More than what, more than how . . . but why you do what you do will ultimately determine the success of your “doings.”
This sort of thinking has been championed recently by various thought leaders, but the principle goes back to the Bible itself. God does not just look at the outward appearance, he looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Moreover, the command to circumcise your heart (Deuteronomy 10:16), was followed up with a promise that God would circumcise the heart (Deuteronomy 30:6), thus trading out the heart of stone for a believing heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26–27). In short, God’s work of salvation has always targeted the heart and why we do what we do.
And in this week’s sermon, we saw that Paul’s message to servants focuses on the same truth. Instead of giving a laundry lists of “how’s” or “what’s” for servants (or modern day employees) to follow, he gives three reasons why we should persevere in doing good work.
You can listen to the sermon online. Response questions can be found below.
** In preparation for the message, please consider reading about Paul, slaves, and the church or listening to the sermon on Ephesians 6:5–9. It will provide a necessary backdrop for understanding Paul’s words to Timothy.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds
- How might one’s historical/contextual understanding of slavery make this passage difficult?
- What motivation undergirds Paul’s exhortation for bondservants/slaves to honor their masters?
- Do you see a correlation to your own work, and your employer’s perception of “the name of God and the teaching”?
- When one has a believing master, does Paul’s instruction change?
- Are Christians to have different work ethics when it comes to believers and unbelievers? Or might their be a different “why”?
- What are the temptations for a believer when serving a believing master?
- What motivation is to undergird the bondservant/slave’s work for a believing master?
- What gospel truths would you connect to your workplace?
- And if your direct line of work does not “advance the kingdom,” how does your work carry out the great commandment — “love of neighbor”?