Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 13 August 2017


Sermon synopsis: Collins Concise English Dictionary defines a slave as follows:
- a person legally owned by another and having no freedom of action or right to property
- a person who is forced to work for another against his will.

Collins Concise English Dictionary also defines a slave as follows:
- a person under the domination of another person or some habit or influence.

… a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Pet 2:19)
“…everyone who sins is a slave to sin…” (John 8:34 )

Moses, who was a type of Jesus, was called by God to be his instrument to free his people from slavery. Jesus purchased freedom for those who were enslaved by sin. In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus said that he came “to preach deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18 KJV).

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Collins Concise English Dictionary defines a slave as follows:

a person legally owned by another and having no freedom of action or right to property

a person who is forced to work for another against his will


Slaves were considered property under Roman law and had no legal personhood. Unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation, torture and summary execution.

The testimony of a slave could not be accepted in a court of law unless the slave was tortured— a practice based on the belief that slaves in a position to be privy to their masters’ affairs would be too virtuously loyal to reveal damaging evidence unless coerced. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_ancient_Rome">http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_ancient_Rome


Under the Old Testament Mosaic Law, no Israelite could sell themselves as a slave.

Lev 25:39-40 If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee.

Anyone who kidnapped an Israelite to enslave them or to engage in slave trade was to be given a death sentence.

Deut 24:7 If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.


Despite the dim view on slavery (particularly because of their own history of been enslaved in Egypt), the Old Testament Law of Moses did permit Israelites to purchase non-Israelite slaves from their neighbouring countries.

Lev 25:44 Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.

But if a Hebrew slave was purchased, the master was obliged to free them unconditionally after 6 years service.

Ex 21:2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.


The OT Law encouraged the humane treatment of slaves.

If a slave was injured by his master, he had to be freed as compensation.

Ex 21:26 An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye.

A runaway slave was to be given refuge. He was not to be given back to his master or oppressed.

Deut 23:15-16 If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses. Do not oppress him.


Many Christian converts in the Roman world would have been slaves or even slave owners. Some have criticised the NT because it instructs slaves to obey their masters.

1 Pet 2:18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

This is alleged by some to be Biblical approval of slavery. But, the Bible likewise instructs a citizen to have a good attitude towards his government. So while the NT instructs us to have a good attitude in spite of injustice, it does not imply that God approves of that injustice.

1 Pet 2:19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. (also Col 3:22-24)


But slave traders are grouped together with “the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious”.

1 Tim 1:8-9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious … for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine


Christians were told not to willingly become slaves.

1 Cor 7:23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

Yet if they were slaves when they got saved they should not be troubled, although they should try obtain their freedom.

1 Cor 7:21-22 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.


And while Paul and Peter admonished Christian slaves to obey their masters, Christian masters were told to serve their slaves “in the same way” that and “even better” as “brothers” - and not to threaten them (Eph 6:9).

Masters are reminded that God has no favourites and that masters and slaves are equal before God.

Eph 6:9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.


Neither Jesus nor his apostles owned slaves, but there is the case of Philemon, a member of the church in Colosse, who seems to have owned a slave called Onesimus.

Unlike the OT Law, Roman Law forbade the harbouring of fugitive slaves, and professional slave-catchers were hired to hunt down runaways. If caught, fugitives could be punished by being whipped, burnt with iron, or killed. 1

In the epistle to Philemon, Paul writes that he is returning Onesimus, possibly a runaway slave, who had subsequently become a believer, back to Philemon. As such Paul is complying with Roman law. What is clear is that Paul would have preferred Onesimus to stay with him (v13), but didn’t wish to do so without consent from Philemon (v14).

1 "https:// wiki/ Slavery_in_ancient_Rome#Emancipation">https:// wiki/ Slavery_in_ancient_Rome#Emancipation


Paul requests Philemon to treat Onesimus, whom he regards as a son (v10), not as a slave but as a dear brother in Christ (v16). Philemon is asked to treat Onesimus as he would treat Paul (v17).

Some argue that because Philemon is to regard Onesimus as his ‘brother’ Paul is inferring that the owner-slave relationship is no longer possible.

Phil 15-16 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.


Slaves had no less value in God’s eyes than a free man.

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (also Col 3:11)

Eph 6:8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

The practice of slavery is used as a type of the bondage sinners are in (“… I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin” - Rom 7:14). And freedom from slavery is a type of freedom from sin that Christ gives.

Gal 3:7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.


Unlike Jesus and his apostles, Muhammad had many slaves.

