Slave!

1_Corinthians_7_20-24_Amazing Grace

Audio of Sermon: 

Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

The Bible defines what is and is not sin. God gives us an extensive list of what He considers to be sin, and declares:

Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) ….. all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

Our text today speaks of the calling of God unto salvation:

1 Corinthians 7:20 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling
wherein he was called.

God calls people to Him from all walks of life.
He calls the rich, the poor, the red, yellow, black, or white.
He calls educated people and illiterate people.

God calls whosoever will to hear the Gospel, receive Christ as both Lord and Savior, and then to follow Him.

The unspoken question Paul answers today is …

If I am a SLAVE and am called to serve Jesus, what should I do?”

The word “SERVANT” in verse 21 is the Greek δοῦλος doulos, which means “SLAVE”. It doesn’t mean “Servant” like a maid or a butler is a servant. It means someone who has lost their freedom, and who now MUST do as a master says. So what should a slave who is saved by the Grace of God do? The Apostle says:

1 Corinthians 7:21-22 (KJV) …. care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

The Apostle says “Don’t worry about it. If you are able to become free, do that. He who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freeman; and he who was called while free is Christ’s slave.”

The Apostle tells those who are in slavery that they are not to worry, but to serve Jesus where they are called. Now I ask you a loaded question:

Does God Define Slavery As Sin?

I’m not talking about human emotion here. People are having battles and riots over statues of people who owned slaves. Personally, I could never own a slave. I believe that every person is made in the image of God. God did not create us to be enslaved. The Bible declares:

Genesis 1:27-29 (NASB) God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and SUBDUE IT; and RULE OVER the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you …

Humanity was created to rule over creatures and plants, not to dominate other humans. As God ruled us, we were to rule creation for God. Slavery was not in God’s original intent in creation. However, God allows certain types of slavery.

God Forbids Chattel Slavery

What is “Chattel Slavery”? Chattel slaves are people who are conquered, kidnapped, and forced into slavery as property. Chattel slaves are owned forever. Their children, and children’s children are automatically enslaved at birth.

This was a common form of slavery in the ancient world, and the slavery that was shamefully prevalent in early America. Presidents ….

George Washington 1st President

Thomas Jefferson 3rd President

James Madison 4th President

James Monroe 5th President

Andrew Jackson 7th President

Martin Van Buren 8th President

William Henry Harrison 9th President

John Tyler 10th President

James K. Polk 11th President

Zachary Taylor 12th President

…. all owned slaves, though George Washington freed his slaves following the Revolution. Slaves were captured from Africa, stacked like cordwood on slave ships, and brought into America for sale. All human rights were suspended.

This type of slavery is forbidden in Scripture as “kidnapping” of as the King James puts it “menstealing”. The Bible says:

Exodus 21:16 (CSB) Whoever KIDNAPS a person must be put to death, whether he sells him or the person is found in his possession.

People were not to be stolen, nor their will taken from them. God made us in His image to rule the earth, not to be enslaved against our will. Kidnappers were put to death in ancient Israel for forcing people into slavery. God told His people:

Deuteronomy 24:7 (CSB) If a man is discovered kidnapping one of his Israelite brothers, whether he treats him as a slave or sells him, the KIDNAPPER MUST DIE. YOU MUST PURGE THE EVIL FROM YOU.

In the New Testament the Bible declares kidnapping or chattel slavery to be equal to the sins of murder, patricide or matricide, homosexuality, and lying:

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (CSB) We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for SLAVE TRADERS, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching …

John Newton, the writer of that glorious hymn Amazing Grace was a former slave ship master. After he received Christ as Lord and Savior and ceased this horrible practice he wrote about it.

There are three lodging-rooms below deck {of the slaver ship} (for the men, the boys and the women). The slaves lie close to each other, like books upon a shelf. The poor creatures are cramped for room and chained, two together, by their hands and feet. This makes it difficult for them to turn or move, to attempt to rise or lie down, without hurting themselves, or each other. Sometimes the weather keeps them below deck for a week and they have to breathe hot and corrupted air. Diseases often break out and I believe nearly half of the slaves on board have sometimes died. On one trip the ship, in which I was mate, left the coast with 218 slaves on board; and though we were not much affected by disease, 62 died on the journey.”

None of God’s creatures should be treated this way. Chattel slavery is still practiced today. According to the Walk Free Foundation there are some 30 million chattel slaves in the world today:

forced laborers
forced prostitutes
child soldiers
child brides

The West African nation of Mauritania has one out of every 25 people enslaved.
In Haiti and Pakistan more than 1% of the population lives in slavery.
In India there are 14 million slaves.
You could equate this to forcing all of Pennsylvania into slavery.

Chattel slavery is evil, and forbidden. The 13th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution states:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

  • The Bible makes allowances for BOND Slavery. Bond slavery is not based on skin color nor is it forced on anyone. In the book Hard Sayings Of The Bible (Kaiser, Davids, & Brauch) we are told:

A fellow Israelite who needed to raise money to pay for debts (could) … sell the only asset he possessed: his labor power. However, there were strict rules that governed his or her treatment during the maximum of six years that such a relationship could be entered into with another Israelite. Should any master mistreat his slave with a rod … the owner forfeited his whole investment (Ex 21:20–21, 26) and the slave was immediately released, or if the master caused the slave’s death, the master was subject to capital punishment.”

The Bible allowed “Bond Slavery”, where a person willingly sold themselves to another to work off a debt. The Bond Slave entered into a contract with another, promising to labor for that person until the debt was paid.

