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Bond servant

In the first sentence of Philippians we read - Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus. In 9 of
13 epistles Paul mentions in his opening salutation that he is an apostle but doesn't mention this at all
in Philippians. Sometimes we need to learn from what is not there and not just what is there. This is the
closest church to the apostle Paul and he is writing to them about joy, fellowship and the gospel. He
also includes Timothy though this is a letter that Paul writes and you know this by the personal
pronouns such as "I" and "my" that he uses in
Chapter 1. In my study I was struck by the word bond-servant and since this is how Paul started I
concluded it must be important for us to study this word in some depth.
There are 4 key words in Philippians that we will discuss at length.
1. Joy
2. Bond-servant
3. Fellowship
4. Gospel

OK, let's look at the word bond-servant in some detail. The word itself is doulos in the Greek. In the 13
epistles of the apostle Paul he uses this word a total of 38 times. Here is what it means:
One who give himself or herself up another's will, those whose service is used by Christ to advance
His kingdom or one devoted to another to the disregard of their own interest.
Some other words that you see associated with bond-servant are:
- ownership
- possession
- allegiance
- subjection
- dependence

Now that you have the definition and some words regarding bond-servant in your mind let's turn to
some Scripture.
Ex. 21:5 "But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as
a free man,'
Ex. 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost.
And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

From the little bit of reading I have done the bond-servant then put a ring into his ear to identify
himself with his master.

Can you think of an application for this in your life?


Do others see in your words and actions as one who identifies himself as a servant of the Lord Jesus?
How about your wife?
How about your children?
How about your co-workers?

Here are the 5 principles of bond-servant hood that we studied this morning.
1. A bond-servant thinks in terms of stewardship rather than ownership.
Psa. 24:1 The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
According to Psalm 24 - Everything belongs to God
A bond-servant understand that he does not own his possessions but has been entrusted with the care of
his master's possessions.

Remember the story of Joseph in Genesis 39:4-10


Gen. 39:4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him
overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.
Gen. 39:5 It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he
owned, the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD'S blessing was
upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field.
Gen. 39:6 So he left everything he owned in Joseph's charge; and with him there he did not concern
himself with anything except the food which he ate.
¶ Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
Gen. 39:7 It came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she
said, "Lie with me."
Gen. 39:8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me here, my master does not
concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.
Gen. 39:9 "There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except
you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?"
Gen. 39:10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with
her.

2. A bond-servant does not expect to be served but instead serves


Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a
ransom for many."
You need to be careful in your understanding and application of this principle of being a bond-servant.
I have heard it said for years incorrectly in the church that since the Lord Jesus died for you then the
least you can do is go to church, read your Bible and get involved in some type of kingdom work. That
is incorrect thinking and bad doctrine if you will allow me to be blunt. There is no person on planet
earth that can serve the Lord Jesus Christ in a way that will ever add one ounce to what He did for us
on the cross. Therefore to have a pay Jesus back mentality is an insult the cross. The serving we do is
horizontally for those who God places in our life in order that by our service to them we demonstrate
the greatness of Christ. Unfortunately many times in our service we want others to acknowledge us,
applaud us or praise us for what we have done. Guys, if we ever serve like that then we rob Christ of
His glory. So when it comes to serving let's remember Christ is the Blessor and we are the blessee,
Christ is the Giver and we are the receiver. But when it comes to serving others let's also remember
that we do so in a way where we manifest Jesus and not ourselves.

Also Luke 17:3-10 provides some helpful insight.


Luke 17:3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
Luke 17:4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I
repent,' forgive him."
Luke 17:5 ¶ The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry
tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.
Luke 17:7 ¶ "Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has
come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'?
Luke 17:8 "But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself
and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'?
Luke 17:9 "He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?
Luke 17:10 "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy
slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"

I think the disciples in this story understood the fact that forgiveness is hard to do. But the Lord Jesus
goes on the explain "why" forgiving someone is so hard for us.
Basically He is saying that we don't have a bond-servant mentality. In other words we find it hard to
forgive others (wife, kids, friends) when we think they are to serve and meet our needs. Jesus says that
a bond-servant spirit carries with it the attitude of serving instead of being served. One of the ways that
we serve others is by forgiving them. Slaves don't expect to be served in this way but instead they are
always willing to serve.

3. A bond-servant should not expect to be treated better than their master


John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they
persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
John 15:21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the
One who sent Me.

1Pet. 2:18 ¶ Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good
and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
1Pet. 2:19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under
sorrows when suffering unjustly.
1Pet. 2:20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with
patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with
God.

1Pet. 3:14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT
FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,
1Pet. 3:17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for
doing what is wrong.

There are those in the church today that think believing in Jesus should somehow equate to the
unrestricted blessings of God. I have heard and seen this first hand and in my opinion it is false
teaching and extremely dangerous in the body of Christ.
They think and teach that Christians need not experience:
1. Sickness
2. Suffering
They teach and proclaim a gospel that is one of:
- health
- wealth
- prosperity

However as you can see clearly in the Bible that to become a bond-servant of Christ means to enter His
rejection and suffering.

4. A bond-servant finds delight in his master


Dan. 4:19 ¶ "Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts
alarmed him. The king responded and said, 'Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation
alarm you.' Belteshazzar replied, 'My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its
interpretation to your adversaries!
Dan. 4:27 'Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by
doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a
prolonging of your prosperity.'
Read the entire context between 19-27 to get the full story. Remember Daniel was a bond-servant to
the King Nebuchadnezzar and in this story you can see how interested he is in his master. Even though
this King had destroyed Daniel's homeland and had dispersed the Jews Daniel served him with an
attitude of delight.

John 3:22 ¶ After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was
spending time with them and baptizing.
John 3:23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and
people were coming and were being baptized—
John 3:24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
John 3:25 ¶ Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John's disciples with a Jew about
purification.
John 3:26 And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to
whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him."
John 3:27 John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from
heaven.
John 3:28 "You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent
ahead of Him.'
John 3:29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and
hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.
John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:31 ¶ "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and
speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

Matthew 25:20-30 - In this parable the slave who receives the most attention is the one who refused to
invest his master's money. We learned this morning in our reading that the master referred to this bond-
servant as "wicked and lazy." However the first two bond-servants who invested the money their
master calls them "good and faithful."
The last slave found his master to be hard and demanding. Is this how you see God? Do you know
others that have this view of their heavenly Father? We see that because of how this slave view his
master then he took no pleasure in contributing to his master's success.
However a good bond-servant loves his master and takes pleasure in the things of his master. Look
carefully at Matthew 25:23 and see that the reward for this kind of bond-servant is one who enters the
JOY (theme of Philippians) of his master.

5. A bond-servant ultimately understands his purpose


1Cor. 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1Cor. 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Brothers in Christ understand that God Himself paid the most costly price ever with the death of His
Son Jesus. And though we rebelled and defiled His name He bought us for Himself! Therefore we are
to reflect, display and manifest Him in such a way that when others see us they really see Him.

Next week we will develop the plan for the book of Philippians. Until then may I encourage you to
continue reading and think about how the apostle Paul flows in his thoughts regarding joy, fellowship,
gospel and suffering as a bond-servant of Christ.