Narrated ‘Umar: I came and behold, Allah’s Apostle was staying on a Mashroba (attic room) and a black slave of Allah’s Apostle was at the top if its stairs. 1

He accidentally accepted allegiance from a slave.

There came a slave and pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) on migration; he (the Prophet) did not know that he was a slave. Then there came his master and demanded him back, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said: Sell him to me. And he bought him for two black slaves, and he did not afterwards take allegiance from anyone until he had asked him whether he was a slave (or a free man). 2

1 Sahih Bukhari, Vol 9, Bk 91, No 368 2 Sahih Muslim, Book 10, Number 3901:


Historically, Muslims routinely captured large number of prisoners. Aside from those who converted to Islam, most were ransomed or enslaved. 1

While in certain places Islam encourages the humane treatment of slaves, it was permitted for female slaves to be used by their master for sexual gratification.

Islam permits sexual relations between a male master and his female slave outside marriage… According to Ahmad Sikainga, “in reality, however, female slaves in many Muslim societies were prey for members of their owners’ household, their neighbours, and their guests.” 2

1 "https:// wiki/ Prisoners_of_war_in_Islam">https:// wiki/ Prisoners_of_war_in_Islam 2 "https:// wiki/ Islamic_views_on_slavery">https:// wiki/ Islamic_views_on_slavery


According to Islamic scholar Al-Tabari (839-923):

Ham [Africans] begat all those who are black and curly-haired, while Japheth [Turks] begat all those who are full-faced with small eyes, and Shem [Arabs] begat everyone who is handsome of face with beautiful hair. Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them. - Tabari II 21

Noah prayed that the prophets and apostles would be descended from Shem and kings would be from Japheth. He prayed that the African’s colour would change so that their descendants would be slaves to the Arabs and Turks. -Tabari II 11


The unconverted John Newton worked on board slave trader ships for years. After converting to Christianity during a storm at sea, he became increasingly disgusted with the slave trade and quit.


He later became an Anglican minister remembered best for writing “Amazing Grace”.

Newton influenced William Wilberforce, a young British politician who was the chief instrument in banning slavery from the British empire.

In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help Wilberforce’s campaign to end slavery— “a business at which my heart now shudders,” he wrote.

John Newton (1725-1807)


A member of the House of Commons as an independent, William Wilberforce became intricately involved in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. His conversion to Evangelical Christianity in 1784 played a key role in interesting him in this social reform. William Wilberforce’s Slave Trade Act 1807 abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ %0bSlavery_in_Britain_and_Ireland">http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_Britain_and_Ireland

William Wilberforce (1759–1833)


Scottish missionary David Livingstone opposed the slave trade in Africa. In a letter to the editor of the New York Herald he wrote: “And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together.” 1

1 Stanley Henry M., How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa, including an account of four months’ residence with Dr. Livingstone. (1871)


One of the reasons the Voortrekkers left the Cape was because of the forced emancipation of the slaves by the British in 1833. They felt that the compensation for the freed slaves by the British was inadequate. 1

When Livingstone went into the interior of Africa he was shocked to discover that the Boers were attacking the villages, killing many Africans and making others slaves. When they attacked a new village they would make their captives from the former village go in front of them as human shields. The Boers hated Livingstone because he told the world what they were doing. 2 He riled Potgieter by publishing reports of his slave raids in the Cape press. 3

1 "https:// wiki/ Voortrekkers">https:// wiki/ Voortrekkers 2 SOURCE: David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) Authors: Janet & Geoff Benge 3 Grappling With the Beast pg. 31


Livingstone wrote of the Arab slave trade in the African Great Lakes region, “We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer”. 1

Livingstone raised in Europe so powerful a feeling against the slave trade that through him slavery may be considered as having received its death blow. 2

1 David Livingstone (2006). The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Echo Library. p. 46 2 " ">


David Livingstone (1813-73)

When General Charles Gordon went to Sudan, 7 out of every 8 black people in Sudan were slaves. Gordon was a dedicated evangelical Christian who succeeded in setting many slaves free and eradicating the slave trade in Sudan. 1

1 " ">


Charles Gordon (1833 - 1885)

Arab and African Moslems from Zanzibar had been visiting Buganda (in modern Uganda) since the 1840s to trade firearms, gunpowder, and cloth for ivory and slaves. By the mid-1860s Mutesa, who ruled over Buganda, had outwardly adopted the tenets of Islam, favouring its acceptance by his subjects for a 10-year period. 1

But when in 1875 Henry Stanley reached Mutesa’s court the African ruler expressed his willingness to receive Christian missionaries. A young Scottish missionary, Alexander Mackay, was eager to win Mutesa as a Christian.

