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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

SOUND DOCTRINE FOR SERVANTS

Titus 2:9-10 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

In previous verses the apostle Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, gave Titus sound doctrine regarding age groups that make up the family of God's people. Servants, at the time of this writing, were an extension of the family relationship, both in domestic family life as well as within the family of God, His church, the body of Christ. All age groups had their duties and responsibilities that were necessary in the sight of God. So, also, it was with servants,They, too, had duties and responsibilities required of God. It may be difficult to embrace such teachings in today's world, because, with few exceptions, indentured servitude doesn't exist in most societies. However, the obligations that exist within an employee/employer arrangement have replaced those that existed within a servant/master relationship. Therefore, the teachings given here are extant in today's society - they still have application in today's labor relations.

Paul gave this sound doctrine for the young preacher, Titus, to teach to the congregation of God's people on the island of Crete. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters. Paul gave the same inspired teaching, as a commandment to the churches of Christ, in both Ephesus and Colosse (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22). In studies on this subject, it must always be remembered that, within the body of Christ, His church, masters on earth are still servants of God, and all servants, are obligated to theirmasters on earth. However, first and foremost, as Christians, those in servitude, are servants of God's will.

Servants should obey the will of their master, unless it opposes the will of God, just as employees should obey the will of anyone authorized to act on behalf of their employer, unless it disregards, and opposes, the will of God. In all things that are right in the sight of God,either asservantsor employees, their duty to their masters, or employers, should please them well. Service to our superiors is not without limits. Where there is a conflict between the righteousness of God's commands, and the erring commands of mankind, the duty of a servant or employee is to serve the will of God.

Colossians 6:5 tells us that service to those having earthly authority is required by God, but it is to be carried out with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ, that is, in the same obedient manner as if we were obeying the righteous command of the Son of God. And the just things, required of those in authority, are to be dutifully accomplished without arguing or disputing. Such is the meaning of not answering again.

Other characteristics God requiresof servants, as well as employees, is not purloining, but showing good fidelityto those in authority, whether it is a master or an employer.To purloin is to misuse, steal, or waste that which belongs to another. What law of God could possibly apply more appropriately to servants and employees than this? Entrusted with the material wealth of another, demands that good fidelity, honesty, and faithfulness be carried out. It must be exercised to protect, and use that which belongs to another, in the manner expected of a master or an employer. Notice the concluding teaching of our Savior based on the parable of the dishonest steward. Jesus said that 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. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (or wealth), who will commit to your trust the true riches (Luke 16:10-11)?

What master does not continually search for a servant, that is also a servant of God, by demonstrating that he or she is honest, loyal, efficient, and reliable? Indeed, a servant or employee that, not only professes to be a Christian, but demonstrates its doctrine by honest and just qualities of life, will certainly discharge all duties and responsibilities assigned to them by their masters or employers. And by demonstrating these qualities of service to others, Paul tells Titus that such faithful servants, whom are also followers of Christ Jesus, may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

No doubt many masters were converted to Christianity by the Christ-like virtues demonstrated in the lives of obedient servants. Likewise, many employers have also been converted by employees that are followers of Christ. In closing, consider this exhortation to Paul's fellow servant of Christ, young Timothy. Indeed, this is Sound Doctrine. Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God, and His doctrine, be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort (1 Tim. 6:1-2).