- Whenever we ask God who we are, God shows us who He is.
- We tell children “do this and I’ll give you an M&M, don’t do
it and I’ll spank you.” That’s Torah. We are no longer
under the Law because we are on a journey with God; He is
- At the end will be incredible intimacy; at the beginning,
Torah; but in the middle, wilderness. God is not the God
who gives us stuff, He is the God who takes everything away so that we
- How to study Scripture: we engage with Scripture at the level of the informed imagination.
- If there is a theme in the Bible, it is slavery
- Luke is probably a slave. Most professionals were
slaves. Slaves got nicknames of the owner. Paul had a
relative named Lucian -> Luke. Perhaps Lucian
bought Luke and gave him to Paul for his illness.
- The first reference to Jesus is “Crestus.” Not Cristos, but a slave name.
- Jesus’ birth is celebrated on the Saturnalia: a slave holiday.
- Peter is upset that Jesus is kneeling to wash his feet. Kneeling is a slave posture. Jesus’ response is “if you don’t get
this, you don’t get me.”
- Worlds come together in words
- 3 worlds come together in “slavery”:
- Israel was slave nation
- Lev 25: God says that Israelites can’t be slaves—because they are God’s slaves. We don’t get the choice between freedom and slavery. The question is just whose slave will you be.
- It is a thing of honor to be God’s slave (or “servant”)
- God calls the prophets, etc. his slaves, his servants.
- The base price of a slave was 30 pieces of silver—Jesus’ price.
- Slaves were relatively well-treated.
- 1st century
- To be called a slave was an insult (the Jews got upset at Jesus when he said “you are slaves to sin”)
- Slavery played a major economic role.
- Slaves had few rights, were the butt of jokes.
- Women slaves were abused; few slaves knew who their father was.
- A freedman was not a free man. Possessions were still owned by the master, for instance.
- American slavery
- Lots of abuse.
- Unlike 1st centry, the slaves have a voice—lots of eloquent slaves
- Similar to Roman slavery. Paternity not recognized, nobody knew their father; nobody knew their last name.
- Reading the slaves’ writing gives us a good connection with 1st century slaves.
- Why is Phileomon in the Bible? Oneisimus eventually became
bishop of Ephesus (we know this from a letter from St. Ignatius)
- Paul’s slavery
- Paul signs letters as “I, Paul, a slave of Christ...”
- The demon-possessed girl calls Paul and Silas “slaves of the Most High”
- The Greek words for “redemption,” “justified,” and “reconciled” are slave language
- Jesus bought us with his blood
- Bible describes God as choosing and buying us out of the marketplace
- Early Christians would sell themselves into slavery and use
the money to buy slaves and set them free. When people asked St.
Ignatius why, he said because they wanted a better freedom: to
sell yourself to set someone free.
- Ephesians instructs slaves to not be eye-slaves (only doing
something when there is someone watching) and people-pleasers, but as
working unto the Lord.
- Why don’t Paul and Jesus fight slavery? Because they did not come to abolish slavery but to bring a better freedom
- We are free from impurity, the Law, fear, slavery to the world, approval, judging others, quarreling.
- We are free to be a slave for the Gospel, to serve others, of knowing our Father’s name.
- The people waiting for Jesus had their identity in slavery:
- Mary said “behold, the slave of the Lord”
- Simeon said “now your slave can depart in peace”
- John the Baptist says he is not even worthy to untie his sandals
- The Gospel of John has no parables. Instead, Jesus’ life is
a parable: He says “I am the light of the world” and then opens
the eyes of the blind man.
- Only Luke tells us why Jesus washes their feet: a dispute arose among them about who was greatest...
- Peter doesn’t want Jesus to wash his feet because the Rabbinic
decision was that disciples should serve in all things as a slave,
except that they cannot untie his sandals (too much servitude in that)
- Jesus says that if you don’t get the fact that I am a servant, you don’t get me
- At the wedding feast, Jesus will serve us.
- Jesus is not recognizable after the resurrection for some reason
but when he wants to be known, he shows his scars (even in Zechariah)
- In John 21, Jesus is there because he is serving them breakfast.
Workshop: Improving Your Serve (Barry Gin)
- Biblical basis for service:
- Eph 2:10: We were created to do good works. We are also God’s artwork.
- The good works we were created for we are supposed to “walk in"—it’s a lifestyle, not a checklist.
- How do we glorify God? Matt 5:16: when people see our life of good works.
- The gifts of the Spirit are for building up the community, not for our personal walk.
- Spiritual gifts: Rom 12:6-8,. 1 Cor 12, Eph 4:11, 1 Peter 4:7-11
- How we often get involved in ministry
- 1. Wait until there is a desperate need
2. Make a general announcement
3. Get mad at congregation because no one responds
4. Guilt someone into doing it
5. They do it with little training or support and they don’t like it.
- A road map
- Start with the foundation: love God with all your heart and mind, love for others
- Discover what your spiritual gifts might be
- Burdens for the church: what would you really like the church to have? (This is not necessarily a deficiency)
- Feedback from others who know you
- Spiritual gifts assessments (http://www.churchgrowth.org/analysis/intro.php)
- Look at how God has made you
- Natural talents, skills and abilities, personality traits, preferences
- You don’t have to know if you have the gift; have the fun is self-discovery
- Investigate opportunities
- Consult with pastor or ministry leaders
- Observe (if applicable)
- Try it out (preferably in a guided environment)
- Signs you might be on to something: fulfillment and fruitfulness
- Commit/continue, or re-evaluate
- You do not need to be in a formal ministry to serve
God. Relational ministry, praying for people, discussing
- Staying in the game
- Check your attitude (Phil 2:1-11): do we have an attitude of a servant (slave)?
- Grow your gifts and skills
- Evaluate your relationships (people, not tasks, are the ministry)
- Develop others: discipleship. (Are you helping others to learn to do what you are doing?)