To King Mutesa the missionary said: “I am here, O king, to prepare a way for the coming of God’s Son and I want you to join me in pointing the people of this land to the Lamb of God, who alone can take away the sin of the world.” 

1 " ">


 The missionary, however, was not the only person who appeared before the king and his chiefs. In walked a tall Arab in flowing robes and a red fez, followed by a number of black men, who deposited on the floor their bales of cloth and guns. “I have come,” said the Arab “to exchange these things for men and women and children. I will give you one of these links of red cloth for one man, one of these guns for 2 men and 100 of these percussion caps for one woman.” 


Alexander Mackay (1849-1890)

 McKay knew that the king was accustomed to selling his own people, as well as captives, as slaves. He could see that the king was especially eager for the guns and ammunition, for they would enable him to conquer his enemies. Should he risk the king’s disfavour, and hazard his own life, by opposing this traffic in human lives? But he remembered that, though it cost him his head, John the Baptist did not hesitate to reprove a king.

So he declared: “O King Mutesa, the people of this land made you their king and look to you as their father. Will you sell your children, knowing that they will be chained, put into slave-sticks, beaten with whips; that most of them will die of mistreatment on the way and the rest be taken as slaves to some strange country? Can you be a party to these crimes, even for the sake of some guns?” 


 “Will you sell scores or hundreds of your people, or your captives, whose bodies are so marvellously created of God, for a few bolts of red cloth which any man can make in a few days?” The Arab slave- dealer scowled. No man had ever dared talk to the king like this before and the chiefs stirred uneasily, wondering if Mutesa would imprison the bold foreigner or perhaps put him to death.

Instead, the king dismissed the angry Arab and announced, “The white man is right. I shall no more sell my people as slaves.” 1

1 " ">


King Mutesa (c. 1838-1884)

Prior to the American Revolution, masters and revivalists spread Christianity to slave communities. In the First Great Awakening of the mid-18th century, Baptists and Methodists from New England preached a message against slavery, encouraged masters to free their slaves, converted slaves and gave them active roles in congregations. 1

But the development of cotton and sugar cultivation in the South in the early 18th century led to the establishment of large plantations which had hundreds of slaves.

1 "https:// wiki/ Slavery_in_the_United_States">https:// wiki/ Slavery_in_the_United_States


In the 1850s, slavery was established legally in the 15 states constituting the American South. By 1860, the slave population in the US had grown to 4 million.

Throughout the first half of the 19th century, abolitionism —a movement to end slavery—grew throughout the US. Abolitionists used evidence such as the scars on the back of this former slave named Peter to speak about the evils of slavery.


When the Republican Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a campaign based on halting the expansion of slavery, 7 states broke away to form the Confederacy.

The resultant civil war between the North and South put an end to slavery. In Dec 1865 the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment permanently outlawed slavery in the US.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

In the 20th century slavery has been gradually outlawed in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France. E.g. Saudi Arabia and Yemen only abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from British colonists, Oman followed suit in 1970. But slavery claiming the sanction of Islam is still present in the predominately Islamic countries of Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Sudan. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Islamic_views_on_slavery">http:// wiki/ Islamic_views_on_slavery


Despite the abolition of slavery in modern countries, it still persists in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in North Africa. Though slavery was abolished in 1981, it was not illegal to own slaves until 2007.

A 2013 study by the anti-slavery charity Walk Free Foundation ranked Mauritania as one of the nations with the highest rate of slavery, alongside Pakistan and Haiti. 1

Slavery in Mauritania has been called a major human rights issue, with over 150,000 people – proportionally the highest for any country – being enslaved against their will, especially enemies of the government. Higher estimates suggest 10% to 20% of the population (340,000 to 680,000 people) is enslaved. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Mauritania">http:// wiki/ Mauritania


The New York Times of 13 July 1994 reported:

A 1990 Human Rights Watch/ Africa report said that in Mauritania routine punishments for the slightest fault include beatings, denial of food and prolonged exposure to the sun, with hands and feet tied together. “Serious” infringement of the master’s rule can mean prolonged tortures known as “the camel treatment,” the “insect treatment” and “burning coals” - none of which is fit to describe in a family newspaper. 1

