In this special post, pastor Matt introduces the sermon Dr. Desmond Henry will be preaching on at Ridgecrest Family Church this coming Sunday 12th February 2017. For the audio recordings and full sermon archive, visit www.ridgecrestchurch.org.za.
Have you ever wondered what it means to be a slave? Sure, we have all heard about slavery, seen it on television or learned about it in history class. But have you ever truly thought about slavery? The dictionary defines slavery as the following, “a condition of having to work very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation.” So essentially it means to be trapped in a situation where you are mistreated, abused and unappreciated, and often beaten if you underperform. Being a slave can be compared to receiving a prison sentence in our modern context, to be held captive in a situation where there is no escape and there is no hope.
Now, granted I have never personally experienced being a slave and I do not claim to understand what it means to be trapped in such a situation that a slave would find themselves in, however, I do know the feeling of being in a situation where there is no hope and where I felt trapped. A recent example is when I was almost arrested and detained during my mission’s trip to Botswana. I had overstayed my visa by 10 days, not by my own choice of course, but due to circumstance, and found myself in a situation where I had no way of knowing whether or not I would be able to leave the country or be detained in prison and receive a criminal record. Fortunately, I knew someone who was able to assist me and made a way for me to get out of the country, I still had to pay a hefty fee, but I was free of the burden of being in a situation of hopelessness and fear. I was a slave both to myself and the situation that I found myself in.
Slavery is a very real thing, even in our post-modern world, we often see and hear stories of child labor or the sex trade. The point is that slavery is very real and it is something that we have to consider and deal with even in our Christian context.
This leads me back to my question, what is slavery for us as believers in God? Have you ever experienced a situation where you found yourself being a slave to your own desires, your own circumstances or the situation in which you find yourself? Have you ever experienced that feeling of hopelessness, fear, abuse, and mistreatment or have you ever been underappreciated? Or do you feel as though you are free from all of this, Christ has set you free and you would no longer consider yourself a slave in any sense of the word?
Well allow me to make this statement, if you will, we are all slaves. We are not necessarily slaves in the sense of the dictionary definition where we are kept against our will and forced to work, but rather in the sense that we were once slaves to sin and by Christ’s death and resurrection we have been set free and are now slaves of Christ.
Allow me to explain what I mean, a slave is someone in a hopeless situation and is held captive, someone who has no rights, no possessions, no dignity. As humans, we are sinful by nature and often find ourselves in a hopeless, dark place where we feel as though we have nothing, no hope, no way out and no peace. However, once we commit our lives to God and make Him number one, once we have nothing in our lives that takes His place or are of more priority than Him we are set free. But once we are set free we become a bondservant to Christ and we give up all that we have in service of Him, our King.
What is a bondservant you may be asking? Well, a bondservant is someone who is bound to service to someone without expectation of anything in return. Sounds awfully similar to a slave right? The difference for us as Christians is that we were not taken into captivity and forced to be a slave of God, it is because God sent His Son to die for us and set us free that in our freedom we have no other response than to give our lives in service to God. Remember in my story where I said that I knew a man who could help me get out of a desperate situation and despite his help I still had to pay a hefty fee to be set free, well I know of another man who can set you free from your situation and whatever you may be facing that is holding you captive and guess what? The price has been paid in full. That man’s name is Jesus Christ and most of us know Him, but some of us may not.
So my question is this, do you want to be a slave to sin and a slave to this world being held captive? Or do you want to be set free into the life and service that our God and King has for us? Who is number one in your life? Because that one decision can make all of the difference
JOIN US AT RIDGECREST FAMILY CHURCH THIS COMING SUNDAY AT 09:30 AM TO HEAR THE FULL MESSAGE.