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860. Christ’s Lordship Over Our Work

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
November 13, 2020 7:00 pm

860. Christ’s Lordship Over Our Work

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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November 13, 2020 7:00 pm

BJU President Steve Pettit concludes a discipleship series entitled, “Seeking Things Above” from Colossians 3:22-4:1

The post 860. Christ’s Lordship Over Our Work appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're concluding a study series entitled, Seeking Things Above, which has been a study in the book of Colossians. I want to invite you to take your Bibles and turn with me please to the book of Colossians, Colossians chapter 3 this morning, and we're finishing our series on Seeking Things Above, and I hope that it's been a helpful and encouraging semester to you as we look back over this semester and thinking of the fact that we started with Colossians understanding it, why Paul wrote the letter, because he was dealing with some of the problems in the church, and that is the idea of adding to the work of Christ, not finding through the work of Christ the sufficiency that you need, and so there were additions that were being made, so Paul confronted and corrected that problem. We come to the third chapter, and he's now dealing with how do we live this faith out? How does the Christian life work? Christian living is living out an experience what God worked in my heart at the moment of my salvation. It's not me, it's Christ in me, the hope of glory, Christ working through me, Christ empowering me.

It doesn't mean that I'm passive. I'm very actively involved in this work, but it's him working his supernatural strength through me, so we've looked at a lot of things this semester, and I'd like us to finish up this morning in Colossians chapter 3 as the apostle Paul writes about the way that we should be living and working in this world. Let's begin reading in verse 22 of Colossians chapter 3. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done, and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven.

And may God add his blessing to the reading of his inspired word. Work is an integral part of our world. God works. Jesus works.

The Holy Spirit works. God created us to work. Work existed in the garden and before the fall of man and sin, and so therefore work is not bad. Work is actually very good. Work now exists after the fall, and it's a part of our lives. You've come here to school not to play but to work. Studying and learning involves hard work.

You are seeking a degree because when you graduate you're hoping to go out and get a job so you can go to work. Therefore work is a vital part of our life. It is something that is core to our living. And because that is so, then it is crucial that we develop an appropriate biblical view of working.

And so this morning we are going to see Paul's instruction to the Colossians church as he deals with Christ's lordship for his preeminence over our work. And I think the first thing that we need to really address is that we discover that Paul introduces work in the context of the most dehumanizing and degrading way to work. This is a kind of work where you receive no wages, where you get no credit, and you achieve no purpose other than pleasing the one who owns you. This form of work is what we call slavery. Look at what Paul says in verse 22. He tells us, servants obey in all things your masters. He didn't say employers and employees. He says servants and masters, the word servant is the state of being completely controlled by someone or something else. A master is one who owns and controls property, including servants and slaves. Paul is telling us as Christians how we should live and work in the worst form of social conditions, that is slavery.

So let's ask some straightforward questions. Is Paul justifying or condoning slavery? Well no, actually Paul has already told us that slavery is actually a sin. In 1 Timothy chapter 1 verse 8 he says, but we know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully. Knowing this that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind. That's referring to men who practice homosexuality.

And then notice the next word, for men stealers. That speaks of those who take somebody captive in order to sell them as a slave or enslavers. So is Paul justifying slavery?

Absolutely not. He would never commend in Colossians what he condemns in 1 Timothy. However, Paul does address a Christian and how he should live and work within a fallen, sinful, corrupt society. Well here's another question. If slavery is so wrong, should a Christian not fight against social injustice?

Well in one way, absolutely. When Wilberforce waged a 20-year battle in British Parliament against the slave trade that ended being outlawed in 1807 in England. In 1833, just three days before Wilberforce died, Parliament abolished slavery in most of the British Empire. Wilberforce was greatly influenced and encouraged by the pastor who wrote the great hymn Amazing Grace.

His name is John Newton. So as a result of his faith, his beliefs, Wilberforce charted a biblical path to fight against slavery. Social injustice can and it should be fought by believers.

