Undercover Boss

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:32-24)

This section of Paul’s letter to the Colossians reads almost like the book of Proverbs. It is filled with lots of practical, easy to understand instruction about a wisdom-filled life that glorifies God. In this part, the apostle wrote to bondservants – people obligated in employment to others. It’s not a perfect analogy, but the ancient bondservant-master relationship was something like the modern employee-employer relationship.

In that context, Paul told the Colossians (and us today) to do everything heartily, as to the Lord. The “do” in this context mainly has in mind the work we do, but it really can be extended to everything we do.

Whatever you do, do it heartily. Put some passion and effort into what you do. Don’t work or play like a robot, doing a job but with no heart. It’s been said that there are no boring days, only boring people. Whether at work or play, living life heartily reflects the glory of God and it gives Him glory.

Whatever you do, do it as to the Lord. Realize that in work your real boss is God. In recreation your real partner is God. He is Master and Lord over all, so all should be done as to Him. If God directly asked you to clean a window, you would do a great job. Doing everything as to Him makes a big difference in attitude and performance. No Christian should be a dishonest, lazy, or unreliable worker.

Whatever you do, do it not to men. It is likely that a flesh and blood human being is your supervisor or customer. Like all humans, they have their faults. This usually affects your attitude toward what you do for them. Yet the Christian does not ultimately serve men, but God. Lift your service to heaven; elevate it from earth.

Whatever you do, realize you will receive the reward. Sometimes hard work does not get rewarded on earth. But God knows how to take care of His people, and for them none of what they have done as to the Lord will go unrewarded. Do your work heartily and as to the Lord and you will always come out ahead.

At the end of verse 24 Paul repeated an idea when he wrote, for you serve the Lord Christ. According to Wright, this is an unusual phrase. Elsewhere in his letters Paul wrote the Lord Jesus Christ. It may be that Paul’s idea was that our true master, our true boss is Jesus. So remember whom you work for—you serve the Lord Christ.

If we think of Jesus as our true boss, remember that He was and is the greatest “undercover boss” of all time. He came to live, serve, and suffer among us. Jesus knew what hard work was like in all His years as a carpenter or builder. He did all His work heartily, as unto His Father. He can sympathize with you in the difficulties you have to doing whatever you do heartily as unto the Lord, and He can strengthen you to do it better. Then, at the end of it all, He rewards you for what He strengthened you to do! You’ll never find a better boss than Jesus.

Tut alles

Und was immer ihr tut in Wort oder Werk, das tut alles im Namen des Herrn Jesus und dankt Gott, dem Vater, durch ihn. (Kolosser 3,17)

Durch Seine Gnade sind wir neue Menschen in Jesus Christus. Dieselbe Macht, die Jesus von den Toten auferweckte, wirkt in dem Gläubigen und bringt ihm ein neues Leben und ein neues Herz. Die Veränderungen des neuen Lebens passieren nicht auf einmal, und sie sind, bis wir verherrlicht im Himmel sind, nicht vollendet.

Der neue Mensch braucht Anweisungen. Er will lernen und instinktiv Gott gehorchen, also will er gelehrt werden. Darum gibt die Bibel dem neuen Menschen praktische Anweisungen, wie wir leben sollen – was man tun sollte und was nicht.

Hin und wieder lesen wir eine wunderbare Zusammenfassung, etwas, an das man sich leicht erinnern kann, als festen Leitsatz, wie man als neuer Mensch in Jesus Christus leben sollte. Kolosser 3,17 ist eine solche Zusammenfassung.

Zuerst steht dort was immer ihr tut. Das deckt alles ab; jedes gesprochene Wort, jede Tat. Gott ist das alles wichtig.

Gott will, dass wir folgendes mit jedem Wort und jeder Tat tun: tut alles im Namen des Herrn Jesus. Einfach ausgedrückt: der neue Mensch lebt sein Leben, sein ganzes Leben, für Jesus. Er hat nur Interesse daran, Dinge zu tun, die dem Charakter, der Ehre und dem Herzen von Jesus entsprechen. Der neue Mensch möchte nur Dinge tun, die Jesus gutheißen würde.

Das gibt uns eine Richtlinie für die schweren Entscheidungen, denen wir manchmal gegenüber stehen. Wir fragen uns, ob dieses oder jenes erlaubt ist. Stell dir die Frage: „Könnte Jesus das unterschreiben? Kann ich das im Namen des Herrn Jesus tun?“ Wenn du das auf jedes Wort, das du sprichst, und jede Tat, die du tust, anwendest, ist das eine gute Richtlinie.

