Friday, February 5, 2010

Bond Servant = Doulos

In most of Paul's Epistles he describes himself as an apostle of the LORD Jesus Christ. In Philippians he calls himself and Timothy "bond servants of Christ Jesus".

Bond Servant is "doulos" in the Greek. Defined as one who gives himself up to another's will; one devoted to another to the disregard of his own interests. A bond servant is not a "hired" servant or one who serves because that is his job. It is one who serves out of choice.

Other words associated with bond servant are: ownership, possession, allegiance, subjection, dependence

Exodus 21:5 - "I love my master, my wife, my children, I will not go out as a free man."

The Old Testament tells us that a person would only HAVE to be a slave, one that was purchased, for 6 years. At the end of 6 years he had to be set free. BUT the slave could CHOOSE to stay. Why would anyone do that? Maybe the slave had come to love his master and his master's family .... so he would choose to stay. God's Law did not permit a slave to be mistreated in any for some....maybe the life of a slave was a better life than he could make for himself so he would choose to stay. If the slave chose to stay, the master would take an awl and bore a hole through the slave's ear to the masters door post. A constant reminder to him and everyone that this slave was going no where. It was a permanent decision. That slave could NEVER go free, on his own, again, nor could he ever be sold. He now became more than just a slave....he became a servant who was permanently attached -- bonded -- to his master. A "bond servant". These bond servants were usually trusted with more than just the ordinary slave would be trusted with. They often, though still servants, became like part of the family.
I recently noticed the words "Bond Servant" tatotted on a young man's arm. I wondered, "does he know what those words mean"? I I know what those words mean? Bond who chooses to serve with reckless abandon. One who gives herself up to another's will...the will on the Father. For me that speaks of becoming holy as HE is holy. Oh how I want to be a Bond Servant of the LORD Jesus serve Him, to become like His Son. To "choose" His way instead of my own. To choose "will" instead of my own. Paul lived his life as a Bond Servant of his LORD. A goal worthy of my desire.
John Darby, in 1872, wrote these words...

And is it so! I shall be like Thy Son?
Is this the grace which He for me has won?
Father of glory—thought beyond all thought!
In glory, to His own blest likeness brought!

Oh, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.

Yet it must be: Thy love had not its rest
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest;
That love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.

Nor I alone; Thy loved ones, all complete
In glory, round Thee there with joy shall meet
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord,
Object supreme of all, by all adored.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Little Philippi History from Acts 16

In order to help understand the book of Philippians we need to know well Acts chapter 16. It tells us much about the people and the place of Philippi.
  • Luke joined Paul, Silas & Timothy (from "they & them" to "we & us")
  • There was apparently no synagogue in Philippi as Paul went to the riverside where he supposed there would be a 'place of prayer'
  • Lydia seems to be the first one in this part of Europe to receive the Gospel
  • She then was baptized
  • Her transformation was immediately shown by her inviting Paul and group to her home
  • Paul was 'greatly annoyed' by a slave girl who had an evil spirit. He commanded the evil spirit to leave her, which it did, this gained Paul & Silas a beating and jail.
  • About midnight while Paul & Silas were praying and singing hymns there was an earthquake. Prison doors were opened, chains were broken. This was a MAJOR crisis for the jailer who drew his sword and was going to kill himself. He was stopped by Paul and asked "What must I do to be saved?"
  • The jailer became a believer in the LORD Jesus Christ
  • He was baptized
  • His transformation was immediately shown by his loving care in washing the wounds and caring for Paul & Silas
Helpful things to remember about Philippi.
  • It was a Roman colony situated about 10 miles in from where Paul & Silas landed
  • It was on the main highway between Asia and Europe
  • Philippian citizens were very proud of being Romans and despised the Jews
  • Paul was a Pharisee, the strictest sect of the Jews
  • Philippians was written about 30 years after the the LORD's death on the cross
  • Paul seems to have a deeper love for the Philippian believers than we detect in his other Epistles
People from Philippi
  • Lydia - likely one of the first European converts
  • Philippian jailor - tried to kill himself while Paul & Silas were under his care, convert to Christianity
  • Slave girl with an evil spirit whom Paul set free
  • Epaphroditus - Fellow worker of Paul, messenger sent from Philippi to Paul, risked his life for Paul
  • Eudian & Syntache - Women who co-labored with Paul, needed some help resolving problems between them
  • Clement - fellow worker of Paul likely helped establish church at Philippi