Faithfulness to Christ at Home and Work

Dustin Folden March 26, 2017 Colossians 3:18-4:1

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3 keys to living out your roles in everyday life

I. Committing to work for the glory of God in all aspects of life

A. In your deeds

Colossians 3:17 - Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

B. In your heart

Colossians 3:22 - 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.

C. Always giving thanks

Colossians 3:17 - Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

II. Glorify God in your most common relationships

A. Submission is a common biblical theme

B. In the marriage relationship

Colossians 3:18-19 - Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

C. In the parental relationship

Colossians 3:20-21 - Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

D. In the workplace

Colossians 3:22-4:1 - 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. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

III. Remember that you will reap what you sow

Colossians 3:24-25 - …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.

A. There is to be a focus on rewards

B. There is also to be a focus on consequences

Outlined Manuscript

As we continue our series in Colossians and our yearly theme “In Christ Alone”.

I have two questions. one serious, and one less serious.

First question.

  • Have you ever taken those closest to you for granted?
  • Ever said, well, they know I love them.
  • That won’t bother them. It’s just so and so….
  • Do you ever treat your familiar relationships as familiar, and not as purposeful as you should.

Second question.

  • Do you mind it if your food touches? As a kid, I couldn’t handle it if everything got mixed up. How about you, are you a KFC bowl, or a Tupperware everything sort of person. Sometimes we like to separate things. Regardless of your plate preferences, Sometimes we do that with God. Here are my church friends, here are my work acquaintances, this is my family, and I just function differently, and nothing really ties them all together.

This passage today helps us think about both of those issues. Loving those you see everyday, and recognize that God is to be woven into all aspects of your life, and all of you.

Please turn with me to Colossians 3:18-4:1. It is on page 158 in the bible in the chair under the seat in front of you. Let me start in verse 17.

With our time remaining lets focus on Faithfulness to Christ at Home and Work: Three Keys to living out your Roles in Everyday Life.

I.             Committing to work for the Glory of God in all aspects of life (Col. 3:17, 22)


At the beginning of Colossians 3, we are called to set our mind on the things above, because we have been raised up with Christ, we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in in God.

The text also says that Christ who is your life is to be revealed and you will then be revealed in glory.

So the text has focused on our identity, that we are in Christ, that we are raised with Christ, we died with Christ, we will be revealed with Christ.

In other words all aspects of Christ life and our life are intertwined. (KFC Bowl)

There is nothing about me that can be separated from Christ, and so as Pastor green pointed out. That includes what I put off, renew my mind, and then put on…this applies to all aspects of my life.

So what Pauls point is going into this next section is that all of you is intimately connected to Chirst, and that needs to impact all of you, your whole life, each day.

God is not satisfied with just some of your time on a Sunday, and wed night. He wants all of you, everyday.

What does that all consist of. First it is…

  1. In your deeds (Col. 3:17)

Colossians 3:17  17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Notice how he says “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus”.

We are to think about ourselves in a way that all of our deeds have a name tag attached to them.

-If you believe you have died with Christ, been raised with Christ, hidden in Christ, and will be glorified in Christ…then those core truths of who you are need to come out in what you do and say each day.

What you say and do reveals who your Lord is, and who you are serving and how you view yourself in light of Who He is and what He has done for you.

-“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?...Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:14, 17–20)

That is why Growth is so important, we are to be putting off actions that displease God, changing how we think about God, ourselves, and others, and put on God honoring behavior.

If there are some behaviors you have participated in this week, that simply cannot hold the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to put them off, change how you think about them, develop a good hate for what dishonors God and does not bear his name well, and put on words and deeds that reveal that your mind is set on things above.

This also goes beyond your deed and as it applies…

  1. In your heart (Col. 3:22)

Colossians 3:22  - 22Slaves, 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.

I will talk a bit more about this passage alter, but for now notice the focus on the internal, the heart, rather than just the external, what people see.

That is why Pastor Green sermon about renewing you thinking is so important.

Col 3:15 says let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. And vs 16 says let the word of Christ richly dwell in your heart.

We know that the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart (cf. Mt 15:18)

The only ways you can do all to the glory of God, is for all of you to be aimed properly, and that means what you think about, what you value, what you care about and what you love.

