Submitting to your Boss

November 12, 2023 Preacher: Michael Clary Series: First Peter

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:18–25

Good morning, church.  Good to see all of you here today, especially welcome those who are here for the baby dedication. We'll do that right at the end of our service. But greetings to you. Glad that you're here. We are going through the book of first Peter together. And a big theme is hope in the midst of suffering in this book.

And we're, we're in the section of the book here in chapter two that deals with submitting to various kinds of authorities. Last week was government. This week, your boss. Submitting to your employer. That's where we are today. How to act like a Christian in the workplace.  And it could be said that in modern America, we have an authority problem.

Personal choices are idols. Such that we don't like anybody telling us what to do.  I was reminded this week of the scene in the Matrix. You know, when he, he shows up late for work. Neo does. He shows up late for work and then the scene cuts to him and his boss's office. And his boss says, “you have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson. You think you're special. You think the rules don't apply to you.  But you are mistaken.” That's what his boss said.  And I think, I think America could hear that message, right? Because I think, as Americans, the way that we approach work, generally, I think we have an authority problem.  And it's because our society is so drunk on equality that we think authority is oppressive.

And I don't want anybody to tell us what to do.  The Bible tells us that that attitude is sin.  You see this in the book of 2 Peter 2:10, it talks about it being a sin to despise authority. Or the book of Jude verse 8, it is a sin to reject authority.  And besides this, it's impractical because you need to have a chain of command.

You need hierarchy in a workplace to be able to function properly. You need to have somebody that's in charge that can direct traffic and that can give direction to the employees. And then the employees need to do what the boss says in order to get anything done.  I saw this article in Forbes that, um, and it said, according to a survey, one in five executive leaders agree with this statement.

No one wants to work.  One in five executive leaders. Now that might not sound like much, but that, that is still a significant number. That's 20% of, let's say a 20% of our American workforce.  I don't want to work. That's a big problem because everybody else has to pick up the slack, right?  There's a Gallup poll.

It says 86% of employers say that their employees are actively disengaged at work and so employers are struggling and frustrated with their workforce.  A lot of companies are realizing that good help is hard to find.  People want money.  And they don't want to work. And then people, they don't want to, they want to do low quality work and yet they still want to get paid because they still have bills to pay.

So, this isn't sustainable.  This, this scenario got worse during COVID because you had a lot of people that were working from home and businesses were shut down and people, a lot of people ended up quitting their jobs or losing their jobs. And then that was subsidized by stimulus money. And a lot of those people just never came back to the workforce.

I'm sure in the last three years we've all experienced some degree of this. In one way or another, people just don't want to work.  And this reflects an authority problem.  Society can't function without authority. Society can't function without a hierarchy.  Society can't function without people telling other people what to do and then other people doing what they were told.

You need bosses giving orders and you need workers obeying them. And today, we’re going to talk about that. How do we do this as Christians? How do we respect authority in the workplace? Let's dig in. We're in 1 Peter chapter 2. And we'll start here in verse 18. We'll cover verses 18 to 25, but we'll start here in verse 18.

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust.  Now, the word servants here, quick comment on this. In the English Standard Version, it's translated servants.  There's other, you might have a translation of the Bible that uses the word slaves.  And for some people, this is a panic verse because they see slave in the Bible, and they see slaves be subject to your masters or servants be subject to your masters.

And what immediately comes to mind is American chattel slavery of the 19th century and before.  It doesn't, that, that isn't necessary. And I could spend a whole sermon explaining why it's, it's, it's not what often is said in your sociology classroom. Um, or somebody on NPR, it's not what they say it is, but I want to, I want you to have confidence in your Bible, and I want you to trust the God who wrote the Bible and gave it to us.

So, I'm not going to unpack all the reasons why, I just want to make a quick comment here, and if you would like more resources, I'd be happy to send them to you.  Slavery in the ancient world of the Bible is not the same thing as slavery in the new world.  Period. It is not the same thing.  And so, a lot of people object, well, why doesn't the Bible condemn slavery?

Well, the Bible does condemn the practices that were taking place in the American slave trade.  Man stealing and abuse and cruelty. The Bible condemns those things, but it's not the same to say, to look in the Bible and just to assume, well, what Peter is talking about here and what other, what other texts say about slavery.

