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29 Oct 2023

Work & Worship [Colossians 3:22-4:1]

Overview

Worship is not limited to a building on Sunday mornings. We can, and should, worship God 24-7. Worship is therefore to be the goal of our work in the office. But why? And how is our work related to worship? Find out more about the Christian work ethic and the motivation behind it in this easy-to-follow and practical sermon here!

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We as a church have been going through the Bible in our preaching sessions here. And so we come now to the book of Colossians and chapter 3. It's a letter written a long time ago to a church in the ancient city of Colossae.

But let me start with an article that I read this week. I read about this stomper huh, someone who is a reader of this website and who wrote this story about this bus captain named Mr. Prasad. Stomper moved by what handsome bus captain did for abusive commuter who didn't pay fare. She wrote, her name is Sharon, and she wrote, I witnessed an individual or an incident involving an old man of about 80 years old who boarded the bus together with me.

He climbed on the bus without tapping his card, without paying for his bus fare and went straight to a seat. Mr. Prasad, the bus captain, gently said, sir, you have not tapped your card. The man answered, so what? Call the police lah, you stupid man. He started shouting, scolding, and cursing Mr. Prasad, who simply kept smiling and took out his own money to pay for the man before he continued driving.

After a few stops, the old man pressed the bell to alight. Unfortunately, he could not stand up and shouted for help. Mr. Prasad immediately jumped out from his driver's seat, lifted the man up and guided him down the bus. He made sure the man was fine before he came back to the bus and continued driving. I'm so touched by Mr. Prasad's attitude. He cared and showed concern for this old man even though he was shouted and cursed at.

Well, this is not the first time this commuter has seen something good from Mr. Prasad because she goes on to say, it has been two years since I wrote in and complimented Mr. Prasad. Two years ago, this is what happened. She shared how Mr. Prasad had come to her rescue after she boarded SBS Transit's bus service 852 without her wallet by giving her $10. He told me to keep the change in case I might need it that day or for the day. This handsome driver never fails to smile and greet every passenger, young or old, regardless of race, rich or poor. It really makes my day and that of all the other passengers.

I wonder how many of you take bus 852. And if you do see Mr. Prasad, I hope you'll say, Hi, well done, sir, I read about you on Stomp. Well, we can't help but be impressed with Mr. Prasad's work ethics, isn't it? I mean, he's a wonderful testimony, witness, and example for SBS Transit. He's like the poster boy for them. His tremendous work ethics brings glory to his company.

And in a sense, the Christian is called to a certain work ethic as well. There is Christian work ethic in our workplace that we need to exemplify and display. And if we do it right, we also bring glory to our God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, that's what we are going to look at this morning. Colossians chapter 3 opens with this statement that if you then have been raised with Christ, Paul has been speaking about how when we believe in Jesus Christ, we are united with Jesus Christ. We are joined together with Him. We died with Jesus in our old life. We don't have to fulfill the rituals and the laws in order to get right with God anymore. Jesus paid it all.

Not only are we joined with Him in His death, we are also joined with Him in the new resurrection. So if you had been raised with Christ, if now that you are a new creation because of Jesus Christ, this is what you need to pursue. This is what you need to desire, this is what you need to seek. You have to seek the things that are above. And we define seeking things above as seeking, pursuing obedience to Christ in everyday life.

Purity in life

And the Apostle Paul makes it clear what this obedience to Christ in everyday life will look like. He tells us in verses 5 to 11, this means that you have to pursue purity in life. You do not continue indulging in the sins of old. Put away sexual immorality, covetousness, idolatry, anger, malice. Put away these things.

Unity in church

And then he says, as a new creation in Christ, we are to pursue unity in the church. Put on the garments of compassion, humility, meekness, gentleness, above all things love, and letting the peace of Christ, the peace amongst God's people be that premium that we should seek after.

Order in the household

And then he talks about how we need to pursue order in the household, that there should be harmony in the family.

Faithfulness in prayer, wisdom and graciousness in testimony

And next week, we're going to look at what it means to be faithful in prayer and be a good witness before a watching world. These are what it takes to be obedient to Christ in our daily life.

Last week, we focused on order in a household, and we in particular looked at the roles and responsibilities of the wives, husbands, children, and fathers. Today we're going to look at that typical household in the Roman culture, that they will also normally have slaves in a household, and so that would mean the right relationship between the slaves and the masters.

So today we're going to look at what it means to be a Christian slave, and what it means to be a Christian master. Now, I understand we don't have slaves in Singapore today, not in the sense of what it is in those days. But I think the principles are helpful for us. Principles that we can apply as employees, and principles we can apply as employers.

