Sunday, July 27, 2014

Colossians 3:22-25 - Christ at Work - 140727AM@TBC

1. Overview of the Book
 Theme:  Christ the Commander and Chief (preeminence of Christ)
“A proper view of Christ is the antidote for heresy.”
I. Doctrine: What Christ did for us  (Supremacy of)
II. Practice: What Christ does through us  (Submission to)

2. CONTEXT of the chapter
“If then you were raised with Christ,
seek those things which are above, where Christ is…
What does it mean to seek the things where Christ is?
1. The characteristics of the old man that must go.
2. The character of the new man to put on.
3. Christ and his Word should rule and dwell in you.
4. Our relationships should be defined by Christ.
3. PRAY and read Scripture ———>
22 Bondservants,
obey in all things your masters according to the flesh,
not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers,
but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
23 And whatever you are doing, work heartily,
as to the Lord and not to men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance;
for you are serving the Lord Christ.
25 But he who is doing wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
4.1 Masters,
give your bondservants justice and fairness, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
1. Of several primary spheres of relationships (government, church, family, and the workplace), Paul comments here on two of those spheres.  These are two examples of a larger concept of honoring Christ in our relationships.
2. This whole section of 3.18-4.1 focuses on how to find our proper place and priorities in these relationships.
3. He only gives brief comments about these complex relationships: husbands-wives and parents-children in the family relationships and masters-servants in the work relationship. 
4. Wait … Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit gives brief summaries of all but one, servants.  
Wives—        10 words
Husbands— 10 words
Children—   10 words
Fathers—      13 words
                       43 words total
Masters—     18 words
Servants—    71 words
5. Paul says more about servants alone that all the rest put together!  That is remarkable and we should take note of the importance it gives to these verses.
6. Why? … Possibly the Lordship of Christ is more challenging for a servant than the others.  However, the concepts in these verses also lay a foundation for all our human relationships.
BIG IDEA: There is one primary question that we are called on to examine in these verses.
Who are you really working for?
I. Parties Mentioned
· Note that there are two imperatives in these verses; “obey” (3.22) and “give” (4.1).
A. Servants
bondservants— δοῦλος  (G1401): (from deo, "to bind or fasten,") "a slave," originally the lowest term in the scale of servitude, came also to mean "one who gives himself up to the will of another," e.g., 1Cr 7:23; Rom 6:17, 20, and became the most common and general word for "servant   —Vine’s
nasb, rsv, niv84, went, hcsb, nlt—slaves;
nkjv, esvbondservants; kjv—servants
obey— ὑπακούω G5219 hypakouō:  (From π sub G5259 and κοω hear G191 ) to harken to a command 
· It is interesting to note, dads, that this is the same word used to describe the child’s relationship of obedience to you.  Your relationship with your boss gives you a strategic opportunity to model obedience for your children.
B. Masters
κύριος kyrios:  from a root “to swell,” “to be strong,” means a. “having power,” “empowered,” “authorized,” “valid.” The power denoted is a power of control rather than physical strength.  —Little Kittle
· This word is used like “Sir” and is uniformly translated masters in 3:22 and 4.1.
· Masters are exhorted to “treat with”, “give”,  grant”, or “provide” or  justice and fairness to their servants.
· Note the special qualifier, “earthly”, “human”, or “according to the flesh.”
· This contrasts with the other four times the word is used in our passage.
C. The Lord Christ in heaven

· The qualifier in to master/lord in 4.1 _in Heaven” distinguishes it from the master “according to the flesh in 3.22.
· References to the Lord occur in every verse in our text.
· He is the reoccurring theme throughout the description of this workplace relationship.
· v. 22  “fearing God”
· v. 23  “to the Lord”
· v. 24   “from the Lord”
· v. 24   “serve the Lord Christ”
· v. 25    implied as one who repays without partiality
· v. 4.1  “a Master in Heaven”
· This Greek word κύριος (kyrios) is the word used to translate Yaweh in the Septuagint.  It is a reference to Christ’s deity. 
· The “God” who is to be feared in verse 22 is the “Lord Christ” who rewards and repays in verses 23-24.
· Christ is not only the center of this text, but also should be the center of the boss / employee relationship in our Christian walk.
· Application: When we leave this slide out of our lives, we cease to act like Christians.