It's the exact same thing and that's, that's why God is a cruel moral monster. That's what, you know, the atheist wants you to believe. But that just is not the case.  A lot of, uh, the Bible did allow and regulate the institution of slavery in the ancient world, because it was like a social safety net. The alternative would have been people would have just died of starvation.

But slavery was something that would at least give people some option to be able to survive and to provide for their families. That doesn't mean it was pleasant for them, but it does mean that it was something that was a necessary institution.  But the slaves themselves there was a means of emancipation and the Bible regulated that in the Old Testament.

A lot of these slaves were professionals. They could have been managers of estates, physicians, teachers, tutors.  And they would earn money and they'll be able to save money.  A lot of times they were more highly educated than their masters.  So, it's not as though when you see slave, you see an assumed ethnic or racial component and an inferiority assumed upon a particular group of people.

That is ungodly and that is, the Bible does not endorse that.  But as far as the system that enabled people to work. And to be able to survive, the Bible does regulate that, but it's not the same thing.  The language is the same. You'll see the word slave from the Bible, and we see, we call the slavery that happened in America.

It's the same word, but it's not the same practice. The actual practice was very different.  If you'd like to know more about that, feel free to contact me, and I can send you some resources. For our purposes today, the teaching is most relevant to our work environment, the workplace, our bosses, our employers.

So, Peter says, be subject to your masters. Now that's the simple command.  So do good and honest work and do so even when your boss is bad, he's unjust. So do good, honest work, even when you've got a bad boss.  Now, there's a, there's a corollary in Colossians 3, and I want to pull these two together. So, I'll keep that verse on there, and then I want to add this text here from Colossians.

Let's read this. Bond servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye service as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.

You are serving the Lord Christ.  So, the first text was from the Apostle Peter. Second text was from the Apostle Paul.  What's going on here?  Basically, Peter and Paul are on the same page.  Serve your employer like you're serving Jesus.  Treat your employer and show them the honor and submit to their authority as though you're submitting to the authority of Jesus.

Now, of course, we have authority problems, so we've got lots of objections to this.  You might think, well, my boss is unfair. It doesn't matter because we're told be subject to your masters, even the ones who are unjust.  They don't have to be fair in order for you to submit to them.  We might think my boss isn't worthy of respect.

It doesn't matter. Be subject to your masters with all respect.  They don't have to be worthy of respect.  We might think, well, okay, I'll obey when I agree with it, but only when I agree with.  That's not an option because we're supposed to obey in everything. Those who are your earthly masters, you might think, well, okay, I'll obey when he's there and not when he's gone.

That's not an option because that's serving just by way of eye service. That's doing it just when he can see you doing it.  You might think, well, I don't like my job.  It doesn't matter. We're not there to serve as people pleasers. But, with sincerity of heart. You don't need to like it. You need to, you need to obey, you need to do it.

You think, well, fine. I'll just do the minimum.  I'll just do the bare minimum to get by.  That's not an option. Because we are told to work heartily as to the Lord.  Alright, fine. They don't pay me enough then.  I'm not adequately compensated.  That's not an option. That doesn't matter because we receive from the Lord our reward. The Lord will reward you and you will receive an award.

You were serving the Lord Christ.  We don't have excuses.  This pretty much covers all the excuses we could make in the text, and we're left with the uncomfortable reality that we have to submit to bosses, pagan bosses, people that don't know the Lord, people that might even be cruel or unjust, and we have to submit to them.

Here's the thing, you are an ambassador for Christ on the job.  Jesus is your true boss.  And Jesus tells you, submit to the middle management, and that's your boss at work. But he's your true boss. Ultimately, from the heart, you're working for him. That's what he says at the end. You're serving the Lord Christ.

I heard from a guy this week, he started his Bible study at work and did it at lunchtime and he wanted to use the meeting room at work. And they had a scheduling system where you would just put it on the company calendar and the company told him, well, you can't put this on the company calendar because seeing the word Bible on the calendar might offend people.

So, they had to find a workaround to be able to do it because they didn't want to offend people who might not like seeing the word Bible.  I heard from somebody else who had to pay a 50 per paycheck surcharge for not getting the COVID vaccine.  That's unjust. That's wrong. You shouldn't have to pay an additional fee because he did not want to submit to some autocratic, dictate to inject something into his body that he didn't want to do.

