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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, September 28, 2018

Ephesians 6:10-11 (Lesson 36)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians 6:10-11                                                          (Lesson 36)                               

Welcome to HBS.

Our Apostle Paul shook up the workplace last week and now we’ve reached the last major section of his letter to the Ephesians.  Here he introduces that great conflict called Spiritual Warfare:  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very thing I do not want (Romans 7:18-19).

The very first thing we all must understand is the importance of this teaching because if you’re a true Believer Satan fully intends to disrupt your daily walk (lives).  The other thing is this, there is much confusion surrounding this passage of scripture, so we’re going to take our time studying it to ensure we’re all on the same page, i.e. we understand how God expects us to react to Satan’s schemes:

My purpose in writing you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.  If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him.  And if I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven it in the presence of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan should not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10 – BSB).

Be sober-minded and alert.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Be sober – minded – the Apostle Peter has already urged his readers to be “clear minded” twice in this letter (1 Peter 1:13, 4:7) and now we see him repeating this warning for the third time.  He’s saying Believers should understand Satan is real and he is their powerful spiritual enemy with one agenda – to harm them.

Clear minded means be alert, pay attention with serious minds to what’s going on in their lives and in the world in which they live.  These folks were so focused on the persecutions they were suffering they did not recognize the real threat - Satan their adversary.

Peter wants his brethren to know Satan intends to devour them, i.e. to cause them lasting harm.  The word devour in Koine Greek is Katapiein meaning to swallow or to drown.  Satan intends to disrupt their lives and weaken their faith so they will no longer serve the Lord.

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Please open your Bible at Ephesians 6:10-12:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Here, neatly tucked away at the end of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church is God’s spiritual strategy for true Believers.  If you desire your daily walk with the Lord to have a chance for success, you must first “turn the power of the Holy Spirit on” in your lives (5:15-18) and then every morning, “put on the full armor of God. 

It goes without saying these commands are not being practiced by the majority of Christendom; the evidence is in our homes, the workplace, and most certainly the world in which we live.  So, right from the get-go I want y’all to know if you’re a true Believer you are presently engaged in an ongoing spiritual battle.  However, if you’re not a saved child of God, the Bible identifies you as His enemy (Romans 5:10) and you should know you’ve chosen the wrong camp.  As far as Satan is concerned you’re right where he wants you, i.e. outside of Jesus Christ, lost and unreconciled, not walking in harmony with God. 

So, this exhortation from our Apostle Paul is directed to true Believers and not society in general.  He wants us to know the spiritual battle we’re engaged in is more substantial than any conflict ever fought on earth by men.  These battles revolved around the control of land, power, and wealth, whereas the spiritual conflict Believers are involved in is for men and women’s eternal souls. 

Satan’s strategy utilizes confusion and deception to achieve success, as our Apostle Paul explains:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing (literally, the walking dead), in whose case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Believe it or not “those who are perishing” include a great many people sitting in their favorite church week after week.  At the Tower of Babel Satan devised the global spread of his rebellion against the LORD God by promoting human-invented religion and materialism.  The loss of unified language led to the loss of the revelation of God, faith had been corrupted and perverted by sin, leading to religious idolatry:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known about God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures (Romans 1:18-23).

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

Religion is not a creation of God it’s a creation of men and Satan uses it to confuse and deceive millions of people. 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

I pray y’all are beginning to understand the seriousness of this matter because history reveals most people do not.  C.S. Lewis warned us decades ago saying, “Believers usually fall into one of two camps when dealing with the demonic:  they deny their existence or they become fascinated with them.”  Either way, millions of people are missing the Bible’s basic teachings about spiritual warfare. 

When our Apostle Paul described “lostness,” he often framed it in terms of spiritual warfare.  Unbelievers follow the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).  They are blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), bound in darkness (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18), and caught in Satan’s snare (2 Timothy 2:25-26).  The devil’s goal is to keep Believers from proclaiming and living out the gospel of grace (Romans 6:17-19). 

Even though Satan and his forces are real, many people continue to teach the devil is only a concept introduced in the first century to explain evil.  So, let’s be clear; Satan is a supernatural being and he opposes God and anyone who trusts in Him. 

Know Your Enemy

The key to overcoming spiritual warfare is knowledge.  Know the enemy and his tactics and utilize the defensive and offensive weapons revealed in Ephesians 6:10-18. 

Every true Believer faces three enemies:  their flesh, Satan, and the world:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest (Ephesians 2:1-3). 

