1. Does the Bible sanction slavery?
2. What was slavery like in biblical times?
Slaves were property, and existed solely to serve and do the will of their master; they had no rights, no legal status, and were totally at the mercy of their owner. They were often abused and exploited.
3. How did the gospel influence slaves? (Eph 6:5-8, cf., Col 3:22-25)
a. Your new master, Jesus Christ
b. The maker and master of the universe became a slave (Phil 2:5-11)
c. Your new master's teachings (Mt 20:25-28; Lk 6:46, 12:27; 16:13; Jn 13:16-17, 14:15, 15:18-20)
Your identity and wellbeing are directly tied to your new master's identity and wellbeing.
d. Early Christian leaders as slaves of God/Jesus (Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1; Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; Ju 1:1; Rev 1:1)
4. Slavery as discipleship (Rom 6:16-19; 1 Tim 6:1-2)
5. How did the gospel influence masters? (Eph 6:9; cf., Col 4:1)
How shall I live?
Resource: Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ, John MacArthur (Thomas Nelson, 2010)
1) In what ways does the slave metaphor emphasize the counter-cultural nature of the gospel? Had you been a master and heard v. 9 and Jesus' teachings, what would you have done with your slave(s)?
2) First century Christians saw themselves as slaves of Christ. What effect did that have on their lives? How would your life change if you were to fully live out the idea of being a slave to Christ?
3) The slave's experience depended on the goodness and status of his or her master. Since God is our Master, what kind of experience should we expect as His slaves? How has this been, or not been, your experience?
4) Do you feel connected to the church body? Do you agree that serving others would help you connect to the church? If you're currently not serving, what is one way you feel God has equipped you to serve in the church?
5) A slave had no right to his/her life, but rather was at the complete mercy of his/her owner. Is the idea of being at God's mercy comforting or frightening to you? Why?
6) What are some ways you can better reflect Christ in your work or in your service to others under, around, or over you? How can group members pray for you?
7) At any given moment, each of us is living as a slave of sin or a slave of Christ. What differences have you experienced as a slave of Christ? What are your strategies for resisting temptation and overcoming sin patterns in your life? How can the group pray for you?