But he submitted to the surcharge.  He wanted to honor Christ and he submitted to that, but, even though he didn't like it, he still went through with it.  And don't miss this word here, this word respect.

Don't miss that.  You can dishonor God by submitting to your boss but doing it in a disrespectful way.  A lot of times, if we're upset, we don't like what we're being told to do.  And so, we're like, fine, I'll go along with it. But I want to mean mug you, I'll give you the stink eye, I don't want to complain about it, talk about you behind your back, you know, write a nasty note in the break room, whatever.

He says, no, submit, be subject to your masters with all respect.  And not just to the good guys, also to the bad guys.  Even if you don't respect the man who's in the position of authority.  Even if he's not worthy of respect himself, you could submit to the fact that he is in authority and you, so you submit to the authority even if the man or if it's a woman boss, even.

Even in neither case, you submit because of the position of authority.

Verse 19, for this is a gracious thing when notice this mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. That's important.  For what credit is it if when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? Thank the Lord. I don't think any of you are getting beaten at work. If you are, maybe you could, uh, maybe you could file a grievance with, you know, with the board or something.

So, we're not getting beaten at work. So, whatever you have to endure, it's not that bad.  But what credit is it if, if you do something bad and you suffer a consequence for it?  But if, when you do good and suffer for it, you endure, this is a gracious thing, same as here. This is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

If you suffer for doing wrong, we don't call that injustice, we call that natural consequence.  It's, you know, it's like, uh, you know, you touch a hot stove, you know, nobody's oppressing you.  That's just, that's just you making a foolish choice and suffering a natural consequence for it.  And a lot of times God will work through natural consequences as a means of discipline to train us.

So, we should not expect to be congratulated if we endure suffering as a consequence of doing wrong.  So don't assume any time that you suffer. If you suffer that you're being persecuted, if the boss writes you up, don't assume I'm being persecuted for being a Christian. No, you've been late to work every day this week.

That's why you're being written up. Don't assume you're being persecuted. If you suffer when you do wrong, if you sin and you have a consequence, that's not, there's no spiritual merit or credit or there's no value in that. That's just the world working out the way God made it. Consequence, action and consequence.

But if you suffer for doing right, That’s what's at issue here.  If you suffer unjustly, that is a gracious thing. That is the gracious thing. When you suffer unjustly for doing good, if you're doing something good and you suffer for that thing, that’s gracious. That is a grace of God and God gives you grace in that uh, suffering.

And you do so being mindful of God. Meaning that, that's, you're consciously aware. That God is in this moment. There is a duty. I have to do this. I have to endure this trial. I have to go through this experience with my mind consciously aware that I am doing so because of my Christian faith.  You're mindful of God.

That's very important.  God's grace is with you when you're mindful of Him in that trial. And He gives you power to endure.  A good example of this in the Bible is the story of Joseph. You know, the book of Genesis 37 through 50, chapters 37 through 50 is one of, um, one of the most glorious stories in the whole Bible.

It's this long, drawn out narrative that is incredibly powerful. And it's the story of Joseph. He suffered unjustly for all of his early life.  His brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of him.  They thought that he was a young punk that was favored by their dad, and they were envious of that.

So, they threw him into a pit, sold him to some Ishmaelites passing by, sold him into slavery, and then went back and deceived their dad into thinking that he'd been killed.

But, when he was sold into slavery, he worked his tail off. He ended up in Potiphar's house.  And while he was there, he had worked his way up the ranks to where he ended up being in charge of Potiphar's house because he was working hard, he was skilled and diligent, he did good work, even in the midst of the injustice of his experience.

I mean, we, as we read this, we would know that God's favor is on him, right? I mean, he is favored of God. And God blesses him, but God doesn't bless him and he's just out there, you know, acting like a jerk. No, God uses the means of his diligence, his hard work, his labor, his industriousness, his honesty, his integrity.

God blesses the things that he is doing, the way that he is going about his work, such that he ends up being put in charge of Potiphar's estate.  And yet, in that situation, Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him, and he ended up rejecting her advances. If you know the story, she ended up kind of tearing at his clothes and ripped his robe off, and he, he ran out of the house.

