Nov 16

We are blessed this week to be able to spend some time celebrating the great work of our great God in the areas of Eastern Europe and Russia.  Our church has been associated with Eastern European Mission for many years, and are blessed and thankful to be able to be a part of such a needed and faithful ministry.

Darryl Willis, director of the EEM Youth Camp Program, will be with us this Sunday and will lead a combined adult class in the auditorium.  South Fork has been a part of Team Imagine since 2008, ministering to children, staff and others through our work with youth camps in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.  We remain committed to this mission; to our beloved translators—many of whom are our brothers and sisters in Christ; to the children.

In addition to the Bible class on Sunday, once again South Fork will host this area’s annual EEM Dinner Tuesday evening in our Family Center.  Be prayerful for this important work, and participate in these encouraging times of sharing and learning and partnering with this great mission.

The past two weeks we’ve considered the Christian’s involvement with and submission to our civil authorities.  I appreciate the encouragement and prayers as we’ve looked very intensely at a difficult and divisive subject as we continue our study through the book of 1 Peter.

Next up in 1 Peter 2:18-25 is a passage that speaks to slaves and masters.  Thankfully, our situation is different today, at least in this country.  The fact that the Scriptures address these groups—very much a reality in the first century Roman Empire—does not justify the practice.  All human beings are created in the image of God.  All people of faith in God and belief in the Bible should absolutely and unequivocally condemn the practice of slavery.

As we consider these verses, I want us to look at them from the perspective of employers/managers and employees/workers.  This passage can be very easily and consistently applied to the Christian’s consideration of their jobs and careers, their “workaday world.”  The situations discussed and counsel that the inspired apostle gives can be applied in our lives and in the situations we face in our lives most every week.  In addition to this passage, you can compare other Scriptures such as Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:22-4:1.

The one difference in the 1 Peter passage—only slaves are addressed.  Peter shares no instruction with masters.  It could very well be that he knew that the recipients of his letter—resident immigrants on the bottom of their society—did not include any on that level of the social ladder.

Over the next two Sundays as we apply this teaching to the day-to-day work and life of Christians today, we’ll make three specific applications: ministry, witness, and calling.  I hope after these two lessons you will feel a sense of renewal as you face each day of your life, whether you are the person in charge or one of the workers; a stay-at-home or retired spouse or parent; a student; or one still trying to figure that part of your life out.  Whatever your life is like in your everyday world, I hope and pray that you will see it with a sense of calling, finding the opportunities to minister to others and witness to the great love and mercy of Christ.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  (Col.3:23-24)

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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