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Colossians 3.22-4,1

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AT THE WORK PLACE ‘IN CHRIST’

(A Series on Colossians)

Westgate Chapel 11/7/93 a.m.                   Colossians 3:22-4:1

PROPOSITION:  If the Christian is someone who lives his/her life “in Christ” and if the Christian is an epistle, known and read by everybody, then what is the message told by your life?

i. introduction

-     FOR the last two Sundays we have talked about the fact that being a Christian puts you in a supernatural, organic relationship with Christ?

-     YOU and I live our lives “in Christ”....not on our own energies or resources.

-     SO when Jesus died on the cross, taking on Himself the penalty for the sins of the world.......I died with Him there and my sins have been paid for. (Romans 6:4)

-     WHEN He rose again from the grave, triumphant over sin and death......I was raised in that same resurrection power and neither sin, hell nor the grave have any power over me. (Colossians 2:10)

-     SINCE He is dead to sin and alive to the Father....then I am dead to sin and alive to the Father. (Romans 6:11)

-     BECAUSE there is no condemnation against Him...there is therefore none against me. (Romans 8:1)

-     BECAUSE He is sanctified from sin....I am sanctified from sin and growing in victory. (I Corinthians 1:2)

-     SINCE He stands firm against all the attack of the evil one....I stand firm. (II Corinthians 1:21)

-     SINCE He walks in triumphal  procession over all powers and authorities of darkness....so do I. (II Corinthians 2:14)

-     BECAUSE Jesus is raised up and seated at the right hand of the Father...then so am I even at this moment. (Ephesians 2:6)

-     HOW do we know all this? Because His Word says,

      “ ......if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

-     SO the essence of what it means to be a Christian is to be “in Christ.”

-     FOR the last two Sundays we have talked about what this being “in Christ” means to our marriages...and to our families.

-     AND this morning, from Colossians 3:22 - 4:1, we are going to examine what being “in Christ” means to employers and employees.

-     BEING “in Christ” is the fuel, the motivation and the power that enables us to be completely different than the world in the work place.

-     BUT II Corinthians 3:2&3 reminds us of the seriousness of our responsibility.

      “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

-     HOW you act at Boeing, at Washington Mutual, at Nordstroms, at Weyerhaeuser......is an epistle to that business place from Christ known and read by everybody.

-     AND that is where the revival rubber meets the road.

-     THE purpose of God’s presence is to transform the way we live...and make us an epistle read  by those around us for the purpose of being to them the aroma of Life.

 

ii.  THE EMPLOYEE ‘IN CHRIST’

-     IN Colossians 3:22-25 Paul deals with the work ethic of the employee....”in Christ.”

      “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything....

-     THE kingdom of God operates on the principle of willing submission.

-     JESUS modeled it in His relationship to the Father.

-     THE apostles taught it as the operating principle in the family, between believers, in the church, and as our attitude towards those over us in government.

-     SO, it comes as no surprise that in the workplace, the Holy Spirit tells us to obey the boss in everything....that is everything that doesn’t contradict God’s Word.

*     The Christian employee is to be respectful. Obeying orders with fear and trembling. Not cocky, arrogant, demanding. To work out of reverence for the Lord whose authority your employer represents.

-     AND the heart attitude towards the boss in this matter of submission....

      “.....do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (vs 22)

-     OUR obedience on the job, to that cigarette smoking, cussing boss....is to be the same as if it was Jesus asking us to bring Him that 5/16th socket.

*     The Christian employee is to obey with singleness of heart, without hypocrisy or ulterior  motive. Your employer's highest good is your number one concern.

-     BESIDES obedience to the boss, there is the matter of hustle. Verse 23.

      “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men....” (vs 23)

-     THERE is that matter of attitude again.....as working for the Lord.

*     The Christian employee is to be conscientious. Not just to appear busy, but diligent, never satisfied with shoddy work, but rather to work as pleasing to the Lord. 

-     BUT what about that raise...or the bonus? What is in it for me?

      “.....you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

-     BACK to the attitude of the heart in verse 24.

      “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (vs 24)

-     AND then, in verse 25, Paul includes a little negative incentive for the Christian employee.

      “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.” (vs 25)

-     I SURVEYED some employers from Westgate about what they looked for from a Christian employee.

*     One said that unfortunately he had not always had good experiences employing Christians....and got sued by one the week that I talked to him.

*     Another said that he had some great Christian employees, but that some of the Christians that he had hired expected special treatment and didn’t hustle.

