Colossians 3:24-25

Steve Viars February 11, 1995 Colossians 3:24-25

- we're going to return to our study of Colossians 3 and the Christian's
   work ethic.

- remember, we've been saying that this is a very important section of
    this book
      - the "where the rubber meets the road verses"

- Paul had laid out the important doctrine of the preeminence of Christ
   - now its time to think about how that doctrine affects key
       relationships.

- last week, we began looking at verse 22, and the important matter of
   the Christian work ethic.

- let's take a minute and review a couple of major points we made in that
    lesson?

    1) In this discussion of the relationship of slaves and masters,
       what's "missing" in that discussion and what can we learn from
       that?

       - a command for slaves to overthrow the government///change
           society, etc.
       - that should remind us that the Lord is a lot more interested in
           His children glorifying Him in the midst of a pagan world
           system than He is in changing the system.
            - this has strong application to the way we respond to
               contemporary social issues of our day.

            - Question - are there any loose ends on this that we need to
                tie up?

- moving into the verses themselves, what main truths do we see about
   "How an employee should relate to his employer" in verses 22-23?

    1) obey him in all things

    2) work with a single focus
        - instead of working with eye service
        - as those who merely please men

        - (go over Jay's translation)

- this morning we'd like to develop these verses a little bit more more
   and then move into verses 24-25.

(we're not really in a rush on this subject because it's such an
  important issue for all of us to get a handle on -- anytime we get
  around this topic there always seems to be a lot of interest in it)

- let's take some time and discuss this matter of "having a single a
   focus."

    - Paul said that instead of working with eye-service, as menpleasers,
       we ought to work as with a "single heart--serving the Lord."
- in other words, our focus ought to be first and foremost on the
   biblical truth, that "at work, we are to be serving Christ."

- now, would you all agree that having a singular focus is a difficult
   thing to do?
    - yet, in many places in Scripture we are called upon to do so?

       - Phil. 3:13 - "Brethren, I count not myself to have arrived, but
          this ONE THING I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
          and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press
          toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in
          Christ Jesus."

       - Matthew 6:22 - "The light of the body is the eye; if therefore,
          thine eye be single (healthy), thy whole body shall be full of
          light....n o man can serve two masters..."

- INPUT - What is required for a person to have a singular focus in any
            area of life?

             1) knowledge of the Scripture - need to know what to focus
                 on.
             2) conviction - have to believe that developing a singular
                 focus is important.
             3) discipline - must train your mind and heart to
                 concentrate on what's most important to the Lord in a
                 given situation.
             4) being a learner - being willing to evaluate//admit that
                 what you're focusing on in a given situation may not be
                 right///best and therefore needs to change.

- now let's take these principles and apply them to work:

    - If we're going to develop the kind of singular focus these verses
      are commanding--we're going to have to learn what not to focus
      on///or what to stop focusing on.

    - let's work on this together -- INPUT - What might a person be
       tempted to focus on at work, that may not be wrong in and of
       itself, but becomes wrong because it receives more attention than
       it deserves (and thus takes our focus off of serving and pleasing
       Christ)?

          INPUT?
            - benefits
            - fair treatment
            - how hard others are working
            - office gossip
            - work conditions
            - etc.

- let me ask you this morning, how singular is your focus? (includes
   those who work at home)
- Are you seeking to show that Jesus Christ is preeminent in your heart
   and life by purposely, consciously, and joyfully focusing on the
   important truth, that at work, first and foremost you are working for
   Him?

 

- to take this idea one step further--let me mention some ideas from the
   commentator William Hendriksen.

   "In spirit, people cease to be slaves as soon as they begin to work
    for the Lord. (remember, perhaps 1/3 of the persons living in the
    Roman Empire at this time were slaves.) This was, accordingly, the
    most helpful advice anyone could have ever given a slave.  Moreover,
    by means of his wholehearted cooperation with his master, rendering
    obedience to him in every way, and doing this while his master was
    fully aware of the fact that the service was being rendered by a
    Christian, the slave was promoting the cause and honor of his Lord.
    The master would begin to think, `If the Christian religion does this
    for slaves, it must be wonderful."

