Ephesians 6:1-9 Sermon Podcast - Children, Servants, and Slaves

Series: The Book of Ephesians

March 31, 2019
Langdon Palmer

Today we get some practical advise about parents and children but then we jump into deep waters when Paul addresses the relationship between household slaves and their masters in the ancient world. Why doesn’t Paul take a much stronger stance against the evil of slavery ? Is the bible a source of oppression or the very thing that produces freedom ? We dig into the cultural background, the trajectory of the bible, and Paul’s goals in writing this letter to get the answer. We find ourselves asking the question that every Christian in every age must ask: “Am I living more like the people around me, uncritically accepting the values of my culture, or more like a radical follower of Jesus? Am I truly counter-cultural in my willingness to forgive those who hurt me, love those who are my enemies, and pray for those who persecute me ?”

Episode Notes

In Ephesians, Paul's intention was to address the people living in a social structure, not to adress the structure itself.  But the overall movement of the bible, beginning with Exodus, is away from oppression and towards freedom and the end of all slavery.  In the Old Testament God says: “I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against those… who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me…"  Elsewhere Paul writes to slaves: “If you can gain your freedom, do so.” For “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus… For There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free… you are all …heirs according to the promise.”  As Christians we are commanded to fight for justice.  At its best the church has led the charge, at its worst, it has been complicit in the evil of slavery and racism.  There is always danger whenever we uncritically accept the values of our culture, letting them trump the eternal values of the gospel.



Wherever you find yourself in the social hierarchy, your primary identity is to be:

“I am a child of God, I have dignity, regardless of how man may treat me.”


And you are to:

•        Do good with a sincere heart

•        Work for God, not for man, and do your job well

•        Treat others well, whatever their status or stature

Go to www.IJM.org to see how you can help fight modern slavery.  We are indebted to John Ortberg for a number of points made today.  Google “John Ortberg Is the bible pro-slavery” to see his presentation.

Content Copyright Belongs to Langdon Palmer