Fan or Follower: Doulos

Good morning my friends.

I hope and pray that your journey through the New Testament is going well, and that you are enjoying what John is laying out for you through his gospel. Again, let me encourage you to take time to really reflect on the readings and ponder what John is laying out for you about Jesus. Who he was and still is? What does he ask of us? What does he promise for us?

This past Sunday was our second Sunday exploring the question: Are you a follower of Jesus? In the first week of the series we explored that a follower of Jesus recognizes that there is no one else worth following (taken from Peter’s words at the end of John 6). This past Sunday we spent our time talking about one particular word used to identify Christ-followers in the New Testament. That is the word “doulos”.

Doulos, literally means bondslave, and talks about someone who is fully committed to serving their master. The big problem with this concept is that we are taught to be individuals, to be independent, self-sufficient, free-thinking, to take control of our own destiny. This concept from the Bible flies in the face of all of that.

Sermon big idea: Being a follower of Jesus means living out a slave relationship to him.

Sermon Points:

  • Being a Christian means both believing and following, they go hand-in-hand
  • New Testament word used to describe Christians is “doulos”
  • Doulos means bondslave:
  • Bond-slave: someone who was purchased at a price, who serves the master’s needs, is at the master’s beck and call every moment; someone who is devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests
  • A true bond-slave has no will of their own, but whose will is completely consumed by the will of the master
  • Slave not just to God, but to other Christians and to the world around us
  • Our slavery to God is lived out in our slavery to others
  • Pride and cultural sensitivity to this word can make us shy away from being identified as a slave
  • We must remember that Jesus was the first slave, he modeled slavery to us (Philippians 2:5-8)

Follow-up Questions:
Whose will is in control of your life, Jesus’ or yours? In what areas of your life do you still call the shots instead of letting Jesus call the shots? What is holding you back from more fully giving Jesus control? Are you at Jesus’ “beck and call”?

Questions for families with young children:
Take a moment next time your child is being will-full and talk to them about what it means to submit, to live obediently in relationship with those who have authority in their lives. Ask them how they should respond next time someone in authority (a teacher, bus-driver, parent) talks to them.

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