Its Not about the Titles
“It’s Not about the Titles” - Matt Blackmon
Ephesians 6:5–9 NKJV - Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6:6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 6:7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 6:8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
“Be nice to one another.” Every child has heard this plea many times from their parents and every parent feels like they have said this thousands of times—and perhaps they have. But it is just not parents and children that struggle with being nice. A major stereotype of Christians is that we are judgmental, unforgiving, and ultimately, not nice—people really think Christians are mean. As a matter of fact, if you ask the master of all human knowledge, the Google search engine, the question: “Why are Christians so mean?” you get almost three million responses! Perhaps being nice is really hard for everyone. Believe it or not, there is a page on wikiHow titled “How to Be Nice.” (http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Nice).
But I think that answer is too simple, frankly.
Perhaps some regard Christians as mean because we take certain stances on moral issues against what they believe—and these are not our opinions but requirements based on the Bible. But that is simply not sufficient to explain those strong feelings. Why? Simply put, many Christians would also agree that Christians are mean—especially to each other. Sometimes that too involves taking a stand on an important issue, but more often than not it is simply a matter of meanness. Often, Christians are in complete agreement on moral issues, but still end up in conflict with other Christians. Why? All my life I have heard the unkind refrain that Christians are the only “army” who shoot their own wounded—often after wounding them! Have you heard that too? Do you agree?
This Sunday we are going to explore a familiar passage from Ephesians, Ephesians 6:5-9. This passage is part of the “household table” where Paul is teaching Christians how to interact with one another, and the world. I think this passage provides a solution to the problem of mean Christians. I will summarize it this way: “Use your words and actions to treat others as your equal.”
Matt Blackmon is a theology professor at Lancaster Bible College. He did doctoral studies and completed a Master of Theology (2001) at Dallas Theological Seminary. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Science from The University of Tennessee (1990, 1995). He has served on the pastoral staff of several churches, including, The Heights Baptist Church... read more