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We’re in the 4th week of a series called Kingdom Freedom. We’ve been talking about how we can never truly be free unless we are set free by God. All other freedom is temporary, but Kingdom Freedom is eternal. If you are still a slave to sin, it doesn’t matter how much to pretend to be free, you’re not truly free.
But I can’t finish this series without addressing what the Bible says about slavery. There’s this rumor spreading around the world that the Bible condones slavery, or that at least the Old Testament condones slavery, but is that true?
When we study Scripture, we can’t look for the verses to prove what we already think. We have to follow it, to trust it, to bow to it.
“When we come to the Bible and try to listen to its claims, we can easily misjudge those claims if we hear them only from within the framework of our own modern assumptions. Letting the Bible speak for itself, that is, letting it speak in its own terms, includes letting the Bible speak from within its own worldview rather than merely our own.”– Vern Poythress
17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.[a]”
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
This passage is so helpful. Jesus is telling us WHY He game & what his goal is. “He has sent me to:” So listen up! Did He come to defeat Islam? To overthrow governments? To make the world more moral? No, He came to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free. Two of the Three things are about setting people free! Sin enslaves. So sinful people enslave. Sin enslaves eternally. So forgiven people are saved and are welcomed into Heaven.
Jesus came to give freedom! So what happened? Why doesn’t the world see the church as the world’s purveyors of freedom? I think it is largely because the church became moralists and moralism makes us judgmental separatists.
When the church becomes moralistic, we are nothing like Christ, who spent his time with prostitutes. So if we’re not moralists, what are we?
We are emancipators.
But that’s not the rumor. The rumor is that we’re racists and that the Bible is proslavery. So let’s look at what the Bible actually says about slavery.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.
Yes it says slaves should obey masters, but that was for their own good, to protect them. If they didn’t obey their masters, their earthly masters who harm them. Then Paul says, “Masters, treat your slaves in the same way.” In the same way? He just told slaves to serve their masters sincerely. So now he’s telling masters to serve their slaves. That sounds like his advice for husbands and wives. Serve each other.
Did you like this message, Freedom Kingdom – Week 5? Check out more of our Sunday teachings here.