“Servants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ… and you, masters, do the same things to them.” Ephesians 6:5, 9a
The words “servants” and “masters” really jump off the page don’t they? It has been estimated that when Paul wrote this letter there were six million slaves in the Roman empire and slavery was an accepted institution. Although the gospel is clearly against slavery, it isn’t specifically condemned anywhere in the New Testament. The reason Paul never specifically condemned it was because his ministry was not to overthrow the Roman government, but to preach the gospel and win the lost to Christ, and it was among the slaves that the gospel was preached and received.
Among these slaves there were also masters that were becoming Christians. When they came together to worship, they learned from the Word of God that there were no slaves in Christ but all were free in Him. So if during church gatherings on Sunday mornings they no longer saw each other as slave or master, but as brother and sister, I wonder what it was like on Monday morning when they returned to their work? The slaves and masters must have wondered, “Well, what do we do now? Do we continue to worship with one another as we did yesterday?” The answer was, “YES!”
The phrase “according to the flesh” in the verse above distinguishes earthly masters from the ultimate Master, God. Whether your boss is a Christian or a heathen you are to obey them “with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ” that we might preach the gospel to win the lost to Christ.
How do we do this? Join us Sunday morning as we open Ephesians 6:5-9 and learn how to “Worship While We Work”. God bless you all and hope to see you there!