Second, Satan is known by many aliases in the Bible.  A partial list follows:

Adversary (Job 1)
Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24)
Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)
Devil/accuser (Matthew 4:1)
Dragon (Revelation 12:9, 20:2)
god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Lucifer, meaning:  morning star (Isaiah 14:12)
Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
Roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8)
Ruler of the demons (Matthew 12:24)
Serpent (Genesis 3:1)
Tempter (Matthew 4:3)
The anointed cherub that covers (Ezekiel 28:14)
The wicked one (Matthew 13:19)

This book says Satan is “the father of lies (deception)” and the master of confusion, in fact: 
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

In His most heated encounter with the Jewish religious authorities, Jesus declared Satan a murderer and a liar, and “the father of lies:”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.  “Why do you not understand what I am saying?  It is because you cannot hear My word.  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:42-44).

As “the father of lies,” Satan works constantly to deceive mankind about God’s very existence, His goodness and His love, as well as his own existence (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  Religion is a counterfeit creation of Satan that originated at the Tower of Babel.  He uses it to thwart God’s plan of salvation; and it’s working.  Satan’s deception will reach its peak during the period of time known in the Bible as the Tribulation or the Day of the Lord, when God wraps up His Prophetic Program with the nation of Israel and pours out His wrath on an unbelieving world. 

Satan Used the Lie to Deceive the Woman

Satan’s campaign of deceit to the human race is recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis, and it is here for “our learning.”  He is introduced as a serpent but the woman did not speak with a snake.  She spoke to Satan himself.  He seduced her by planting the seed of doubt in her mind.  The devil had her questioning what the LORD God originally said and believing He was selfishly withholding something good from her.  He deceived her into thinking eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would result in her having knowledge of good and evil and she would become like God Himself.  Satan’s temptation was not that the woman would be God.  That would have been a stretch.  Rather, the temptation was that she could become like God, acquainted with good and evil. 

The serpent’s deception is recorded in Genesis 3:1-6: 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.  The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Satan’s deception known as “the lie” caused the woman to question the LORD God’s command.  The serpent succeeded in confusing her and stoked the fires of lust within.  By the way, another name for lust is greed:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6). 

Because I’m interested in what this book is saying I looked up the word crafty in the dictionary and learned there are about a dozen synonyms for it.  Webster’s defines the word crafty as:  wily, shrewd, slick, insidious, cagey, smart, canny, subtle, devious, intelligent, astute, sly, adroit, calculating, cunning, deceitful, designing, and disingenuous.  Make no mistake Satan is a dangerous adversary; he’s not to be taken lightly.

After the wrongful deed was done, the woman quickly realized her terrible mistake.  Here is the conversation that took place between the LORD and the woman:

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14).  The woman attempted to fend off the LORD’s judgment by playing the “Blame Game.”  However, the LORD God held her accountable and rightly so. 

This wasn’t the first time Satan used “the lie” to deceive others.  The lie was first used in eternity-past.  Lucifer, “the morning star” believed he could overpower and dethrone God and then become god (Isaiah 14:14).  But the record shows Lucifer’s rebellion failed, so he now peddles “the lie” to mankind.  He seduces people with a message that:  a) man can become like God; and b) Satan is God (Matthew 4).  

Before God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) Lucifer applied this scheme to the angels of heaven.   At this time Satan had another name.  God had created him and named him, “the Shining One.”  He was God’s most beautiful and powerful creation.  He was “the anointed cherub that covers” (Ezekiel 28:14).  The word covers means:  to cover as a guard or protector.  Coincidentally, we find the word describing the cherubim who covered or guarded “the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant” (Exodus 25:20, 37:9, 1 Kings 8:7; 1 Chronicles 28:18).  The mercy seat of the Ark was the earthly representation of God’s heavenly throne.  From this we learn Lucifer, before his rebellion, was its chief guardian and protector.

Scripture describes Satan this way - “every precious stone was your covering” (Ezekiel 28:13).  As a result of his rebellion, he exchanged his glorious attire of ruby, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise, emerald, and gold for maggots and worms (Isaiah 14:11). 

Here the LORD God remembers him as he was before the rebellion:  You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you.  On the day that you were created they were prepared.  You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:12-15).
 
Satan’s Fall

Isaiah recorded Satan’s thought processes that led to his rebellion:

But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13-14). 