For example, many of the abolitionist organizations, that's an organization against slavery in the United States, before the Civil War, were being led by Christians. And let me also say that slavery is not just something that's in the past. Today we have human trafficking. This is a fast-growing criminal industry that is taking place all over the world.

And human trafficking includes, for example, the commercial sex trade that destroys both adults and children alike. And there are many believers today that are involved in these kinds of different efforts that oppose social injustice. I have a personal friend of mine who was a classmate in college at the Citadel. He was a former Marine for six years and a CIA agent for ten years. A few years ago, he started a nonprofit organization called the Association of the Recovery of Children, or ARC. He has a team of military professionals, including former Navy SEALs, who actually will go into foreign countries in clandestine operations and rescue kidnapped American children. Because it's a nonprofit organization, he has to raise the money in order to do this.

And since its beginning, they have rescued over 60 children. Now these are things that believers can and they should do to fight social injustice. So let's go back to what Paul is saying about slavery. Should Christians oppose social injustices?

And the answer is yes. Then how should we think about what Paul is saying in Colossians when he talks about how a slave should serve his master? Well, a couple of things I think we have to realize. First of all, that slavery was an integral part of the Roman Empire in the first century. Perhaps a third of the people in the city of Colossae would have been slaves, and so the church would have been filled with slaves. Should Paul not have spent his time fighting slavery? Well, I think it's important to realize that the primary work of the church is not to promote social justice, but it is to warn the world of divine justice and preach the gospel of free grace. Individual Christians can and should be involved in organizations and movements that oppose the multiple injustices within society. But we have to realize that the only thing that can change an evil heart in a radical manner is the new birth.

Society takes time to change, perhaps years and decades. But a human being can become a new creation, a changed person. The moment that he accepts Jesus Christ as his savior, this is the importance and the power of gospel preaching. It changes the world radically one heart at a time.

And what's the result of a transformed heart? Well, they're going to love mercy, they're going to want to do justly, and they're wanting to walk humbly with God. So how then did Paul approach the issue of slavery with the Colossians?

Well, he approached it wisely. Any radical push for liberation would have put Christianity unnecessarily at risk. Christians in Paul's day were a very small group.

They had little social significance. Slavery was an institution that was embedded in the fabric of Greco-Roman society and it was sanctioned by law. So Paul had to be careful, he had to do things wisely. Secondly, he approached it spiritually. The purpose of the church was creating a new spiritual reality, the kingdom of God. Believers were being freed from sin. They were being taken out of the kingdom of darkness and they were being brought into the kingdom of God's dear son. And change was taking place spiritually in the heart, inside out.

So Paul stayed focused on the church's kingdom mission. So his work was primarily spiritual as opposed to social. And then thirdly, let me say that he did this work and approached the slavery issue not only wisely and spiritually, but he did it relationally.

This letter, for example, was sent by the hands of two men. A man named Tychicus and a man named Onesimus. Who was Onesimus. He was a slave. He was a runaway slave from Colossae who was owned by a man named Philemon. Somehow in the process of his running away, he was converted to faith in Christ. And in that process, he meets the apostle Paul and Paul sends him back to the city of Colossae. And listen to what Paul writes to Philemon, that's the owner of the slave, in Paul's letter to Philemon beginning in verse 15. He says, for perhaps he, that is Onesimus, therefore departed for a season that thou shouldest receive him forever.

Not now as a servant, but above a servant. A brother beloved, especially to me, Paul says, but how much more unto thee both in the flesh and in the Lord. Paul here is not laying an agenda for social revolution. But there is a groundwork that is being laid for the abolition of slavery through the doctrine of Christian conversion. What is Paul saying?

What is happening? Colossians 3.11, where there's neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Paul is saying that all Christians, those who are slaves and those who are free, before God are equal. We all have the same ultimate identity, the same ultimate value, the same ultimate freedom, the same ultimate destination.