1 By Charles Jacobs and Mohamed Athie " ">


The CEO of Christian Solidarity International-USA, John Eibner, argues that the Arab- Muslim state of Sudan started reviving modern-day slavery in the mid- 1980s as a state- led jihad against the non-Muslim population. According to CBS news, slaves have been sold for $50 apiece. Estimates of the number of blacks now enslaved in Sudan vary from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_Sudan">http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_Sudan


The Sudanese government has never admitted to the existence of “slavery” within their borders, but in 1999, under international pressure, it established the Committee to Eradicate the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC). 4,000 “abducted” southerners were returned to South Sudan through this program before it was shut down in 2010. 1

Beginning in 1995, Christian Solidarity International began “redeeming” slaves through an underground network of traders set up through local peace agreements between Arab and southern chiefs. The group claims to have freed over 80,000 people in this manner since that time. 1

1 "http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_Sudan">http:// wiki/ Slavery_in_Sudan


Writing for The Wall Street Journal on 12 Dec 2001, Michael Rubin said:

What’s Sudanese slavery like? One 11-year-old Christian boy told me about his first days in captivity: “I was told to be a Muslim several times, and I refused, which is why they cut off my finger.” 12-year-old Alokor Ngor Deng was taken as a slave in 1993. She has not seen her mother since the slave raiders sold the two to different masters. 13-year-old Akon was seized by Sudanese military while in her village 5 years ago. She was gang-raped by 6 government soldiers, and witnessed 7 executions before being sold to a Sudanese Arab. Many freed slaves bore signs of beatings, burnings and other tortures. More than three-quarters of formerly enslaved women and girls reported rapes.



In Exodus we read how the Israelites were slaves in Egypt: “They made their lives bitter with hard labour in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labour the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.” (Ex 1:14)

The Bible teaches that God is concerned when slaves suffer.

I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. (Ex 3:7)

God promised to deliver his people from their suffering in slavery.

Ex 3:8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians …

Moses, who was a type of Jesus, was called by God to be his instrument to free his people from slavery.

Ex 6:6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.’”


Collins Concise English Dictionary also defines a slave as follows:

a person under the domination of another person or some habit or influence

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: One that is totally subservient to a dominating influence.


a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Pet 2:19)

“…everyone who sins is a slave to sin…” (John 8:34 )


Sin and depravity can enslave a person:

Gal 3:22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin

Prov 5:22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.

Acts 8:23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.


The slave master is the devil.

2 Tim 2:25-26 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.


John Salisbury Cochran relates how, as a boy in West Virginia, he witnessed a slave auction in 1851. A Quaker in the crowd explained to the boy the evils of slavery, and especially how badly woman slaves might be treated.

As two men started bidding for an elderly Negro woman, the Quaker was moved with compassion and stepped to the auction area and began to bid for her. The bidding went up and up, but eventually the Quaker outbid the prospective slave owner. The Quaker, a man called Joshua Cope, took the bills of sale, read it over and then wrote something across the back. A change come over the face of the slave – she was radiant with joy. He had written, “I, Joshua Cope, the within owner, hereby manumit, release, and forever set free, the within slave, Matilda Taylor.” 1

1 SOURCE: "http:// index.php%0b?section=history&content=30011831">http:// index.php?section=history&content=30011831


Jesus too purchased freedom for those who were enslaved by sin. In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus said that he came “to preach deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18 KJV).

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me … He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives… (NASB)

Paul describes the human condition as follows:

Rom 7:14-25 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin … For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God— through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.


Are you a slave to sin? “Addiction” is a modern word that means a similar thing.

You might know of a drug user who promises the counsellor that he’s kicked the habit for good . Six months down the road, he’s drugging again. That is slavery!

Or take the alcoholic who vows to his wife and children, and even God that he’ll never touch another drink; but a week later, he’s back drinking again. That is slavery!


Medical Definition of Addiction

Addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behaviour or substance

Addiction has been extended, however, to include mood-altering behaviours or activities. Some researchers speak of two types of addictions:

substance addictions e.g. alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking

process addictions e.g. gambling, spending, shopping, eating, and sexual activity 1

1 "http:// addiction">http:// addiction


In the US tobacco use reportedly kills 2.5 times as many people each year as alcohol and drug abuse combined. According to data from the World Health Organization, there were 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and 10,000 tobacco-related deaths per day. 1

1 Ibid


Prescription drug abuse involves taking a prescription medication that isn’t yours or taking your own prescription medication in a way that differs from your doctor’s instructions.