Notice the number of times he promotes himself by saying, “I will,” and the progressive nature of Satan’s pride:  ascend, raise above, sit on the mount, in the north, ascend above.  His selfish attitude was revealed with this boast, “I will make myself like the Most High.” This is how “the lie” began.

Yet Satan’s future will be eternal humiliation:  Sheol (Hell) from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.  They will all respond and say to you, even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us.  Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering.  How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!  You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! (Isaiah 14:9-12; Revelation 20:10). 

Satan actually became a victim of his own lie.  He formed the idea in his mind that he could be like God; however his rebellion was put down.  Since then his chief labor has been to deceive other created beings, angelic and human, and he’s achieved great success.  He deceived one-third of the angels (Revelation 12:4) and labors tirelessly to ensure mankind’s fall.  He works continuously to promote his lie in order to keep men and women from God’s love and mercy and to weaken the faith of Believers. 

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 21, 2018

Ephesians 6:5-9 (Lesson 35)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (6:5-9)                                                             (Lesson 35)                                

Welcome to HBS.

In our study of Ephesians chapters 1-3 we’ve seen our Apostle Paul remark on the spiritual blessings each true Believer receives as a result of their faith (alone) in the gospel (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and he introduced several church related doctrines.  Then in chapters 4-6, Paul explains how to apply these principles to our lives.  Starting at Ephesians 4:1, he calls all Believers to live (walk) differently than their unbelieving counterparts.  Initially, our walk as young Believers may best be described as a crawl (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 2:2), however, by and by, our Savior expects Believers to grow in the faith (5:5) and knowledge of the Lord, to a mature man (and woman) - 4:13-15.

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk (live) in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:9-10).

The first step in this spiritual process begins by walking in submission to the Holy Spirit (5:18), and then in mutual submission to one another (5:21).  Our relationships with each other, especially within the family, are to be marked by humility and obedience to God’s expressed will (1:9).

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10).

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons (and daughters) of God (Romans 8:14)

For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law (Galatians 5:17-18).
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Please open your Bible at Ephesians 6:5-9 then let’s read through this passage together.

Slaves (Doulos), be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, (how) 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.  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 (Ephesians 6:5-9).

Here Paul addresses believing slaves specifically and gives them the Lord’s directives (commands) for the workplace.  We know this is true because our Apostle Paul only writes to Believers.  The KJV Bible uses the word “servant” instead of slaves; however, in Koine Greek slaves is translated Doulos (doo’-los), Adjective, Noun Masculine, Strong’s Greek #1401, meaning:  a common bondslave, usually a male.    

In our culture people have a negative view of the word slave.  This is because they associate it with the Atlantic Slave Trade dating back to the 16th century.  This involved the abduction and transportation of people from central and western Africa against their will to the Americas, primarily, to fill the great need for cheap labor.  The people who survived the trip were sold to the highest bidder in the slave market.  This is just one more episode of “man’s inhumanity to man” in this fallen world which dates all the way back to the time Cain in jealous anger murdered his brother Abel. 

 But slavery in the first century was quite different from the American experience.  In Paul’s day Roman slaves were taken as the spoils of war, people were born into slavery, or were such because they sold themselves into slavery (these were known as "bond-servants") to pay off a debt for instance.  The latter were often well-educated (Galatians 3:24).  These slaves tutored and disciplined Jewish and Roman children in the home.    

The masters had absolute rights over their slaves, but they generally showed them respect, unlike the days of Abraham Lincoln.  They were treated with dignity; although they could beat them, it was not a usual practice.  What’s more, slaves could marry, accumulate wealth, purchase their own freedom, run a business, etc.  Cicero noted that a slave could usually be set free within seven years; in any case, under Roman law a slave would normally be set free by age 30, generally speaking.  The revolt led by Spartacus in 73 BC caused Rome to treat slaves from the western regions more harshly (similar to how black slaves were treated on most plantations).  Eastern slaves, however, enjoyed much greater freedom.

As much as two thirds of the Roman Empire was slaves (before the first century it was as high as 90%).  By the first century AD an increasingly large number of slaves were being freed—so much so that Caesar had to write laws that governed the procedure.

Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

The short answer is, “No.”  However, that didn’t stop many Christians from believing in and promoting slavery in America.  Here are a few of the common arguments made by Christians in support of this wicked practice:

Abraham, the father of faith, and all the patriarchs held slaves without God’s disapproval (Genesis 21:9-10)

The Ten Commandments mention slavery twice, showing God’s acceptance of it (Exodus 20:10, 17)

Slavery was widespread throughout the Roman Empire, and yet Jesus never spoke against it.