She's holding his robe in her, in her hands. And then she falsely accuses him of rape, saying like, he tried to attack me.  And so, his integrity, because he was doing the right thing, he wanted to reject these advances. He wanted to honor his employer and not sleep with his wife.  And he suffered for it. He was accused of rape and ended up; Potiphar sided with his wife.

I mean, I guess, you got your star employee and your wife. I mean, it's a tough call. But he ended up siding with his wife. And Joseph ended up getting tossed in prison.  Because he's a man of integrity. So, he was doing right, he was doing good, and in the workplace, he suffered because he was doing what was right.

He ended up in jail.  If you remember from last week, the same principle from last week, it's in verse 16. A few verses prior, 1 Peter 2:16, it says, Live as people who are free.  Not using your freedom as a cover up for evil but living as servants of God.  So, verse 16 says, live as people who are free.  What is freedom?

But choosing, right?  Choosing what to do.  And so, the same principle that, that we looked at last week, it applies also in this text this week.  So, in your workplace, you've got a boss you don't like. You might feel like they're being unjust, they're treating you unfairly, you're underpaid, you're overworked, all the normal work complaints.

Live as people who are free in that environment. That means you have the choice whether to obey or not obey. Now, you can choose to disobey and get beaten for it, and then kind of... Be forced to obey or you can live as a free man, or a free woman and you can choose to obey. That's what free people do. And you choose not because you like the boss or you like the work or you think it's all fair and great, but you choose because you're mindful of God.

Because you're a servant of Christ. You're an obedient Christian. And that's why you make a choice to obey somebody that you think is wrong and unjust.

That's acting as a free man or a free woman.  Slaves work because they're forced to. And they do it begrudgingly, and when they don't, they get beaten.  And when they sin, they suffer. That's what slaves do.  Free men and free women work because they choose to.  They do so willingly because they are serving a higher master who is good, who is just, who's always righteous, who's always perfect.

That's who they're serving. And whenever that master, that boss, tells you, hey, I need you to get along and serve this middle manager boss.  Then you can do so as a free man or a free woman.  It takes away the power of them having you in slavery. You being required, you're under their thumb.

It takes that power away.  When an, when an employer mistreats a free man, that's a perfect opportunity for him to demonstrate his freedom.  The free man doesn't avenge himself. He doesn't sabotage his work environment. He works hard because he's mindful of God.  He's confident in God's justice. He might think, okay, so let's say if you're being mistreated by your boss, but you know corporate's coming in and they're going to see what's going on and they're going to straighten it out.

You might be able to endure that for a week or two if you know corporate's going to come in and straighten it out, right?  Well, in this case, Jesus is corporate, and he's going to straighten it out at the end of all things. But you're going to have to wait a while until you get there, but you know God is just, and God will make it right.

And there will be perfect justice when he comes, and that's what Judgment Day is about. So, you might have to endure for a good while. You might have to endure longer than you like. But you can endure it knowing that a just God is going to make it right.  The point being is that your faith in Christ can transform servitude into freedom because you're making the choice to obey a higher master.

I've got four application points.  I'm going to give you four application points, and I want to get to the rest of the text right at the tail end. But I want to give you, uh, I'll give you four application points that'll lead up to that.  Here's the first one.  Be the best worker you can be.  Simple, right?  Be the best worker you can be.

That means be honest. That means work with integrity. Work heartily. Do good work. Do your work with excellence. Go the extra mile.  If you can, show up on time, be courteous, show respect to your employer, be a good teammate with your other coworkers, be the best worker you can be, and that in itself is God honoring.

The good work is itself glorifying to God, but there's also the, the practical benefit of submitting to authority so that the work that your company is doing can get done.  So, you do these things mindful of God. That's really key. Mindful of God there in verse 19. That means that your faith is a part of what you're doing.

You're doing your good, honest, hard work as an act of faith, and you're doing it even if your employer is unjust.  And most of the time, they're not unjust, you just don't like them.  You just don't get along with them very well.  You think like, I don't like this work, but your boss, let's say your boss, he may not like his work either.

He may not like working with you. You might be the injustice that he's got to trust God with if he's a Christian.  So, submit to them, and that makes it a more easy, compliant work environment. That's, that's what you need. So practically, you may find that this is a strategic advantage.  And that the Lord will bless and prosper you, just like he did with Joseph.

