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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
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform work, including a study series entitled seeking things above, which is been a study in the book of Colossians 1 invite you take your Bibles and turn with me please to the book of Colossians Colossians chapter 3 this morning and were finishing our series on seeking things above, and I hope that is 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 at 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 got confronted and corrected that problem. Then we come to the third chapter, and is now dealing with. How do we live this faith out. How does the Christian life work in Christian living is living out and experience what God work in my heart of the moment of my salvation.
It's not me is Christ in me the hope of glory Christ working through me, Christ empowering me. It doesn't mean that I'm passing on very actively involved in this work, but is him working his supernatural strength through me. So we look at a lot of things this semester like us to finish up this morning and Colossians chapter 3 is 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 flash, 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 on demand knowing that of the Lord, you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ, but he would do with wrong shall receive for the wrong which you have done and there is no respect of persons masters given to your servants, that which is just an equal knowing that ye also have a master in heaven, and may God at his blessing to the reading of his inspired word work is an integral part of our world.
Jesus works the Holy Spirit works. God created us to work work existed in the garden before the fall of man in sin, and so therefore work is not bad work is actually very good work now exists after the fall in is a part of our lives.
You 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 so this morning we're going to see Paul's instruction to the Colossians church as he says he deals with Christ's lordship or 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 the kind of work where you receive no real 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. But 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 is Christians, how we should live and work in the worst form of social conditions that is slavery. So let's add some straightforward questions. Is Paul justifying or condoning slavery well no, actually, Paul is already told us that slavery is actually a sin in first Timothy chapter 1 verse eight he says but we know that the law is good. If a man use it lawfully. Knowing this in the law was 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 from man slayers for horror mongers for them that defile themselves with mankind, as referring to men who practice homosexuality, and then notice the next word for men stealer that speaks of those who take somebody captive in order to sell them as a slave, or in slavery. So is Paul justifying slavery, absolutely not.
He would never command and Colossians what he condemns in first Timothy, however, Paul does address a Christian and how we should live and work with in a fallen, sinful, corrupt society. Well, here's another question. If slavery is so wrong. Should a Christian not fight against social injustice, while in one way absolutely. William Wilberforce waged a 20 year battle in British Parliament against the slave trade that ended in it being outlawed in 1807 in England in 1833, just three days before Wilberforce died Parliament about abolished slavery and most of the British Empire, Wilberforce was greatly influenced, Inc. and encouraged by the pastor who wrote the great hymn amazing Grace. His name is John Newton. So as a result of his faith is believes Wilberforce charted a biblical path to fight against slavery, social injustice can and it should be followed 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. 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 in a CIA agent for 10 years. A few years ago we started a nonprofit organization called the Association of the recovery of children or are 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 or couple 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 1/3 of the people in the city of Colossae would've been slaves and so the church would been filled with slaves. Should Paul not of spent his time fighting slavery while 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 she can. It can and should be involved in organizations and movements that oppose the multiple injustices within society by 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 change person. The moment that he accepts Jesus Christ as a 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 their wanting to walk humbly with God. So how then Depaul approached the issue of slavery with the Colossians well. He approached it wisely. Any radical push for liberation would put Christianity unnecessarily at risk Christians in Paul's day were very small group within the 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 here to do things wisely.
Secondly, he approached it spiritually. The purpose of the church was create 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 churches 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 manning type tickets and a man named an SMS who was an SMS. 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 his letter to Paul's letter to Philemon. Beginning in verse 15 he says, for perhaps key that is an SMS therefore departed for a season that thou shouldest receive him forever.
Not now, as a servant.
