Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Today, Don continues teaching God's people God's Word in our current series titled, Living as God's People, with a message titled, The Christian Worker.
Right now, let's join Don. What we find in Titus chapter 2 is that the apostle has given us a sense of how basic principles apply in different aspects of life, in different stages of life. Look over at Ephesians chapter 6 with me. Ephesians chapter 6 verse 5, Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.
Do this as though Christ were your supervisor. Verse 6, Not by way of eye service, as men pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will render service, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. Do you see it, how often it's said just in that passage, do it as to Christ. Verse 6, As a slave of Christ, doing the will of God. Verse 7, As to the Lord.
Verse 8, You will receive it back from the Lord. Five times in those four verses, a God-centered, Christ-centered attitude to the way that you approach your work. And as slaves of Christ, what are we? We're nothing but those who implicitly obey what the Lord has given us to do. Well, providentially, what the Lord has given you to do is expressed in part in the workplace environment that you have with the employers and supervisors that you have. Listen, I sympathize with the fact that some of your supervisors are ungodly pagans and that they are difficult to please and that they are unreasonable and don't even do what they themselves call you to do.
I get all of that. What you must understand is that your duty is, oh this is so very important, beloved, so transforming to understand, your duty in the workplace is not defined by the character of your boss. Your duty in the workplace is defined by the character and revealed word of Christ. You are to be like Christ, not your boss. You give the best to Christ regardless of whether your boss himself deserves it or not.
It's a vertical focus that transforms and makes new the whole reason that you work if you've never deeply considered these things. Look over at Colossians chapter 3. Colossians chapter 3, turn to your right in your Bible, just a couple of pages and you'll find Colossians if you're new to the Bible. Colossians chapter 3 verses 22 to 25. You see this, slaves in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done and that without partiality. Beloved, I'm repeating myself in what I'm saying now, but what you need to understand is that I am repeating myself because Scripture itself repeats itself. Scripture says this over and over again, and one of the things that collectively as the body of Christ we should understand is that if it is said repeatedly two things. Number one, it must be important to God.
Secondly, we must be slow to learn and vulnerable to fail in precisely this area. So Scripture tells us these things repeatedly because you and I are like slow donkeys that are slow to learn and stubborn and resistant to instruction and leading. And so we come to the Word of God, we look at Colossians 3, and what do we see? We see the same vertical focus that we saw in Titus 2, the same vertical focus that we saw in Ephesians 6. Look at it with me at the end of verse 22, Colossians 3, fearing the Lord. Verse 23, do your work heartily as for the Lord. Verse 24, from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve, verse 24, four times in those brief verses, after five times in Ephesians, over and over and over again. You know, part of the way that we internalize this is that we realize that in a very real sense, in a providential sense, God has appointed the very supervisor, the very employer that you have right now, God has appointed that person over you. And there should be a sense of fear and respect that goes with that in your life, even if that person is not personally worthy of it, to understand that they have a role, a position in your life that has been appointed by God, and that you have a corresponding responsibility to respond to them in a biblical way. That means that you should not mock your boss, you should not argue with your boss, you should not speak badly about your boss to your fellow co-workers and undermine confidence and respect for his leadership in that way. It means that you should set aside back talking. Boss tells you, I'm not doing that, that has no place in the life of a Christian.
Set aside back talking, set aside sarcasm. If you receive a bad employee review, especially a legitimate one because of your workplace relationships or your failure to do your duty, beloved, you should not resent that. You should not get angry in response to that. You should be ashamed that as a Christian, your boss found it necessary to say such things about you and repent.
And if the review was unfair, accept it as Christ accepted ill treatment in his own life. Look at 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 18. Servants, give you just a moment here, just after the book of James and Hebrews, 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 18, another passage, another apostle, another book of the Bible saying the same thing. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor if for the sake of conscience toward God, a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
Yes, you may suffer unjustly in the workplace. Scripture recognizes that and tells you what to do in response. Bear up under it. Trust Christ. Don't rebel against it.
Don't become difficult to live with. Verse 20, for what credit is there if when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. God, in the integrity of my heart, I'm being treated unfairly here in this workplace. But you have called me to submit. God, I will do so with a joyful, cheerful heart as your Spirit helps me, and I will trust you to take care of the seeming injustice of this in the meantime. You will make this right in the end.
