SLAVES? YES! BUT TO WHICH MASTER?
Intro: Slavery is a concept that is very much out of
place in our modern world. The idea that one human
can have the power to force another human to serve
him is offensive to our modern minds. The majority of
us would recoil at the very thought of owning a slave,
or especially, at the thought of being a slave. But, did
you know that slavery is alive and well this evening? In
fact, there are slaves here in Nebo! I'll go a step
further, there are slaves in this very room this evening!
Surprised? Well, it may surprise you to learn that we
are all slaves! The only difference lies in reference to
which master we serve.
In these verses, Paul is continuing his discussion of
the difference between being dead in sin and in being
alive in Christ. In these last verses of chapter 6, he
presents a series of contrasts that point out the fact that
we are all slaves. That we will continue to be slaves for
all our lives, but that we have a choice of which master
we serve. And, the thought that I would like to preach
about for a while this evening is this: Slaves? Yes!
But To Which Master? I want you to be able to see
clearly which master you are serving, and I want you to
have the opportunity to change masters this evening if
you are found serving the wrong one!
Notice with me four comparisons that Paul makes in
I. V. 15-16 THE CHOICES
(Ill. Paul tells us that we have the privilege of
"yielding" our members to a master. The word
"yield" means "to stand as a servant, near ones
master, awaiting orders. It means to present."
The idea is of a man who is at the beck and call of
his master. The whole point of these two verses is
that we have a choice as to who we yield our lives
to. Notice that there are only two choices.)
A. We Can Walk In Rebellion - We can take grace
for granted, v. 15, and we can just assume that
God is going to accept us just as we are and live
like we want to. This is the life of sinful rebellion.
While many may live like this and think that they
are free, Paul makes it clear that they are slaves!
(Ill. This is the literal meaning of the word
servant!) The rebellious life would be any life
that is lived outside the will of God. It is a life
yielded to the master of sin.
B. We Can Walk In Righteousness - By the same
token, we can choose to walk in the will of God
and to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
Instead of yielding our members to sin, we can
present our bodies to the Lord for His use and
for His glory, Rom. 12:1-2.
(Ill. Very literally, the choice is yours! You can serve
whomever you please! Notice the word "obey".
This word means "to answer a knock at the door."
It pictures a butler hurrying to see who is at the door
of a home. My friends, choices and decisions
concerning how we live our lives come knocking
every day! When we open that door, we can either
be a slave to sin or we can be a slave to Jesus. It is
a choice that you must make!)
I. The Choices
II. V. 17-18 THE CHANGES
(Ill. Not only does Paul speak of the choice we must
make in life, but he also refers to the changes that
come about in our lives when we receive Jesus as
our Lord and Savior.)
A. V. 17a He Speaks Of Our Past Failures - He
refers to a time before we trusted Jesus when
we were the servants of sin, Eph. 2:1-3. He
reminds us of the bondage we endured before
we came to know Jesus as Saviour. For those
who remember the lost life before Jesus, it was
a terrible time of slavery to desires, impulses and
passions. It was a time ruled by Satan, where it
seemed that the sinner had no control of his life
and was being driven by another.
B. V. 17b He Speaks Of Our Precious Faith -
Now, Paul reminds us of the day we trusted
Jesus! When we "obeyed" or "answered God's
knock at our heart's door" (Rev. 3:20),
everything changed! For at the instant of
salvation, we were changed forever by the power
of the Lord Jesus Christ! This idea is made clear
by the word "form". This refers to a mold into
which molten gold is poured, causing the gold to
take a pre-designed shape. So too, when we
trusted Jesus, we were reshaped by the power
of God. He remade our character into His
image. He changed us when we believed, 2
(Ill. Let us never forget that the dividing line
between the old life of bondage and death and
the new life of liberty and life is our faith in the
Gospel of Christ. It is His salvation that makes
all the difference!)
C. V. 18 He Speaks Of Our Present Freedom -
This verse reminds us that what Jesus did for us
was to purchase our freedom from slavery to sin.
This is made clear by three precious New
1. Rev. 5:9 - This verse tells us that Jesus
"redeemed" us. The word redeemed in this
verse means "to buy in the market place".
It refers to the purchase of a slave from the
2. Gal. 4:5 - The word "redeem" in this verse
carries the idea a little further. It means "to
buy in the market and remove from sale."
It has the idea of a slave purchased and who
is never again to be put up for sale.
3. 1 Pet. 1:18-19 - The word "redeemed" in this
verse comes from a word that means "to
loose after the payment of a ransom
price." It carries the idea of a slave who is
purchased in the market and then is set free!
(Ill When all of this is put together, it becomes
clear that in Jesus, we enjoy a redemption that
bought us, secured us and freed us to serve the
Lord. What a salvation is ours! When did all this
happen? At the very instant we trusted Jesus as
our Saviour! Note the words "being then". At
that moment, we were bought, secured and set
free! Glory to God!)
I. The Choices
II. The Changes
III. V. 19 THE CHALLENGES
(Ill. Paul use of the image of slavery is one that his
readers were very familiar with. It has been noted
that there were about 50 million slaves in the
Roman Empire during the first century.)
A. Remember The Deeds Of The Lost Life - The
first challenge is for the Roman believers to
remember how they lived their lives before they
came to know the Lord. They are to remember
how they "yielded" or placed their members at
sin's disposal. They are challenged to remember
how they used to serve sin with an almost
B. Remember The Duties Of The Loosed Life -
The reason they are to remember their past is so
that they can see how they are to live in the
present. What I mean by that is this: just as they
used to serve sin with their entire person, now
they are to yield themselves to the will of God.
