SUBMISSION TO THE BOSS IS :
– THE ONLY WAY TO GLORIFY GOD
– THE ONLY ANSWER TO UNFAIR TREATMENT
– THE ONLY WAY TO FULFILL OUR CALLING TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST
Theme verse for this section: 2:12 – Commendable Conduct will be further defined as submission in the various realms in which we live – looked at submission to the authority of govt. last Sunday; today: submission to the authority of your boss in the workplace;
2 Prerequisites: can’t take this course today unless you have nailed down these 2 points
1) requires purity first of all – “abstain from fleshly lusts” (talked about drawing near to the Lord)
2) remember: people are watching – especially unbelievers – this is our oppty. To show them that having Jesus as the Lord of our lives makes a difference (3:15)
at the end of this section – we are reminded that the Lord is watching as well 3:8-12
How we respond to authority in our life is the proof of to what degree we have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ: Will we respond as the world does?? Or as Christ would – following His example; doing what He wants us to do – which is completely opposite from how our sinful, selfish hearts would respond on their own
The Sovereign God is in control of our workplace (our business) – He will never leave us or forsake us – He is right there with us while we are working all day long
We spend a good chunk of our day at work – so we’d better listen up and get this right
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SUBMIT TO THE BOSS?
II. WHEN SHOULD WE SUBMIT TO THE BOSS?
II. WHY SHOULD WE DO IT?
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SUBMIT TO THE BOSS? — DESCRIPTION OF THE CONDUCT
Being a Christian should always make a person a better, more productive, more cooperative worker.
Cf. the Puritan work ethic
People won’t listen to the testimony of a shoddy worker or a complainer.
A. THE FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY IS SUBMISSION
How is our context today different or the same from the type of relationship that existed between servants and masters in the first century?
The vast majority of businesses in NT times were family operated and provided goods or services on a very direct basis. (No giant corporations like Caterpillar; no assembly line production jobs; no labor unions)
Therefore, if you didn’t have your own small business or farm you worked very directly for someone else as a servant – and often as part of their extended household.
You either fell into the category of servant or master for the most part
The word used here = house slave; member of the household;
Lit. = “to dwell in the house”
Note: Peter not a social reformation crusade to abolish the commonly practiced institution of slavery
Dealing with far more important issues – eternal issues
our type of employment, occupation, etc. which seem so crucial today and so defining of who we are – are really not so significant in light of eternity
Character issues and personal testimony and our role in the advancement of the kingdom of God are far more important and not conditioned on our occupation – Difficult to grasp in today’s culture
In every sphere of authority the two points of reference are:
– How to properly submit
– How to properly exercise authority
Same principles apply today – even though in our jobs we have far more freedoms than the slaves of Peter’s day
(also apply these principles to being in the military; to playing on a sports team; to relating to your teachers, etc)
Pres. Tense – ongoing action – willingly, voluntarily take this posture of submission = ranking yourself under
Practical Ways we can demonstrate this submissiveness:
1) have a teachable rather than defensive spirit when being corrected or instructed
2) don’t complain about your boss or put him down behind his back – when others are doing it all the time
3) you don’t have to agree with the validity of his instructions in order to faithfully carry them out
cf. in times of battle – you can’t have the soldiers just following the orders they agree with
4) pray that God would prosper your boss – spiritually, financially
5) work diligently and faithfully all the time – not just when the boss is watching
6) show him respect in your tone of voice, body language, etc.
B. THE PROPER ATTITUDE IS APPROPRIATE RESPECT – “in all fear”
could be talking about fear of God (parallel passage in Col. 3:22 supports this)
more natural to think he is talking in the context of respect of the boss here – that is the decision most translators have made
(last week: “fear God” not men – but same word used here…)
cf. Dennis the Menace – cartoon where he is being disciplined and sitting on his rocking chair in the corner: “I’m sitting down on the outside, but I’m still standing up on the inside.”
