home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > June 2nd > SET FREE TO BE A DOULOS

Last Sunday we were treated to an exceptional feast from our young adults. I say “exceptional” because what we heard from “rebellious” Rachel last Sunday was not typical Generation Z (“Gen Z”) thinking. Gen Z’ers are generally unsure whether there are universal objective moral standards. Rachel wasn’t. She was adamant that the GOD who created all people is the Source and Standard for determining what is universally right and wrong (“morality”). Gen Z’ers are though generally sure that sexuality and gender is self-determined, and — in what is a contradiction to this position, but believed to be equally true (this is called “cognitive dissonance”) — even predetermined. But Rachel refuted this, declaring that the Bible which Jesus Christ declared was “Scripture” and declared “could not be broken” (John 10:35) was very clear that GOD created mankind biologically male and female with bodies that corresponded to their sex (“gender”) and that sexuality was designed by GOD to only be expressed within the bond of holy marriage which Jesus said could only be between a man and a woman (Matt. 19:4-6). Gen Z’ers are generally unsure if life has any point or purpose. But Rachel was certain that it did, and was equally certain that it was grounded in following Christ and obeying GOD. No wonder she described herself as rebellious – because she is rebelling against the thinking/assumptions/values of most of her Gen Z contemporaries! Lest anyone think that we don’t care about this generation, I want present several reasons why we do, and why there is a spiritual crisis among most Gen Z’ers that we should all be very, very, concerned about.



We are engaged in a spiritual battle. Jesus Christ declared that within this battle for the souls of every human is an evil force that seeks to blind people from the truth, hinder people from hearing the truth, and seeks to distract people from considering the truth. He said, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path” (Matt. 13:19). Jesus described the evil one as a murderer and liar (Jn 8:44) who comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (Jn. 10:10). The evil one hates GOD’s image-bearers — but he especially hates young image-bearers (presumably because they have the most potential to cause him and his wicked schemes the greatest damage!). 

It is not difficult to see that young people (Gen Z) are under spiritual attack. The graphic below from the Australian Institute of Family Counselling was produced in 2017 (before the covid pandemic lockdowns) and had already revealed the alarming trends among Gen Z’ers about their increasingly poor mental health, suicideation, confusion about gender and sexuality, and perhaps, even more alarmingly, the Church’s complete ill-preparedness to confront these issues. This week I had a meeting with one of Launceston’s leading mental health experts who told me that these indicators are now “far worse” than these figures. He also told me that governments have no solutions to this crisis – but, he said, Christians do! Brothers and sisters, Rachel has shared with us that we have a problem — and last Sunday she called it out for what it is: It is fundamentally a spiritual problem, not merely a mental health problem, or an identity problem, or even a moral problem (although it effects each of these areas). 


Jesus described everyone who sins as a “slave to sin” (Jn. 8:34). The New Testament goes further and states that everyone is a “slave” either to sin or to Christ :

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin
have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching
to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin,
have become slaves of righteousness.
Rom. 6:17-18

Slavery to sin is incredibly deceptive. It takes a miracle—a work of the Holy Spirit in a human’s soul—for someone to realise that they have been deceived by the evil one and made an unwitting slave of sin, and to then be set free by the power of GOD.

But now that you have been set free from sin
and have become slaves of God,
the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Rom. 6:22


What Rachel shared last Sunday was not criticism about her peers, but because of her compassion and deep burden for her generation, she shared the solution, the proven and only hope that is available to every other member of Gen Z. That is, she shared the gospel! But she also issued a challenge to her church family – to those who have experienced the freedom that only Christ can offer – to get out of our comfort zone and be prepared to invite people, we know or meet, to church. By doing this, Rachel pointed out, we would be demonstrating our love for a confused, deceived, broken, worried and anxious generation – and using our freedom in Christ for what it was intended to be used for.  