Joseph was a child of God. Joseph was, you know, part of God's people. And the Lord blessed and prospered him. Not merely because he was, you know, a God, a favorite of God. But also because of the work he was doing.

Like I said earlier, good help is hard to find. And if you have a solid work ethic, One, it glorifies God, so there's that. But two, it could be your strategic advantage.  Uh, David Williams in our city group, we talked about this the other day. He made a comment, he's just like, if you just show up and do good work, it's like you're going to outclass most people in the workplace.

And that's just the reality that we're in nowadays. Somebody who works hard and does good work... They're going to have an edge. So, I mean, there's that advantage, but ultimately, we do it because of our, of our faith in Christ. So, you can make yourself indispensable to your employer by becoming the hardest working, most dependable worker.

And that is a testimony, too, to your employer. Just imagine if you work for Kroger or Fifth Third or P&G or whoever, and you know the executives know the best workers I have are the Christians. I mean, I think God could work with that. I think God could use that, right?  If you work at children's hospital, you make man like, we really want to keep these Christian doctors happy.

Because they're the ones who are the most reliable, they're the best, most skilled, most dedicated and diligent workers we've got.  There's, there's something to that.  Alright, that's first point, be the best you can be. Number two, bend but don't break. I'll tell you what I mean by this but bend but don't break.

For most of us, there's a good chance that your boss isn't a Christian.  So, we gotta be shrewd.  You gotta find ways that you can flex and accommodate.  And you might have to bend more than you're comfortable with. The thing is, as Christians, we want to find, you know, it's like, there could be an impulse to find, like, one little thing that doesn't exactly line up with your particular convictions.

And you, you cry persecution and want to quit.  Don't do that. That's foolish. We need to bend. We need to be, it's like, you are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ who, who died in your place so that your eternal destiny is secure. And he calls you as his child. He tells you in his word, submit, be subject to your earthly masters.

And that means that there's going to be a lot of areas where you're going to have to do things that you don't want to do things that you don't, that you're not crazy about.  Some of them might be on the edge of what you can tolerate in your conscience, but you have to find that edge. But we have to have some flexibility.

Now, I want to talk in a moment about, you don't violate your conscience. Of course, that's true. But I'm saying, I think we, we draw that line maybe too early, too soon.  I mean, if that's the world that you want to live in, you won't be able to work anywhere.  So, we have to, we have to know, we have to be shrewd.

And let's say there's something that's on the edge, maybe it's something you're not quite sure about. That's fine. You have a church full of godly men and women that can help you.  Talk about it. Talk about it in your city group. Say, I got this thing at work, I just don't know what to do. I'm asked to do this thing that, man, it really troubles my conscience.

What do you all think?  Do that. I mean, we talked a few weeks ago about the priesthood of believers. There is a priesthood of people who are spirit filled, they know the Lord, they know the Word of God, and they can offer you some godly counsel. Take advantage of that. But don't just freak out at the first moment, there's something that you're uncomfortable with.

Like, use wisdom to bend.  An example of this is, uh, Daniel, whenever, you know, the, the, the, the children of God were taken into captivity in Babylon.  They're captured by King Nebuchadnezzar, who was a wicked, bloodthirsty man. Pagan king, terrible guy.  And Daniel and his friends, they submitted to Nebuchadnezzar's authority.

Daniel chapter one, read it this afternoon.  Nebuchadnezzar gave them Babylonian names.  You're no longer Connor, and Sally, and Josh, and Caleb, and Aidan.  That's not your name anymore. Your name is now Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. Those are stupid sounding names. I don't care. That's your name now, pal.  And they submitted to it.

They did not raise an objection to being renamed. Mom and dad loved that name. It doesn't matter. These are your Babylonian names now. Deal with it.  They gave them Babylonian education.  You're going to go to schools in Babylon now. We're going to teach you about all our pagan pantheon of false gods and demons.

You have to learn about them now. And they didn't even object to that.  But whenever Nebuchadnezzar said, okay...  I want to change your diet. Now for Jewish people, we've heard about kosher food, right? For Jewish people, that's a big deal.  And so that's, that's more central to their worship. And so, they raised an objection.