We are brothers, we are sisters, we are one in Christ. And in the end, this kind of spiritual movement would eventually end slavery through the internal transformation of people. So that's the way Paul approached this subject. Now, with these thoughts in mind concerning slavery, let's now turn to our attention to what Paul is teaching, how believers should magnify the Lord Jesus Christ in the way that we work. How should we do our work?

And notice a couple of things. Number one, notice Paul's commands, verse 22. He says, servants, obey in all things your masters. Notice what he says in verse 23, and whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men.

Two commands he gives. Number one, we are to obey in all things your masters. The word obey is the same word that Paul used to instruct children. We are commanded to obey the directives of our employers. Whether you agree or disagree with one exception that they ask you to sin. You are to obey. You are to serve your employer. Secondly, he says, and whatsoever you do, do it heartily.

Do it from your heart. And that means we're to do our work out of a principled heart. Principled heart is not one that is driven by emotions. It is one that is driven by commitment and character. It is one that is committed to pleasing our masters, both our earthly master, that is our employer, and our heavenly master. So what are the character principles that a Christian should exemplify in his work? Recently I spent some time with a CEO here in the greater Greenville area. In his company they have 2,400 employees and numbers of Bob Jones graduates and he says he wants to hire BJU grads.

Why? Because of the way that they do their work. That they do it out of a principled heart. So what are those qualities?

Let me just throw a few of them at you. Number one, obedience, doing what you're told. Number two, honesty.

Honesty in the sense that you do your work with a sense of integrity, that you're getting paid by this person and so you want to please them and do the best quality work you can do. Number three, loyalty. That is following leaders, their mission, understanding their objectives, what do they want to accomplish and then I loyally work towards that. Number four, initiative.

What is initiative? It means you're not waiting to be told what to do. But you actually take initiative either one to find out what needs to be done or you think ahead, plan ahead, make no assumptions and do your best. Number five, diligence.

That means being earnest and being eager in what you do. Number six, dependability. That is you're reliable. If somebody gives you a job, they don't have to come back and check up on you because they know you're going to do the job well.

You are a reliable person. And then commitment. That is you're committed. You're not committed to your stuff. You're committed to your work.

And then number eight, positive enthusiasm. There's nothing worse than working with deadbeat people who drag around versus somebody who's excited and enthusiastic and they're positive. That is they're not critical. They're not negative.

They don't grumble and complain. They're excited about the work they do. And then number nine, trustworthiness. Doing what you are charged to do and you can be trusted. And when we look at these qualities, we often call these things soft skills. The employers that I have met recently said that one of their biggest concerns is not just knowledge that a person has, but these soft skills.

And for me personally, this is why I'm so excited about the graduates of Bob Jones University because these are the things you're learning. A part of our education here is just not thinking, but it is the development of character. These are the exact same qualities that Joseph had when he was a son, when he was a slave, and even when he was a prisoner.

He manifested these kinds of qualities. So Paul commands these things to be in the life of a believer. And then notice secondly, the scope of our work. Not just the commands of what we're to do, but how far do these commands extend? And notice he says from a human standpoint, we are to obey in all things.

That is whatever my superior tells me to do. I was a youth pastor for five years in the state of Michigan and every spring we would have a special day, what we would call a big day at church and invite scores of visitors and have dinner on the ground. And then we would rent out things that were fun for children to play. And then we always had a dunk tank. I hate dunk tanks.

Number one, because I was the youth pastor and everybody wants to dunk the youth pastor. Secondly, it was in May and in May in Michigan. Michigan doesn't have spring. They have two seasons. They have July the fourth and winter.

So it was always cold. And so every year I would get in the dunk tank and all the little children would run up, you know, and throw the ball. And if they didn't hit the little marker, you know, they push it and I'd fall in. So my last year, my last year, and I was going to be leaving that, this was in May, and I was going to be leaving June the first to start the ministry of evangelism. And I thought, I'm not going to do the dunk tank this year.

I'm done with it. And that year, that year, my pastor came up to me and he said, Steve, I want, I want, before you leave, I want you to be in the dunk tank. My first thought was, I want you to be in the dunk tank.

