Have you noticed that one of the most frequently used words of identity in the New Testament is saint?
Paul and Timothy, servants ( bond-slaves) of Christ Jesus
To all God’s holy people (Saints) in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons[
:Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Saint is literally a holy person. Yet Paul and the other writers of the Epistles used the word generously to describe common, ordinary, everyday Christians like you and me. Notice in the verse above he doesn't say we are saints by hard work but by calling. The Bible says you are a saint because God called you to be a saint. Again the verse says we have been sanctified in Christ...or made a saint through Jesus work in us.
Many Christians refer to themselves as sinners saved by grace. But are you really a sinner? Is that your scriptural identity? Not at all. God doesn't call you a sinner he calls you a saint – a holy one.
Here is a couple of questions for you
1. If you call yourself a sinner guess what you will do? If you call yourself a saint who sometimes sins how would that cause us to live differently?
2. Discuss the following statement. “What you do doesn’t determine who you are, but who you are determines what you do” Is there any truth in that statement as we consider ourselves as saints.
3. What in our upbringing and background can cause us to be nervous of referring to ourselves as saints?
Slaves by choice?
Our second word we looked at on Sunday was a bond slave to Christ. Clearly we are talking about a very different relationship that the slavery we know.
It’s interesting that here in Oakville many of the houses on the Lakeshore housed runaway slaves as a part of the Underground Railroad. I know some folk who have tunnels running from their house to other houses that were dug to keep slaves hidden. Let’s explore this term bond servant.
In Philippians 1 v 1 – 3 Paul refers to himself as a bond-servant or bond slave. We find the understanding of this term in Exodus 22
2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.
5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl (nail). Then he will be his servant for life.
A bond servant or slave is a willing slave. one whose heart and actions value the master . A slave of love. A slave of desire. A slave by choice.
1 Why would this be a good description of our relationship to Christ.
2. We are told in scripture by Paul that it was for freedom Christ has set us free. So how do we reconcile the two truths together?
3 what would be the difference between a slave who is in subjection and whose heart does not desire to serve the master. Who is forced to do his masters bidding and the sort of slavery we are talking about here?
4 Taking the two terms Saint and Slave. How do we live this out in our day to day lives and what effect will this new mindset have on our walk as Christians?
You can hear more about our being Saints and Slaves on the kings Family Church website http://kingsfamily.org/audio/chris_mclean_set_free_be_slaves
(Why not take some time to listen to this latest sermon.)