That is why the Christian life is about so much more that right behavior, it is focused on right desires.

[THE POINT]: God is interested in both your actions and your heart.

      -You can’t have the heart without actions

      -you can’t have the actions without the heart.

  1. Always Giving Thanks (Col. 3:17)

Colossians 3:17 17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Notice that we are to give thanks through Him to God the father

If our heart if thinking about being in Christ and that is of supreme value in my heart, then my mouth will give thanks.

Notice that it is through Him to God the father…my thankfulness is tied to my identity in Christ, that is the basis that I give thanks.


Now, Paul’s point is that whatever you do you are to do in the name of the Lord.

Your relationship with Christ is to impact all aspect of you, down to your thinking. So it is incredibly comprehensive.

Now Paul wants to get specific, and address your most common relationships. If you are to glorify God in all aspects of your life, then that must for sure include those you see the most frequently.

    II.        Glorify God in your most common Relationships.

-When we use common, we are not using it in a bad way, rather we are using it in the way that means every day, normal. The people you see everyday.

-how we function in these everyday/common relationships will tell us and the world a lot about who we are.

-Do you notice when you meet someone for the first time, you often are on your best behavior, your really nice, hospitable, friendly… because you want to make a good first impression.

But after you get to know someone, you stop asking them where they want to go to eat, you stop giving them the best seat to watch the movie, you don’t offer them the last cookie. You scarf it up in front of them, because they are your buddy and you feel comfortable eating the last delicious cookie in front of them.

-Gary Thomas tells the story about how his professor (a renowned Greek Scholar) had him and his wife over during seminary.

            -prof took care of pregnant wife unlike he had ever done.

-this professor, who is a big deal, after meeting my wife for the first time took better care of her than I did at any time throughout our marriage.

      [POINT:] we often treat the common relationships not very special.

That is not a good thing.

- they say familiarity breeds contempt, but that is not how it is to be in the Christian life when you are focusing on doing all in the name of Christ, and that definitely applies to those you see every day.

*Honey, I just want to let you know that due to conviction I will be making lunch today after church, and I promise I will not eat the last cookie in front of you…I will definitely cut it in half.

So before we get into the details of these everyday relationships, let us talk about an important biblical truth that links them all together.

  1. Submission is a Common Biblical Theme
    1. Submission is not popular today
      1. But it is not a bad thing.
        1. We see Jesus submit
          1. “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”” (Matthew 26:39)
          2. “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28)
    2. All humans that we submit to will be sinful, imperfect people
    3. We are all called to Submit to others
      1. Cf. Eph 5:21
      2. Jesus will be only the person who we are able to submit to that is not stained by sin.

--[POINT]: you can’t go looking for the perfect person to submit to.

But God still calls us to submit.

  1. So why does God give us submission?
    1. It is a tool that God uses to get work done. It doesn’t always mean that the person in authority is better, smarter, etc.
    2. It just means that God has placed that person in charge
    3. It is also a recognition that we all need to submit to God, and these various roles give us an earthly picture of our heavenly relationship to the Lord.
      1. Notice in each of the various roles, we always start with the one who submits first.
      2. It is important to point out, that if you are a believer in Christ, you are the bride of Christ, you are the child of Christ, and you are the slave/servant of Christ.

Also, these roles and structure were a bedrock of cultural stability especially in Roman culture. That said we find that Paul addresses these role’s and roots them firmly in the people’s identity with Christ.

Just a caviat, we are called to submit to the Lord above all, so that does not mean that if someone instruct us to sin, we obey them and disobey the lord.

 “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

So if you are married you are to do all in the name of the Lord especially…

  1. In the Marriage Relationship (3:18-19)

Colossians 3:18–19  18Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

            So we start with the Wife’s role.