II. Servant’s duties.
What are the stereotypes of employees today?
Lazy, disobedient, ungrateful, disrespectful, dishonest, (stealing), unreliable, uninterested  in the big picture.
A. To Masters
1. According to the flesh
· They [believers] were slaves only as far as human relationships were concerned.  — Charles Eerdman
· The meaning is that they had control over the body, the flesh.  The had the power to command the service which the body could render; but they were not Lords of the spirit.  The soul acknowledged God as its Lord.  —A. Barnes
· We should not gain our self-esteem or sense of worth from our status in the “fleshly” world.
2. “Obey in all things
· If we cannot obey the boss we can see in all things, what hope is there for us to obey Christ, who we cannot see.
· Our piecemeal obedience to our boss at work can be an indicator of our vertical relationship with Christ.
· This is an area that we must really give over to Christ.
3. not with “eyeservice
· Lit. “sight-labor” 
· “Another Pauline word (here and in Eph. 6.6), elsewhere only in Christian writers after Paul, an easy, and expressive compound, service while the master’s eye was on the slave and no longer.”  AT Robertson.
· “People don’t do what you expect; they do what you inspect.”  The common use of this proverb or saying is evidence to how widespread this problem is.
· “While the cat’s away, the mice will play.”
3. Not as “manpleasers(people pleasers)
· We should not be motivated solely by a desire to win the favor of men. 
· Proverbs 29:26 
Many seek the ruler’s favor,
but every man’s judgment comes from the Lord.
· 1 Corinthians 4.2-4 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.
· When work is done only or primarily for man’s approval, is it Christian obedience?

· When we come home and gripe about our boss, we are teaching our children.
· Respect and obedience are not just for children and teens and not even primarily for children and teens.
· We teach our children to obey us not primarily to maintain order in the home, but to prepare them to obey Christ and honor him in their appropriate , godly obedience to others.
· When we are unfaithful in our earthly relationships we dishonor Christ.
We must honor Christ in our deeds, not just our words.
Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Romans 14:
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ died and rosef and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
        B. Servant’s duties to Christ
· Notice how much more extensive and complete our obligation to the Lord is.
· The key issue here is  our perspective and that will affect our attitude. 
1. “Singlness of heart”
ἁπλότης  G572 - haplotēs: lit. singleness (like a braid)
Fig. 1. the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy 
2. not self seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity
kjv, rsv—singleness; went—undivided; hcsb—wholeheartedly;
nasb, nkjv, esv, nin84, nlt—sincerity / sincerely
· “...without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise... —Matthew Henry
· “...with undivided service…”  JB Lightfoot
· God to Asa after he didn’t trust him about the Ethiopian attack
· 2 Chronicle 16.9
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars."
· This is reinforced and further explained by the next description.
2. “fearing God”
· Most of the versions translate this fearing (niv84 reverence)
· The fear of the Lord is the awareness that God is watching, weighing, and rewarding all that I do say or think.
· The fear of the Lord gives us courage and confidence when we  do right.  The awareness of God’s justice reminds us to avoid evil.
Pr 14:26-27 
In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.
· We should not live in the fear of an earthly boss.  Our primary motivation to please the Lord Christ.
· Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
3. “Heartily”
· Lit. out of our heart as opposed to just going through the motions with no enthusiasm or energy.
· as to the Lord” The idea is that doing something out of a heart of worship to the Lord will bring greater motivation and energy.
4. “Serve the Lord”
· I think that the contrast between the “obedience” to earthly masters and “serving” the Lord may be important here.
· We do obey what our earthly masters tell us.  We are well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilferiring, but showing al good fidelity,
 but we
serve the Lord with all our hearts on a different and higher level.
· Our obedience and respect belong to men, but our hearts belong first to the Lord.
· 1 Corinthians 7:22-23
For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.  
23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men
5. “the reward”
· Slaves received no wages upon earth and were allowed no legal rights of inheritance; for them, however, there was laid up an inheritance in Heaven.  —CR Eerdman
· Ephesians 6.7-8
with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,
8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
· While salvation in the Bible is according to Grace judgment is always according to works, whether good or bad, for unbeliever and believer alike.  It is to believers that Paul writes elsewhere; “we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad.”  (2 Cor. 5:17)  NICNT
6. “No partiality”
· Sometime we get the idea that God will always be on the worker’s side.
· Leviticus 19.15
'You shall do no injustice in judgment.
You shall not be partial to the poor,
nor honor the person of the mighty.
In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.
When we serve and fear our earthly masters, we are in danger of idolatry.  Check your heart.
· To have a godly sense of loyalty to our employer is a good thing. 
· To show respect is important.
· To do what they tell us is a Christian duty to God.
· But there is a service and fear that is only appropriate toward God.
· Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man brings a snare,
· Luke 12.4-7
"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

When we just do our duty to men we are just good, moral people. We are not Christian.
· It is a good thing to do your duty to men, but it is not enough.
· Only when we serve the Lord at work can we be truly and completely Christian.
· If Jesus is really your Lord, then He is the one that you ought to do your work for.  (Are you prepared to present each product, job, or service for His inspection.)
· Your conduct on the job can reflect your commitment to the Lord.  What is it saying?
Who are you really working for?