Social Status and Education Make No Difference
in Christ's Church
In Acts 26:22 Paul tells us that with God's help he witnessed both to _____________ and ________________. Can you name three people who you could call GREAT?-- (an athlete? a president? a wealthy person? a doctor? etc.) Can you think of someone who you would consider SMALL?-- (a poor man? someone without a job? someone who very few people care about?) When we speak of a person who is small, we are not talking about a person who is not very tall. We are not talking about someone who is short in stature. A small person, as the word is used in Acts 26:22, refers to a person who is not famous, not well-known, and who does not have a prominent position in society. A political leader (a king, an emperor) would be considered a great person; a slave would be considered a small person. Paul wanted to speak the Word of God to both SMALL and GREAT.
Who were some of the GREAT and famous men who Paul witnessed to (see Acts 9:15; 24:24; 25:12-13; 26:19; 27:1; etc.)? Paul not only witnessed to great men but he witnessed to A______ M______ (Acts 22:15)! In what way should a believer be GREAT (Luke 1:15)? _________________________________________
In New Testament times (in the days of the Roman Empire), the lowest position of all was that of a slave. But even slaves are invited to be members in God's called-out assembly! Even slaves can enjoy all the rights and privileges of being members in the body of Christ. Here are three passages that teach us that IN CHRIST there is no differeence between a person who is a SLAVE and a person who is FREE:
1. Galatians 3:28:"There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile--nationality makes no difference), there is neither ___________ (a slave) nor __________ (a free man, one who is not a slave--position makes no difference), there is neither male nor female (sex makes no difference); for ye are all __________ ______ _____________ _____________."
|THERE IS NEITHER SMALL NOR
GREAT!! THERE IS NEITHER BOND NOR FREE!!
POSITION MAKES NO DIFFERENCE
2. 1 Corinthians 12:13: "For by one Spirit were we _______ baptized into _______ ____________, whether we be Jews or Gentiles (nationality makes no difference), whether we be ___________ or ___________ (position makes no difference); and have been ______ made to drink into one Spirit." What body is this verse talking about (see 1 Cor. 12:27; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18,24)? _______________________________________
This verse (1 Cor. 12:13--being baptized or placed into the body of Christ) is illustrated below:
3. Colossians 3:11:"Where there is neither Greek (Gentile) nor Jew (nationality makes no difference), circumcision nor uncircumcision (religion makes no difference--Jews were circumcised according to the law of Moses; Gentiles were not), barbarian (foreigner), Scythian (savage and primitive people), _____________ nor _____________ (position makes no difference), but _______________ is ALL and IN ALL."
In the body of Christ (the Church) there is perfect equality and oneness. There is no difference!
In Ephesians 6:5-8 and Colossians 3:22-25 Paul writes to Christian slaves (the word "servants" in these passages means "slaves"). Paul wanted these saved slaves to realize that they were slaves of ___________________ (see Eph. 6:6 and Col. 3:24).
In Ephesians 6:9 and Colossians 4:1 Paul writes to Christian masters (these were free men who had slaves under them). Paul wanted these saved masters to realize that they also had a ___________________ in _______________ that they were under (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1).
Below we have MASTER MARK and SLAVE SAMUEL:
Slave Samuel is a believing slave and therefore he is able to say: "I am a slave of Master Mark, but I am also a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ, for I S______________ the Lord Christ (Col. 3:24)."
Master Mark is a believing master and therefore he is able to say: "Slave Samuel is under me and he must give an account to me, but I am under my MASTER in heaven and I must give an account to Him."
In Christ, it does not make any difference whether a man is a slave or whether he is free. We are all equal as believers in Him. All believers must someday stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10) to receive a reward or to suffer loss of reward (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). This is the reason why Ephesians 6:8 says, "Knowing that whatever good thing _______ _______ doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be _________ (a slave) or ___________."
The word "LORD" means "MASTER" and this means that whenever we read the words, "THE LORD JESUS CHRIST," we should remind ourselves that HE is our MASTER and because He is our MASTER we should be (see Titus 2:9) O_________________ to HIM and we should P_______________ Him well in _______ things.
Therefore, every person who belongs to the LORD Jesus Christ is His slave. He is our MASTER! Every believer is a slave of Jesus Christ!!
[In the following verses, the word "servant" means "slave."]
Is it possible to be free and to also be a slave at the same time (read Romans 6:18 and compare 1 Peter 2:16)? ________ Is it possible for an unsaved man to be free and to also be a slave at the same time (read Romans 6:20)? ______________
||A. SAVED PERSON
B. UNSAVED PERSON
Read 1 Corinthians 7:22 carefully. According to this verse, the slave who is saved must realize that he is free. See John 8:36: "If the Son, therefore, shall make you __________, ye shall be ________ indeed." The free man who is saved must realize that he is a slave. He is free because he belongs to Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22).
In what way is every believer free? In what way is every believer a slave? If a master realizes that he is a slave to Christ, how will that help him to be a better master to the slaves that are under him? If a slave realizes that he is a slave of Christ, how will this help him to be a better slave to his master?
|1. ____________||The believing SLAVE and the believing MASTER are brothers in Christ.|
|2. ____________||The believing SLAVE should no longer serve his master because the Bible says "be not the servants (slaves) of men" (1 Corinthians 7:23).|
|3. ____________||The believing SLAVE should be even a better slave than he was before he was saved (see Titus 2:9).|
|4. ____________||Paul was telling Timothy (here in 1 Tim. 6:2) that the institution of slavery should be abolished and that all the masters should let their slaves go free.|
In Paul's brief letter to Philemon we learn about a runaway slave named ___________________ (v. 10). This slave ran right into the Apostle Paul in Rome. They met in prison. This slave came to know the Lord in a wonderful way. He became a saved slave! His masters name was ___________________ (v. 1), the same man that Paul wrote this letter to. Was Philemon a saved master (verses 1,5-7)? _________ Not only did Paul send this letter to Philemon, but he also sent Onesimus back to his master.