  1. Wife: In middle voice, indicates willing submission.
    1. Notice this is directed to the wife’s…I know that is obvious. But this is not directed at the husband…husbands make sure your wife submits. It is a command for wives to put on as they want to please God.
    2. The point is they can honor God in everything they do, and one of the ways they do that is willing choose to submit to their husbands leadership.
    3. This resembles Christ-like humility
      1. One of the best passages on a wife’s submission is 1 Peter 3:1, and it is directly linked to Christ’s example of How he entrusted Himself to the Father’s plan.
    4. This is fitting to the Lord.
      1. In other words, this is in line with a wife who bears the name of Christ. This is Christ-like, this is fits like star shaped kids toy fits in the star shaped lid cutout… so a godly wife who is in Christ will of her own volition submit herself to her husband. That is what fits, what the role is supposed to look like.
    5. ?C.f. Eph. 5:21
    6. Notice The husband is never told to make the wife submit.
      1. The wife is called to do this herself as she lives our her role.
      2. It is the only institution that God sets up where the person who has authority has no means by which he exercises his authority.
  2. Some say, yeah I will submit, if I agree…that is not submission, that is called agreement.  When everyone agrees there is no problem there is no need for submission. That is also not always what happens. Submission is when you willing place yourself under the leadership structure the Lord has provided, particularly when you would do something differently.


      -Wives how are you doing this willingly?

      -Do you make submission a begrudging issue?

      -are you modeling this for others? Kids, friends, co-workers?

      - Are you making it easy for your husbands to provide leadership?

Question: wives when is the last time you joyfully followed your husbands leadership even though you disagreed? When is the last time you undercut his leadership.

  1. Husbands:
    1. Buckle up your seatbelt, because God’s word come quick and direct at men at this part of the text.
    2. Husbands are Called to love their wives.
      1. Agape not used anywhere outside the Bible to talk about a love that a man has for wife. [1]
      2. In roman society, a husband was to do a lot fo thing, he was to be the leader of the household, but interestingly in secularly culture, he was not called to love his wife.
        1. A leader often is viewed as the one who gives the instructions, and everyone else sacrifices to carry those instructions out, but Paul goes to a whole other level. Husbands loving their wife’s
        2. That is something that God bring to the husbands role as that is what Christ did for us, and we even though we are men, are part of the Bride of Christ, and so we are to reflect His love for us, to our bride.
      3. Not simply because it helps the family, the community and the state be strong, but because it honors the Lord.
      4. Love is not simply to have strong feelings of affection for my spouse, although we are to cultivate those in our thinking.
      5. More importantly, love is a willingness to give up our wants to serve her.
      6. Cf Eph 5:25 – husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
      7. So wife’s are called to submit and follow…husbands are called to sacrifice and die.
      8. Why does God need to instruct men to love their wives so much…I think because it does not come naturally and we need to be reminded. Have affection for someone we find attractive comes naturally, loving and serving someone else as you sacrifice your desires does not.
    3. So this is not easy to lead and be responsible for someone else, and regularly give up what you want for someone else.
    4. And so there is a Natural tendency to grow bitter,
    5. Question: but why?
      1. Perhaps wife doesn’t treat husband well as he sacrifices
      2. Perhaps she takes advantage of him
      3. Perhaps she doesn’t submit like he wants her to.

Question: Husbands, when is the last time you lovingly gave up what you wanted to serve your wife…did you grow bitter about having to do that or did you see it as part of your identity in Christ.

  1. This idea of being bitter toward your wife, is like water being bitter or poisoned and a person drinks it and it is harmful to them.
  2. So this is about a husband using his strength, his power and his position to be harsh and cause harm to his spouse.
  3. This would be the culture of Rome…if Rome wants something they take it, if Rome is offended, they lash out and put down any rebellion.
  4. Rome was all about forced submission of others.
  5. So men who had become Christians now need to have a completely different approach to their wife’s, one where bitterness and harsh domineering leadership was replaced with the loving leadership personified in Christ.

So you see, a husband and wife who are setting their minds on things above, will function in a way toward each other that is personified by Trust, sacrifice, doing all esp. their roles because of their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Followers of Christ were also called to glorify God …