If you’ve ever been in the United States Military you were a type of bond servant. I remember one young man telling the Sergeant that he wasn’t going to do what he was told to do. The Sergeant replied:

You’ll do what I say NOW, or take an all expense paid holiday to For Leavenworth

The young man did what he said. Every four years I signed a contract with the US Air Force, raised my right hand, and swore to obey all lawfully given orders. When I was newly wed I was sent to Saudi Arabia for 90 days, minus my wife. The Commander told me when I complained:

The Air Force didn’t issue you your wife!

I’ve been all over the world, worked in sub zero temperatures and in heat up to 140 degrees. No one asked me if I wanted to go or not. No one asked my preferences. I was a bond slave to America, and would do it all over again if I could. I loved doing what I did, though it was harsh and hurt my body. But it was my choice.

The Bond Slave makes the choice.

In Israel the Bond Slave could only serve up to 6 years, then was released on the year of Jubilee. The Bond Slave could decide to “join up again” or could “Put his ear against the post” (see Exodus 21:6) and have an awl placed through the ear id he wanted to be “slave for life”. This was a person’s choice.

Bond Servants were not abused. God told His people:

Leviticus 25:38-41 (CSB) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. 39 If your brother among you becomes destitute and sells himself to you, you MUST NOT FORCE HIM TO DO SLAVE LABOR. 40 Let him stay with you as a hired worker or temporary resident; he may work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then he and his children are to be released from you, and he may return to his clan and his ancestral property.

Brothers and sisters in the faith were not to treat one another as slaves, but as children whom God has saved. No one saved by the Blood of Christ is to treat another brother or sister as anything but precious in the sight of God. Dead people do dead things, but believers consider every life to be precious.

A man was feeling terribly sick, so he finally went to the family doctor. “Doctor, I just feel terrible. What’s wrong with me?” The doctor examined him, took some blood samples, and the next day called him into the office. “Were you bitten by an animal lately?” the doctor asked. “Why yes, about a month ago a stray dog came in my yard. He bit me as I was trying to run him off.” The doctor said, “I have some really bad news. You have rabies. If you had come in earlier, I could have helped you, but it’s now in your blood stream. You’re dying, and will be gone in perhaps another week.” The man though about this for a minute, pulled out a pieces of paper and a pen and started writing. “What are you writing?” the doctor asked. “I’m making a list of everyone I want to bite before I go.”

This man is a slave. Facing eternity, he is a slave to his hatred and grudge carrying. He willingly sells himself into this type of slavery, just as the addict willingly enslaves himself to the pill or needle, or the alcoholic to the bottle. These are willing slaves, bond slaves.

God Wants The Christian To Be
The Bond Slave Of Christ

1 Corinthians 7:20-22 (KJV) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

Paul tells those who were enslaved or in bad or less than desirable situations to:

1 Don’t worry or obsess about your situation. “Care not for it” or better “Don’t let it overwhelm you”.

2 Seek betterment, or an upward path from where you are if you can. “If you mayest be free, use it” or better “if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity”.

3 Remember WHOSE you are. Not WHO you are, but WHOSE you are. I am Christ’s slave.

These are three goods pieces of advice. Dear Christian – if you are a Christian –

1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price;

You were the slave of sin and of Satan. You used to belong to his evil kingdom of darkness. But you are now translated because of the Blood of Christ. Jesus died on Calvary for you. He purchased your salvation. He knew who you were when He called you to salvation. He said to you:

Ephesians 2:12-15 (CSB) At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. 14 For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, 15 he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.

The Bloods of Jesus Christ shed for us purchases us from Satan and this evil, fallen world. We were the devil’s chattel but are now Christ’s Bond Servants. The Blood of the animal sacrifices saved no one, but the willingly shed Blood of our Savior brought us to God.

Hebrews 9:13-15 (CSB) For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God? 15 Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

We are not defined by our life status, but by our God. We belong to God. Does your situation look bad? Look up. God owns you. He purchased you, not with silver or gold, but with the Precious Blood of Christ. This makes you precious to Him. Christian, you belong to God.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (CSB) For you know that you were REDEEMED from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.

Whatever your situation, it is not bleak because you belong to God. Do not become overwhelmed by what faces you, but serve Him in all that you do. If God opens a door of opportunity to better yourself, then take it. But do not forget that:

Colossians 3:23-24 (CSB) Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. YOU SERVE THE LORD CHRIST.

Life is short.

Psalm 102:11-12 (CSB) My days are like a lengthening shadow, and I wither away like grass. 12 But you, Lord, are enthroned forever; your fame endures to all generations.

Whatever is today shall not be forever. Serve the Lord. Praise His name when you move into the valleys of life, and He will light your pathway. God called you to salvation for a reason. He left you where you presently are for a reason. Serve Him.

I have been in many miserable jobs in my lifetime. I choose to serve Him and glorify Him where ever I may be.

Psalm 145:14-21 (CSB) The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. 15 All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. 18 The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. 20 The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. 21 My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.

The Lord looks after His people. We belong to Him.

1 Corinthians 7:24 (KJV) Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called,
therein ABIDE WITH GOD.

There is an old saying:

Bloom where you are planted.

Do all things WITH God. Abide IN Christ. Trust God, and serve God with all your heart. God will bless you in due season. God can and will change your situation, but serve HIM in what you do. Let others see the Gospel worked out in you. This is the greatest witness that you have, the life witness of Christ in you.

1 Peter 1:23-25 (CSB) …. you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you.

God will transform the world through His Gospel, but it must be seen in us first. Let us live for our Jesus!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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