How this outcome works is not my concern. My concern is what Jesus has told me to do in his Word, and what he has told me to do is to endure the maltreatment patiently while trusting in you. Maybe you say, you hear all that, say, I don't know where I can find the power to do that, where I can find the strength to do that. Keep reading in 1 Peter 2, verse 21. For you have been called for this purpose since Christ also, oh, Christ knows what it's like to suffer unjustly. Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps. What did Christ do when he suffered unjustly? Well, first of all, verse 22, it wasn't his fault. He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth.
Verse 23, what did he do? While being reviled, he did not revile in return. While suffering, he uttered no threats, but he kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously.
He didn't talk back. He adopted an inner attitude of faith in his Father. Father, you are in sovereign control of all of this, and I'm going to trust you to work out your purposes, and I will keep my tongue still while I do. You and I should all be very glad that that was Christ's attitude, because that attitude led him thoroughly to the cross by which our sins were paid for in full. Verse 24, and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by his wounds you were healed. You see, we keep coming back full circle to these same themes over and over again. It's because this is what the Word of God teaches.
You were redeemed from sin so that you might die to sin, including the sin of rebellion, and live to righteousness, which is manifested in a completely different way. Now, in all of that, understand that there's a place for you to appeal at times to something that your boss has said or asked you to do. Boss, have you considered this?
Boss, you realize I've got this stack to get through, and now you're asking me to do this stack too? Fine to make that kind of appeal, to ask questions, to ask for clarification, to ask for more time. But if your boss refuses and will not hear you, then you comply. Even if you think it's incorrect, even if you think it's the wrong thing for the company, the decision about what's good to the company is given to the boss, not to the servant. So you don't substitute your judgment for the one in authority. You can appeal to that authority, but you don't challenge it, you don't buck against it.
We said you please your boss, you don't argue with him. Secondly, you don't steal, but you serve. You don't steal, but you serve.
Go back to Titus chapter 2 now in verse 10. Don't steal, but serve, we find the apostle Paul says this. Not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
You submit by giving your best, not by taking what isn't yours. You don't keep for yourself something that you come into contact with in your employment. Something's entrusted to your care.
You don't appropriate that for your own purposes, for your own use. Not too long ago I made the point that when the Lord saved me I had to repent and make restitution for things that I had stolen when I was an employee at a drug store in my younger days. I needed to make restitution. I had stolen snacks and things like that while I was running the cash register, eating those things for myself.
Precisely what scripture is saying. Don't pilfer from your employer. Don't stick things in your pocket that you don't have permission to take. Don't keep for yourself something that is entrusted to your care. And in the first century, this was a very critical principle because slaves in that time, they often managed the business affairs of their masters.
They had great responsibility and they had great liberty and oversight over what was given to them. Paul comes to them and says, don't abuse that position of trust by using it to your own advantage without permission. Jesus Christ forbids his disciples from petty theft to say nothing about embezzlement, right? The number of stories that you read about people in positions of trust in churches embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars to their own benefit.
These people are not Christians and these people deserve to be in jail. But even more, they have sinned greatly against God who says specifically in Titus chapter 2 verse 10, don't pilfer from your employer. You see, the issue is integrity, not whether the boss misses what you take. It's not whether you can get away with it.
It's not whether the security camera catches you doing it or not. The fact is that the eye of God is on the way that you conduct yourself in the workplace. And he said to be this way, that you as a Christian in the workplace should be marked by the utmost of integrity. And so the call is to be trustworthy in what is entrusted to you. Over time, if you stay in the same employment over a period of time, your boss should have the developing sense, that person does what they tell me that they're going to do. I can tell them to do something and I know that it's done.
I don't have to follow up on them. And he develops that awareness by observing you because you are driven by an internal motivation that you want to do your best for Christ in that, and you realize that your best for Christ is shown by the way that you handle your day-to-day responsibilities. All of work then, beloved, all of work then becomes an act of worship. Your secular job becomes a sacred altar upon which you offer your worship to Christ. With your attitudes, with your will, with your willingness to endure mistreatment, unfair, you know, all of those things.