This is a very common thing in those days, however. It is said that about 50% of the 16 million people in Rome in those days are slaves. So this is a very relevant, pertinent subject that Paul is talking about.

Work & Worship

So let's learn from Paul what it means to integrate work and worship. They're not that far apart. How our work can be our worship, and our worship should flow into our work. So with that, let's look at the verses afresh. And in verse 22 we read, bondservants, or really slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye service, as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

We're going to spend 90% of our time looking at those verses, and then 10% of the time later on looking at this one verse. Masters treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. So work and worship. Let's begin with the perspective of the slaves.

1. The Master of our Work

The Apostle Paul reminds us in this text about the Master of our work. Who is the ultimate Master in our jobs? You are working maybe in Starbucks, in MOH, in UOB, in Apple, in Google. Who is your Master?

Well, he says, bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters. There is a reference to earthly masters here. Let's not forget that. But supremely, ultimately, and decisively, there is Someone else you work for. He says, you are to fear the Lord. One time. Second time, you are to work heartily as for the Lord. And then thirdly, from the Lord you will receive the inheritance. And then a fourth time, you are serving the Lord Christ.

I hope you don't fail to see that Paul is very emphatic to say that the ultimate decisive supreme Master, even as we work in Starbucks, or Google, or Apple, or UOB, is Jesus Christ. The One we serve is Jesus Christ the Lord.

It was John Stott who said, "Our great need is the clear-sightedness to see Jesus Christ and to set Him before us. It is possible for teachers to educate children, for doctors to treat patients, nurses to care for them, for lawyers to help clients, shop assistants to serve customers, accountants to audit books, and secretaries to type letters, as if in every case they were serving Jesus Christ."

So whether you are working in a hawker center, or you are working in a lawyer's firm, or you are working in a Gospel Light Christian church, our ultimate Master is Jesus Christ. This is the Person whom we must see clearly we are serving.

And therefore, in a sense, there is no real secular work, isn't it, where it is purely about churning out the accounts, where it is purely just doing the books. Because in everything, we are to serve Jesus Christ.

This is a picture of Howard Hendricks, a well-known professor of Dallas Theological Seminary. He preaches in many places in the U.S., so he flies all over the place. He flew so often that American Airlines actually got him to be an invisible inspector. So they'll ask him to write reports of his flight experience for their improvement.

He spoke about this one particular flight, which was extremely challenging. There were lots of turbulences, there were drunk passengers on board, and crying babies. But he observed this one stewardess who was absolutely poised, and dignified, and cheerful, and helpful throughout her entire flight. And so at the end of the flight, he went up to her and says, ma'am, is it possible that I speak with you further, because I'm writing a report for American Airlines, and I'd like to tell them about you.

She says, well, sir, that would not be quite necessary. I said, why? I don't work for American Airlines. I said, who do you work for? I work for Jesus Christ. She recognizes, she's clear-sighted, ultimately who she is serving. You may be a housewife at home, but realize today your ultimate Master is Jesus.

2. The Manner of our Work

This gives us a nice segue, I think, to look at a second point. Knowing Jesus as our Master, we then need to be mindful about how we work, the manner of our work. How are we, as Christians, to work? What should be our work ethic like?

Three simple things I'd like you to see. Number one, I think if you are born again, if you are really God's child, if you really want to obey Jesus in everyday living, then when you work for your master or your employer, you will do so with a submissive spirit.

a. Submissively

He says in this text, bondservants or slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters. Now, it means that even though you know that Jesus is your ultimate Master, you don't go around your...go in to your boss and say, Sir, I serve Jesus Christ, who are you? I don't need to obey you. Eh, you don't have that attitude. You shouldn't have that spirit. Because Paul is very clear, you have to obey in everything those who are your earthly masters. So you do so with obedience.
And it is not just external obedience and we say in Hokkien, bei gam guan. Not very happy, very begrudgingly in your heart. No, you do so not only externally, but you do so with the right attitude and spirit. Because elsewhere, Paul writes, let all who are under a yoke as bondservants, those who are slaves, regard their own masters as worthy of all honour. So you are to do so with a respectful, reverential spirit and attitude.

He says elsewhere in Titus, bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything. They are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative. The word argumentative means to dispute, to deny, to contradict, to speak against. You know how some people can be? Just always wanting to tai gang in Chinese.

