, now, my happiness now, Not about that Christianity. Although you will be happy, When you want to bring glory to God, that's the strange thing. You go through the book of acts, you see it in a number of times, don't you? The apostles are arrested.

They're beaten up for following Christ. Here in his acts chapter 5. They come out after being beaten up injustly for for for following Christ, and these are their words. They came out rejoicing. See, there's happiness there.

Rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Christ. Yeah? Oh, Peter and John, the great apostles, you know, they're in prison, they're being beat. Oh, they're coming out. Oh, sure.

Let's get that. The balm. Let's make that nice cake that Peter likes. Let's get some fish. Oh, it'd be delicious.

Let's let's let's be gentle with them. Remember, now congregation, Peter and John have come. They've just been beaten up. Be gentle with them and calm down. Don't sing those happy songs.

More than for singing, Let's have some mourn for singing so that we're with them, and they burst in a hey hey, we're here. We're rejoicing. Hey, I tell you what, We were worthy to suffer for Jesus. The whole mindset changes. In the old testament, let my people go so that my people could worship me, meant that Israel physically were released from their slavery.

In the new testament, God's people are so free Even in a wilderness situation, they're so free that they can praise God even though they're slaves. That's the freedom you want. How is the church to make an impact on society The gospel transforms individuals first and foremost, and those individuals make an impact on the culture by being like Christ and dying to themselves. First 1, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. That brings me to my fourth point, the church.

Real revolution, part 1, is to live for God and it doesn't really matter what happens. Real revolution part 2 is the church. The church is the revolution in this world. It's the most revolutionary society in the world. The church Gathering people week by week, taught the word of the living God learning to love each other to take each other's burdens and pains and injustices, learning every day to support each other.

In church, everyone is a slave of Christ and that's their freedom. That's the slogan of church. I mean, there there are very funny things aren't there. I've I've said it just went through my miles on the bus coming in. Some of the slogans we Christians put outside our churches are absolutely disastrous, aren't they?

I mean, they are there was 1 I used to hate. Take a break, have a chit chat with God. Oh, shush stop with this kick hat, you know. I loved 1 in Australia. The the the best 1 I've ever seen, I actually can't really say it all because this has got a swear word in it.

But It had a sign up for the neighbors outside saying, where the hell were you last Sunday? That's the best 1 I've ever seen. And then you get those awful ones, you know, you've got c h c h, what's missing you are, you know. They're cringing, aren't they? I mean there was a 1 we used to have locally and it was a church for people that don't do church?

What? I mean, get your mind around that. But this 1 here, in church, Everyone's a slave and that's their freedom. I like that 1, don't you? Should we have that up instead of reach Kingston, reach people reach blah blah blah.

It's all so very worthy, isn't it? But everyone at Cornerstone is a slave of Christ and that's our freedom. So get this, come into church in the first century. Paul hasn't called for just stop slavery. You coming to the church, what are you going to see?

Believing slaves who have become deacons and elders and preachers in the church. The slaves, and masters that haven't got that gift of Christian leadership sitting under the ministry of their slave. Isn't that amazing? The slave stands up and leads the prayer and preaches the gospel and tells Christians how to live and the master is sitting there. Yeah?

Do you remember when we went back to chapter 5 where we had to treat people as family? If an older man if the if if the if the slave was an older man in church and the master was a younger man, the master has to treat the slave as a father, church messes everything. It's revolutionary. You sit next to your master and worship the same lord together. You hear the slave preacher.

I don't know why he's looking at you. He's master. And he's preaching at the master and say you should treat your slaves with justice. Yeah. Yeah.

It's an amazing example and the effect of that wherever you went to every town where there was church was declaring freedom freedom, and it changed Europe and got rid of slavery as an institution. Radical, Radical. Okay. Nearly finished. And that's just normal.

I haven't looked at my watch. Nearly done. How to change the world then? How are we to change the world? Well, as a church, we display this type of radical God centeredness for the glory of God, this radical dying to self.

It's a wonderful thing. And whatever situation you're in. You see we're under a yoke. Paul says that we're all under a yoke and we are all under a yoke of slavery. But Paul is showing us that if you're about the glory of God, you are actually a free man, whatever yoke you're under.

But if you're not about the glory of God, you'll be under the yoke of self and it's a killer as far as I can see of health, wealth, comfort, glory, trying to find your identity. Being offended at anyone that might oppress you, walking around feeling oppressed. Impressed. What did you mean by that? We we were at a bus stop the other night late at night in Wimbledon and 2 lads were just arguing and it was the slightest slight.

You know, they didn't even remember. They were so heated. It was frightening. They were about 12. I wanted to say to 1 of them, but you wouldn't be able to say anything to him because just saying hello or even giving him 30 quid would make him say, what are you doing that for?

Because he was offended by almost everything. I wanted to say to him, mate, there's 2 things. You will either be dead in 2 years' time with a knife in you, or you will be in prison because you've knifed someone. There's not much hope for you the way you're going. You are so utterly in slavery to your own little self that anything that is a slight against you you just can't control yourself.

You are a slave. I don't think it would have gone down too well. Thankfully, they got on the bus, but I wasn't getting on. I didn't have the guts to say to the driver. You shouldn't have these on because that means that they would have stayed, and then when then it would have escalated.

Listen, we are free to worship God in whatever our situation, however difficult it is, and just to get on with it. You know, people come with marriage issues and listen. Just get on with it. Just get on with obeying God. And as you do that or even even sometimes work issues.

Now if you can get out of work, then fine, change your job, but sometimes just get on with it. Or life issues, just get on with it and bring glory to God. Jesus says, whoever wants to become great must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. The freedom in that is amazing. In the eighteenth century African slave trade, there were a group of European white European Christians called Moravians.

Their concern was how do you reach the black African who's on those dreadful ships how do you reach them for Christ? And they prayed and sold themselves into slavery to go on those awful boats to tell them about Jesus. Were they slaves? They were free. They were so free.

So what is your life like? Is it Christ like? Is it attractive Is it moaning? Is it constantly whinging? When you talk to people, is the name of God and the teaching of Christ slandered.

You don't really believe it by the way you say things. By the way you're living, or is it you're doing what you want and not what you want for the glory of God and you're free? You're free to worship God and be under his rule and under his law. And church is the radical place where that's played out, and I hope people keep radical. I hope we will keep radical.

As we serve each other in love and kindness, Tom. Father, we thank you that it is for freedom that Christ set us free. And, we thank you that in him, we have been freed from slavery to sin, and to death, and to satan, and to hell that we have become free people in Jesus. And yet we thank you that our freedom is also to be slaves of our glorious Jesus to live under his gentle and light yoke to listen to him, to love him, and to make the teaching about him beautiful with our lives. And Lord, we do pray for each 1 of us.

We'll all be in slightly different circumstances Some will feel very difficult, others not so much. And yet, lord, we pray that wherever we are, we might seek to live in such a way that the teaching about you would not be slandered, that your name would not be blaspheme. Because of the way that we are living and speaking. We pray the exact opposite for ourselves, lord, that we would speak and live in ways that commend the gospel to this world. We thank you lord for the church that this is your agent of change in the world.

And our calling is not to be politicians, not to spend our lives campaigning and overturning. But to live in the freedom and the transformation of the gospel and to go into the world with this message of the gospel, which can set the captives free. To know you. And so, we pray that you would help us to take these lessons and apply them into our lives in Jesus' name. Our men.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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