In 2013, 6.5 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 2.5 %) had used prescription drugs nonmedically in the past month. 1

1.3 million Americans (0.5%) had used hallucinogens (a category that includes ecstasy and LSD) in the past month. 1

1 "https:// publications/ drugfacts/ nationwide-trends">https:// publications/ drugfacts/ nationwide-trends


Reginald III was a 14th - century duke in what is now Belgium, who was grossly overweight. After a quarrel, his younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Reginald but did not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Reginald in the Nieuwkerk castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room. 1

1 Thomas Costain’s history, The Three Edwards. "https:// illustration/ prisoner-his-own-appetite">https:// illustration/ prisoner-his-own-appetite


Reginald III (1333-1371)

This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Reginald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Reginald grew fatter. When Edward was accused of cruelty, he answered: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.” 1 Reginald stayed in that room for 10 years … a prisoner of his own appetite.

Edward died in battle in 1371 and Reginald was released (according to the legend, the walls had to be cut away so he could leave); he held the throne for only a short period, dying a few months later 2 at the age of 38.

1 Ibid 2 "https:// wiki/ Reginald_III,_Duke_of_Guelders">https:// wiki/ Reginald_III,_Duke_of_Guelders


Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating, affect more than 5 million American women and men. More than 1,000 women die each year from anorexia nervosa. 1

1 "http:// addiction">http:// addiction


A Harvard study found that an estimated 15.4 million Americans suffered from a gambling addiction. 1

In SA over R358 billion was wagered in gambling in 2016. 2

People were shocked on 24 July 2016 when 47-year-old Peter Williams burnt himself to death publicly at Montecasino after apparently losing R800‚000 gambling. But according to the SA Responsible Gambling Foundation, about 22% of problem gamblers have attempted suicide and 52% are considering suicide by the time they seek help. 3

1 Ibid 2 "http:// wp-content/ uploads/ 2016/ 08/ NGB_Stats_2016.pdf">http:// 3 " ">


But it’s not just substance dependence, food and gambling that causes addiction or slavery – people can be slaves to any type of sin, or even slaves to pleasure.

We can be enslaved by wrong thinking or by our ungodly world view:

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

You can be enslaved by false religion:

Gal 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.


You can also be enslaved by legalism.

Gal 2:4 This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.

Gal 4:9-10 … how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!


Matt 23:4 “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

Gal 3:23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.

Gal 5:1-4 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slaveryYou who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.


Some people are enslaved by their fears and phobias.

Phobias are described as an irrational fear, panic, terror, or dread that happens to you in a relatively harmless situation. You may realize the fear you have is irrational and way out of proportion to the event but are unable to control the responses. You may have a racing heartbeat, sweaty hands, shortness of breath, or the urge to run away. You may stand and shake with fear. This response will interfere with your social life, your career and your ability to care for your body. 1

Rom 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.

1 " phobias-stress"> phobias-stress


Others are enslaved by their fear of death.

Heb 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.


If we submit to all our passions, we can even be enslaved by desire for pleasure.

Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

Do your pleasures enslave you and rule your life?

Sport, watching TV, gaming, surfing the internet, materialism (love of money and possessions)


People can be bound by demons.

Luke 13:10-11 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.

Jesus referred to her as “a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years” (Luke 13:16).

Luke 13:10-11 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.


How are we freed from slavery to sin?

Hold to Jesus’ teaching


John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:35-36)

Check the credentials of the one promising you freedom.

2 Pet 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity

By having a relationship with the Son of God

By death:

If a slave dies, his master no longer has jurisdiction over him. So we need to die to sin.

Rom 6:6-7 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sinbecause anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

A dead person cannot be tempted to sin!


By getting a new owner.

Here is another analogy used in Scripture to explain the process of being freed - When a slave is purchased by a new owner, he has no obligation to obey his old master, only the new one.

Rom 6:17-19 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.


So if we have a new master – why are we still taking instructions from the old one? You are no longer under his authority.

Rom 6:12-15 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!


Suppose a person used to work at a warehouse and let us suppose they visit this place where they have not worked for 10 years. As they walk in the door they see their old boss. Upon seeing this person the old boss shouts, I’m glad you’re finally here, get to work. The boss gives the former employee all these orders to fill and then tells them to sweep up the place when they have finished pulling the orders. The person then immediately takes off their good clothes and puts on some older clothes and begins to do all that the old boss commanded. 1

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What would you say if someone did something like that? You would say, The person is a fool. Why are they still obeying the old boss? They are not under his authority any longer!

Yes it would be foolish for a person to still obey a boss that has not had authority over them for some 10 years.

