I. IT IS INTERESTING TO ME JUST HOW MUCH GOD'S WORD HAS TO SAY ABOUT ALL KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS.
A. The main emphasis is your relationship to God. That is what the book is all about.
B. However if your relationship with God is right, then your relationship with others will be right, for you will seek to relate to them in a way that pleases God.
II. IN OUR TEXT TONIGHT WE SEE THE PROPER RELATIONSHIP OF AN EMPLOYER TO AN EMPLOYEE.
A."Ye masters do the same unto them." This is reference to the previous verse.
1. Realize your responsibility to God whether you are an employer or an employee.
2. We are all of us ultimately the servants of the Lord.
3. When Paul sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon from whom he had stolen money and run away, he asked Philemon to receive him not as a slave, but as a beloved brother.
4. To the Colossians Paul wrote,
Masters, give unto [your] servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
B. Under the law God gave specific instructions to the masters concerning their servants.
Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob [him]: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
And if thy brother [that dwelleth] by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:
[But] as an hired servant, [and] as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, [and] shall serve thee unto the year of jubile:
And [then] shall he depart from thee, [both] he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
For they [are] my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen.
Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant [that is] poor and needy, [whether he be] of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that [are] in thy land within thy gates:
At his day thou shalt give [him] his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he [is] poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.
I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, [and] the right of the poor.
Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat?
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right], and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
C. Paul tells the masters not to threaten their servants.
III. NO MAN CAN RULE WHO IS NOT RULED.
A. You have a Master in heaven. We must always keep this in mind.
1. I do not have the final say.
2. I have a responsibility to my Master.
3. I am accountable to Him.
B. The Centurian in Capernaum. "I also a man under authority, having under me men."
1. You may be the CEO of the corporation, and all have to answer to you, but you have to answer to God.
2. James said, "But he will be judged without mercy which has showed no mercy."
C. ECC 5:8
If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for [he that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and [there be] higher than they.
D. Jesus gave the parable of the steward that was intrusted with his masters goods while his master went to a far country. When the master did not return at the expected time he began to abuse his position, and mistreat the servants under him. When the master returned he was cut off and given his portion with the unbelievers.
E. One of the real problems in our society today is those who are in positions of authority who see themselves at the top of the totem pole, and do not have the sense of responsibility that comes from realizing that some day they will answer to God.
1. We must always remember that we have a Master in heaven to whom we are responsible.
F."Neither is there respect of persons with Him."
1. God is just as interested in the pauper as He is the millionaire.
2. With God there are no high and mighty.
3. In fact He likes to bring men off of their high perches. "He that humbleth himself shall be exhalted, and he that exalts himself shall be abased."
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.