Our work is our witness | 1 Peter 2:18-25 | Chapel Hill Church

Our work is our witness | 1 Peter 2:18-25 | Chapel Hill Church

Good morning, Chapel Hill! It’s so good to be with you this morning. For those of you who don’t me, my name is Gunnar, I’m one of the pastors here. And I’m looking forward to continuing our journey together in the book of 1 Peter this morning… Our passage begins with these words: “Servants, be subject to your masters…” (1 Peter 2:18). And from these words, we get the theme of this text: work!

You may be wondering, what does being a servant have to do with my work? In the time of Peter, servants were the workforce! In fact, if you were a Roman citizen, you probably didn’t have to lift a finger. That was the role of slaves. It blew my mind to read about just how many servants there were in the Roman empire—it’s estimated that around a third of the Roman population were slaves. That’s 60 million people! And these slaves were the ones who did most of the work.

And so, Peter addresses that workforce. They worked in a variety of different industries: from doctors, and lawyers, to teachers, and business people, and every other imaginable job. So, when Peter addresses servants in verse 18, we could actually replace that with our modern term, the word “employee.” Peter is addressing everyone who works…

So, let’s read what Peter has to say about Christians in the workplace this morning.

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:18-25)

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The big idea of our message this morning is this: The way that we work is our witness to the world.

This can be difficult for us to understand as Christians. For many of us, it can be a challenge to be a Christian just as much on Monday morning as we are on Sunday morning.

This has been sort of funny to observe over the years working in ministry. Because, inevitably, I usually get to know people’s Sunday-morning persona way before I meet who they are in the outside world… I remember this woman who served in the worship ministry at our previous church. Her name was Karen. And if you’re up on pop culture, you’ll know that to be a “Karen” is sort of a derogatory term nowadays. Which is a real bummer, because I actually know some lovely Karen’s! In fact, some of you are in the room right now! So, I want to offer an apology for this illustration to Karen’s everywhere! J But this woman at the church, she was one of those lovely Karen’s. She was faithful, and kind, and considerate. She was always at church early on Sundays to help serve. I really enjoyed having Karen on our team.

One Sunday, my dad came to church, and he asked, “Hey, that woman over there? Is her name Karen?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he asked me what’s it been like to serve with her at the church. And I said, “Oh, it’s been great! She’s dependable, she’s sweet, she’s just overall a pleasure to have on the team.” And my dad said, “Ya know, that’s great to hear. Because she’s probably one of the worst people I’ve ever had to work with!” It turned out that Karen was a purchasing agent for one of the companies my dad worked with. And she wasn’t the same Karen as she was on Sundays! Unfortunately, at work, Karen was quite the “Karen”!

But this isn’t the way it should be! We should be Christians just as much on Mondays as we are on Sundays. And Peter reminds us of that: that the way that we work is our witness to the world.

But what exactly does that look like? What does it mean that the way that we work is our witness to the world? That’s what we’re going to unpack this morning, in three points: the purpose of our work, the principles of our work, and the power for our work.

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