You see, the sinner is not usually ashamed or
embarrassed by his sin. He does what he
pleases and lives like he wants to live. In other
words, he makes no apologies for who or what
he is! The same should be true of those who are
in Christ. We should not be ashamed of the
changes Jesus has made. We should not be
embarrassed by our new Master. We should
serve Him with the same reckless abandon with
which we once served sins. Just as we placed
our lives at the disposal of sin and the devil, now
we should place our lives at the disposal of the
Lord Jesus Christ, allowing Him to have total
dominion over every aspect of our lives!
(Ill. Do we demonstrate the same commitment to
Jesus Christ that we demonstrated to our sins
when we were living in sin? In reality, our
commitment to Jesus should be far deeper and
far greater than any we ever made to a live of
wretched, wicked living!)
I. The Choices
II. The Changes
III. The Challenges
IV. V. 20-23 THE COMPENSATIONS
(Ill. Just as we have seen contrasts between the old
life and the new in the way they are lived, so too
there are contrasts in what each of those lives
produce in those that are slaves to them. Notice
these differences this evening.)
A. The Life Of Sin (Ill. The life of sin pays off in
three ways. Paul lists them for us right here.)
1. V. 20 It Is A Wicked Life - He tells us here
that the lost sinner has no association with
righteousness. In fact, the best the sinner
can produce is a pile of filthy rags in the sight
of the Lord, Isa. 64:6. The flesh has no
power to produce anything other than evil! It
is thoroughly wicked, Rom. 7:18. The life of
sin is a wicked life! The sinner is trapped and
cannot even see it!
2. V. 21a It Is A Wasted Life - Paul's questions
is this: What did that life of sin produce?
What good came our of your evil? The
answer is plain! There is no good that can
come out of it at all! The sad fact is that a
sinful life is a wasted life! It can produce
nothing that will endure, but a legacy of sin
and of evil!
(Ill. This wasted life may produce children,
but they are often caught in the same traps
and vices that their parents were caught in! It
is bad enough to live in sin, but when you
teach your children to live like Hell, you are a
wicked, wretched person!)
3. V. 21b, 23a It Is A Wretched Life - The life
of sin pays off in death! Not just the death of
this physical body, but the idea here is of the
"second death." It refers to the separation of
the body and the spirit and to the eternal
damnation of the lost spirit in Hell! Nothing
could be worse that living a wicked, wasted
life here and then dying without Jesus and
spending eternity in Hell! But, that is exactly
what will happen to every person who dies
outside of faith in Christ! Will that be you?
(Ill. Notice that we wicked person receives
"wages". This is fair compensation for a life
lived in evil! We may think it unfair for a
sinner to have to go to Hell, but God tells us
that they are just receiving what they have
earned! If you stop for a minute and let this
sink in, it becomes clear that Hell is not a
place bad people are sent by God, but it is a
place they have worked hard to get into, and
they will receive everything they have
(Ill. There are tracts around that have this on
the front: "What you have to do to go to
Hell..." Then, on the inside, the tract is blank.
Suggesting that the sinner must do nothing to
go to Hell. I know what they are saying, and
if the sinner does nothing, spiritually
speaking, he will go to Hell. However, I
would like to submit to you this evening that
in fact, the sinner must work hard to get to
Hell! To go there, he must get over several
obstacles God has placed in his way.
1. The Bible
2. The Church
3. The Cross
4. The Blood
5. The Holy Spirit
6. The Bible
7. The Revelation of God in Nature
8. The Prayers of God's Children
9. The Will of God - And the list could go on!
The fact is, God does not want you, or
anyone for that matter, to go to Hell, 2 Pet.
3:9. But you will if you don't come to Jesus!
What a waste of life it is to live without God!)
B. The Life Of Salvation (Ill. In this final
comparison, Paul makes it clear that a life lived
in the Jesus is far better than a life wasted
1. V. 22 It Is A Life With Purpose - This verse
tells the truth that the life lived by the power
of God produces fruit for the glory of God!
Just as our lives used to be wasted, now in
Jesus, they are productive! He enables us to
bear fruit for the glory of God!
(Ill. Many people think that living the Christian
life is a difficult proposition, but they are
wrong! What many people have failed to
grasp is that the true Christian life is not lived
out, it is lived through! It is not me doing my
best for Jesus. Rather, it is me simply
yielding to Him and allowing Him to live His
life through me, John 15:1-8. If I can learn
but to abide in Christ, He will send His life
through me and glorify God by producing His
fruit through my life!)
2. V. 22b, 23b It Is A Life With Promise - While
the sinful life pays the wages of death, God's
gift to those who trust Him is everlasting life!
Notice the difference! Wages are something
we work for, a gift is something we simply
receive and then it belongs to us! Merely by
placing my faith in Jesus, I have become a
partaker of His life. I have eternal life and I
will live it in an eternal home in His eternal
presence! To me, there is no comparison
between what I had when I was lost and what
I have now that I am saved. Thank God, in
Jesus, we are "passed from death unto
life", John 5:24.
Conc: So, who is your master? Is it sin? If so, the
wages of your service to him are death and Hell. But,
I am glad that I can tell you that you have the
opportunity to change masters this evening!
Is your master Jesus? If so, then rejoice! For in
Him, you have found life and liberty. You have found
peace and purpose. You have found all you need.
The difference is plain to see! And, it all lies in those
last few words of verse 23: "through Jesus Christ our
Lord." He is the Door! He is the only way into eternal
life. He is the only way out of bondage into freedom.
Are you a slave? Yes you are! But, who is your