Just want to oppose their boss. Just wants to make things difficult because he's not happy with the boss, he tries to be difficult before the boss. The Bible says, no, you're not to be that, to be that kind of worker. You are to be well-pleasing. You, you should be someone easy for your boss to work with.

But Jason, you do not know my boss lah. He's horrible, you know. Well I know. Peter also know. Because Peter says servants be subject to your masters with all respect. Not just outside, but the inside. Not only to the good and gentle. There are wonderful masters that make it easy for you to submit to. But the Bible also says even if they are unjust, you are to submit or subject yourself to them with all respect. There is no difference.

You see, this is the way the Bible has educated and informed us. God is the One who is ultimately sovereign in putting authority structures over our lives. If you are a child at home, you have no right to say, oh my parents are not as smart as I am, my PSLE score is greater than theirs, therefore I don't have to listen to them, they listen to me. No, children are to obey their parents in everything.

And so, we respect the authority that God has set over us. It applies not only to the family, it applies in the workplace, between a slave and a master, and it is also the same with regards to our regard or respect to the government. Now this is not saying you agree with the government in every decision the government would make, but even if you disagree, it gives you no right to be disrespectful. You are to submit to your government.

We are to honour our government. We are to pray for our government. We are to pay our taxes to our government. That's what the Bible says. Even if the government is a no-good one, in your own eyes. During the days of Paul, the Roman government was corrupt, but Paul never said, disrespect them, rebel against them, no, submit to them, respect them, pay your taxes.

So, there is no reason why a Christian worker today should be known to be disruptive or difficult or rebellious in their workplace. That does not adorn the doctrine of Jesus Christ. That is not appropriate. So let me ask you, if I were to go and interview your boss today and ask him, how is John or how is Jane doing in your office, what would I hear? Well, I hope it will be, he's a wonderful person to work with. He's respectful, he does all that he's told to do and I really appreciate him. I hope that will be our testimony. So Paul says, this is the way we work or should work, submissively.

b. Sincerely

Secondly, he says we are to work sincerely. This is found again in this text, bondservants obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye service, as people pleasers, but with the sincerity or the purity of your heart. Negatively seen, he says, don't work or obey by way of eye service. The word eye service in the Greek is a simple word, it's ophthalmodoulia.

Sounds very chim, but ophthalmo, you, you heard before? Opthal, ophthalmology is about the eye. Dulia is very related to the word doulos, slave. So the idea here is don't be a slave to the eye. Don't do things only for people to see. Don't do things only for your master to see. Do it honestly, sincerely. That's the idea.

A story is told of an African missionary who went to Africa to do some work. And he was working with the locals there. And he found that they were not very conscientious or diligent, because they would work only when he's there, and when he's not there, they would not work. Typical eye service.

Now, this missionary happens to have a faulty eye, and he has to wear a glass eye. One day, he was rather irritated there, in his eye. So he took out the glass eye and places it on a wooden stump. Lo and behold, even when he left, he realized that the workers are all working very hard. Because it happens that he placed the eye facing them. And the people there, the workers, have assumed and thought that somehow he has this new technology that enables them, him to still monitor their work. So they work very hard. And so the missionary was very glad he found a way to get them working even when he's not around.

However, one day as he was returning, he noticed one of the workers sneaked behind the stump, take out his hat, and put it on the eye. And they returned to the way they, they lazed around. Well, that is, I think, what ophthalmodulia is, what eye service is all about. You do it as man or people pleasers, but not with the sincerity of heart, not honest work.

There was an advertisement for a job, and there was someone who wrote in his resume. He applied by writing, I am at present selling furniture at the address below. You may judge my sales ability if you will stop in to see me at any time, pretending that you are interested in buying furniture. When you come in, you can identify me by my red hair and I will have no way of identifying you.

Such salesmanship as I exhibit during your visit, therefore, will be no more than my usual workday approach and not a special effort to impress a prospective employer. Guess what? This man got hired. Because he understands and knows that he's not to work just when the boss is around, but to do it, to do so with the sincerity of heart.
So, when Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and we want to honour Him, and we want to serve Him, it will change the way we work. It will change our work ethics. We would do so with submission, and we will do so with sincerity.

c. Spiritedly

And thirdly, we would do it with the right energy. We will do it in a spirited fashion, spiritedly. I got to find a word with S. So it says here, whatever you do, work heartily for the Lord. The word heartily really, literally means out of your soul, psyche, soul.

