Two Simple Keys for Living in the World
—Colossians Part 10: 3:22–4:18
Andrew Fountain – Nov 27, 2016
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In this passage, Paul gives us two simply keys
a simple key to the workplace
a simple key to evangelism This is the end of the book, but the keys are rooted in the beginning
The keys flow from the truth: 0. Review of the Book
The first ½ of the book is teaching
The second ½ is application (life) The
climax of this first ½ is the idea that we are
“United with Christ” in his death and resurrection We
died with him we were raised from the dead with him into a new existence But we are still living in this world. We’re living in two worlds at the same time
The age to come, and this present world
Here lies our problems I’ve tried to sum it up in a picture:
½ of the book is the implication
How this truth brings life This second ½ spreads out into four areas 1. Our inner world, and our temptations
The Boston Cream Donut: chocolatey outside and yellow sweet creamy middle
I could shout very loudly about them! (as some preachers do)
I could plead with you and weep, and try and put emotional pressure on you
How could you have eaten those 15 donuts..., it grieves me so much, after all the time we spent trying to deal with this issue you let me down! I could terrify you with threats of judgement to come
I could go on and on trying to play with your imagination till you were scared I could move you with some tragic stories of the effects of sin
The terrible tale of Mr. Tim Horton who couldn’t resist his own donuts and exploded in one of his own restaurants I could try and logically reason you out of sin
Those donuts actually have very little food value, and each one takes 1 week off your life Paul says: “Who are you?”
You’re so much more than a donut eater.
You are the pinnacle of God’s new creation
What God has for you in these next few years is so exciting—don’t let donuts get in the way
You have a destiny that even now you are beginning to live in So if it’s
Truth that brings Life
The truth is our new destiny, our new identity Then we looked at: How we relate within our Christian family
We dressed Cam up in new clothes
The key idea is that the inner you is already new—you are a new creation in Christ
You need to throw off the old habits that don’t fit
Put on your new clothes
Anyone remember any of the old clothes?
tender mercies, kindness, humility, gentleness, longsuffering Anyone remember any of the new?
But now you yourselves are to strip off all these:
anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language out of your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another Therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourself with
tender mercies, kindness, humility, gentleness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another,
if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do; and of top of all these things adding love, which is the bond of perfection.
So if it’s
Truth that brings Life
The truth is that the core you is new, and you actually can discard old habits like old clothes
Don’t be trapped by thinking that you can’t Larry’s goldfish
Last time we talked about submitting to one another in family relationships and in the church
The New Creation is about how Christ submitted his own interests to our best interests
By submitting to one another, we are able to bring the future into the present
The Age to come into the now
The New Creation into our daily lives We walk out the submission of Christ in our relationships This week we are going to look at how we relate to those who are outside
We’ll see two simple keys 1. The Passage
2. The Workplace
We are going to go back to the last section and read from 3:18 onwards
partly because we didn’t look at these verses last time
but mainly because in Paul’s day these words related to the home
but now they are more appropriate to the workplace Before we do, a note about the translation:
The word in Greek for Lord (as in Lord Jesus) is the same as for Master —Kurios
This enables Paul to make a play on words, which is lost in many translations First a few notes of explanation
This is literally talking about
slaves, but slavery was very different in those days
In the worst case of course there was abuse and cruelty
In the best case the slaves were treated just like the real children
job for life, care and protection, and may even be adopted as a son But also remember that in general life was
very hard for everyone in those days
most people had to work extremely long hours with no day off or vacation, whether slave or free In a minute I am going to talk about how these words might apply to our workplace situation today Masters “according to the flesh”
Paul has this image of The Two Worlds in mind
Problem is that we are living in the old as well as the new
How then do we live on a Monday morning in the flesh? We reflect the realities of the world of the Spirit back into this one There is a master in both dimensions of reality
we serve the flesh-master as if we were serving the Master
do you ever notice how when the boss walks in, people stop chattering about what they did last night and start focusing on work?