  1. In the Parental Relationship (3:20-21)

Colossians 3:20–21 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

  1. Her is a crazy idea…Children are supposed to Obey.
    1. In other words, they are not to inform the parents what they want and what they do not like, they are to glorify God by recognizing their role.
    2. This is actually a different word that Submit— that is why it is translated as Obey, the text shifts to a higher level of instruction.
      1. The wife is to place herself under and follow the husbands leadership, whereas the child is to take the instructions from their parents and obey.
      2. So with a husband and wife, there should be a discussion, prayer, working through options, input, feedback, preferences, and then ultimately if there is not agreement the husband needs to decide and the wife needs to follow.
      3. There is not that same process with our children.
        1. Do you prefer to put your clothes away and brush your teeth and shower regularly….no, you don’t ok, let me think and pray and weigh the pro’s and cons about if you should clean your room.
        2. This is not cruelty, it is teaching them to follow authority that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. And may actually preserve their lives.
        3. It is also most importantly, well pleasing to the Lord.
        4. They are to do this in all things, as they see their role as most important than the actual task, and how while they are under the protection and provision of their parents house, they are to be completely under the instructions of their parents.
        5. Children are to obey ultimately because the Lord commands it and He is pleased when children obey their parents in all things.
    3. C.f. Eph. 6:1-3
  2. Fathers,
    1. We need to admit that It is easy to exasperate children and cause them to lose heart
    2. We don’t know why Paul shifts from Parents to father here. But it is clear that mothers give instruction to children as well.
    3. But perhaps since the husband is the leader of the family, he is in a position where he is most likely to exasperate. He may not use his authority to lead and serve but rather quarrel and exasperate.
      1. Exasperate: other words:
        1. Embitter, arouse, provide,
          1. to cause someone to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge[2]
          2. it would be like walking up to someone on the street and saying, You are nothing, you can’t do anything right, and I am bigger than you and stronger than you and I can crush you…what are you going to do about it. The temptation is to rise up and meet that challenge.
          3. Other us: 2 Cor. 9:2 ---stir up
      2. a parent has more resources than a child, and has a position of authority over them, so they can really make life difficult for their children if they want to.
      3. So if they are embittered, they try to lash out, and the parent doesn’t submit to God, it is easy to just give up (lose heart).
      4. Question: How can this happen?
        1. Not encouraging them?
        2. Only pointing out faults
        3. Being harsh and not allowing for freedom
        4. controlling using fear or manipulation.
    4. Need to remember that parenting is more than just a formula; it is a relationship where I am to focus on pleasing God with my whole being in how I raise my kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Glorifying God with Our whole being also applies …

  1. In the Workplace (3:22, 4:1)

Colossians 3:22–4:1 22Slaves, 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. 23Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. 1Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.

The principle is how do you relate to someone else who is in charge of the work you are to do everyday, and in our culture that is often our boss.

  •  I want to make sure it is clear that we are in no way condoning slavery, after all it was on the basis of Christian principles were used to abolish slavery in this country…

It is very important to understand that slavery in Bible times was not like slavery in places like, for example, the United States of America.

- that certainly doesn’t make it right, but it does make it different.

- Slavery in America was a permanent condition, a life sentence with little hope of freedom. In the ancient world, unless a person was a criminal, a slave had every hope of emancipation. Usually it was a 10 to 20-year condition.

- In American society, slavery was racial, with African slaves and white masters. In Greco-Roman society, it was impossible to distinguish a slave on the basis of clothing, color, or race.

- In American society slaves were segregated socially, but in Roman society it was usually difficult to distinguish a slave from other people by the slave's friends, a slave's occupation, or the worship patterns

- Slaves in our country had no legal rights. Under the law they were regarded as only 3/5 of a human being. Slaves in the ancient world had many legal rights including the right to appeal to a higher authority in the case of harsh or unfair treatment.

- In America, slaves were on the lowest rung of society. In the ancient world, slaves were often of higher status than people who were free, depending on their masters.

- Slavery in America was degrading and dehumanizing. In ancient Greece or Rome, slavery was often viewed as an opportunity. Large numbers of people sold themselves into slavery to find a better life than what they had as free people. As slaves, it was possible to secure special jobs and to climb socially.

- In America slaves did only menial work. In the ancient world slaves often held high positions in civil service and in the business world. They served as physicians, nurses to their owners, they taught the children and were companions to the elderly. Slaves were writers, accountants, bailiffs jailers, overseers, secretaries, sea-captains.

- In America it was illegal to educate slaves. In the ancient world slaves were often well educated, acting as tutors or advisors to their owners.

