Doctrine for Employees

30 August 2020 AM – Titus 2.9-10 – Tit20 – Scott Childs
Introduction: A significant portion of the first century congregations consisted of slaves. The life of a slave was often dreadful. Their living conditions were shocking. Their workday was very long, tiring and often very difficult. Their families were often broken up by slave sales. Fear of punishment was the main motivation for many slaves to work. Oh yes, there were exceptions, but even kindly treated slaves were still slaves with no rights of their own. Once converted to Christ, the slave’s existence often did not change, but God wanted his perspective to change.
Transition: As we focus on Titus 2:9-10, I want to draw your attention to the servants, their duties, and the reason for this exhortation.
  1. The Servants
a.         They were slaves.
1)         You may recognise this Greek word. It is δοῦλος. It refers to a slave or bondman. It can also refer to a servant.
2)         This slave had no rights of his or her own.
3)         These slaves worked for a master who told them what to do. In most cases, the master owned them as he did his animals and other property. While some masters were kind, many were harsh and some were down right cruel.
4)         The slaves Titus was to exhort were Christians. God wanted their faith in Christ was to make a clear difference in their work for their masters.
b.         There is an obvious parallel to employees today.
1)         None of us is a slave today. However, most of us work for a boss. If you happen to be self-employed, you still answer to the government, the tax office, and the LORD.
2)         The exhortations Titus was to give these servants equally apply to each of us.
3)         No matter how thoughtless your boss may be, your work situation is still much better than that of a first century slave.
2.        Their Duties
a.         They must be obedient unto their own masters.
1)         This word translated “obedient” is the same word that we looked at recently back in verse 5. It is frequently translated in Scripture as submit, subject, or subjection. The word literally means to arrange yourself under another. This act of submission does not suggest that the one submitted to is a better person. It simply admits that the one submitted to is in charge.
2)         Those who truly submit will be obedient to the one who is in charge. Very likely, many servants hearing this could have argued that their master did not deserve their obedience. However, that was not to change their response.
3)         God did not say that these servants had to submit to all masters, but only to their own master. God was not putting them down as a human being. He was simply commanding them to submit obediently to their master.
4)         No matter what kind of boss you may have, God wants you to submit obediently to your boss’s leadership.
b.         They must please them well in all things.
1)         Many slaves obeyed their master’s commands but did absolutely nothing more than required.
2)         God commands that servants seek to please their masters in all things. This takes submissive obedience to a higher level.
a)         The words “please … well” come from a single word meaning well-pleasing, acceptable, or fully agreeable.
b)         To seek to be well-pleasing is to work with a genuine spirit to please. His motives must not be to gain favour, but simply that his work might be fully agreeable to his master, pleasing him well.
c)         He was to have this well-pleasing goal in all that he did for his master.
3)         This is a good exhortation to each of us. Not only are we to submit obediently, but we are to seek to do a well-pleasing job in all that we do. Paul gave a similar command to servants in Colossians 3:22-23. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
c.          They must not answer again.
1)         This speaks of talking back, arguing, or contradicting orders. It is the same word translated “gainsayers” in Titus 1:9.
2)         Slaves got the dirty smelly jobs and the jobs that were exhausting. Talking back was a common problem that displeased the Lord.
3)         We may not talk back to the boss or contradict his orders for fear of losing our job, but if we do so in our hearts, are still guilty.
d.         They must not purloin.
1)         This word simply means to pilfer, embezzle, or steal. It is to set apart for oneself. RWP
2)         Slaves could have tried to justify taking things from their masters because many masters gave them nothing but a scanty diet, crude clothing and a basic shelter. They might claim that they deserve whatever they can steal.
3)         God clearly condemns taking things that are not our own, it does not matter whether it is a pencil, a longer break, or a dishonest sick day. We sense God’s feelings toward stealing when we find it listed among the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:15) “Thou shalt not steal.
e.         BUT they must show all good fidelity.
1)         Note the word “but”. Those of you who have a Bible app or Bible software, you can see that this word is ἀλλά. I point that out because it is the strong contrasting BUT in the N.T. It contrasts opposites. Here it is contrasting stealing and showing all good fidelity.
2)         Showing all good fidelity refers to displaying good faithfulness in all that you do. It is the opposite of stealing. It speaks of trustworthiness.
3)         Our conduct ought to be the opposite of a thief. We are to be faithful in all that we do. We must prove ourselves to be loyal, reliable and dependable. Note Jesus’ words. (Luke 16:10) “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
3.        The Reasons
a.         God’s doctrine is at stake.
1)         Paul highlights the doctrine of God to remind us that we must allow it to govern all of our words and deeds.
2)         The words and deeds of first century Christian slaves either uplifted or put down the doctrine of God in the eyes of their masters. In the book of Timothy we read, (1 Timothy 6:1) “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
3)         As a Christian, your testimony before your boss will either draw him to Christ or push him away from Christ.
b.    Doing right will adorn God’s doctrine.
1)     When a slave or an employee fulfils the duties God has prescribed for him, he will adorn God’s doctrine. To adorn means to decorate with honour.
2)     (Philippians 2:15) “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
3)         Jesus said, (Matthew 5:16) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Conclusion: God’s challenge for us today is to do five basic Christian duties as employees. (Review above). To simplify these, we must treat the boss as we want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
If you have not been a very godly employee, here are some biblical suggestions. Confess it as sin to God. Apologise to your employer. Make right any wrongs done. With God’s help, make the changes needed.
Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337