Have you ever seen people whose main aim is to get the credit for what is going well
It is all about giving a good impression to the boss, and not the actual work
e.g. I used to be a university lecturer and had a lot of big projects to grade, which I didn’t enjoy
nobody would ever know how carefully I graded them
Some people joked that the best way to grade them was to throw them (heaviest went further) Literally this is “eye-service” How would it be different if you were doing it for someone who noticed all those extra little things you did to do a good job
someone who valued the care you took, even when nobody else notices
the word “soul” has many meanings, but here we can best think of it as life energy
“doing it with all your life’s energies”
pour everything you have into it Now Paul tells them that the reason they should do it as to Christ, is that
are serving him In the end, he will be the one who pays them
(see image) The reward is actually closeness to Jesus himself. Then
masters have their turn
They must be
just and fair because they are accountable to a greater master v.25 applies to both—God will judge slave and master alike. They cannot bribe him. Interesting question: Why is there so much here addressed to bondservants, compared to the other five
Maybe most of the people in the church were in that category How does this apply to the modern workplace?
First, I don’t think we can just draw a straight line and say
employees must never complain about pay or conditions, but just slave away The model we have today is that there is a
working agreement between an employer and employee
May be a written contract, or may be implied
It is essentially a trading agreement —hours of effort in exchange for money This agreement should be
fair and not exploiting the workers
We have a right to negotiate a good agreement and protest about bad agreements
Unions are a necessity in a fallen world
There are bad unions around, but if you look, bad management often gets the unions they deserve.
unfortunately mostly it is about greed on both sides, but I am not trying to make a political statement here so I won’t say anything more Now, once you have agreed to a contract (written or otherwise), then this passage applies much more to you
During the time you are supposed to be working, this is how you should work!
This doesn’t mean you have to work all hours of the week like a slave
or unsafe working practices etc. But the promise of a reward from Jesus will still apply to you.
Double pay: at the end of the week or month, and in eternity!! This is the Key
the most important thing you can do is to understand the principle:
we are living in the physical world, according to the principles of the Spiritual World 3. Those who are outside
We have three things we can to that relate to those outside Christ:
And Paul says something about each one Pray v2–4
“giving constant attention” —this is the same word used for the personal servants of the Roman general Cornelius who waited on him continually
In Luke 11 we have a parable about how to pray
The man who banged on his neighbour’s door and just wounldn’t let up!
The word can be translated “shameless persistence” —most people would be embarrassed to keep on so long
But not an attitude of being peeved at God, but “thanksgiving”
Not “God, why haven’t you saved them yet...” But in this case, the context is the Gospel
What are the two requests? —opportunity and faithfulness
Door: a favourite metaphor for Paul and others
Acts 14:27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
1 Cor. 16:9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
2 Cor. 2:12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord,
And this is a great message—that the door is for the message to go through. Then he prays that he will speak “as he ought to” —he’ll actually say what he should say
This is a good way to start your day:
Lord, give me opportunities, and make me faithful when I get them
Give me open doors, and the boldness to walk through them So this is the first point about how we relate to unbelievers Walk: v5
concept of “those who are outside” outside of what? the new creation, the body
redeeming: (1:14 redemption) literally to buy up at a market (agora) snap up every bargain
Who likes shopping for bargains?
(just had Black Friday) Anne bought a food mixer
What are they outside of? —The kingdom
Jesus is the one in whom all wisdom is hidden (1:?)
We don’t have to somehow work up this wisdom—he is living in us and freely shares it What does this mean in practice?
being ready! (Chris has his personal tract)
not behaving in a way that brings dishonour to Christ, but the opposite Talk: v6
Grace (ambiguous)... beauty (graceful) or free (gratuity)
Salty speech? ... and interesting and flavourful way of speaking, not dull and boring
not like the guy who shouted “are you ready to die?”
Paul at Mars Hill. “I see an alter to an unknown God” ...
My Mum taking the assembly at school, brings a real lamb!
We have to be interesting
Conversation with an atheist couple on a train: “We’re the kind of church that only believes things there is evidence for.”
Conversation with a man at a party: “We’re the kind of church that has no rituals” Christians are very much stereotyped in the world today
Jesus was not boring and predictable!: Woman of Samaria, Nicodemus
Pray for his innovating wisdom Think out in advance how a conversation might go. 4. Quick overview of the rest of the book
v7-9 Back in those days you could “tell a message to the postman”!
Onesimus is also carrying another letter!! (?)
Interesting to see a slice of church life going on
only place in the Bible where we know that Luke is a doctor!
Two Keys – 1: Workplace:
You have two bosses!
Bring the future into the present
Pray: “Give me open doors, and the boldness to walk through them”
Walk: Look for the opportunities you prayed for! Talk: words that are “tasty” and interesting (Wisdom from Christ)
Demo of walking through a door carrying tasty food