- Slaves were not allowed to own property in America. In the ancient world slaves could own property, and they could maintain savings, anticipating the time when they would be set free. In some cases, slaves even owned their own slaves.

- American slaves had no hope of a normal family life. In the ancient world, slaves often maintained a separate existence from their masters. They even held down outside work to increase their savings.

- Slavery in the USA was completely detestable. It was the result of kidnapping. In ancient Greece and Rome, slavery was often freely chosen. Being free was frequently a disadvantage for the slave and financially advantageous for the master.

- however, it would be incorrect to read our country’s experience with slavery back into this text, or any NT passage on this topic…that’s why it is very appropriate for us to use this passage to discuss employee/employer relations today, because slavery in Bible times was in many ways closer to our working relationships today, than it was to slavery in America.

- So the principle here is that in every relationship, someone has to have the final say…someone has to be in charge and someone has to be under.

How are we to function in those roles to the glory of God.

  1. Employee/Slave
    1. First, it is remarkable how Paul addresses slaves. He puts them on equal ground as everyone else as they have responsibilities to the Lord even in their circumstances.
    2. Paul never condones slavery, but he helps someone who is in that situation to still focus on living for the Lord.
    3. Notice how he says, those who are your masters on Earth. He is laying the ground work, that those who are in charge are not ultimately in charge.
    4. He says not to do it with external service only.
      1. It is sort of like when you just look like you are working hard when your boss walks by.
      2. And inevitably you could work really hard and take a 5 min break and that is exactly when you boss comes by.
      3. Or have you ever gotten to work early, been getting after it, then mid morning forgot you left your lunch in the car, so you get bundled out and get your lunch in your car, grab your lunch and then and it looks like you got to work at 10:00
      4. The point is to not worry about that either way, but to work from the heart when you are seen or not seen.
      5. Because you have a fear of the Lord, not of man, even those who are earthly masters.
      6. Whatever work we do, we are to work heartily unto the Lord, because even earthly people we serve, we are really serving the Lord.
      7. Do you ever think your everyday tasts you do for others, is actually for the Lord.
      8. God wants your whole being to be devoted to him, even the tasks you do for those in charge of you.
    5. Paul specifically reminds them to do it with all their heart, knowing that working for someone that way is very hard.
    6. Question: When is the last time at work you did a task or responded to a person, and said to yourself, Lord this is for you. That is something that should be a regular part of a believers work day.


  1. Employer:
    1. While you might not own your own business, you might be placed in some sort of authority one day.
    2. The text says If you oversee someone, you should always seek to promote justice and fairness.
      1. This is not just what you think is just and fair, but it is a recognition that there is something right outside of just who you are as a boss…
    3. Because we are told that we all have a higher authority—God
    4. If a follower of Christ is in charge of others, they are to do so with Justice and Fairness that comes from an understanding of How God brings about justice and fairness throughout redemption history.
    5. They are to recognize that they have a master.

The third key would be…

  III.        Remember that you will reap what you sow (3:24-25)

Colossians 3:24–25 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

  1. There is to be a focus on Rewards
    1. In this life, you can lose anything and everything.
    2. When you work for the Lord, you can’t lost anything – your life is hidden with Christ.
    3. A slave, would not have an inheritance like a son would, but God puts them on the same level, as we have an inheritance from the Lord as his bride, his child and his servant.
    4. That is to motivate us at the heart level, not just if someone sees us and rewards us in the earthly life.


  1. There is also to be a focus on Consequences
  2. All will be made right, either the good or bad you have done.
    1. There will not be favoritism or partiality based on your position or external appearance, for God judges righteously.
    2. A believer cannot lose their salvation as it is secure ion Christ, but that does not mean there are not the consequences of lost rewards if we treat others in a way that does not honor the Lord.

So in conclusion, the Lord wants all of you all the time, because you are intimately connected to Christ and that is to impact every relationship each day, but especially the people you see the most…your spouse, your kids, and your boss/supervision.

We are all to work heartily for the Lord rather than for men no matter what role or stage of life you are in because  if we are raised up with Christ, we are his bride, his child and his servant.

Let’s pray.


[1] Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44: Colossians, Philemon (223)

[2] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 391.

Dustin Folden


Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church


B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.