So, they were flexing in all these areas that would have been really uncomfortable for them.  And when they found an edge, okay, here's an edge. Oh, gracious King, may you live forever.  They, they found this edge where they're like, okay. When you're going to change our diet, that's going to alter the way that we're called to worship God.

And even then, they didn't throw down the gauntlet and say, Here I stand! I will not eat your food, O King! They didn't do that.  They, said if it pleased the king, would you, if you don't care, give us a week and let us eat our vegetables and then, you know, compare us to the other people that are eating the king's food and see what you like better.

I mean, they, they found a way to accommodate. That's, that was very shrewd. And it shows how, just how shrewd Daniel is, which is demonstrated throughout the book. Daniel is a, you know, extraordinarily godly man in the book of Daniel.  So, you bend as much as you can. You're flexible. And you're going to have, we're going to have to learn how to do this, especially as the work environments that we find ourselves in now could be more hostile going forward.

So, we're going to have to find and we're going to have to be more wise and shrewder. We're not going to be able to just coast and put it on autopilot. We're going to have to be mindful of God all the time, thinking through, how do I do this? How do I honor the Lord in this situation?

But there may be a time when it would be a sin for you to comply with something.  And that's where you don't break, you can bend, but you don't break. And so, if it comes time where there's, there is some line that you just can't cross, then you either go to your boss and tell them, I can't do this. And here's why I'm a Christian and I can't do this.

Or you move on, you quit your job.  No job is worth sinning against the Lord.  Number three, if the time comes for you to move on, do so respectfully.  Submit to your masters with all respect. If that time comes for you to move on, do so respectfully. Hopefully you'll never be in this position, and this is all theoretical, but if this does happen, remember, even in your resignation, you're still representing Christ to your employer.

So, it could be an opportunity to preach the gospel, to make it clear.  I appreciate the job. I appreciate the opportunities I've had here.  But, respectfully, my faith in Jesus Christ is more important than that.  I was, uh, I used to manage a carpet store for my aunt and uncle.  And, uh, there were some unethical practices that I couldn't, I could not abide.

And so, I talked to them about it, and they said, this is the way we do business. And I said, well, I guess we have to part ways.  Um, that time may come.  That time may come for you.  And so, it's good to at least be prepared for that moment.  So that when, when it does, or if it ever does come, you've, you've thought it through.

And this is, this may be the case in some professions more than others.  A lot, I would say, I would say there's a lot of professions where you're probably not going to be running into very many ethical dilemmas. But there's some where you might.  I mean, there's someone in this church where, um, teaching in a public school.

One man that you, that you may know, could not continue in his profession because of what they were requiring him to teach and would not give him an option.  I think another area similar is the medical field.  I know a lot of a lot of people here, you know, you're training, you're in training for medicine.

A lot of nurses and people that are studying to be doctors.  And I think in that profession, you may be tested in unique ways.  So, think about this: the oath that you take as a physician is, begins at least with do no harm.  But it, there's the implication is that what you're doing is going to be for the good of people.

You're going to be promoting their health.  But what determines good for people and what determines health has to be informed by your Christian convictions and not just what they tell you in school.  Right? So, you're going to have to think about that. You know, Jesus tells me what is good and what is health, what is good for the body because there's a doctrine of the body and there's a doctrine of the mind that, that you, you have operative.

There are scriptures that you know that is in your mind.  And so, you know, for example, this past Tuesday people in Ohio voted in favor of abortion and the language in the amendment was in some of these cases you could get an abortion, even a late term abortion, all the way up to the moment of delivery.

If it were necessary to protect the mother’s life or health, well, how do you define health?  Well, if she's feeling a lot of anxiety that could threaten her mental health, which means, well, she should be eligible to terminate the pregnancy, to get an abortion, to kill her baby because of health. So those of you who are in the medical profession, you are going to be faced with these kinds of dilemmas going forward.

So, you may work in a hospital or be in a partnership that defines health in ways that violate your convictions.  You'll be pressured to treat patients not according to what is truly good or truly healthy, but according to some political ideology that is being imposed on you from your, your bosses, your superiors.

Or maybe because there's a financial interest from a pharmaceutical company that wants to push a certain drug.  These things happen. So, when that time comes, If it comes, I think it, I think there very well may be times when it would come, especially in the medical profession, but in whatever your profession is, be able to anticipate what are those moments when I might need to say, okay, I can't do this any longer.

