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Wholehearted Obedience (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 22, 2020 4:00 am

Wholehearted Obedience (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 22, 2020 4:00 am

In Ephesians 6, Paul gave practical guidance for demonstrating wholehearted obedience during his day. But how do these verses apply to our twenty-first century lives? Find out when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The Ephesians 6.

The apostle Paul gives practical guidance for bond servants, and masters in his day, how the relationships should be shaped by the gospel, but how these verses apply to our lives in the 21st century. That's our subject today on Truth for Life as Alister Ben continues a series called life together or in Ephesians chapter 6 verses five through nine particular switch politics setting here are in some senses unique slaves and masters. We already identify the five that approximately 1/3 of the Roman Empire. What was was part and parcel of slavery. If you remove slavery from the Empire.

It would be like removing machinery from the manufacturing industry in the United States of America.

The whole thing would be shut down in an instant, and it is in that context that Paul is addressing Paul could not of removed slavery. Even if you try that Christianity was regarded as the off scouting of humanity. It had no influence whatsoever.

They could not have brought down a system that was so fundamental to the structure of the Roman Empire that is not to say that the gospel didn't affect it because it did, but is just to acknowledge that and throughout all of history. Everyone who has looked on the circumstances has condemned slavery and for every right reason Calvin in the 16th century referred to slavery in terms of original sin.

The whole notion of enslavement and he said it is a thing totally against all the order of nature that human beings fashioned after the image of God should ever be put to such reproach, but we are to be very, very glad that when eventually slavery is abolished at the very heart of it is the Bible is the gospel and our evangelical Christians, such as William Wilberforce history affirms this, and in most recent terms in the United States of America. The civil rights leader Martin Luther King was clearly driven by his Christian principles and what he did but I don't want to delay any further on that whole issue itself, it will reward your own consideration. So the particulars that he's addressing in Ephesus are unique.

The principles are timeless and we will look at some of these principles, we can only start this morning. We can continue later on.

The principles apply. As you look at them to employers and employees in every age. These principles are applicable for you and for me tomorrow in the workaday life. This, I say to you again is the gospel of grace at work at work in the Christian standard as we see here for work and service is totally different from earthly and secular notions some of you working human resources. Some of you are involved in representation of various groups within the structure either of education or of government or of manufacturing life and so long and you know that all of these things that are sent out to isn't the reason that we have them all and have to pin them all up on the wall is actually because of where we start that we are by nature sinful and therefore selfish and so governments and agencies then say this is what you're going to have to do if you're managed to live together properly. But, of course, as you know you can stick those things on the wall. You can actually wear them underneath your T-shirt, but it will not result in you actually living in the light of those truths. This is the grace of the gospel at work, which is a workforce of all internally. You see, it is it is an internal transformation that dealt with slavery and it it will be an internal transformation that deals with racism only on the inside only when a man or woman or change from the inside.

The only real United Nations is a United Nations that is found in the cross of Jesus Christ and so Paul is making this perfectly clear. As he gives his direction. What he does know is he has a section that goes. Essentially five through eight that we could consider under the heading, working for the boss and then in verse nine working as the boss working for the boss. What is he say obey your earthly masters. Sincerely a proper sense of respect, fulfilling responsibility and doing as service rendered to Jesus himself. So if we ask the court question.

What then are we supposed to do. Number one.

Obey, obey, that's an immediate challenge is, I think you just about every single one of us is a problem with doing a little bit. There is no instruction being given to through here in the nursery right now.

There's no special little group about how to disobey your mom know that we try to help them to another survey them up. Why because, disobey, and the mom comes naturally. Why does it say obey your boss.

One of their boss.

You might find yourself similar to what made him so special.

What what what made her so great, why is she saying this is the kind of natural response. I'm pretty clever and myself. I could've worked this out myself. I don't have to have somebody come here on a Monday morning to make. These are the six things you need to do if I don't want anybody to come and tell me these are the six things you need to do. Don't tell me which blood tests I have to go through. I'm personally trained for all your Christian and your bosses got a list for you and get ready.

You know the list is coming in the gospel will change the way in which you respond to the list. You see, because remember before you were converted, you were part of that band that rock 'n' roll band that we read about in Ephesians 2 the sons of disobedience. That's where we left. That's the music that we play, but now we have been transferred were in the new group were wearing the freedom fighters of the foo fighters and freedom fighters. And so, as a Christian employee.

