Doctrine for Servants

9 November 2014 pm – Titus 2:9-10 – Tit 14 – Scott Childs

Introduction: “The lot of a Christian slave was as nearly intolerable as possible. Without anything except the bare necessities for existence, slaves toiled continually without pay, without vacation, often even without any appreciation on the part of their masters. They had no legal or natural rights of any kind. When they became ill, they were allowed to die, unless the master thought it profitable to have them cured. Cruel and unjust punishments were often endured by them.” Coffman’s Commentary

It was to this class of people that Titus was now to give practical doctrine. Slaves were a large part of the population in those days. Though despised by society, these poor human beings were important to God and could have a powerful influence for the cause of the Gospel.

Transition: As with the two previous groups, the Lord identifies the doctrine for servants and then gives a reason for it. Though we are not slaves, these servant duties really apply to present work ethics.

1.        The Servant’s Duties

a.         Servants are to be obedient

1)         The word “servants” refers to bond slaves. These were not hired servants but Christian slaves. In this passage, God does not address the masters at all.

O  This is a good reminder that reacting properly to difficult situations is our duty, even if the other person is doing wrong.

2)         The word translated “obedient” is the same word we found back in Titus 2:5 when God told the young women to be obedient to their own husbands.

²  Thayer defines it as 1. to arrange under, to subordinate; 2. to subject, put in subjection; 3. to subject one’s self, obey; 4. to submit to one’s control

V   (Colossians 3:22) “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:”

3)         The grammar indicates that God is telling servants to submit themselves willingly to their masters. Obedience then is willingly submitting our will to do exactly what we have been told to do. We must obey to stay in the circle of God’s blessing.

b.         Servants are to be well pleasing

1)         This is the only time in the N.T. that this word is applied to people. All the other times we are to be well pleasing to God.

2)         The idea of the word is to do our very best to please. This takes obedience to a higher level. It is obeying with a desire to do our very best so we can to please the one over us. It is seeking to give complete satisfaction. “Laziness and indifference are a disgrace to the gospel.” Henry Mahan

V   (Romans 12:11) “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”

3)         In the workplace, if your employer is unpleasant or unfair, you may be tempted to only what is required with no desire to please. When you face that temptation, remember that God wrote these words to slaves who were often beaten and mistreated by their masters.

O  Years ago, a young Afro-American boy named Booker T. Washington longed to attend school. After walking for days, he arrived at a school for Afro-Americans, but with no money. The headmaster said he could not attend without money, but told him to clean a room while she thought about it. When she returned, she checked every crack for dust and dirt. When she found none, she allowed him to work is way through school.

c.          Servants are not to answer again

1)         This word actually means to speak against, to gainsay (1:9), or to contradict.

2)         The idea is that servants were not to talk back to their masters. “Do not reply to orders either in a sarcastic, saucy, or grumbling manner. The boss may not always be right, but he is always the boss!” Henry Mahan

3)         Many parents allow their children to argue or debate with them, and even to talk back in a disrespectful manner. You need to develop this character quality of never talking back in your children while they are young.

V   (Proverbs 21:23) “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

d.         Servants are not to steal

1)         The big word “purloining” simply means stealing or embezzling. It is taking something for yourself that has been placed in your care.

2)         When working for someone, whether it is a master or a boss, taking what belongs to him is stealing.

3)         You may feel that the boss owes you more than he pays and that taking a few things here and there is just part of your deserved pay. However, that is not what God says. Remember, the slave received no pay at all, yet God said he was not to take anything that did not belong to him.

4)         The 8th Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal”, is not a suggestion; it is a command from God Himself.

e.         Servants are to show all good fidelity

1)         This phrase begins with the word BUT. It is the strong contrasting but. Servants are to do the opposite of talking back and stealing.

2)         Instead, they are to show good fidelity or excellent faithfulness in all situations. They were to be trustworthy in all that they did.

V   (Proverbs 20:6) “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”

3)         As an employee, we are to seek to be trustworthy in every situation. Remember, Your character is not what you show on the outside, but what you are on the inside.

2.        The Reason for These Doctrines

a.         That they may adorn God’s doctrine

1)         The word “adorn” means to decorate with honour, to prepare, to make ready.

2)         We may be tempted to think that a slave, the lowest human occupation, could do nothing to harm or help the cause of Christ. However, God tells us that through the godly conduct of a slave, he may decorate God’s doctrine with honour. God can use his godly conduct to prepare the heart of his master for the Gospel.

3)         No matter whom you are or how insignificant you think you are, your testimony before the lost has the power to prepare a heart for the Gospel and decorate it with honour.

V   (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.”

b.         Practical doctrine represents our Saviour

1)         All the practical duties that Paul listed here in Titus 2 for older men, older women, young women, young men, and for slaves are teaching that enable Christians to live God-honouring lives.

2)         A Christian’s conduct represents God our Saviour. When we fail in our conduct, the world blames God.

²  You make that gospel attractive to others as they see you walk worthy of it. Henry Mahan

3)         When you go to work, school, or the shops tomorrow, remember that you represent Christ to the unsaved world.

Conclusion: None of us is slaves, but many of us are employees. Let’s live these practical doctrines in the workplace – obey, work to please, never talk back, never steal, but show excellent faithfulness in every situation. If we will do these things, God will use our testimony to soften the hard hearts of unbelievers around us.

Parents, these are character qualities what you need to be instilling in your children. Consistently work at reinforcing them in their lives. If they can master these qualities in their youth, they will be easy when they are older.

Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337