Do we have any rights?

2 June 2020
Series: Bible study
Topic: Rom 1:1 , servant , slave

Speaker: Apostle Ernie

In Rom 1:1, we read, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”

Are you a servant of Jesus?

The word used by Paul in Rom 1:1 for a servant is the Greek word doulous. If you translate doulous into English it does not translate as a servant. Instead, it translates as a slave. The word “slave” gives each and every one of us a negative association. Nobody wants to be a slave to anyone because we have individual rights. But as we are going to see, we have no problem surrendering those rights for a few hours each day if it can guarantee us a steady income or secure our health. If we are willing to do so for money and health, why are we not willing to do so for our spiritual health?

Most Christians would strongly disagree and claim to be a slave and a servant of Jesus already, well able to take care of their spiritual health. But at the same time, they believe Shabbat is on Sunday, all foods are clean, the Torah is a burden and potentially evil. Jesus said the Torah is good, a blessing and our obedience to it is the only way to let Him know we love Him.  How then can you claim to be a slave and a servant of Jesus when you do not do what He tells us to do? (Luke 6:46)

This confusion has its roots in how we understand the word dolous in Rom 1:1.

In our parts of the world, strongly influenced by Greek philosophy a servant has rights as an individual and can say no if they dont approve of something. This has influenced Christianity to such a degree Christians believe they, as servants of Yeshua, have rights to say no to their Lord Yeshua if they deem Him to strict, demanding, or they dont understand why. 

Do we, as Christians, have the right to say no to our Lord if we deem Him to strict, demanding, or dont understand why?

Paul the Apostle would have shouted from the top of his lungs a big NO, we do not have any rights. When he uses the world doulous he means what it says, a slave without any rights.

If Paul was alive today, most Christians would have worried about Paul’s self-image and labeled him as a legalistic heretic. They would have told Paul he needs to experience the love of Jesus, but Paul would in turn have quoted Luke 6:46 to them.

In Luke 6:46 Yeshua asks the question, why do you call Me Lord but do not do what I say?

He told us to honor, worship, and pray to His Father Yehovah. But most Christians dont see Yehovah as relevant for us.  He told us to keep the Shabbat, to eat only clean foods, to obey the Torah. But to this, most Christians would say….no we dont agree it is too strict and to old fashioned. We want to serve Jesus the way we see fit, the way we want to. 

Is it any wonder Yeshua, in Matt 7:21-23, says He does not know who they are they who call Him Lord but do not obey Him?

What would happen if you showed up at work refusing to obey your employer’s order, telling him or her they are too strict, to old fashioned and you want to do the job the way you see fit? You would soon find yourself out of a job, and rightfully so. Your employer is your lord while you are at work, he or she is the one who gets to decide what you are to do and can not to between the hours of 9-5. We all accept this and willingly give up our rights as an individual at the start of the workday because we want to be able to have a steady income. 

If you are willing to be a slave to your employer, why then are you not willing to be a slave to Yeshua? If you disrespect your boss you will be fired, but if you disrespect Yeshua, you will end up in hell (Matt 7:21-23, 5:19.) You can always find another job, but hell is forever.

Paul understood this when he, in Rom 1:1 proudly sees himself as a slave to Yeshua

 Paul had no shame in saying Yeshua is his Lord and the only one who got to decide what Paul should do and not do. We need to be more like Paul, a slave to Yeshua so we will be rewarded one day with entrance to heaven after living a blessed life here on earth. (Deut 28-13, Matt 6:25-34)

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