I am supposed to be exemplary in the way I take direction from my boss and I take it that's what that means, obey your earthly masters and he's very want to qualify the end, and tell us how we obey them. But all is good or how just immediately register what some of us would make a huge step forward in our witness to the gospel. If we would just take direction. If we would just let the person tell us what it is they would like us to do without any immediate feedback without entering into discussion group without coming up with 17 suggestions to summer, we wanted to do sweep the floor, got it. Thank you Thomas Weaver this week. Don't start to sweep the floor. That's all I had, if I wanted to get expand on the directions I would've done so now is this does this mean then that the boss can tell us to do anything at all. And we have to obey.

No matter what he tells us to do know they can. There at least three qualifications one. We cannot obey immoral directives. We cannot obey immoral directives we have under God.

We have no responsibility to do that which is immoral. So for example the Hebrew mothers at the time of Moses the instruction from the authorities in Egypt was killed.

These boys while they said no were not going to kill the boy's wife would be more so Moses was hit in a basket that was disobedience. Disobedience to the authorities because the authorities exercised occult immorality. Some of you are involved in the medical profession. Some of you are involved in obstetrics so you're involved in gynecology something you're involved in all these things. You have got a real challenge in relationship to the question of abortion immoral also. Secondly, if it is idolatrous idolatrous think Shadrach me shack and Abednego in Daniel chapter 3, we build a nice art we build a nice statue here and and we don't have all the employees of the household are bowing down this afternoon at 3 o'clock. This is your source will be. Yes I know but not idolatry. Why, because it would be didn't deny who my real masters and the same would be true in terms of suppressing the gospel think acts chapter 4 now Peter John the rest of you. We do not want any more of the Jesus stuff you can go around and do whatever you want to do, but you're not allowed to do the Jesus they they so we will have to judge for yourself with it is right for us to obey God, or to be reset. We run very quickly to qualify the categorical nature of obedience. But I'm just anticipating the questions as his main categorical obedience will know not in terms of these three factors will and if that is what is to happen. How is it to happen while we going to just begin this and then will have to break off. First of all with fear and trembling with fear and trembling, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling. Does this mean that when you going tomorrow morning and you see your boss, your supposed response to Creighton like this will know don't be silly, for goodness sake now, you may go in like that because he's a threatening boss limits verse nine and will have to do with him. Maybe this evening, but that's not what's in mind here it is a familiar phrase for Paul is that in Philippians. He talks about working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. He says when he writes to the Corinthian church that when he arrived in Corinth, he didn't come in like a big shot with her with a big speech and everything he said no I I was there I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling on what basis was this trembling. It was the trembling he was afraid of the people in Corinth actually the word for fear is the word for boss which gives us our English word phobia, which if you think on a continuum. On the one hand, the far end would be absolute terror and on the other hand, it would mean that reverence or respect or love earlier in in the passages and in terms of marriage you see that the word fear is far more on this end of the spectrum that it is on this one so the whole notion of respectfully responding to those who are in authority over us is right here is not some kind of paralyzing fearfulness of my master rather a realistic sense of caution about misrepresenting my own master and Lord Jesus, or misrepresenting of the gospel itself. So make sure you obey your boss in such a way that you don't misrepresent Jesus, who is your Lord and your master if you want to have a sense of fearfulness and tremble tremble about the thought that we name our our Christian testimony by an attitude of disinterest, rebellion, antagonism is, after all, remember our friends and work colleagues have been told by ours. Presumably that we have become the followers of Jesus. They perhaps have come to one of the Christmas services with and now they're trying to figure out how this Christmas service stuff has flowed into the framework of the life of their employee who is now becoming a kind of standout when it comes to recalcitrance or a spirit of rebellion or a catalyst for disruption within the office is who really know much about this. You don't have a proper job you never had a proper job know, I fed a lot of proper jobs and I think I understand this, and I certainly understand the difference between a sincere heart and an insincere heart between if you like I service and heart service.

In other words, when I worked as a gardener please not laugh when I worked as a gardener one summer. If you had seen me at any point if you see me very industriously involved, you would be you could safely assume that the that the boss was somewhere at a vantage point. Who could see me if you can see me not particularly industrious, you could pretty well guarantee that the boss had gone off to see his mother-in-law or something and he would be able to assume if you look at me, his heart is not in his heart's not in their something of that here in this expectation of fearfulness less on mar the testimony of Christ and with the sincerity of heart, that is not concerned simply to impress the individual in their present or to do as little as I can when they're not present but actually is exercising from the very core of my being and not because I totally love the stuff, but because I love Jesus we see this was it was okay if you've got a nice job and have a get to go out you have business lunches and things like that.