Yet believers are just as foolish when they allow themselves to sin. Our old nature does not have authority over us any longer. When we succumb to it we are obeying a boss who does not control us. 1

1 Ibid


Once we realise that sin, Satan and the Law are no longer our masters, the end result is freedom, holiness and eternal life.

Rom 6:20-22 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.


Romans 6 lays the foundation for the Christian's deliverance from sin. Such deliverance God provides for every believer; all may enter in. Moreover, let us be unmistakably clear that this liberation from the power of sin may be experienced the very hour a sinner accepts the Lord Jesus as Saviour and is born anew. He need not be a long-time believer and undergo numerous defeats before he can receive this gospel. Delay in accepting the gospel according to Romans 6 is due either to the incomplete gospel he has heard or to his unwillingness in wholly accepting and fully yielding to it. Whereas actually this blessing should be the common possession of all the newly born. 1

1 Watchman Nee “The Spiritual Man” Volume 1: Chapter 10 “Deliverance From Sin And The Soul Life” – “The Way Of Deliverance”


Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

In their Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn report on the worldwide slavery [in sex trafficking], telling stories of girls who had been kidnapped or taken from their families on a ruse and then sold as sex slaves. These girls, many under 10 years of age, are drugged, beaten, raped, and forced to sell their bodies night after night. Kristof tells of rescuing Momm, a Cambodian teen who had been enslaved for 5 years. Momm was on the edge of a breakdown—sobbing one moment, laughing hysterically the next. She seized the chance to escape, promising she’d never return. 


 When Kristof drove Momm back to her village, Momm saw her aunt, screamed, and leapt out of the moving car. A moment later, it seemed as if everybody in the village was shrieking and running up to Momm. Momm’s mother was at her stall in the market a mile away when a child ran up to tell her that Momm had returned. Her mother started sprinting back to the village, tears streaming down her cheeks… It was 90 minutes before the shouting died away and the eyes dried, and then there was an impromptu feast.

Truly it was a great rescue—and there was singing and dancing and celebrating, reminiscent of the singing and dancing of Miriam and the Israelite women when they were rescued out of their slavery in Egypt. 


 But the celebration didn’t last long. Early one morning Momm left her father and her mother without a word and returned to her pimp in Poipet. Like many girls in sex slavery, she had been given methamphetamine to keep her compliant. The craving had overwhelmed her. No doubt she thought, I just have to have this or I can’t go on. 1

Kristof reports that the drug addictions or the shame they feel, is enormously challenging. They keep returning to their abusers. 1

Why would this young girl freed from slavery return to her pimp? Yet some people that Jesus has set from slavery to sin and the devil – return to their former cruel master.

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On 31 July 1838 a man named William Knibbs, gathered 10,000 slaves for a great praise gathering in Jamaica. They were celebrating the New Emancipation Proclamation Act that would abolish slavery on the island. They had built an immense coffin and into it were placed whips, branding irons, chains, fetters of all kinds, slave garments and all the things that represented the terrible slavery system that was now coming to a welcome end. At the first stroke of the midnight bell, Knibbs shouted out, “The monster is dying.” At each stroke of the bell that followed this cry was repeated and the great crowd began to join in the cry. 


William Knibbs (1803-1845)

 At the twelfth stoke 10,000 voices cried out, “The monster is dead, the monster is dead, let us bury him.” They then screwed the coffin lid down and lowered it into a huge grave and covered it up. That night, every heart rejoiced and 10,000 voices grew hoarse, shouting and crying with joy. Once they were in bondage to slavery, but now they were free.

There is a tragic side to this story. While many rejoiced in their new liberty and freedom, there were some slaves, that lived in remote areas of the island, that did not know they had legally been set free. Because they didn’t know, for many years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been made a law, they still continued to serve their slave masters. 


 Their former masters successfully kept the news from them as long as they could. By law they had been declared free men and did not have to live as slaves any longer. However, ignorance of the truth kept them in bondage. 1

With his victory against sin on the cross, Jesus has issued an Emancipation Proclamation of liberty and freedom from sin to everyone on this earth. But just like some of the Jamaicans, there are those today who don’t realise that they no longer have to live as slaves to sin any longer, because their slave master - the devil - is keeping them in that mindset. The message of the cross is this: Satan has been defeated and sin’s penalty has been paid. We no longer have to surrender to sin or be controlled by Satan. We can belong to Christ and live in freedom.

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Charles, brother of the great 18th century revivalist, John Wesley – penned these words:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

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