Well, the day came, we had the activities and you know what? There are a lot of people that wanted to be in the dunk tank. So I, I, you know, I served them. Hey, you want to be in the dunk tank? Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So, you know, no problem. I got plenty of people up there to get dunked in the water and I didn't do it. And when the day was over with, it was in the afternoon, probably about two o'clock, I was walking down the hallway of the church and my pastor came walking by me and he stopped me. And my pastor never accused me of anything. He would only ask me questions that pinned me to the wall.

He said, brother Pettit, did you get in the dunk tank today? What am I going to do? Lie?

No, sir. Then he asked me the question, why did you not do it? Well, what am I going to do? I said, pastor, you know why I didn't do it? Because I didn't want to do it.

That simple. And you know what? I'm telling you, I was wrong.

You know why? Because really from my standpoint, my viewpoint, I didn't want to do it. Now, maybe you could sit there and say, ah, that, that you're going too far.

Okay. You can say that. But I was really convicted because I was fighting in my will. And from a human standpoint, I should have done what I was told.

How far should we go? We should obey without being disobedient to God. But notice he said from a heavenly standpoint, we're to do it to the Lord.

What is he saying here? Our work is worship. We are to glorify God in what we do. The right gospel view of life affects the way that we work because our job is actually a vocation from God. It is the way in which we discharge our calling to serve our neighbor. All work is from the Lord and for the Lord. And therefore you should view your work, whatever you do.

When you graduate and you go out into the world, it's not just a job. It's a calling, a calling from God. You're to honor God in all that you do. And then notice he says from a heart standpoint, he says not with eye services, men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. What does he mean by eye service with men pleasers? It means to do enough to get by so that you're at least seen, but you're really not doing it. And eye service is the ultimate hypocrisy because you're trying to be seen by others in a way that is not reality. And then he says in singleness of heart, fearing God.

This means that I realize that God is looking when nobody else is looking. My work turns into worship when I'm focused on pleasing God in all that I do so that our work should not be superficial or half-hearted or slipshod or second best or unenthusiastic. It should be genuine. It should be sincere. It should be wholehearted. It should be passionate. So the scope of my work extends from the standpoint of not only the heart, but in the standpoint of the, of heaven and in the standpoint of my relationship with people.

And then finally, what are the motivations? What does Paul tell us that should drive us? And just very quickly, he says, first of all, there is reward. He says, knowing that of the Lord, you shall receive the reward of your inheritance.

Everybody gets their just pay. And you have to consider the striking contrast that these slaves would have realized between what they have now. What did they have now as a slave? Nothing. What would they receive in eternity?

Everything. All work needs to have heaven in view. I have not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. God will fully reward his faithful servants. And so fundamentally, Christians don't work just for a paycheck or for a promotion, but they work to serve a person.

And they are secure in God's promises, no matter what we get in this life. He says there's a reward and finally there's recompense. What does that mean?

Notice what it says. He that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he had done. There's no respect of persons. Then he says to masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a master in heaven. All of God's creation, no matter who you are, are accountable to God, employees and employers. No matter what your state in life is, nobody gets a pass, nobody gets away with anything, everybody is ultimately accountable to God. And to those who are employers, we are to treat everyone with justice, that's what God requires, and with equity, equality. Employees and employers are to serve and care for people. Christians are to love people and use stuff.

They are not to love stuff and use people. And in the end, what we see here in what Paul is teaching is that Jesus Christ is Lord over all, preeminent over everything because Christ is the sum, the substance, and the source, and the center of all things. And I hope as you go out in the world to serve God, that Christ will be first in all that you do. Father, thank you for your word and its admonitions in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the study series in the book of Colossians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you're looking for a regionally accredited Christian liberal arts university, I invite you to visit our campus and see how God is working in the lives of our students. For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. We hope you'll join us again next week as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 22:40:02 / 2024-01-27 22:49:23 / 9

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