 ¶ For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
Gal. 5:13

When someone is set free from the bondage and deception of sin, their mind is renewed to see and accept the truth (Rom 12:1-3) – and to see it in the Word of GOD, the Scriptures:

¶ So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him,
“If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

Christ has set us free from the power of sin’s slavery (which results in bondage to deception, inconsideration of others, idolatry, etc.). The freed believer’s response to gift of eternal life that has set us free is to then willingly commit his or her life to Christ as a doulos. Doulos is the Greek word translated into English as servant but more appropriately as slave. When the apostle Peter wrote his epistles to the believers in Bithynia (Acts 16:271Peter 1:1), he reminded them that they had been freed from their slavery to sin but were now willing slaves of God:

Live as people who are free,
not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil,
but living as servants [Gr. doulos] of God.
First Peter 2:16

When I was growing up I used to hear the old-timers say, No-one is as free as he who is a slave of Christ! A slave is a person who is at the disposal of their master. A Christian is so grateful to his or her Saviour who has rescued them from their bondage and slavery to sin, that they have become what the Old Testament referred to as a love slave (Exo. 21:5-6). That is, someone, who out of sheer love and devotion to their Master that they were willing to pledge their service to Him for the rest of their life. 

Our Master has charged each of us to carry His out His mission of proclaiming liberty and freedom to all those who are in bondage to the evil one through sin. He authorises us to enter into His rule over the universe by praying in a way that hinders the powers of darkness, so that what happened to the sin-enslaved persecutor of the Church, Saul of Tarsus, can happen to them as well (see Acts 26:16-18). 

Therefore, I appeal to my fellow doulos-slaves of Christ to embrace our status as a doulos of Christ and to join with me in praying for our generation to experience the freedom that can only come from Christ each Sunday by Sunday. And, secondly, to pray for our youth and young adults to have the confidence to boldly declare the freedom that they have found is also available to their friends as well. Will you join me?

Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


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Do you like meeting new people and forming new friendships? Some people do. Some don’t. Those that do are usually the ones you see in a social setting (such as a party) who, if they see someone on their own, feel they should be the one to go over to that person and involve them in a conversation. Such people are naturally friendly and seem to make friends quite easily. They find starting conversations with others easier than most and seem to somehow have the knack of making people feel at ease. But these people are rare. In fact, good friends are hard to find these days. However, they may become less rare if everyone who is unfriendly or friendless reads this short article and discovers how to become a good friend.  


Domestic violence, sexual assault, date-rape, sexual trafficking of minors, marital infidelity, street-gang violence, illicit drug abuse, high rates of suicide, increased ‘deaths of despair’, homelessness, are all major problems in our culture right now. Governments regard these issues as matters of justice (punishing offenders) while agencies regard these issues as matters of social justice (helping victims). Both are valuable but neither are equipped or positioned unilaterally to solve the causes of these growing problems, and many in both of these sectors believe that it can mever be solved. But I believe they can be. And I need your help. To achieve this, I propose two outrageous, yea – ridiculous – strategies. They are outrageous because they are simple (although not easy); and, they are ridiculous because, to materialists, these are just fanciful, idealistic and supernatural nonsense. However, I have history on my side. It will involve men and women, young and old. But I particularly need all men to read what I am about to propose and for them to share this with other men and together with everyone else help me to bring about the biggest social and cultural revolution our country has ever seen.


Perhaps I was a little unfair to this gentleman though, because it is a well established fact that all men are born with selective hearing (as every wife can testify to) and perhaps this may sometimes spill over into incidents such as the one I just recounted(?). But I also suspect that some women have a similar deficiency.

A few years ago the kids and I were a little concerned about Kim’s hearing difficulties. As it turned out, one day outside a shopping centre that we had just arrived at, there was a government sponsored mobile hearing clinic. We urged the reluctant Kim to go in and have her hearing checked. Much to the utter shock of myself and our children the clinician told Kim that she had “perfect hearing”! This then proved that even women may be able to imitate the innate ability of a man to produce selective hearing 🙂 Therefore, there is a high likelihood that both men and women are equally subject to hearing difficulties.

The problem with any hearing difficulties is that it inevitably leads to the far more serious problem of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is at the heart of nearly every relationship problem that anyone will ever face. Misunderstandings due to mis-hearing or mis-communication frequently leads to disputes that if not handled correctly, which it is mostly not, is likely to lead to relationship breakdowns. But there is a different – almost secretive – way to deal with misunderstandings. Let me explain by using several pictures that will make my point. 