- he's made some important points there, hasn't he?
- INPUT - how are the topics of evangelism and Christian work ethic
     connected, and how can a believer make the most of this fact?

 


- now, in the rest of the verses, Paul gives some additional motivation
   for why we ought to work in a way that is consistent with these
   verses.

II. A Positive Reason Why You Should Do So - verse 24

    A. You will receive an inheritance.

        - see, why should an employee be willing to take the hard steps
            these verses are commanding?
              - part of the answer is -- because God has promised an
                  inheritance, a reward, to those who do.

        - there's several things we need to note about that.

            1) This would have been an unbelievable idea to the slaves of
               that day, because slaves were not permitted to receive
               inheritances.
                  - slaves didn't have a future
                  - they didn't have 401K plans

                - Paul had already mentioned a similar truth in 1:12
                   (READ)

                - I'm not sure that we're able to realize what an impact
                  that would have had on the people of that day.
                     - God was watching what they were doing.
                     - the treatment they were experiencing, in most
                         cases, probably wasn't fair.
                     - but they needed to hear that they would be
                        rewarded for their faithful service to Christ.
                          - I Cor. 15:58


- INPUT - how is this idea related to what Paul said in Col. 3:1-2?
   - this point is only going to motivate those who are learning to seek
      those things which are above--instead of concentrating solely on
      the things of the earth.


- Col. 3:24 also tells us that:

    B. This inheritance is from the Lord.

        - INPUT - what word is used three times in verses 23-24?
            (Lord)

        - What is the implication of that to this topic of "receiving an
            inheritance?"
              - if it's from the Lord, it will be fair and just.
              - if it's from the Lord, it will be lasting
              - if it's from the Lord, it will be exceedingly abundantly
                 above what we could ask or think.

- cf. first summer pool job - receiving a bonus that paid my freshman
       year school bill.
         - was just happy to have a job
         - was overwhelmed by boss' kindness.

     - think about the reward that will come from working for our
        gracious Lord.


- so the overall point so far is -- employees must obey their employers
    with a single focus, in part, because they will receive a reward.

    - INPUT - What steps does a person need to take to benefit from such
               an idea?

 


- now, the verses don't end there.  Verse 24 contained a postive
   motivation---but there's another side.

III. A Negative Reason Why You Should Do So - verse 25

    - READ

    A. Those who do wrong will receive what they deserve.

        - some of us may not be as motivated by the thought of
          receiving an inheritance///reward from our Lord as we should
          be.

        - if that’s the case, they we can also benefit from knowing that
           there is judgement for those who choose to ignore these
           important verses of Scripture.

        - INPUT - other verses on God's judgement, or how we will
            experience consequences of our actions?

               - I Cor. 3:11-15

               - Gal. 6:7-9

               - II Cor. 5:10

 

- Paul concludes this verse by saying...

    B. God is no respecter of persons.

        - respecter of persons - "prosopolempsia"
             - "prosopon" - face
             - "lambano" - to take

        - the idea is -- to take at face value
            - to judge a book by its cover

        - this verse is saying -- God does not do that.

        - INPUT - what would that have to do with this topic?

            - regardless of your position at work -- God will judge those
                who do not seek to obey him in this important area.

            - no one could say - "well, I'm just a slave -- it doesn't
                matter how I work."
                  - I'm just a peon...
                  - I'm just the ....

            - regardless of your job, God says you can, and you must seek
               to please Him in that role.

            - (by the way, this verse also applies to the employers of 4:1
               who might think they are above God's judgement regarding
               their side of this issue---we'll study that next week.)

- (if time) - divide in groups

   - Brainstorm:

    1) Specific ways a Christian worker can demonstrate that he/she has a
        singular focus at work.


    2) Specific ways a believer can make the most of the evangelistic
        implications of this passage.


    3) Other questions we need to address before leaving this topic next
         week.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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