The Apostle Paul specifically commanded slaves to obey their masters (Ephesians 6:5-8)

Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master (Philemon 12)

Although the Bible contains more than three-quarters of a million words, Christian slave owners borrowed these Bible texts to promote the practice of slavery in America. 

Historians have recorded there were approximately six million slaves throughout the Roman Empire at the dawn of Christianity.   So, why didn’t our Apostle Paul speak out against slavery?  Why didn’t he tell these slaves to leave their masters?  Let’s think this through.  To whom would he make this declaration… to the pagan masters?  Since pagans do not know God, why would they place themselves under God’s authority?  Paul's plea for them to do the right thing would be meaningless.  The other reason Paul left this issue untouched is he knew speaking out against the widespread and accepted practice of slavery would bring the wrath of Rome against the Body of Christ.  As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day; likewise, Paul knew ending the practice of slavery would take time.  

In Paul’s day, the word slave (Doulosbond-servant) was used with the highest dignity, namely of Believers who humbly submit to a life under Jesus Christ’s divine authority.  James, Jude, Paul, and Peter expressed this metal attitude in their writings:

Paul, a servant (Doulos) of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:2-3; Titus 1:7).

Simon Peter, a servant (Doulos) and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those having obtained a faith equally precious with ours, through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1). 

James, a servant (Doulos) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion… (James 1:1).

Jude, a servant (Doulos) of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who are called, having been loved in God the Father, and kept in Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1).

Plainly said, a servant of the Lord must imitate his master earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3).

 So, in Paul’s day, a person entered into slavery by one of three ways, as a possession of a conquering nation, was born into it, or by volunteering to become a bond-servant.  Paul knew slavery was as wicked as idol worship and prostitution, but these vices were not going away any time soon.  So, Paul instructed Believers to walk in “obedience to their masters with fear and trembling.  Regardless of whom your employer is or what they are like, you as the employee are to respectfully submit to their orders except in issues of immorality.  The respect is important.  Our text says, “with fear and trembling.”  This is not the idea of being scared to the point of cowering before them; instead Paul speaks of giving honor and respect to those in authority.  He said do this “in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.”  Here Paul means to say without deception, i.e. give the appearance of serving faithfully while secretly planning to escape (6:5). 

Paul goes on to say, “not by way of eyeservice, as men pleasers,” which conveys the idea of only working while in sight of their master and “goofing off” when he is not around.  Instead of having that mentality, believing slaves were to consider themselves “as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (6:6).  In other words, these folks were to approach their duties with the same mindset as Jesus Christ who chose to become the Servant of all.  Please note this command is followed by the promise “…knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free” (6:8).

Paul speaks of the Bema Seat Judgment out future as he did while writing to the carnal Corinthians:  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Now, please turn with me in your Bible to Philippians 2:6.  Here Paul writes about the Incarnation, i.e. Jesus Christ, the Creator God, taking on human form, without ever ceding the attributes of deity (Matthew 1:23):

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of (what) a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

In verse 7, Paul said Jesus Christ took on the "form of a bond-slave"—a person who voluntarily submitted himself to a master in order to do his will.

but (He) emptied Himself - the word "emptied" in Koine Greek is Kenoo (ken-o’-o), Verb, Strong’s Greek #2758, and it means: to make empty.  Figuratively speaking it means:  to abase, naturalize, to make of none effect, of no reputation.  The Lord voluntarily emptied Himself and became the Servant of all mankind and yet He was fully God (John 20:28; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8) and fully man (Romans 1:2-4; 1 John 4:2-3).

"Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights.  I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1).

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Were you called while a slave?  Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.  For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.  You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.  Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called (1 Corinthians7:21-24). 

So, true Believers are to have the same mental attitude as our Lord and Savior who willingly became a bond-servant (6:5). 

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5).

The word "attitude" here is the Koine Greek word Phroneo, which means:  To think, to exercise the mind, to have an opinion or attitude.  Paul defines this exhortation in verses 3-4.   The attitude Paul is calling Believers to put on is humility:

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 (Philippians 2:3-4). 

This entire chapter speaks of humility.  Here Paul calls believers to have a mind, attitude, or thinking of humility, which was the Lord’s attitude.