C. THE HARD PART = PATIENTLY ENDURING SUFFERING – in contexts where you are being treated unfairly;
“bear up under” vs. 19
“endure it with patience” vs. 20
First reaction should not be to run away – easy to do in our society
1 Cor. 10:13 – Endurance is possible with God’s help
2 Tim. 3:10-12
II. WHEN SHOULD WE SUBMIT TO THE BOSS?
A. THE CHARACTER AND CONDUCT OF THE BOSS DOES NOT CHANGE OUR FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Whether they are Christian or non-Christian our response should be the same;
Whether they are considerate and looking out for our welfare, or like the Egyptian taskmasters: piling on more and more work in the harshest possible way – our response should be the same;
(doesn’t mean you can’t cry out to God for deliverance as the Jews in Egypt did; doesn’t mean that God won’t deliver; but He might choose to leave you under the pressure)
1) to the good and gentle (gracious, yielding)
equitable, fair, moderate, forbearing, not insisting on the letter of the law; reasonable
opposite of a brawler in qualifs of an elder
used in James 3:17 in conjunction with “easy to be intreated”
Christ exemplified this – 2 Cor. 10:1
2) to the harsh, unjust
crooked, unscrupulous, dishonest
opposite of a straight shooter
Phil. 2:15 we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation
good title for a book: How to Work for a Jerk!
Because ultimately we work for the Lord Jesus Christ who is a perfect master – He is in control of our workplace – we are really working for Him!
B. THERE ARE SITUATIONS WHEN WE CANNOT SUBMIT
(cf. last week – talked about this some with respect to Civil Disobedience)
The example of Daniel and his friends probably the best illustration
III. WHY SHOULD WE SUBMIT?
Peter spends the bulk of his time on this point – Apparently we need a lot of motivation and understanding to respond correctly when our selfish, proud heart is hollering at us to retaliate and not take any abuse
A. SUBMISSION TO THE BOSS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GLORIFY GOD IN THE SITUATION
1) “for this (finds) favor” vs. 19 (xaris) with God (v.20) – Almost sense of reward here
This is pleasing to God
Luke 6:32-35 teaching of Christ – How are you deserving of any commendation or reward??
(requires God’s grace to act in this way; ends up finding grace with God – God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble)
The story is told of an elderly missionary couple who were returning home on a ship after many years of sacrificial service in Africa. On the same ship was Theodore Roosevelt, who had just completed a highly successful big game hunt. As the ship docked in New York harbor, thousands of well-wishers and dozens of reporters lined the pier to welcome Roosevelt home. But not a single person was there to welcome the missionaries. As the couple rode to a hotel in a taxi, the man complained to his wife, “It just doesn’t seem right. We give forty years of our lives to Jesus Christ to win souls in Africa, and nobody knows or cares when we return. Yet the president goes over there for a few weeks to kill some animals and the whole world takes notice.” But as they prayed together that night before retiring, the Lord seemed to say to them, “Do you know why you haven’t received your reward yet, My children? It is because you are not home yet.”
Don’t forget: we are aliens and strangers
2) “for the sake of conscience toward God” vs. 19
a consciousness of the presence and will of God so that we know what is the right thing to do in a difficult situation – gives us the anchor of conviction so that we are not swayed by our emotions or by what would make us comfortable and satisfy the flesh
No eye-service or lip-service here – truly serving God and our boss from the heart – whether the boss is looking over our shoulder or not
B. SUBMISSION TO THE BOSS IS THE ONLY WAY TO ANSWER UNFAIR TREATMENT
you won’t find this in the labor union : Manual for Survival in the workplace
(Not saying that we can’t stand up for our legal rights; can’t follow appropriate channels to address wrongs, etc.)
we cannot have the attitude of retaliation; we cannot get bitter; we cannot show disrespect…
Important check: make sure we are suffering for what is right – rather than because we are a lazy worker
If we are doing what is wrong, we should expect the consequences
Hard message to get across to our children: Don’t expect this life to be fair! That is not the issue;
expect to get treated unfairly
God is righteous and fair – We can count on Him
“Shall not the Righteous Judge do what is right?” — yes in light of eternity; in the ultimate sense; Don’t expect to see that type of fair play and righteous judgment executed today
C. SUBMISSION TO THE BOSS IS THE ONLY WAY TO FULFILL OUR CALLING TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST
(somewhat circular: what is the benefit of following the example of Christ? This is the way to answer persecution and to glorify God in the situation)
Jesus let His integrity do the talking
Nothing people could legitimately find fault with
cf. Book “In His Steps”