Monday, September 1, 2008

The Christian Work Ethic

NOTE: Labor Day was begun in 1882 as a day to recognize the common worker/laborer.

In 1894 it was designated as a Federal holiday.

The Christian Work Ethic – Moral stance on working based on Scripture

2 Thess. 3:6-15 A warning against idleness.


#1. God intends us to work! Gen. 2:15 “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden o Eden to tend and keep it.” – before the fall.
Gen. 3:19 ”In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread….” after the fall

#2. “Work” is not just physical labor. It also includes mental and spiritual labor.

Ex. Farm, craft,business/home (Mom), temple/church, mission field

#3. in the Old Testament:

A. the skilled worker was highly esteemed

B. Common labor was considered honorable

C. Idleness/laziness was considered a disgrace!

Prov. 10:4 & 5; 12:11; 14:23; 18:9

#4. Same work ethic carried into the New Testament

A. Jesus – born into working class/trained as a carpenter

B. evident in His stories/parables “wicked lazy servant”.

C. was part of Jesus’ moral makeup. John 4:34; 4:15 & 17; 17:4

D. embraced by Christians as part of who we are and what we do!


#1. This is an important issue.

A. 2nd. Only to the 2nd. Coming (in the # of verses in this letter.)

B. It’s also addressed in the 1st. letter!

C. Serious enough to merit (light/mild) church discipline! “do not associate with!”

#2. This is no merely a Thessalonian issue.

Vs. 6 refers to Christian teaching and Christian tradition – it’s for all Christians!

#3. This is a spiritual issue!!!

Vs. 6 “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you….”

Vs. 12 – same


Why is it so important for Christians to work hard and well?


#1. To provide for your own. 2 Thess. 3:8 – “..not to be a burden”

A. Your family is your responsibility. I Tim. 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own…..,he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

B. There is no free lunch! (Somebody pays for it)

#2. To be able to help others. Eph. 4:28 “…let him labor …. that he may have something to give him who has need.”

Acts 20:34 & 35 “…I have shown you in every way that you must support the weak. …..”It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “

#3. For personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Eccles. 2:24 “ Nothing is better for a man ….that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” / 3:12 & 13 “….and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God.”

#4. To set an example. 2Thess. 3: 7, 9 (see original text) Acts 20:35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this,….”

“always preach a powerful sermon, when necessaryuse words. It’s much more powerful when lived rather than just said!

#5. To honor God. Col. 3:23 & 24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,…”

We honor obedience. For example: the Puritan thought was Work is a form of Worship.

#6. To reflect God’s character. Ie: to reveal/manifest/glorify Him so people can see Christ in us. Christian means “little Christ”.

John 5:17 “But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” “ 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”

#7. To share Christ. 1 Thess. 4:11 & 12 “……to work with your own hands….. that you may walk properly toward those who are outside,…”

Earn respect to earn the opportunity to share the message in order to WIN Souls.

#8. To keep you out of trouble. 2 Thess. 3: 11 & 12 “….there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. ….”

“idle hands are the devil’s workshop”

If you are busy with the “shoulds”, you won’t have time for “should nots”


Important point: It is true that we should work hard and well and that honors God and commends you to God…..

BUT.... it does NOT save you. It is not the bridge or the pathway to God.

Eph. 2: 8 & 9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

If you embrace the teachings why not embrace the Teacher???

No comments: