The Christian Work Ethic
The Christian Work Ethic
Sunday Message – February 9, 2020
2 Thessalonians chapter 3:1-15
Proposition statement: “We each need to understand that the Christian work ethic is to “work quietly and to earn your own living.”
Paul is writing to the Thessalonians to answer the question: What do we do while we wait for the return of the Lord? His answer is: don't be idle; work!
Idleness:not engaging in useful work, avoiding work, doing too little work, refusing to work.
- The problem of idleness
- David Mathis says that this term “describes someone who is ‘out of order’…with the patterns and expectations of the community, in particular related to labor. When the others wake up and head out to work, “the disorderly” sleep in and hang around.” They are able to work but are unwilling.
- Idleness can contribute to two problems: the idle can become a financial burden to the community of believers who do work and they can become a nuisance by being busybodies.
- Because idleness is decidedly unchristian, it’s in conflict with the gospel. While we do no work to earn our salvation, we are created to do good works to bring glory to Christ’s name. A Christian who does not work betrays the gospel that saved him. Not working when you are able and have opportunity is unchristian. It’s harmful to the church and to our witness for Christ.
- The importance of work
- Work is good. Gen 2 tells us that God finished his work of creation and it was good.
- God called us to work: God made mankind and gave them their first command, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish…the birds…and over every living thing….” To subdue the earth and have dominion over its creatures is work!
- Work isn’t a result of the curse of the Fall – but its difficulty is. Even after the curse, work continues to be a chief way that we shine forth the image of God, our Creator. Work is still good in God’s eyes.
- Work remains a gift from God. We will find the greatest joy and satisfaction in life and with God, when we are allowed to do the things God created us to do.
- Hope for becoming diligent and productive workers
- You can grow in the Christian work ethic because God’s at work. “And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.”
- Paul believes that the idle can be transformed by God into diligent, productive, God-glorifying workers. Paul’s confidence that the idle will obey his command to work quietly and to earn their own living stands on the fact that they were set free from the dominion of sin and because the Holy Spirit is at work in them to bring about this God-pleasing change.
- How does Scripture inform your work ethic?
- What does the command to work look like in your season of life?
- How does our work display the glory of God?
- Are you able to identify areas of idleness in your life? What changes do you need to make?
What do we do if we recognize the sin of idleness in our hearts and lives?
- First, repent before your gracious and kind God.
- Second, plead the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf and know God’s forgiveness through Christ’s work.
- Third, ask God to change you through the work of His Holy Spirit.
- Lastly, be confident that God will work on your behalf to help you to “work quietly and to earn your own living” and to, thereby, glorify your Father in heaven.