Das kannst du nur wissen, wenn du etwas von Jesus weißt, und der einzig verlässliche Ort etwas über Jesus zu lernen, ist Gottes Wort, insbesondere die vier Evangelien. Je besser du Jesus durch Sein Wort kennst, desto besser wirst du in der Lage sein, alles, was du in Wort und Tat tust, in Seinem Namen zu tun.

Sicher wirst du es manchmal falsch machen. Doch selbst dann wird Gott dein Herz sehen und ehren, wenn es dein Ziel war, alles im Namen des Herrn Jesus zu tun und zu sagen.

Der letzte Aspekt, über den man nachdenken sollte, ist, dass wir bei allem, was wir tun, Gott, dem Vater, durch ihn danken sollen. Wir reden und handeln mit einer Einstellung der Dankbarkeit gegenüber Gott und erinnern uns an das, was Er in der Vergangenheit getan hat und an Seine Verheißungen für die Zukunft. In der Vergangenheit, der Gegenwart und der Zukunft haben wir alle Grund, dankbar zu sein.

A Word to the Family

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:18-21)

Inspired by God, the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians, telling them about life in the Spirit. In this section he applied the idea of walking in the Spirit to the Christian family. There are specific things for Christian husbands, wives, children, and parents to keep in mind as they seek to live to the honor of Jesus.

We shouldn’t regard these things as the only message God has for the Christian family. There is much more, especially in the general instruction God gives regarding life in the Spirit. If we would simply live more faithful Christian lives, we would surely get along better in our families. You can find much more specific instruction on the Christian marriage in this audio teaching series. Here’s what we find in Colossians 3:18-21:

The word to wives is submit. The idea of submission doesn’t have anything to do with someone being smarter or better or more talented. It has to do with a God-appointed order. Men and women have absolutely equal standing before God (as in Galatians 3:28), but God appoints particular roles and functions. This isn’t submission that is demanded, but done because it is fitting the Lord.

The word to husbands is love. In the Christian marriage, this safeguards the instruction to the wife. Though wives are to submit to their husbands, it never excuses husbands acting as tyrants over their wives. A husband’s leadership in the home must be a leadership of love.

The word to children is obey. Children who are still in their parents’ household and under their authority must not only honor their father and mother (as in Ephesians 6:2), but they must also obey them, and in all things.

The word to parents is do not provoke. Children have a responsibility to obey, but parents have a responsibility to not provoke their children. Parents can provoke their children by being too harsh, too demanding, too controlling, unforgiving, or just plain angry. This harshness can be expressed through words, through actions, or through non-verbal communication.

In it all, we should also take away a point that is obvious but sometimes is overlooked. All this shows us that God cares about your family. Right now your family might be a blessing or a burden to you, but either way God cares. You can pray and boldly obey with that knowledge strengthening your faith every step of the way.

Do It All

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

We are made new men (or new women) in Jesus Christ out of the free gift of His grace. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead works in the believer, bringing new life and a new heart. The changes of the new life don’t happen all at once, and the changing isn’t complete until we are glorified in heaven.

The new man needs instruction. He is ready to learn and instinctively wants to obey God, so he wants to be taught. That’s why the Bible gives new men and new women practical instruction on how to live – what to do and what not to do.

Every once in a while we read a wonderful summary statement, something that is easily remembered as a solid guide to how we should live as new men and women in Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:17 is one of those statements.

It first speaks to whatever you do in word or deed. That covers just about everything; every word spoken, every deed done. God cares about them all.

Here is what God wants us to do with every word and every deed: do them all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Simply said, the new man (or woman) lives his life, all his life, for Jesus. They are only interested in doing the things that can be done according to the character of Jesus, consistent with the honor of Jesus, and with the heart of Jesus. The new man only wants to do things that Jesus could put His name on, that Jesus would endorse.

This gives a wonderful guide for the tough choices we sometimes face. We wonder if something should be permitted or denied in our life. Ask the question: “Could Jesus put His name to this? Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus?” If you apply that to every word you speak and every deed you do, you will have a good guide.

You can only know that if you know something of Jesus, and the only truly reliable place to learn Jesus is from God’s word, especially the four gospels. The better you know Jesus through His word, the better you will be able to do everything in word and deed in His name.

For certain, sometimes you will get it wrong. Yet even in those times God will see and honor your heart, if the true goal was to say and do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The last aspect of this to think about is that we also do everything giving thanks to God the Father through Him. We say and do all things with an attitude of gratitude to God, remembering all He has done in the past and all He promises for the future. In the past, present, and future we all have reasons to be thankful.

Friede regiert

Und der Friede Gottes regiere in euren Herzen; zu diesem seid ihr ja auch berufen in einem Leib; und seid dankbar! (Kolosser 3,15)

Was regiert in deinem Herzen?

Bei einigen Menschen regiert Zorn in ihrem Herzen. Bei anderen ist es Leidenschaft. Und bei einigen regiert die Bequemlichkeit im Herzen.

In Kolosser 3,15 sagt der Apostel Paulus den Gläubigen an Jesus, dass der Friede Gottes ihre Herzen regieren soll. Das ist eine wunderbare und bemerkenswerte Aussage.

Erstens ist es der Friede Gottes – nicht der Friede von Menschen, nicht der Friede des Aufgebens, nicht der Friede von Kompromissen. Gottes Friede ist sowohl der Friede, den Er hat als auch der Friede, den Er gibt. Gott lebt in vollkommenem Frieden. Er ist nicht ängstlich oder besorgt um etwas. Jesus gab uns das Geschenk von Gottes vollkommenem Frieden (Johannes 14,27), und durch den Glauben kann dieser Friede zu unserem werden und in unseren Herzen regieren.

Wenn der Friede in meinem Herzen regiert, kann ich mich von Gottes Frieden führen lassen, wenn es um Entscheidungen geht. Bei dem einen Weg spüren wir Gottes Frieden, während uns der andere beunruhigt. Wenn ich Gottes Frieden in keiner Richtung spüren kann, muss ich vielleicht noch abwarten.

Das kann für den Einzelnen zutreffen, wenn eine Person sich einer Richtung durch das Spüren von Gottes Frieden sicher ist. Doch der Gedanke hier ist viel größer als die einzelne Person. Achte darauf, dass Paulus von den Herzen in der Mehrzahl spricht. Damit meint er, dass die Herzen zusammen sind, nicht einzeln.

Mehr noch – Paulus fügt hinzu, dass wir in einem Leib berufen sind. Wenn Gott uns als einen Leib beruft, beruft Er uns zusammen in Frieden. Wenn der Friede unter uns regiert, dann heißt das, dass dieser Friede die Gemeinschaft von Gottes Kindern charakterisieren soll. Wenn wir als Gruppe und durch Zorn und Streit auszeichnen, oder durch Konflikte und Verwirrung, dann ist das nicht Gottes Friede.

Wenn die Leute sich unsere Gemeinden und christliche Versammlungen anschauen, dann sollten sie sagen können: „Schau dir den Frieden unter diesen Menschen an. Der Friede Gottes regiert hier.“

Also wenn irgendetwas anderes dein Herz regiert, dann sag ihm, es soll auf Seite gehen. Zorn, Leidenschaft oder Bequemlichkeit sollen nicht länger dein Herz regieren. Wenn die Macht des gekreuzigten und auferstandenen Jesus dein Leben erfüllt, wird der Friede Gottes regieren. Und wie Paulus am Ende von Kolosser 3,15 schrieb: das ist etwas, wofür man dankbar sein muss.

Word and Worship

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)

In Colossians 3 Paul described how the new man (or woman) in Jesus Christ lives. It’s a life with a high calling, marked by love, humility, patience, and peace. Because the new you is patterned after Jesus Himself, all those things that are in Jesus are in the new man.

Paul then told us a further way we should walk in the life of the new man. We must let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Simply said, the new man walks in the word of God and in worship with other believers.

Notice, the word of God – here called the word of Christ – is to supposed to live in those who are the followers of Jesus. It isn’t just that we are supposed to read and hear the word of Christ, though that is where it starts. The word of Jesus is to live in us, taking root and residence richly in our innermost being.

It isn’t only the word of God that should live in us, we also teach and encourage each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Since Paul wrote in this in the context of one another, the idea seems to be connected with congregational worship. The songs we sing together:

  • Should be Scriptural (coming from the word of Christ).
  • Should teach and encourage us (teaching and admonishing).
  • Should have variety (psalms and hymns and spiritual songs).
  • Should actually be sung (singing).
  • Should be sung with grace in your hearts.
  • Should be unto to the Lord.

When Christians gather for worship, they should sing. They should sing with the thought that they are all something of a choir, singing for the pleasure of God in heaven. It’s not that musicians on the platform sing for the pleasure of the congregation with God helping them. The idea is that the congregation sings for the pleasure of God with the musicians helping them.

We find another idea with the phrase, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. If we sing with grace in our hearts, some of that grace will be extended towards those musicians and singers who hope to lead us in congregational singing.

Finally, we notice the connection between the word and worship. Ideally, they are two aspects of ministry that work together in harmony and strength. If we love the word but don’t like to worship, something is wrong. If we love worship but don’t appreciate the ministry of the word, something is also wrong. They are both essential parts of the life of the new man or new woman in Jesus Christ.