In other words, with your life, out of your life. Or if I may put it in our modern vernacular, whatever you do, put all your heart into it. That's why, I suppose, work heartily. So in other words, this is a call for us to give of our level best, and not just to get away with the bare minimum. The Christian ethos is that even in our workplace, we worship Jesus, we submit to our boss, we listen to him, we respect him, we will do so even when he's not watching. We want to do it, in the most honest way, and we will do it with our best effort.

I guess this concept is most clarified when we think about the opposite. The opposite of working heartily is a very familiar phrase here in Singapore, which we all, I think, would hear of, at least if you are my age and above, you'll hear of. And that is the phrase, jiak zua. You know what's jiak zua? Oh, no, no, don't know, don't know what's eat snake. So let me tell you, from the dictionary online, jiak zua, origin Hokkien. Eat snake is a phrase used to describe a person's attitude towards work or tasks. It practically means skiving or lazing at your work, and slacking off from tasks and responsibilities.

I think we all learn jiak zua, at least for men, when we enter national service at 18 years old. Really know how to find all the ways to jiak zua. But I think we all understand what jiak zua looks like in the workplace. We have another phrase, keng, chow keng. What is keng? Keng means you actually, not is, you, you fake a situation.

So we say keng MC. You chiong last night, you went pubbing, clubbing last night until you cannot sleep well, so the next morning you say, boss, I, I, I sick lah, lao sai ah. Actually, where got lao sai, you just, you just irresponsible the night before, but you say you lao sai. So boss, I cannot come because I sick hor, take MC. That's keng MC lah. Or, jiak zua can be that I turn in late at work every time, and I leave early every day.

Or it could be that at my workplace, my desktop has multiple windows open. When boss walks by, wah, the Excel sheet comes up. The reports come up. But when boss is away, my football news comes up. My WhatsApp chat comes up. My Shopee webpage comes up. That's what it means to jiak zua, because you're supposed to work, but you somehow eat snake. Actually, I have no idea why it's called eat snake, but that's how it is.

Or maybe you regularly go to the toilet, not because you need to pee, but you go toilet, sit there, play phone, play your game. Your boss can't find you because you're in the toilet. Or we take extended breaks at the water cooler, have long chats at the pantry with our colleagues. Well, these are the various ways perhaps we can be found guilty of jiak zua.

The Christian ethos is quite the opposite. It is submissive, it is sincere, it is spirited, you give of your best. And it's really interesting as I'm looking at this text, there are people who say that in those days, we can't verify, but in those days, Christian slaves cost twice as much as ordinary slaves. Why? Because of their wonderful work ethic. Not sure if that's true, but I hope that will be true for the people of God. True followers of Jesus Christ should demonstrate a change in their lives.

Not just the fact that they come to church on Sunday morning, but from Monday to Friday or Saturday, they are a different breed of employees. They work different, they do it when nobody is around, they obey their boss even when their boss is disliked by every other colleague, and they give their level best in their workplace. And if you ask them why, they will say, it's not because I want to curry my boss' favour, it's not because I'm. I'm yearning for the promotion, I do it because I work for Jesus Christ. That's what it should be.

3. The Motivation for our Work

Well, we come now finally to a reminder, not just about the master of our work, the manner of our work, but the motivation behind our work. This is very important. Everybody works for something, right? There is to be motivation, and in fact, when people lose motivation, they become terrible workers and they may even be destructive.

I read this week, quite sadly, about this lady who was feeling under appreciated. And so, in a kind of vengeance, she used the director's credit card to rack up $29,000 online shopping. Well, this is the story. She splashed out more than $29,000 over five months, using the director's bank account to pay for her own credit card bills. In total, the company director suffered losses of more than $45,000. And the reason is because she felt increasingly resentful towards her boss and felt under appreciated as an employee, and so she used that to shop for herself, kind of a vengeance.

Well, let me ask you, what is the motivation for the Christian work? Is it a bonus? You work hard because you want to have a pay rise? You're diligent because you long to hear your boss say, very good? Or you want your fellow colleagues to praise you for your tremendous efforts? What motivates you, huh? What should motivate? Now, I'm not saying any of the things I mentioned are necessarily evil or bad. But in a sense, they come from men. And when it comes from men, you know it's not consistent all the time. You may be slighted, you may be forgotten, you may be under appreciated, they may not pay you well enough, in your opinion.

But the Bible tells us that our motivation ultimately, supremely, decisively, does not come from men. It should come from God. Because Paul says in verse 24, you work with submission and sincerity and with all your heart and spirit, knowing this is what you need to know, this is what should motivate you. Knowing that from the Lord, that is Jesus, you will receive the inheritance as your reward.

