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Who We Are & What We’re For: Glorifying God in Our Work (Ephesians 6:5-9)

Dec 5, 2021
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Work is a part of life, and In the first two chapters of Genesis, work is a part of God’s good created order. It was assigned to man before the fall, and was created as good. Since God works, it is another way that we are made in His image. Unfortunately, due to the fall, our work can be hard, stressful, and heavy. It is broken because the world is broken, Thankfully, when Jesus returns, all we be made whole again.
In the meantime, Paul addresses work in Ephesians 6:5-9. During this time, there were more slaves than free people in the Roman world. Masters had the right to treat their slaves (bondservants) however they chose to. As Paul writes this letter, he speaks of masters and slaves. He didn’t condemn slavery in this letter. Instead, Paul implores all readers to remember their calling in Christ to make disciples and share the gospel. Through this, hearts are changed. This leads to societal change.
As Paul begins by speaking to those who are under a master, he reminds them to obey “as you would Christ”. This statement presupposes that the followers of Christ are growing and flourishing in their walk with Him. This is not a “do better” list. Here are some questions to think about as an employee:
  1. Are you in love with Jesus, or do you just like Him a lot?
  2. Is Christ beautiful to you, or is there something else that really captures your attention?
  3. Are you cultivating a faithful relationship with Him?
  4. Does the gospel frame who you are and what you do?
The next verses 6-8 are a good “check”:
Not just eye-service – serve from the heart
Not pleasing people – doing the will of God
Not just serving man – serve the Lord
Your reward comes from the Lord – When we serve, there is great joy and fulfillment. Our pay doesn’t come from our job, it comes from the Lord. Our job is never the source of our provision, and we serve out of a fuel given by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit should permeate every aspect of our lives, and we live a life of integrity when He is the source of work, rest, and play.
Verse 9 addresses those that lead others. There are fewer words, but a heavier weight:
  1. Do the same (as the instructions above)
  2. Stop your threatening – treat them the way that God has treated you
  3. Remember, you answer to God
  4. God has a heart for the lowly – beware
  5. He sees us all the same because we all have equal worth.
Signs you are drifting from a Spirit-filled work ethic:
  1. You become lazy in your work
  2. You become a workaholic
  3. You develop a critical spirit of those placed over you
  4. You are losing the mission of making disciples in your context
  5. You are becoming hypocritical
  6. You begin to make small compromises
  7. You no longer have a forgiving spirit
Remember, you are not defined by what you do. Your value is NOT in your work!
Discussion Questions:
  1. How are you light in your workplace? What are the challenges that make it hard to be that light?
  2. Looking at the list of Spirit-filled work ethic above, where do you need to be cautious? Are you truly working through the power of the Holy Spirit? What does that mean?
  3. Where can you serve more faithfully?
  4. Pray for those that God has placed over you.