But what about the fact that I'm here and I'm putting these plastic parts together and is supposed to do 85 of them every 4 1/2 minutes and they come through the production line is just the same goes by that you get a 20 minute break go over have a coffee you come back and you do it again and again began to get his absolute drudgery is mindless okay for use okay for her. Does it apply course of the place because that's the place of God's appointed and there is no ideal place to serve God except the place he put you know when we begin to grasp that then we realize what an amazing thing it is in just a phrase when I realize that it is Christ I am serving. I remember when I would go undo visitation for Derek prime windbag 7576 dairy part of 77 and I would go and I would visit people and in nursing homes and in the hospitals as some of them were were barely compass mentors, and I I could give you chapter and verse, but any except that from me and so I would go in there in a row in the ward.

Don't you know those words and I would go down the corridor and I would then sit at the ladies bad and she she was. She wasn't there and so I would stay for a bit and then I would read a part of the Bible.

And then I would pray narrowly. I remember one of the staff meetings we were having Stephanie and I said to my boss. I said to Derek and said you know what, I don't think I'm going to those things anymore. I do any of those. He said why not civil Mrs. X. She'll even know I'm there. We cares see you don't get it do you in as much as you have ministered to one of the least of these my brethren, you have ministered unto me, he said this is for Christ that you do this. This is for the gospel that you do this. This is not related to how much satisfaction you receive from because it is Christ yourself. See the radical difference that this transformation makes in an employee when it argues for is that Christian employers ought to be on the one hand, fascinated by our our testimony. If we are given opportunity to proclaim, but when I am beyond that absolutely convince when they go home at night. There's not a better worker in this place and Mrs. X. I don't know why it is her job is the same every day. She has a spring in her step. She has a light in her eye.

She's the helpful person.

She's forced on the thing she never skips off early. I don't know what her problem.

Maybe it's that Jesus stuff to you because let's not get this upside down church, our greatest potential is not when were here is when were not here my job in your job is not to live in such a way that when it comes time to invite something to a Christmas program that will actually, that's a good thing to do but you seen how many of them come back is seen all the effort. This involved in in business terms for what kind of return but it's good to do. We love to do but know your greatest impact is where I can go hiking going your place. I'm not allowed in your lap. I'm not in that library.

I don't have a job in a bank. I don't make calls on people's homes and stuck here with this group, for crying out loud, and there stuck with me as we live in a little bottle.

But you are out there. You've got one of those bosses you got verse nine boss you got a fantastic opportunity. I'm envious I'm envious. Tell me what's it really like going to work you think about this congregation scattered in greater Cleveland.

Not with a bunch of tracks number bumper stickers just husband's loving the wife's wife slipped submitting to the husband just children obeying their mom and dad and parents not provoking the children to run just employees showing up in time, with a smile on their face and employers who don't threaten their employees and act like a tyrannical rascal Google what the world is this about the difference you know George Herbert spoiled the elixir. With this I close where he writes teach me my God and King in all things, the agency and what I do in everything to do it. As for the servant with this clause makes drudgery divine who sweeps the room. As for thy laws makes that in the action line the gospel shapes every aspect of our lives, including our work listing to Truth for Life. Alister bread returns in just a minute with the closing prayer so please keep listening will. Today's message is certainly applicable for every type of work.

Whether you're working in the home or working in a corporate office. We recognize that in the wake of the viral outbreak these past few months, many people upon themselves out of work or working shorter hours than usual. That makes us especially grateful to be able to provide these daily messages free of charge so that everyone has access to clear relevant Bible teaching without cost. Being a barrier and if you're among the faithful crew partners who have been able to continue to provide monthly support through this season. Thank you so much. If you benefited from these daily studies and have yet to become a true partner would you consider doing that today doesn't take a large commitment to setting aside the amount of one of your streaming services would make a huge difference when you become a true partner.

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You can add today's featured book to your library. It's called discovering the good life by Tim Savage when the world seems like a dark and broken place. We need reminding that Jesus came to bring light. He offers his followers, something no one else does. Abundant life. Learn how you can embrace the fullness of joy that Jesus offers to us you request your copy of this compelling resource today go to Truth for partner or call 888-588-7884. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 now to close in prayer. Here's Alister Prather regular word in our hearts help us in this brain is Lord from abroad in the road that leads to destruction onto the narrow road that leads to life movements by your grace from dead end street into the realm where life and life in all its fullness is found in Jesus and then help us by the power of the Holy Spirit to increasing the be conformed to the image of Jesus who did not, to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many units in his name we pray about team hope you can join us Tuesday as we continue learning how the gospel transforms our perspective on work. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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