Humility should first be our reaction toward God acknowledging the fact He has the right to control us and our lives; He can do with you and me as He pleases, while acknowledging to ourselves we are in control of nothing… not even our next heart beat. Because His authority is Sovereign (absolute) He can give us commands without first discussing the parameters of His orders with us personally:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.   In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Biblical speaking, humility is a spirit of submitting to the Lord as master of every aspect of your life:  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.  Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves to God (1 Peter 2:13-16).

The humble individual understands they are as clay in the Potter's hands:

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

…who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it (Romans 9:20)?

Although Paul directs his commands to believing slaves, and we’re not slaves even though you may feel as though you’re being treated as one at work, the principle he’s stating is applicable to us as Believers.  If you are not satisfied with your current employer, you have the option of finding a more suitable situation elsewhere.  Slaves weren’t given this option.  In fact, the slaves of the Roman Empire were treated more cruelly than anything experienced in the Americas.  Slave owners held the power of life or death over their slaves.  Cato, a statesman and follower of Stoic philosophy advocated throwing out old slaves, as though they were trash and not feeding the ill slave because they were not worth the trouble or the expense.  He compared sick slaves to “broken tools.”      

So, Paul’s saying an employee is to walk in humble obedience at work, i.e. submissive to their employers in everything and at all times.  Whatever you are asked to do, Paul says “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, “(6:7).  But here’s the thing, there is an exception to this command.  Should your employer assign you something to do that is immoral or against God’s expressed will you are to remember God the Father is your Master.    

Since we live in a fallen (corrupt) world, there is a good chance you’ll encounter an unscrupulous employer at some point in time.  I have, so I know some of you will; it only stands to reason.  Should your boss tell you to do something you know is wrong, then certainly appeal to them, ask them if they would consider something different, but leave the matter in their hands and make sure they know you will do it whatever way they decide.  Don’t argue with them and don’t get mad.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself and don’t talk behind their back.  Don’t be disrespectful in anyway.  Simply submit and follow your employer’s instructions.  Remember, you’re to demonstrate Christ-like behavior (5:1).  It would honor the faith if the employee performed his or her task with a willing mind rather than be disobedient.   They could do more for the honor of the faith by patiently submitting to even what they felt to be wrong, than by being punished for what could be regarded as rebellion against their employer (master).

Let’s read what Paul wrote in Titus 2:9-10:

bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”

The behavior of our lives is to bring glory to God by living according to His principles in every area of our life.  We are to have a singleness of mind about this, or as Paul put it at the end of verse 6:5, “in the sincerity of your heart…”  There is to be nothing false in our submission to our employers.  We are to serve them with true hearts.  

YOU WILL RECEIVE A REWARD

The true Believer works in this manner because he or she knows they will receive a reward from the Lord at the proper time (6:8).

knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

There’s a good chance you and I may not be compensated reasonably for our work by our employers, i.e. some people may not be recognized for their efforts at work.  However, according to this verse, so what?  We are looking toward and living for eternity’s reward, not what occurs in the here and now.  We must be like the elderly missionary that returned to the U.S. from Africa after many years of preaching and teaching the gospel.  On the same ship was Theodore Roosevelt who was greeted enthusiastically by a great crowd.  The missionary was quite discouraged at first as he thought about the welcome Roosevelt received for shooting game animals, while there was not one person there to welcome him home after a lifetime of working for the Lord.

But then he was reminded that all was as it should be in this world.  He had received no acclaim or reward yet but this was because he had not reached his real home in heaven.  This is the behavior and this is the mental attitudes every Believer in Christ Jesus should have.  But what about the people in charge (employers)?

MASTERS AND EMPLOYERS

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 (6:9).

Employers are to give respectful leadership and remember they too are slaves of Christ.
The believing employer should not permit his God-given authority go to his head (or feed his pride) as it does with those outside of Christ:

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves (Romans 13:1-2).

Employers are to” do the same things to them, and give up threatening.”  In other words, the believing authority is to follow these same commands.  He or she is to treat their employees with love and compassion, as the Lord Jesus Christ does His Church. 

And there is no partiality with Him (6:9b) - there is no partiality (favoritism) with the Lord.  Your God-given position in life has more to do with His grace to you than anything for you to be prideful about.  All Believers have an equal standing before the Lord Jesus Christ because in Him there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female (Galatians 2:28). 

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Romans 12:4-5).

A believing employer should be the best employer there is to work for – and he or she will be if they recognize they too are slaves of Christ and run their operation according to God’s will.  A believing employee should be the best employee there is – and he or she will be if they do work as unto the Lord as His bond-servants.

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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