“How do you work?”
Turn with me this morning to Ephesians 6, as we continue on in our study of the book of Ephesians. Remember this is a book written to Christians at Ephesus,
which was the capital of where?
(Asia Minor - modern day Turkey)
Paul writes to encourage them, reminding them in 1:3 that
they have been blessed in the heavenly realm with what?
(Every Spiritual Blessing)
He goes through the first three chapters telling us about what these blessings are:
•we are predestined for salvation
•we are redeemed, being forgiven of our sins
•we are identified and sealed, kept secure by the Holy Spirit
•Paul prays for the believers to experience the power of God at work in their lives
•Paul reminds them that Jews and Gentiles together have become one body, the church
In chapters 1-3 Paul gives us teaching, reminding us what is true. In chapters 4-6, he gives us application, reminding us what we DO with what we know to be true. He reminds us that as Christians we are to “measure up” to the standard of Christ in every area of our lives.
•We are called to Unity, as believers we are to work together for the good of the church.
•We are called to Purity, we have a new way of thinking about how we live our lives.
•And we are called to Harmony, we are called to have a new way of relating in our interpersonal relationships: both in our families and in our working relationships.
This morning, we want to talk about our working relationships.
Many times families take vacations, and we miss a lot because we focus on the DESTINATION. As a result, we can ruin the whole trip. Sometimes we have the trip timed out so we have to go so many miles a day to reach the hotel where we have reservations. We can’t stop to see sights along the way, because Grandma is expecting us at a certain time. Today, I’d remind us that the TRIP is just as important as the destination.
In the Old Testament, the Jews wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. God had promised to give them a good land, a land fill with all kinds of bounty, but they wandered in the desert 40 years. Why did they wander? Yes, it was because they refused to take the land. But the greater reason is that God wanted to teach them, over 40 slow tedious years, that they needed to listen to him. He couldn’t teach them that lesson overnight.
I’ve seen magicians who said as part of their act, “What I’m going to do is so simple a five year old can do it with 30 years of practice.”
We often want God to act now, to show us the destination, but God often cares more about the journey.
Today we want to talk about work - God wants us to be good workers, we all know that - but this morning let’s realize that God’s bigger concern is not WHERE we work, but HOW we work. The questions we often ask God are all about a destination: God, where should I work, what job do you want me to have, where should I live when I retire. But God cares about the journey: what type of worker are you going to be.
Today, as we look at God’s word, let’s see what God has to say to us about HOW we work.
Read Ephesians 6:5-9 - Pray
Paul has finished a section telling us that our lives are to be very different from the world. No longer do we live according to the ways of the world, but we have changed our lifestyle.
•Remember, Right thinking brings what? (Right Action)
Paul has gone through a list of several areas where we think differently and so we act differently. We looked last week at marriage, because we want to line up with God’s plan, we live very differently than the world.
Today, in chapter 6, we see God’s instructions for slaves and masters. In our culture we don’t see many slaves or slave owners, but what we do see is the idea of workers and employers. Sometimes at your job you may feel like a slave. But it is quite interesting to see what Paul doesn’t say.
If we were writing to slaves in the first century culture, we might want to give them hope: God wants you to be free, look for a chance to escape, masters set your slaves free. But God doesn’t say that. Instead he says, slaves, be really good slaves, and masters, treat your slaves really well. And we want to say, NO Paul, you didn’t hear right. Don’t you understand that God wants all men to live free?! But once again, we are focused on the destination instead of the journey.