Submission of Slaves to Masters
1 Peter 2:18-25
As Christian, we are all called to serve. After salvation, we are not to sit down and relax waiting for His return. We become servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and for me to be called a servant of Jesus Christ is a great privilege. With the privilege, comes great responsibilities also.
I. The word “servant”
A. The Greek word is oiketes.
B. Thayer defines it as one who lives in the same house as another, spoken of all who are under the authority of the one and same householder.
C. Strong defines it as a fellow resident that is menial domestic (household) servant.
D. In simple terms, they are house slaves who lives in the house of their masters.
E. Some of these servants are doctors, musicians, teachers, secretaries, stewards etc.
F. A large number of servants and slaves became members of the early Christian church.
G. There were estimated 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire at the time of Peter’s writing this Epistle.
H. Since the Romans were the masters of the world during that time, all the works were done by slaves.
I. In Roman law a slave was not a person but a thing; and he had absolutely no legal rights whatsoever.
II. Barrier Broken
A. In verse 1 Peter 2:16, Peter taught that as believers we are free men. Christ has given us liberty. A very good news.
B. Christianity made known that every person is precious in the sight of God and He is no respecter of persons.
C. When the masters and the servants were converted, the social barrier was broken between slaves and citizens of the Roman Empire.
D. Within the church, it became possible that a slave will have position in the church while his master will only be an ordinary church member.
E. This situation became an issue because the slave might take advantage of his master. He may not do his job as a slave properly.
F. The Word of God has given us lists about the duties of servants to serve as a guideline. Below are just a few.
III. Duties of Servants
A. Be subject to your masters (1 Pet. 2:18).
1. To be subject means to be obedient to authority.
2. Servants must do their job honestly and devotedly even if their masters are cruel and unfair.
3. “With all fear” here is with all respect. God wants us to have respect for the system of authority we call employer and employee relations.
4. To respect authority does not necessarily mean that we respect the person. It means that we respect the authority they represent.
5. We are to be obedient and show respect not only to the good and gentle employer but also to the froward, crooked or bad masters.
B. Please their master well (Titus 2:9)
1. The servant must do all things that is approved by his master.
2. This rule would not go to the extent that the servant will do things that is contrary to the law of God, or that is morally wrong just to please his master.
3. “Not answering again” here means not contradicting or no disobeying.
4. They were to do what the master required, if it did not interfere with the rights of conscience, without attempting to argue the matter–without disputing with the master–and without advancing their own opinions (Barnes).
C. Faithfulness (Col. 3:22)
1. The servant must be faithful in doing all his duties.
2. He must also be absolutely loyal to his master only and not to the other master of his fellow servant.
3. I want to remind you that our faithfulness and loyalty must be to Christ first.
IV. The reason why we do ( 1 Pet. 2:19 – 21)
A. For this is thankworthy. The Greek word for thankworthy is “charis” which means “grace”. Not that God will thank us for doing it, but we do it for it is acceptable to God.
B. God gives grace in suffering, and He blesses us in the midst of our sufferings.
C. We will not get grace or praise from God, if we were punished for our faults but if we suffered wrongfully or undeservedly God gives us grace.
D. We are called for this purpose.
1. Christians are called to follow the example of Jesus.
2. Jesus suffered patiently when mistreated unjustly without cause, we believers should also suffer unjustly.
Illustration: Servant (doulos)
“Servant” in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slave’s part and washed the disciples’ feet.
When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king expressing itself in care for his servants (Matt. 25: 31-46).
Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will overflow in imaginative sympathy and practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class to learn the know-how or particular
branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing.
We are all Christ’s servants. We are saved to serve. Will you serve Christ? Are you willing to submit to Him and to your earthly masters? He suffered and died for you, will you be loyal to Him? Will you accept Christ as your personal Saviour? Your decision will determine your future for all eternity.