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Summary: We need to work as if we were working for Jesus.

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Integrity At Work

Text: Col. 3:22-4:1

Introduction

1. Illustration: Quote: Francis Bacon: It is not what men eat but what they digest that makes them strong; Not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; Not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; Not what we preach but what we practice that makes us Christians.

2. When we talk about being a good witness at work, often times we talk about being a Christian example to those we work with, but what about those we work for? As a professing Christian, what does your boss think of you?

3. Does he/she consider you...

A. Hard worker?

B. Dependable?

C. Reliable?

D. Trustworthy?

4. When it comes to our behavior at work...

A. Act As If You Were Working For The Lord

B. Act As If God Is Watching...Because He Is

C. Act As If You Have A Boss In Heaven

5. Let's stand together, out of respect for the Word of God, as we read Col. 3:22-4:1.

Proposition: We need to work as if we were working for the Lord.

Transition: First, let's...

I. Act As If You Were Working For The Lord (22-24).

A. As Though You Were Working For The Lord

1. In dealing with this passage we have a bit of an interpretation issue we need to heal with, because we don't have any slaves in our day and age, and our view of slavery is based on the slavery system in our Nation's past. However, slavery in Paul's day was considerably different.

A. In ancient Roman society slavery was not only legal, but it also had a major influence on their society.

B. While slaves either didn't get paid for their services, or at least paid very little, there were some economical advantages to being a slave.

C. If a person was in serious debt, or needed money for their family, they would sell themselves into slavery for a determined period of time.

D. In fact, many slaves after their time as a slave was to come to an end would chose to remain a slave. They had a roof over their heads, food to eat and clothes to wear.

E. So for our purposes, rather than seeing this as a slave/master relationship, we are going to look at it as a employer/employee relationship.

2. Now that we have established how we are going to look at the text, let's examine the text itself. In v. 22, Paul says, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord."

A. Paul used the same word for obey here as he used in 3:20 for children to obey their parents.

B. Slaves were also to obey the commands and desires of their masters, not just when they were being watched and hoping for a reward, but at all times.

C. They should no longer merely work for human approval, they should work hard and well because of their reverent fear of the Lord.

D. Believers who were slaves were not set free from serving their masters, but they were set free from slavery to sin. Their ultimate Master was God himself.

E. Paul explained that God wanted the slaves to fulfill their responsibilities in this world even as they looked forward to the next.

F. Slaves played a significant part in this society, with several million in the Roman Empire at this time.

G. Slavery was sanctioned by law and was part of the empire's social makeup. Because many slaves and slave owners had become Christians, the early church had to deal straightforwardly with the question of master/slave relations.

H. While neither condemning nor condoning slavery, Paul told masters and slaves how to live together in Christian households.

I. In Paul's day, women, children, and slaves had few rights. In the church, however, they had freedoms that society denied them (Barton, 886).

J. Now I think a key in this verse for us is the part that says, "Try to please they all the time, not just when they are watching."

K. I think we can all relate to working a little harder when the boss is standing over us then we do when they're not around.

L. According to Paul, we should be diligent in our work whether the boss is watching or not, out of reverent fear of the Lord.

3. Next, Paul goes on to say in vv. 23-24, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ."

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