And then be prepared to suffer for doing good.  And the suffering might be telling your boss no and you, you miss opportunities to advance.  It could be, you have the skill of a CEO, but you're stuck in this purgatory of middle management. And you take your people that are younger than you, less educated, less qualified than you are passing you up.

And you're stuck in this middle area because you’re the guy that won't, that won't do the thing that everybody else is willing to do. Just be prepared for that. Or you might lose your job, or you might have to quit your job.  And in any case, that's suffering, but it's suffering for doing good. And if, and if that moment comes, you want to make sure that you're actually doing good and that in the enduring of the suffering you are doing, you're doing good content.

You're still doing good. You're, you're being respectful.  You're not just sabotaging the workplace on the way out and sending an email to your whole department. You know, let me tell you about Frank. He's been on my case for months and I can't stand the guy. Let me tell you why you should quit.

I mean, don't do that. I mean, be respectful.  Jesus is still your boss. You're still honoring him and you're honoring him even in the resistance that you're putting up. So be a great worker. Bend don't break.  If you gotta move on, do so respectfully if it comes to that. And then the fourth point is follow the example of Jesus.

Follow the example of Christ, and I'll read these final verses to you.  For to this you have been called because Christ also suffered.  Don't forget that. Christ also suffered. For you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  Jesus suffered, and he suffered for you, and in so doing, he left you an example to follow, that you might follow in his steps.

Well, what’s that example?  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. That's the father. That's God who will bring justice.  Ultimately, and Jesus had the patience to trust God now, knowing that God's ultimate justice would come.

He himself bore our sins. We did the injustice against Jesus.  Because it was our sins that he bore 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.  This teaching that Peter is giving us is only possible through Jesus Christ.

The grace of Jesus Christ, we can't do it on our own because our flesh, our desires are so strong that there's no way that we can, that we can put up with what you might have to put up with in the workplace.  So, God requires of us something that's only possible by his grace through the finished work of Christ and his death, his burial and resurrection.

Verse 21, we can suffer because He suffered, and He's better than us. He's innocent. He's perfect and righteous. He didn't deserve it, but we do. We do deserve to suffer, but we don't because of Christ. Verse 22, Jesus is and was and always will be completely righteous in every way. No sin, no deceit.  All truth.

All goodness. Verse 23, Jesus did not avenge himself. He did not repay evil for evil, injustice for injustice. Rather, he endured injustice but trusted God to give ultimate justice. He didn't seek his own justice.  Verse 24, He did this for our sake, bearing our sins, so that we might do the same.  So, whenever you endure an injustice at work, whenever you suffer for doing good at work, there is a reward, right?

There is a reward, and the reward that belongs to Jesus because of what He accomplished on the cross, that reward belongs to you because you received the inheritance. We saw this on the text earlier. We will be, we will be rewarded. We will receive the inheritance of Jesus as our reward. So, what belongs to the Son belongs to us.

It's ours.  And so now, as His sons and as His daughters, we're called to follow in His example.  By His grace, mindful of God and His strength. It's a gracious thing, but we can do it in His strength. Let's pray.  Thank you, Jesus, that you suffered injustice. That you did the very thing that you're telling us to do.

And you did so righteously.  Thank you for what you endured for our sake.  And thank you, Lord, that you have, you've given us this hope that even when we do suffer unjustly, whenever we have to endure difficulties in the workplace, all of these things are, are things that you have. You've endured them yourself and then you promise that whenever we follow in your steps that we're rewarded.

Thank you that you bought that reward. You paid for it with the purchase, the price of your life.  Thank you, our Lord Jesus. Thank you for what you have done for us.  Lord, I'm, I'm sure there's a lot of people here that endure difficult workplace situations. Give them wisdom and strength to obey you, let them know how to do it.

Surround them with brothers and sisters in Christ that can help share insight and help them to know how to do it.  And Lord, in the, in the years to come, if things get more difficult, I pray Lord that you will strengthen us as a church. To hold one another accountable, to suffer well in the workplace, as excellent employees.

And may we glorify your name as the one who is ultimately who we are serving.  We praise your name; we give you all glory. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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