Mark Lowry is normally comedic. But his now classic Christmas song is no joke! It presents baby Jesus as the eternal God the Son, the creator of heaven and earth, the Saviour of the world, the Redeemer of all humankind who turn to Him, the all-conquering Lamb of God, and the Great Judge of all people, the I AM. The event of His miraculous conception is known as the incarnation (God becoming human). But the incarnation was not Jesus the Christ’s first entrance into our world. In fact, it is as though He felt a divine right to enter our world any time He chose. These various appearances of Jesus prior to His incarnation are referred to as theophanies (appearances of God) or more particularly as Christophanies (appearances of God the Son). I want to highlight one of these in particular…


We have all seen parents abruptly terminate conversations with other adults to keep an eye on their children. Children can wander about easily. They could get involved in acts that are detrimental to themselves. Parental instincts, often reflected more in the mother, is one of those protective gifts that ensures children are kept safe.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 6 – The deGorified Newborn The ReGlorified Lamb of God

One of my favourite stories of concealed identity hiding in plain sight is from Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Miserables, where the escaped convict, Jean Valjean, is pursued for years by now retired Inspector Javert. As it turns out Jean Valjean, who had changed his name to M. Madeleine has now become a successful business man and the Mayor of Toulon. Javert arrives in Toulon and is immediately recognised by Valjean. But Javert does not recognise the now clean-shaven, genteel aristocratic Mayor of Toulon as his nemesis. But when he observes the compassion of M. Madeleine he recalls the time in prison when Jean Valjean had also displayed a similar extraordinary compassion for unfortunate fellow prisoners. The more he observed such acts of kindness and generosity from M. Madeleine the more Javert became convinced of the true identity of Madeleine. There is something about this idea of concealed identity that comes from the story of Christ. The prophet Isaiah foretold that when the Servant of the LORD would appear He would be largely unrecognised – there would be no form, no beauty, that we would desire Him (Isa. 53:2). But how on earth was this possible? How in God’s Name  could those who were created by Him in His image not recognise Him for who He was? The answer to this great puzzle lies in one word: the kenosis.


Andrew, on occasions, used to wistfully say, “You know, all I really want is…” then he would say some ephemeral pleasure, like ‘a drink of coke’, or ‘quiet’, or ‘to get something finished’. So, one day I decided to ensure that his greatest desire (‘all I really want’) was met. This time all he ever wanted was a coffee, so I bounced up and brought him the best cup of coffee I could make and added a little yummy treat to compliment it. A few days later he once again said, “All I really want…” and I interrupted to finish his sentence for him … “was the cup of coffee that I was able to make for you the other day. I bet it was the best ever. I’m so glad I could meet that greatest desire you have.” He never said, ‘All I really want’ again!


THE LORDSHIP of JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 5 – He is the Creator of Heaven & Earth and all things Visible and Invisible
While the pagan religions in the days of the patriarchs, judges, and kings of Israel, all conceived of their gods as territorial, the God of Israel, Yeshua, declared that He was the Creator of all things and that He was Lord of Heaven and Earth. And He still is.

Freedom in Christ encompasses Freedom FROM and Freedom FOR

God offers freedom to those who turn to Him in faith, and this, as Pastor Andrew says, deserves a Toyota jump. It is worth celebrating. The freedom the New Testament speaks of is not just any old freedom. In Romans 8:21 Paul speaks of ‘the glorious freedom of God’s children’ (NET). In the same way you might savour a piece of chocolate as it slowly melts in your mouth, allow your spirit to savour the meaning of the freedom that is yours in Christ in all its richness. This single word freedom is densely packed with meaning, and we benefit from taking time to unpack just a little of what it means for believers.


Throughout the Old Testament, God made certain promises to the patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob/Israel) that their descendants, the nation of Israel, longed to see fulfilled. These promises centred on having a holy Homeland and a Messiah. Over the centuries that followed their expulsion from their Land which sent them into exile into Babylon initially and then into Persia, the Israelites became known as Jews. Their expectations of how these divine promises would be fulfilled became greatly embellished with powerful military overtones.