But above a servant, a brother beloved specially to me. Paul says but how much more under the boat in the flash and in the Lord. Paul here is not laying on the agenda for social revolution, but there is a groundwork that is being laid for the abolition of the abolition of slavery through the doctrine of Christian conversion. What is Paul saying what is happening. Colossians 311 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, order on circumcision, 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 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 noticed a couple 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 to commands he gives number one we are to obey in all things your masters board obey the same word that Paul used to instruct children. We are commanded to obey the directives of our employer's 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 to do our work out of a principled heart principled heart is not one that is driven by emotions is one that is driven by commitment and character is one that is committed to pleasing our masters both our earthly master that is our employer and our heavenly master.
So one of the character principles that a Christian should exemplify in his work recently.
I spent some time with the CEO here in the greater Greenville area in his company. They have 2400 employees and numbers of Bob Jones graduates and he says he wants to hire BG you grants. 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 major, not waiting to be told what to do what 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 what you do number six dependability that is your 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 your committed you're not committed to your stuff you're committed to your work in the number eight positive enthusiasm.
There's nothing worse than working with deadbeat people who drag around versus somebody is excited and enthusiastic and their positive that is there not critical they're not negative. They don't grumble and complain they're excited about the work they do and the number nine trustworthiness doing what you are charged to do.
And you can be trusted when we look at these qualities we often call these things. Soft skills the employers that I've 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 your 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 assigned when he was a slave. And even when he was a prisoner.
He manifested these kinds of quality. So, Paul commands these things to be in the life of a believer in the notice.
Secondly, the scope of our work.
Not just the commands of what were to do, but how far does these 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 we would rent out things that were fun for children to play and then we always had at dunk tank.
I hate dunk number one because I was a youth pastor and everybody wants to dunk the youth pastor. Secondly, it was in May and May in Michigan. Michigan doesn't have spring they have two seasons they have July 4 in winter so was always cold and so every year I would get in the dunk tank and all the little children would run up you don't throw the ball and if they didn't have the Lamarckian of the push and not 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 1 to start a ministry of evangelism and I thought, I'm not going to the dunk tank. This year I'm done with it.
In that year year. My pastor came up to me and he said Steve I won't I won't before you leave.
I want you to be in the dunk tank. My first thought was, I want you to be in the dunk well they came.
We had the activities and you know what there a lot of people that want to be of the dunk tank so as I you know I served you will be in the picture yeah yeah so you don't know problem I got plenty of people up there to get you know dunk in the water and I didn't do and when the day was over with. It was in the afternoon from about 2 o'clock I was walking down the hallway. The church of the pastor came walking by many stop me in my pastor never accuse 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 to do. Lying closer, then he asked me the question why did you not do it for my going to do.
I sit pastor you know 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 I because really, from my standpoint, my viewpoint I didn't want to do it.
Maybe you could sit there and say that that your you're going too far.
Okay you can say that I was really convicted because I was fighting in my will and from a human standpoint. I should've 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 spam standpoint were to do it to the Lord, what is he saying here. Our work is worship we are to glorify God and what we do the right gospel view of life affects the way that we work because our job is actually a vocation from God 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 is not just a job. It's a calling a calling from God here to honor God in all that you do in the notice, he says from a heart standpoint. He says not with eye services men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God was he mean by I service with men pleasers it means to do enough to get by, so that you at least seen, but you're really not doing it and I service is the ultimate hypocrisy because you're trying to be seen by others in a way that is not reality. Then he says, in singleness of heart, fearing God. This means I realize that God is looking when nobody else my work turns into worship when I'm focused on pleasing God in all that I do so that our work should not be sit superficial or halfhearted or slipshod or second master 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 finally one of the motivations and see what is 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 there. Just pay and you have to consider the striking kinds trash that these slaves would realize between what they have now what they have now is a slave.
Nothing. What would they receive an 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 hath prepared for them that love him, God will fully reward his faithful servants and so fundamentally, Christians don't work just for paycheck or for 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 is that mean notice what it says, he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which it done. There's no respect of persons that he says the masters give to your servants, that which is just an equal knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. All of God's creation, no matter who you 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 in you 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 in 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 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.bgyou.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