And maybe along the way you'll be blessed as you do. That brings us to our third point, the compelling motivation. The compelling motivation. You see the compelling motivation at the end of verse 10 where it says, so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
The they there is referring to the bond slaves that Titus is instructing in his teaching. And what Paul is saying is that a Christian worker should understand this. Your work should make Christ look good in the workplace. The fact that you do it with excellence, whether it's recognized or not, your excellence in the workplace makes Christ look excellent by implication. Even unbelievers have a remnant sense of right and wrong. They can value a godly worker even if they don't say so. They can value someone who does their job well even if they don't acknowledge it. We understand the work ethic has collapsed in our culture.
It's not even respected as something good and desirable anymore. But let me encourage you as a young person to understand that that collapse is your opportunity. In response to these things from the Word of God, this is your opportunity. A faithful worker who can be depended upon in the hands of a decent employer has a wide open path to advance. The worker who can show up on time and do what he's told and do it with a cheerful attitude, those basic characteristics are an opportunity for advance here in this world in which we live.
But consider the contrast, beloved. If an unbelieving boss disciplines you because you're a poor worker, understand that you're not being persecuted for being a Christian. You're being punished because you're a bad worker.
It's that simple. Don't put a spiritual veneer on your own failure to do what you are called to do. Just honor Christ, accept the discipline, and repent and do better going forward.
The whole teaching of Scripture is that we are to put Christ on display with an excellent work ethic and attitude in the work that God has given to us. Well, let's go to point number four very quickly. The challenging situations.
The challenging situations, and I'm just going to address three of them, one particularly urgent in our day and age. What if my boss is unfair? That happens. That tempts you to bitterness. Remember these Scriptures, especially the passage in 1 Peter 2, submit and trust God to honor you. Refuse the bitterness, submit and trust God to honor you as you do. Your goal, beloved, is to develop patient endurance in your life, patient endurance in the presence of Christ, not to just get what you want in the moment. Far greater principles at work as you go to your job.
Keep that in mind. Secondly, what if my boss is a Christian? What if you have a good boss and he's actually a believer?
Well, here's what you should do. You should work even harder for him and extend added respect. Scripture is very clear on this. Turn back a couple of pages to 1 Timothy chapter 6. 1 Timothy chapter 6, verses 1 and 2, where we read this. If you have a Christian boss, give thanks to God for that.
I realize that doesn't make him a perfect boss. He may still be demanding and even difficult to work with, but recognize the spiritual position of things and respond in this way, verses 1 and 2. All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren.
In other words, don't take them for granted. Don't take advantage of your common relationship in Christ. Rather, serve them all the more because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles. So if you have a Christian boss, work even better for him as a result of it. Thirdly, finally, and with regard to our day, our culture has changed so much since I first preached on this passage in Truth Community Church almost 10 years ago so that this question has to be asked and answered. What if my employer requires support for sinful lifestyles? What if I'm required as a condition of my employment to affirm homosexuality or to affirm transgender behavior in the workplace and that becomes a condition of my employment?
What then? Well, be mindful of this, beloved. Your obligation to God is greater than your obligation to man. God delegates authority to human spheres, but he retains the prerogative of ultimate fidelity to himself, not to man.
So that we must make this point and make it clear. Employers do not have the right to demand that you sin against God. They do not have the right to put words in your mouth to affirm things that you know that God condemns. In the words of Peter in the book of Acts, we must obey God rather than man. And if that means that you suffer as a result of it, beloved, embrace the privilege of suffering for Christ and suffering for fidelity to him. You bear personal indignity. You bear personal discipline in the workplace. Perhaps you forfeit opportunities for advancement. Perhaps you lose your job over it, beloved.
These are real issues. But whatever you do, you do not violate the word of God. You do not violate your faithfulness to God for the sake of a sinful rule and a sinful command of man. Your ultimate loyalty is to Christ in the workplace.
My encouragement would be to look for every way to comply that you possibly can, but to realize that there are lines that cannot be crossed. Work is a stage upon which you can display Christ, beloved, embrace it for his glory. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part two of a message called The Christian Worker here on The Truth Pulpit. Now, just before we go, here again is Don with a closing thought. Well, friend, I know as a pastor that life can be very difficult, even for people seeking to live faithful lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me just give you a couple of verses from Scripture to encourage you as we close. In Philippians 4, 6, and 7, it says, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Friends, you can cast your cares upon the Lord because he cares for you. I encourage you to go to Christ today with your heavy heart and let him help you with your burden. He is gracious to do just that for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Thanks, Don. And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word from the truth of all things.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 04:50:04 / 2023-02-24 04:58:37 / 9