The Book of EPHESIANS
James J. Barker
our text tonight, the apostle Paul speaks to servants and masters (6:5, 9).
will notice he has more to say to servants (employees) than he does to masters
has more to say to workers than to bosses because there are a lot more workers
than there are bosses.
- This is an important passage
of Scripture. If we had more
Christian workers and Christian bosses, we would not have as much strife on the
job, and we would not need labor unions.
- Many people are concerned
that labor unions, especially public employee unions, are bankrupting
America. Even our very
liberal, pro-union Democrat governor is having problems with the unions. The teacher’s union is threatening him
with a lawsuit if he carries out his threat to make budget cuts.
- If people would follow
Biblical principles there would not be any problems with labor unions.
- The word “servant” means we
are to serve those we are working for.
If someone is giving you a paycheck, than you are to serve him.
- Today, many people think the
world owes them a living. But this
is contrary to what the Bible teaches
- Soldiers asked John the
Baptist, “And what shall we do?”
John answered them: “Be content with your
wages” (Luke 3:14).
- This applies to all workers,
not just soldiers.
- We are not to serve “with
eye-service” (6:6), i.e. we are not to just “look busy” when the boss is
around. We are not to “butter up”
- If a Christian is a
bricklayer than he ought to lay bricks “with fear and trembling, in singleness
of (your) heart, as unto Christ” (6:5).
- If he is a lawyer, or a
clerk or a salesman (etc.), he ought to work with singleness of heart, “as unto
- According to the Bible,
there is no difference between the sacred and the secular. All work should be done “as unto
- “To the Christian every bush
is a burning bush, and all ground is holy ground” – Bob Jones
- The great Baptist
missionary, William Cary, was a shoemaker when God called him to India. He said: “My business is serving
the Lord, and I make shoes to pay
- This is what Paul means by
“doing the will of God from the heart” (6:6). Notice “heart” (6:5, 6) – we have to
make sure our heart is in our work.
- Notice “as unto Christ”
(6:5), “as the servants of Christ” (6:6), “as to the Lord” (6:7), “the same
shall he receive of the Lord” (6:8), “knowing that your Master also is in
- Keeping this in mind – that
we are working for the Lord, He is watching us, etc. – should affect our
attitude and our performance.
- This is what the Bible means
by the lordship of Christ. The wife
submits to her husband “as unto the Lord” (5:22); the husband loves his wife “as
Christ also loved the church” (5:25); children obey their parents “in the Lord”
(6:1); and parents raise their children “in the nurture and admonition of the
- Servants are to be obedient
“as unto Christ” (6:5); and masters treat their servants properly, “knowing that
your Master also is in heaven” (6:9). Christ is Lord of
- When a Christian is in
proper submission to God, he should have no problem submitting to those over
- We need to keep in mind that
with the Lord payday isn’t always on Friday. We shall “receive of the Lord” (6:8)
when we leave this world, at the judgment seat of Christ (cf. Col.
- God is keeping all the
records (cf. Col. 3:25).
- Back when Paul wrote this
epistle, many Christians were slaves.
Almost half of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves. The reference to “whether he be bond or
free” (6:8) indicates the relationship between a slave and his master.
- That is the
context. But the
application is for all relationships between employees and their
GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS FOR
- Even the most powerful
executive has a “CEO” over him and that is God (6:9), and “neither is there
respect of persons with Him” (6:9).
- Colossians 4:1 says,
“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye
also have a Master in heaven.”
- It is a blessing to work for
a saved man who runs his business on Biblical
- We see a good illustration
of this in Paul’s epistle to Philemon (Phil.
- Consider what this world
would be like if everyone followed these instructions: no corrupt unions, no
strikes, no walk-outs, etc.
- There would be no lazy
workers stealing from the boss and no greedy bosses taking advantage of his
- The Bible has the answer for
all of life’s problems. Christian
workers should be the best workers on the job, and Christian bosses should be a
pleasure to work for (cf. Matt. 20:25-28).