So what you need to keep your eyes on is not just your paycheck, but the promise of the inheritance. What is this inheritance? In a sense, Paul explained or talked about this inheritance earlier in chapter 1 verse 12, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints. Now, this I think refers to the eternal bliss and glory and joys that God has prepared for those who are joined to His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Bible doesn't quite specify or clarify exactly what they are. All that we know is that this is a heavenly city, heavenly life that is without sorrow, without tears, there will be eternal bliss and joy with God forevermore. And the Bible says, all that Jesus has in the future, we will have because we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ.

So I can't tell you because the Bible doesn't quite tell us exactly what it all looks like, but we know it's going to be something really, really amazing. And all that is really, really amazing will be given to those who serve the Lord in the way we have just described in their workplace. That will be their reward. And that is way better than the doubling of your salary today, than the praise of men, from your boss or from your colleagues.

The flip side is also very scary. Whilst the promise is super amazing, the warning is super scary. Because in verse 25, Paul goes on to say for, connecting verses 24 and 25, for the wrongdoer who is the one who is not living the life that is described, who is not working the way he should, because he does not see that he's working for Jesus. The wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong, the disobedience he has done. And there is no partiality.

So what is the punishment that will be given to this wrongdoer? Well, I don't think it's really about the punishment today, but it will be the punishment in the future, just as the inheritance is in the future. So I think what Paul is saying here is, when you serve Jesus in your workplace with the right ethos, you prove yourself to be the follower of Jesus Christ. You prove that you seek the things above. You prove that you are indeed joined with Him in His death and resurrection. So one day you will inherit the inheritance as a reward.

But if you today do not do what is written in the Scripture, you do wrong in that you disobey, disrespect, and put in a poor day's shift of work every time, you show yourself to be someone who does not serve Jesus, and therefore you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. And even though you claim to be a Christian, one day you will be paid back, you'll be judged for all the sins you commit. And there is no partiality with God.

God does not say, oh, because you've been to church, you call yourself a Christian, I'll let you into My blessed heaven. No, your works will show you up on that final day of judgment, and there will be judgment and punishment rendered upon you. So this is quite serious. If you're someone who is slipshod, disrespectful, that shows the lack of faith and relationship with Jesus in your life. Like I said, Christianity is not best seen on Sunday mornings. I think it's best seen from Monday to Saturday. That's a more reflective glimpse.

So we are reminded, our work is not to be divorced from our worship. Our work is ultimately for the Lord, four times here. And you must not forget the overall structure that this is about serving Jesus, seeking things above, obeying Him in every day of our lives. I hope this will be a sobering thought for all of us as we consider. Just a few verses, but super relevant and important from Monday to Saturday.

Well, I said 10% of my time, and we are left with 10%. Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly. I think this can be applied to how employers today treat employees. Today you may be an employer. You have secretaries, technicians, service staff, managers, assistants working under you. You've got to be mindful of how you treat them, justly and fairly.

Labor unions all across the world start because employees are mistreated. Poor working conditions, long hours, terrible pay. That's why labor unions start. But if the world is to follow the principles of the Bible, we don't need labor unions. Masters should treat bondservants justly and fairly.

Some people feel like they have to exert themselves as boss. A story is told of a boss of a company who feels disrespected by his staff. So he went out to a shop, bought a sign that says, I am boss. And he went and hung it on his door. He went for lunch, and when he came back, he saw a note under the sign. And the note says, your wife wants the sign back.

So some people feel like they need to tell people they are the boss. Act as if they are boss. Kind of a show forth of power. But really, the Bible says, masters, this is what you should do. Treat your bondservants justly and fairly because you know that one day you have to stand before your Master and give an account of all that you have done, especially how you have treated the people around you.

Some of you say, I'm not boss what? Well, let me ask you, do you have a domestic helper working for you? Because if you do, you are a boss. And how are you treating the lady working for you? Actually, I can tell, and I'm sure you know, you can tell a lot about the person's Christianity from the way he or she treats her helper. Super easy. Step into the house, step into the family. Watch the interactions for a while and you will know.

See a Christian is not marked by how he behaves on Sunday morning alone. That's too easy, that's too easy to fake. The real Christian is a very different person when he puts away sin in his life, pursues love and unity in the church, loves his wife, submits to her husband, obeys his parents, nurtures his kids, works as an employee with the best attitude and treats the people under him or her justly and fairly. Masters, your main goal is not to make a profit for yourself.