*     Another said that he gets concerned when a potential employee parades his/her Christianity from the very beginning.....that usually spells trouble down the road. Whereas the Christian employee who lets their life and actions tell the story as it unfolds usually end up good workers as well.

-     IN his book “Biblical Principles in Business” Robert Chewning.....gives some good practical application for the Christian employee.

-     HERE are some excerpts....positive and negative. I won’t have the time to quote the verse that accompanies each principle.

*     Work hard. Don’t just give the impression that you are working hard. This is stealing time and time is the same as stealing money from the company.

*     Half-hearted work is the same as stealing.

*     Being habitually late or leaving early is the same as stealing.

*     Sneaking “sickleave” to go hunting or when the silvers are running....is stealing.

*     Wasting time talking to fellow employees.....steals your time and the time of the other party. Evangelize on your time, not the company’s time.

*     Give a full days’ work for a full days’ pay.

 

*     Handle company resources/assets as if they belonged to the Lord.

*     When you eat out on the company....make sure it is legitimate company business and don’t order the most expensive meal on the menu.

*     Don’t use company legal pads for personal use...nor the stamp machine.

*     We must be faithful in small things if we are going to given larger responsibilities by the Lord.

 

*     Obey company policies.

*     Dress codes, safety regulations, business procedures are there for you to submit to. It is irrelevant whether or not you think they make sense.

*     The issue is submission.

 

*     Be loyal.

*     You have a God-given responsibility to protect the reputation of your employer, the name of the company and the product or service.

*     Again the issue is submission.

 

iii. the Employer ‘in christ’

-     HERE comes the reciprocal principle.

-     WHETHER it is the marriage, the family, the church or business....God’s principles are always in perfect balance.

-     IN Colossians 4:1 the Holy Spirit has some instruction for Christian employers.

      “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair...”

-     CHRISTIAN employers are commanded to do what is right and fair for their employees.

-     AND some of the motivation for this?

      “.....because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

-     I SURVEYED some employees from the congregation.

*     One was concerned about Christian employers taking advantage of them and expecting concessions in their schedule or salary....expecting them to work for peanuts because the boss was a Christian.

*     Another employee was concerned about being pressured to do some things that he and the employer knew were unethical.

-     ONCE again Richard Chewning has some Biblical suggestions for the Christian Employer.

*     Pay your employees fair wages for the position and output. Anything less is stealing.

*     God’s Word is strong against withholding fair wages.

*     Salary discrimination based on sex or race is a sin. Christian business ought to be setting the pace for fairness.

 

*     Employers and bosses must resist class discrimination and should give everyone down line from them the opportunity to participate in the creative process.

*     Everyone should be given the chance to grow and take increased responsibility. It is part of the employers stewardship of human resources.

 

*     The health, safety and well-being of the employee is your responsibility.

*     Too much overtime. Repeated weekends taken away from the family. No vacation. All these are concerns that the Christian employer must assume.

-     AND then, some general comments for the Christian employer:

*     Don’t stretch the truth or exaggerate about your product or service. That is lying. And what you don’t say is as indicting as what you do say sometimes.

*     Reducing product quality while increasing the price is like tampering with the scales and God hates dishonest scales.

*     Provide the service that you have promised at the time of the sale. One Westgate business man said that even if one of his employees made a mistake in the quote....they deliver the service as promised.

*     Don’t pirate ideas or products from competitors...that is stealing.

*     Don’t attack a competitor. That is ungodly behavior. The Word says that we are to love our enemies. Use the creativity and strength that the Lord has given you to make it on your own, not by tearing others down.

*     Obey all the laws of the land that govern your business...including the IRS. Don’t try to cut corners. You are an epistle read by all.

-     ALL of this can best be summed up by a story about Martin Luther.

      “Martin Luther was once approached by a cobbler who wanted to know how he could give witness to the fact that he was a Christian cobbler. The cobbler’s idea was to imprint the sign of the cross on every shoe  he made. Martin Luther’s reply was classic: ‘A Christian cobbler is not known by whether he makes a cross but whether he makes a good pair of shoes.’”

iv. conclusion

-     LET me go back and read to you from II Corinthians 3:2&3. It will reminds us of the seriousness of our responsibility in the work place.

      “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

-     WORKING hard, diligently, with right attitude and loyalty to our employer....giving 110%...is our responsibility unto the Lord. After all, we are “in Christ.”

-     CONDUCTING an ethical business, treating our employees with dignity and fairness.....is our responsibility unto the Lord. After all, we are “in Christ.”

-     REVIVAL will change the work place and win souls.

 

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