Read verse 16. Even though Onesimus was still a slave, he was now much more than a slave. What was he? ______________________
When Philemon finally read this letter that Paul sent and when he saw his runaway slave who was now a saved slave, what do you think he might have said to Onesimus? He may have said something like this:
Note: Christ did not come to
abolish slavery; He came to do His saving work in the hearts of all who would
believe in Him. Slavery was a terrible institution primarily because of
the sinfulness of man. It was terrible for sinful men to capture human
beings (from Africa, for example) and make them slaves. It was terrible
for sinful men to treat other humans as less than human. It was terrible
for sinful slave owners to abuse and mistreat their slaves. At the same time we
recognize that some slave owners treated their slaves very well and some slaves
loved their owners. Some slaves loved their masters so much that they did
not even want their freedom (see Exodus 21:5 for one example of this). The
Lord Jesus did not come to abolish slavery. Instead He told
believing slaves and believing masters how they should live for His glory
(Ephesians 6:5-9). Later as Christianity spread throughout the Roman
empire, slavery was eventually abolished.
Christ invites ALL to become members of His Church regardless of how much EDUCATION or SCHOOLING they have had. If the gospel message went only to intelligent, well educated people who have been trained in the best schools, then thousands of people would never have the opportunity to be saved. Many people have never gone to COLLEGE, but they have COME TO CHRIST. Countless numbers of people have gone to SCHOOLS and COLLEGES and UNIVERSITIES, but they have never COME TO CHRIST. They never got saved. Paul was ready (ready, willing and eager) to preach the gospel "both to the GREEKS (people well educated in philosophy and art and science) and BARBARIANS (foreign people who were often uneducated); BOTH to the ________ (those who have above average intelligence and education) and to the _____________ (unschooled people who are considered "foolish" by those who are educated)" (Romans 1:14). How many years of schooling have you had? _________________ Do you consider yourself well-educated? Do you consider yourself wise or unwise?
The Apostle Peter and the Apostle John were members of the church, but they had never been to a school. What was their previous occupation (Matthew 4:18-22)? _______________________ Did they need to attend school to learn how to do this? _______ [The only school they ever came near was a school of fish!] They probably learned their fishing skills from their fathers or from other fishermen. The unsaved Jews considered Peter and John to be uneducated:
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were _____________________ (UNEDUCATED; they never had gone to the Jewish schools) and __________________ (they had never been trained by expert teachers and thus they were not educated)" (ACTS 4:13)
But Peter and John really had the best education and the best training and the best schooling possible because "THEY HAD ________ _______ ___________" (Acts 4:13) who was the greatest and wisest Teacher of all! What books in the Bible did the UNEDUCATED PETER give us?
What books in the Bible did the UNEDUCATED JOHN give us?
5. (See Revelation 1:1)
To the world they were UNLEARNED AND IGNORANT FISHERMEN; to Christ they were BELOVED
Moses was a well-educated man: "And Moses was ____________________ in ______ the
_________________ of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). How old was Moses when he graduated
from the "University of Egypt" (Acts 7:23)? _________________ Did this education
prepare Moses to deliver the children of Israel (read Acts 7:23-34)? _______ How many more
years of training did he need (Acts 7:30)? _____________________________
Even the Lord Jesus was considered uneducated: "How knoweth this man letters, having never __________________ (by this they meant that He never went to any school)" (John 7:15). Where did the Lord get His training and education from, according to John 7:16? (Circle the correct answer.)
|a. From the rabbinical school
b. From the Hebrew University
|c. From God the Father
d. From the Scribes and Pharisees
Luke and the Apostle Paul were also members of the church. Both of these men were very well educated in the eyes of the world. Luke is called "the ______________ _________________ (doctor)" (Colossians 4:14) and he must have been well-trained in medicine (even as doctors today are well-trained). Also a very large portion of the New Testament was written by Dr. Luke (even more material than Paul wrote). Can you name his two books? 1.___________________________ 2. ______________
Paul was trained by one of the greatest and most famous teachers of his day. Here is what Paul himself said, "I am verily a man which am a JEW, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of ____________________ and ____________ according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers" (Acts 22:3).
We learn about this teacher in Acts 5:34: "Then stood there up one in the council, a __________________, named ______________________, doctor (TEACHER) of the law." Paul was this mans disciple! Paul sat at the feet of this teacher who was respected and honored by all the Jews.
But for the believer in Christ, there is a "greater than Gamaliel" at whose feet we may learn. Read Luke 10:39: "Mary...sat at ____________ ________ and ___________ _______ __________." There is no greater teacher than the Master!! Are you His student and His disciple?
Education makes no difference, but once we become a member of the Church, God expects us to be well trained and well-educated in HOW TO LIVE. Where can we find instruction on how to live right, act right, talk right and think right (2 Timothy 3:15-17)? _________________________________ It is very easy to be instructed in unrighteousness by watching certain television shows, reading certain books and magazines, looking at the wrong things on the computer, etc., but the BIBLE gives us instruction in _______________________ (2 Timothy 3:16).
Go to the Next Lesson--Lesson 14