I was in the States, I think about a year ago. I can't remember the dates. And we traveled from place to place. We didn't go for really nice food. We just wanted to hit the various locations. It was a long journey with many drives. We ate at different places and I think for my kids, one of their favorite, not mine, but one of their favorites, would be Chick-fil-A, something that we don't have here in Singapore but something that is very popular in the United States.

Uh, I thought they have a lot of things but Chick-fil-A is really all chicken. So if you're not a big fan of chicken, then too bad. But they sell all the chicken burgers and everything. Quite nice, just not something that I fancy all the time.

This restaurant started in 1946. That's close to 80 years ago, by Cathy Truett. And he is a devout follower of Jesus Christ. And in 1946, he started this restaurant. Today, I think, I read that there are some close to 3,000 Chick-fil-A outlets across the world. It's a huge business. And up till today, Chick-fil-A, unlike every other restaurant or fast food chain in the world, they do not operate on Sundays. Because Cathy Truett believes that he wants to give that one day for the employees to spend time with their family and to attend church services. This was his slogan from the word go, "Put people and principles before profit", because he serves the Lord Jesus Christ.

Masters, how do you treat the people who are under you? Is it profit above everything else? Or do you treat them fairly and justly because you serve Jesus, your Master? It is, it is horrifying and tragic to hear of stories of domestic maid abuse. And I pray we will not come anywhere close to that by God's grace.

So if then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above. It's not an abstract concept, concept. It is very practical, it is very relevant. I don't think it's hard for you to follow this sermon at all in understanding. But I know it's very difficult for us to do. So let us do the ABCDs. Let us acknowledge we can't do it. Let us believe that God can enable us to do it. Let us call upon Him in our workplace, to help us live out this kind of a life and let us then go and do it. Let us work unto Jesus and let us glorify Him like Mr. Prasad would for SBS Transit.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together. I pray that God's people today, Christians today, will take heed to what God has said. Because if you have a careless attitude in the way you work and in the way you treat the people under you, regardless of what you profess about your faith, you may be in great danger of being someone who says, Lord, Lord, in Matthew 7 and still hear Jesus say, I never knew you.

So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Come before God, confessing your sins, believing that there is forgiveness at the foot of the cross. And then with renewed conviction, go through the ABCDs, acknowledge our inability, believe that God can do this, cry unto Him to say, Lord, help me, to work for you in my workplace, to do so with submission, sincerity, and with all my spirit and heart. And go and live likewise tomorrow, keeping an eye on the promise of the inheritance as your reward.

Oh, it's so wonderful that we do not need to live based on man's words, appreciation or money. We are now truly freed in the Gospel to serve people the best way we can. Because we are assured and confident that our labour is never in vain in the Lord. May God raise up wonderful employers and employees here at Gospel Light for His own namesake. May we shine the light of the Gospel at work, at home, and at play.

And now I want to say to my brothers, my friends, our guests, family members who are gathered here for the first time, I want you to be very, very, very clear. We are not saying, the Bible is not saying, be a good worker, be so good that maybe if you're so good, God will now accept you and save you. No, we are not saying that at all. Because no matter how good we try to be, we will never be good enough for God. We can never earn favour before this Perfect, Holy, Righteous God.

But you see, the Bible is saying, if you have been raised with Christ, then you can seek these things. What we need today is a new heart, you see. And that new heart can only be a gift from God when you will turn from your sin and believe in Jesus Christ. So it's not that you do, do, do, do, do. It's that you believe Jesus has done it all. He has paid for your sins. He has died on the cross. And if you believe Him, you turn from your sin and you turn to Him, you believe Him, God will save you.

If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord, you will be saved. And when you are saved, God cleanses you from sin and He now gives you a new heart. Then your life will change. Then your work ethic will change.

So this morning, if I'm speaking to you, a newcomer, someone who has never been to church, I tell you the Good News of Jesus Christ is that it's not that you do anymore. Every religion is do, do, do, do, do. Christianity is about this Good News, it is done. When Jesus died on the cross, He says, it is finished. Your sins are paid for. So come, turn from sin and believe in Me that you might be saved.

As we soon will see the baptism of our brethren, I hope you realise, it is not baptism that saves them. It's Jesus who saves them. And their baptism is telling you, I'm saved by Jesus. Jesus and Jesus alone. Nothing I do, it's all what He has done. May God grant you today, His power, His grace that you may turn from sin and believe in His Son. So Father, thank You for Your Word. Bless Your church. Bless Your people. Bless those who are here for the first time. May they be wonderfully saved. We ask this all in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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